TV family values
Rita Papazian
Norwalk-Citizen News


So, what will it be? Jon and Kate Plus 9? Jon and Kate Plus 10? I guess we'll have to stay tuned to see if the Pennsylvania sextuplets' parents, Jon and Kate, follow through with the rumors that they may be heading for separate lives, but come together for the sake of the children and the reported -- what is it -- a mere $47,000 an episode of their reality show?
"I'm here for the children," Jon claims to a TV audience that just can't stop watching. Neither can I. Why do we watch?

Soon, we'll have an opportunity to watch another set of parents, Jenny and Bryan Masche and their 2-year-old sextuplets from Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Can't wait for that one either. But, then, that couple's pretty new at the game. It's only been two years with their brood and only sporadic TV cameras following their household.

But, getting back to those Gosselins. The last we heard, Jon stayed home while Kate took the children to the beach in North Carolina. Oh yes, photos shows her bodyguard doing his job. Meanwhile, according to People magazine, Jon is now being coached by big-time PR people on how to avoid those nasty questions that the press throw at him. In the People magazine, it seems that Jon has learned well. Basically, the only information that People gathered in the interview is that any questions pertaining to his relationship with his wife is "a private matter." Great coaching from the big leaguers.

I admit I'm hooked on the show despite my disgust that this couple allows cameras into their home so invasively when there are young children around.

Why do we watch? Do we women hate Kate that much? Do we find Jon an absolutely fascinating guy in the way he seems to go with the "flow" so to speak? There he is, back to camera, cool as a cucumber grilling the hot dogs as his wife plays to the camera for all she's worth. She's in charge issuing the orders to keep every one in line as she blurs the lines between the children and her husband. She has put him in the mix of another charge to direct.

It's amazing to see Kate's transformation from the photos of her and her husband in the early stages of her pregnancy. It's hard to believe that that was only five years ago. Yes, she has changed. Jon, well, Jon is Jon. Give him a tee shirt and a pair of jeans and he's set for the day. Who wouldn't be with that kind of money coming in?

The Arizona Masche family is quite the contrast. Listen to their interviews and there's no doubt that their household is about Jenny, Bryan, the kids and God.

So what are we voyeurs going to do? Which family will get our attention when their reality show begins soon? Both? Neither? Or are we staying with Jon and Kate Plus Eight to see how the plot line will go.

If it's going to be like this past Monday, we'll have to enjoy visits from celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse. I think I'll pass. Is this going to be just another celebrity talk show of sorts with every week another daytime celeb? Is Paula Deen in the wings?

Bring on the child psychologists, the marriage therapists, and the grandparents. Where are the grandparents by the way? What do they think about all of this? I bet they are trying to figure out what is happening to this world. What happened to celebrating 5-year olds birthdays with Pop-Pop and Nana and Grandpa and Granny? Now we get TV producers, cameramen and hair and make-up stylists in on the party.

We don't' need to watch Jon snowboarding on the slopes, Kate showing off her tummy-tucked body in her orange bikini on the beach or trying to push Jon out of the kitchen when he's trying to make the family an Asian dinner to celebrate his heritage.

She kept telling him it was "my kitchen." Also, she couldn't spend one episode without a few cutting remarks that "Jon didn't know where the oven is" or "This is the most I've seen him in the kitchen in my life."

Kate's cutting remarks and the close-up of family life in 2009 reminds me of what may have been TV's first reality show, "An American Family," in which cameras went into the home of Bill and Pat Loud and their five children in Santa Barbara, Calif. During the PBS broadcast, which aired in 1973, for 12 episodes, viewers saw the family begin to come apart and became witness to Pat Loud asking for a divorce as the cameras rolled. For many of us, that was more reality than we wanted to see.

Just how much reality of the Gosselin family life do we actually want to see and bear witness?

Rita Papazian is a freelance writer who has written extensively about Norwalk. She can be reached at ritapap@comcast.net. 

Copyright 2009 Rita Papazian All rights reserved.