Monday, July 28, 2008

Scenes From A Marriage

Submitted for publication by JJ.

I am always surprised how many people think TV is real life! Reality television, like Jon and Kate Plus 8 is created by the network producers and directors to get ratings. How do they hold the viewers attention? They focus on the “drama”, the personality conflicts, the fights, the emotional defects, basically the “train wreck” about to happen.

No one knows what goes on in someone’s marriage except those two people. For those of you that are married and are so righteous about the “respect couples should always have for each other” think about your own marriages. If you have never had a fight, an argument, said a sarcastic word, called up a friend to bitch about your spouse watching five football games in a row, blamed them for losing the car keys, being late to pick up the kids from daycare, or forgetting your anniversary, you are either not being honest with yourselves or you are stuck in a Father Knows Best rerun!

You don’t know Jon and Kate! You don’t know how they treat each other when the camera is off. You don’t know how they fell in love or what their dreams were for their family. You don’t know how they are truly coping with having sextuplets, having eight children in total, and being in the fishbowl of a judging television audience.

I have been married for twenty five years. I still love my husband, but I don’t always like him! I guarantee if you filmed my husband, my twenty two year old son, my two dogs, one cat, and me, for twenty four hours a day, you could find a good hour of stress, sarcasm, arguing, and annoyance! Maybe people would be writing in about us and our lives, but that one hour wouldn’t tell you anything about us. No one would know what we’ve been through in twenty five years, or how comfortable we are with each other. No one would know what a good father my husband is, even though he had no role model what so ever.
No one knows what Jon and Kate’s marriage is really like except for them and it is not for us to judge. Remember, you are watching a television show, not real life.


anya said...

Hear hear! It’s always so refreshing to come on this blog and see some common sense mixed with compassion (as opposed to know-it-all-ness mixed with a heaping tablespoon of judgment).

I am not married, but I guarantee if I agreed to the type of real and candid filming that J&K have agreed to, there would be many moments where my less attractive qualities would come out. Also, there is no doubt in my mind that the producers at least subtly encourage J&K (especially Kate) to show their more dramatic, less attractive qualities. I think J&K even remarked in one episode something to the effect that the show would be boring if they were lovey-dovey and perfect at all times. And I agree.

That said, so far this season there seems to be a bit more tension that I am comfortable with. Whether this is at the producer’s encouragement or simply because they are under a lot of stress, I know not. I do hope they are coping with all the pressure, but I don’t pretend for one minute to know what is really going on. I just wish them the best and thank them for providing me a half hour of entertainment that I look forward to every week.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, the producers are letting us see exactly what they want us to see. And how does having a reality TV show equate with someone automatically having a perfect or even good marriage.

IMO said...

I don't think anyone confuses this train wreck they call a marriage for anything more than it is. A sham. They appear to be together at this point just to keep the gravy train rolling. The part about "it is not for us to judge", sure it is. They agreed, no embraced, filming this show just like a contestant for American Idol or Dancing With the Stars. And we judge these people. Don't tell me that is different. People are showcasing their lives in exchange for money and in the process they will be judged. It is the American way.

Anonymous said...

"You don’t know Jon and Kate! You don’t know how they treat each other when the camera is off."

If you had a loving reationship off camera, why would you treat your spouse that way Kate treats Jon on camera? It doesn't make sense to me. It is one sided in this relatinship. It would be different if you saw bantering back and forth with a little laughter mixed in.

JJ said...

I don't know Jon and Kate either! In fact I don't want to know them! All I am saying is that television has a way of taking the worst of people and putting it in the forefront. I don't know if they have a good marriage or bad marriage, I just know that 30 minutes on the cutting board of a producers desk, is not a real marriage!
I have many friends and clients in the television business, in fact one couple produce many of the Reality Shows that are on television. I know for a month of shooting, maybe it will give them 7 days of 30 minute episodes! They are editing and editing trying to find the "drama", the hook to keep the viewers coming back whether the viewers love or hate the characters doesn't matter, as long as they get ratings.

anya said...

I respectfully disagree. Again, to the original bloggers point, none of us viewers really has enough information to be able to declare their marriage "a sham". I would actually argue most signs point to the opposite, but again, I am just a viewer of an edited reality show, so how the heck would I know?

I kind of wince at the assertion that "judging is the American way." I don't even necessarily disagree with you. I just think it's sad.

imo said...

It might be sad, but it is reality. We Americans sure like to judge. You might be doing it in a kinder gentler way on this blog but in the end, we are all still judging. And if we all didn't have opinions, we wouldn't be surfing these blogs and commenting.

MrsRef said...

I agree that we don't know these people but they chose to put their marriage and children out for public display. If it wasn't filmed it couldn't be shown and picked apart by the public. Yes, everyone fights and has bad days but most of us prefer to do it behind closed doors.

Guinevere said...

Quote: It might be sad, but it is reality. We Americans sure like to judge. You might be doing it in a kinder gentler way on this blog but in the end, we are all still judging. And if we all didn't have opinions, we wouldn't be surfing these blogs and commenting.

I don't necessarily know that it's an American thing. I'm not a cultural anthropologist, but I think it's probably more human nature than anything.

But people are still responsible for what they put out there. Not just Jon and Kate, but the people who write hateful things on message boards, and try to interfere with their lives. Those people are being judged, too, you know? And IMO, found very much wanting, in a lot of departments.

Quote: I agree that we don't know these people but they chose to put their marriage and children out for public display. If it wasn't filmed it couldn't be shown and picked apart by the public.

That doesn't make it right.

Look, I'm not talking about chatting about the show online and a little gentle snarking (I've come to hate that word, but I can't think of a better one to describe what I'm talking about). A site like GWoP goes way, way beyond that. It's just strange to me that these people judge, judge, judge, are nasty and hateful, in some cases engage in actual actions to try to hurt J&K, and yet they never look in the mirror or question their own behavior. It sounds dopey, but I'm actually trying to have compassion for them, because I don't want to be guilty of doing the same stuff they do. I can console myself that I'm not trying to find out personal info about them online and disrupt their lives. Which according to their on ethics, would be totally okay. They put the blog up there, right? They didn't have to do that, so whatever comes their way is okay?

Linda said...

Oh, God, Guinevere! What did they do at GWOP when you say "actual actions to try to hurt J&K"??? I had not heard anything about that! Those people are creepy.

Guinevere said...

They have talked about calling CPS or have called CPS on the Gosselins - people were bragging about that as far back as the TWoP board.

That's the worst thing I can think of - you don't mess with someone's relationship with their children. That's just evil.

They have talked about having contacted various churches that the Gosselins were scheduled to speak at, to get "the truth" out (and disrupt the Gosselins' income stream from these appearances, presumably).

I know posters there talked about trying to get J&K in trouble with the IRS, speculating that they didn't report all their appearance-fee income. I don't know if anyone has actually done that (I certainly wouldn't be surprised, given the endless amount of time these people seem to have on their hands).

Their pawprints were all over the National Enquirer story - it had the GWoP hivemind language down pat. Not to get too much into conjecture (that's their area of expertise), but it appeared to me to be some sort of collaboration between the GWoP folks and Kate's brother's wife's sister, who posts their regularly and gossips about whatever third-had tidbits she has gleaned about the Gosselins.

That's just off of the top of my head. Someone told me that she read something today about how they were trolling Ebay trying to find evidence that Kate was selling the kids' clothes on consignment. Why in the world they would care, or how they intend to use that against her, I don't know. They are a strange bunch, for sure.

Anonymous said...

I did see a comment on a blog about how they read Kate's rating on Ebay. The GWoP site seems a lot calmer the last couple of days and people seemed to have backed off somewhat.

belinda said...

I have read at GWop and even posted, but my views are so mild compared to others. I think it's good that such a place exists, though.
I enjoy seeing the Gosselin kids, but I agree with those who think that the constant filming is not good for them. I also think that Kate slapping Jon is inexcusable. It's not "cute teenage flirting", it's slapping, and Kate is not a teenager. Jon does not seem to like it. He said once that it is embarrassing. For those who think it's ok, how would they feel if JON slapped KATE? What's worse, this couple is setting an example for 8 kids.
Why do they have to show the slapping on TV? I blame the editors for that.
Oh my, if my husband and I slapped each other EVER, we would not be married.

Barbara in VA said...

I wonder if Jon were the one who was constantly picking on and criticizing Kate (last night's show - "stop looking at your physique so much") and giving her slaps in the face, would we all be so forgiving? I think not. Personally I don't believe in hitting either way and I don't believe in putting my husband down in public or in front of the kids and would never stand for him doing that to me. So there we are. These people chose their lives. They chose to have these children and they chose to put this all on TV, in spite of what Kate says, probably for the money it generates for the family. Nothing wrong in that. I do think Kate is getting very full of herself and I much preferred her when the show began. But people become what they become as their experiences of life happen. She will always be the star of her family and of her own life show. I think that's why Mady is allowed to do so much sassing without punishment - she is just so much like Kate that Kate lets it go. When the little ones cross any line they are sent to the corner and so are much better behaved. Mady is a lovely girl with high spirits, but she will be a nightmare of a teenager if her behavior is let go. I say this as a mother. Guys, don't fight in front of the kids. Kate, don't put Jon down so much in front of the kids. I remember an episode in which Mady talked about Kate sitting somewhere like a queen bee giving orders to daddy. They hear you and they see you.

JessieTYCG said...

I just want to comment on the goose image you chose to illustrate this post. ROFL! That is too funny! It's perfect - where did you find that?


Thanks, Google image. Just googled "Scenes From a Marriage" and that popped up.

Anonymous said...

I think if any of us were filmed 3-4 days per week there would be plenty of 'snarks' or poor behavior that could be edited to look like more than it was. What bothers me the most about J&K is the way they talk to each other 'on the couch'. There are no kids around and it should be a more relaxed atmosphere. Jon can be snarky, but Kate is getting more and more mean as time goes on.

Doesn't speak much to me about a couple who's going to be renewing their vows in HA sometime soon (supposedly according to the Washington Post).

Anonymous said...

I love watching this show - the kids are adorable and I enjoy watching the dynamics between all of them.

The parts of the show that make me very uncomfortable are when Kate snarls at Jon - and I find it amazing that people will defend her. There are other ways to get your point across. I certainly can see the occasional "snap" when you have had a long, hard day and just want to wrap it up and get it done. What I don't understand is sitting in a chair and "blaring" your directions to your husband like he is a slave - then criticize him when he apparently didn't do it right....again.

The show where they discussed their most embarassing moments - Jon had no problem regretting the fact that he made an inappropriate comment to Kate ("the stick") When it came time to see Kate's most embarassing moments - the best she could do was say that she didn't know what else to do - and the worse she could do was just blame Jon - like he MADE her do it. I was so hoping she would just take ONE nasty comment and apologize - but I never saw that.

All in all, I really do enjoy the show - and love watching all the children grow and experience things.