Jon Minus Kate, Still Eight.

by Meredith O'Brien


We’re on the brink of a reality show first. After years of programs that have chronicled the ups and downs of dating, child-rearing, cooking, home decorating, plastic surgery, etc., it looks as if we’re going to see the highest profile reality show documentation of the disintegration of a marriage.


Consider it a reality show cautionary tale: You invite TV cameras into your home, allow them to follow you and your family around to watch you eat meals, do laundry, celebrate milestones and take trips outside of the house. You know, in the back of your mind, that the ratings-seeking network that’s airing your reality show will be on the look-out for the most dramatic moments the cameramen can capture. They’re not exactly on your side.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming either Jon or Kate Gosselin for deciding to accept the TLC network’s offer to build a reality show around their family of twins and sextuplets. The money and the products the Gosselins have received as a result of their reality show certainly have more than helped them make ends meet. The show has, according to news reports, provided opportunities for them to get a new home, nab book deals, book public speaking gigs, receive piles upon piles of clothing and accept hair plugs for Jon and a tummy tuck for Kate. What did the Gosselins have to lose when they agreed to allow their family to be the focus of Jon & Kate Plus 8 which, last season, had some 4.5 million viewers? Their marriage apparently.


It’s so very tragic because the deterioration of their relationship is happening so publically. It’s sad for the children who’ll inevitably learn about this period in their parents’ lives. It’s likewise horrific for both Jon and Kate who -- regardless of who you think wears the villainous black hat (my take is that no one is singularly to blame, they’re just two people who’ve grown apart) -- are forced to not just pretend that they aren’t dying inside when they’re with their kids, but also have to pretend in front of the TLC cameras and during interviews with the voracious news organizations that are salivating over every intimate detail of the couple’s estrangement.


I have a blended family and we were approached by two different TV production companies recruiting blended families for their various reality shows. One was for TLC and the other was the producers of Survivor to be pitched to MTV. They were supposed to be "positive" One actually told me that it would be just like Jon and Kate Plus 8. Yikes. I'm so glad we did not take the bait. No show for me, but I'm still hoping for that book deal...
Carol Shwanda


I have only seen the Jon & Kate Plus 8 once. There was a lot of bickering during the episode. Kate was handling the kids and Jon was doing "man's work." Big deal. I imagine that's the same in most if not all American household where there is a traditional marriage of a husband and wife. I would bet a tummy tuck and a makeover along with all the other "free" stuff they got that most marriages would unravel with a camera crew in the house chronicling your every move.
They should have set down firm rules with each other about do's and don'ts for the camera. Maybe that would of helped them.


I so badly wanted everything to be just the media playing this up but I recently found an interview from Kate's brother and his wife (Aunt Jodi) that explains Jon's side pretty well...go to I hope for the kids that these two go get some marriage advise ASAP.


I have to confess, I've watched Jon& Kate Plus 8 more than a few times. My 15-year-old daughter sometimes watch it together and offer a play-by-play.

I've told my daughter more than once that I would never open our home to TV cameras - no matter the financial incentive. Life behind our closed door is precious. I realize there are 10 mouths to feed in the Gosselin household. But there are other ways to earn money.

When I heard about the marital discord, I couldn't help but be reminded of the Loud family, who were the subject of a PBS series in the early 1970s. The documentary, An American Family, marked the beginning of reality TV. It's worth noting that the Louds ended up divorcing.

I feel guilty for watching the Gosselins and, for the sake of the children, hope they can work through their difficulties. The first thing I'd do if I were them is turn off the cameras.

Ruth at