Am I the only one who felt sad and uncomfortable watching the fifth-season premiere of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” last night?
Ladies and gentlemen (in case you just tuned in), we’re watching a marriage disintegrate right before our eyes.
Do Jon and Kate Gosselin deserve my (or yours) pity? Empathy? Derision? Perhaps.
Is all of this little more than a ploy to garner huge ratings and ensure that their children’s college educations will be paid for? Doubtful.
In the end, though, I can’t help but feel sorry for Jon and Kate. Yes, I feel sorry for her. I’m sad to see a strong (I don’t think *domineering* is an inaccurate adjective to use here), opinionated woman completely vilified by the public and press for exhibiting traits – dare I say it? – our society is more accustomed to seeing in a man: ambitious, oblivious and pig-headed with complete and total tunnel vision.
“I wake up because of the kids,” Kate said in last night’s show. “I breathe because of my kids. I work because of my kids. I work harder because of my kids. I am committed to not letting any of this harm them.”
And if the tables were turned, and Jon was the one traveling nonstop working to support his family (don’t pretend that this isn’t what it’s all about, because I really believe it is – hair, tan and manicure aside) – albeit in a lifestyle to which they’ve all become accustomed – would he be receiving the negative attention Kate is?
Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Kate is a control freak. She’s anal retentive. She is not satisfied with things simply getting done – they have to get done her way. It’s her way or the highway, even when eight children, two dogs, a horribly unhappy husband and a $1.1 million home are involved. She wears the pants in this family, and there’s never been any doubt about that. Over the years, it’s become more and more obvious that that she likes it that way. Heck, why else do you think she picked Jon as a mate? Because she knew – consciously or subconsciously – that she would be the boss of the family. And in a very sad way, any respect she had for Jon has been lost. Think about it: What woman truly appreciates a man she knows she can totally push around?
And Jon has been no prize here, either. Frankly, it seems like he never knew what hit him. Kate – being Kate – saw him, wanted him and got him, in quick order. It was like he didn’t even have a say in the matter. But he did. A thousand times over, he did. But he decided muttering comments to himself (in typical passive-aggressive fashion) was making enough of a statement. It wasn’t. Neither was acting like his feelings were hurt when Kate took it a step too far. A perfect example: The family’s memorable Christmas shopping excursion to Toys R Us. Kate yelled at him from across the store – not once, but twice – giving him the same respect she might bestow upon a gnat. (Though I believe he compared it to treating him like a dog, which is accurate enough.) Don’t get me wrong – you could tell Jon’s feelings were hurt, and it’s easy to understand why. But that was a perfect opportunity for him to confront Kate about it, to take a stand and tell her in a firm manner that he was not going to tolerate that kind of behavior – alone or in front of the kids, the other shoppers and the world watching them through televisions. She might have respected him if he’d actually done that. But no, he chose instead to act like a hurt little puppy dog. That’s worked out well, hasn’t it?
The saddest thing of all is that it seems like Jon and Kate have completely given up on one another and their marriage. There’s been no mention of therapy – something that the millions watching at home could either relate or aspire to. And I think it’s wrong that the Gosselins place much of the blame on the glare of the media spotlight. They are fooling themselves; their marriage troubles existed long before paparazzi cameras entered their lives. They also existed before TLC’s cameras started documenting their every move. Has the constant filming and media scrutiny helped matters? Definitely not. But it appears that the Gosselins aren’t willing to take on any responsibility for the current state of their relationship. And that doesn’t bode well for their future – or their kids.
Instead of working so hard on keeping this media empire afloat, why doesn’t Jon and Kate focus on their relationship and family? What fun will the former be without having the latter?