Last night, I joined the throngs of humanity watching the marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin implode, and I felt ashamed.
The stars of TLC's "Jon and Kate Plus 8" confirmed the tabloid speculation that they were separating. I could care less whether Jon had an affair or Kate had an affair. Watching the marriage of these ordinary people (she was a nurse and he worked in IT) had a pornographic quality about it. I felt like I was gawking at a car wreck at the side of the road. No, it was more like overhearing a private conversation that was none of my business.
And what was the point of all of this? Were we supposed to sympathize with the Gosselins or look down on them? Marriages, unfortunately, fail all the time. I find it hard to believe that the producers at TLC and their corporate masters at Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA) didn't suspect that the marriage was in trouble. After all, one of the "charms" of the program was watching Kate emasculate Jon on a regular basis.
Kate seemed to relish the opportunity to cut him down on camera. Jon seethed with resentment as Kate became some sort of domestic diva and he became a stay-at-home dad. Apparently, he got his revenge by cavorting with college-age women. He's 32. Kate supposedly turned down a donation from her father's church because the cribs were not identical.
Neither one of them is a prize.
Yet somehow they can manage to set aside their animosity to continue to appear on the show. It's not going to be the same. I am old enough to remember when Sony and Cher split up in the 1970s. The charm of the variety show was that it starred a married couple. When they divorced, the show ran out of gas.
People like the Jon and Kate show because it offers an unvarnished view of a married couple struggling with eight little kids. Viewers also started watching in droves when their marital problems became public. Now that the problems have come to a head, there is less reason for the people to tune in to the Gosselins.
Jon and Kate's 15 minutes of fame has expired.
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