Tuned In

Jon & Kate Have News… Monday

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According to this TLC promo, Jon and Kate Gosselin have a life-changing announcement to make, one that’s so momentous and important that it will take a one-hour TV special on Monday to deliver it: 

I don’t know where to begin with this. Except that it exemplifies this couple’s ability to make me feel sympathy and exasperation at the same time.

Sympathy for their kids, in particular, above all. But even though they brought this scrutiny on their marriage and their family themselves, the pile-on has made me want to say, enough already. Especially as regards Kate. I mean, I’ve watched the show often enough to know she’s no walk in the park. But having US Weekly publish before-and-after-makeover photos of her headlined “From Mom to Monster” (as if she became evil because she got pretty)? Having it treated like a public crime because paparazzi caught her apparently spanking her child? Give me a break. 

On the other hand: one effective way of making an announcement is to, you know, announce it. Not turn it into a freaking Rose Ceremony, the shocking-dramatic-reveal at the end of a stunt episode—which just happens to fall on the heels of a vertiginous drop in your show’s ratings. Which, by the way, puts your audience in the position of either witnessing something horrible—the public break-up or separation of a marriage—or feeling ripped off. It’s hard to feel badly for a couple suffering in public when they’re working so hard to get the largest possible audience for their suffering in public. (And I don’t sympathize with TLC at all here, of course.) 

If you want to explain yourself to your public, go ahead: you always do that after you’ve shared your news, if it’s that important. As it is, they’ll be making their dramatic announcement to a mixed group of gawkers and concerned longtime fans. Many of whom, I suspect, will be hoping that Jon & Kate announce that they’re finally giving up the show, for their family’s sake.