Jon and Kate Plus ... Ah, Who Cares?

By Raina Kelley
OMG! Jon and Kate's marriage is over! Jon has a 20-something mistress (sorta) and Kate is suspiciously close to her bodyguard. Wait, there's more: The neighbor says that people say they're just doing it for the money! Their own family told reporters that Kate gave Jon a signed contract guaranteeing his right to see other women during filming! Kate is obsessed with her own fame and its perks! And she's rude and spends too much time away from her kids! Oh, and she allegedly had a hard time keeping staff, firing and rehiring almost three dozen baby nurses in a matter of months!

Yawn, yawn. Somebody wake me when there's actual news. Honestly, I live and work in New York, but this tawdry, unsubstantiated gossip makes me feel like I'm in Peyton Place or that town where scary children come out of the corn and kill you. Do I really have to pretend to be shocked that Jon and Kate aren't blissfully happy and that the stress of eight kids, a bazillion cameras and fame might have broken them up? Please. Couples break up when one kid shows up. Yeah, I watched Jon and Kate Plus 8 when it first appeared in the cable lineup. It was interesting to see how two people deal with a set of twins and infant sextuplets. Plus, I was pregnant at the time and I would have watched Wild Kingdom if I thought it would teach me something about mothering. Watching two people raise a litter is at least as illuminative as watching a grizzly bear accidentally eat his young (yes, I really saw that), or any of the other freak shows that show up when I'm flipping the channels, but come on, we cannot take this crap seriously.

I'm going to say it one more time and hopefully, someone will believe me: Reality shows aren't real. They are a pastiche of interesting moments caught by a camera, and that's all. Plus, are we so naive as to think that all that Gosselin apple pie and sunshine that TLC was selling was real? People are acting like they just found out Santa Claus is a compulsive shoplifter. If TLC were smart, they'd stop catering to those parts of society that think the Waltons are an achievable template, and show the Gosselins as they really are. I would much rather watch a show about divorced parents of eight. Don't you want to see how they handle visitation or, better yet, stepparents?

Not to mention that I am shocked (shocked!) that anyone takes this malarkey seriously. Doesn't it seem painfully convenient that all this drama is happening at the start of their new season? Hello? Madonna does this all the time. Brad, Angie and Jennifer never tell us anything juicy unless they have a movie to plug.

But what really boils my blood is Us Weekly's breathless coverage of this hot mess. This bastion of journalistic ethics, famous for reminding us that famous people are the same species as their readers, has gone on the warpath against Kate. An incomplete list of their accusations against her goes something like this:

-- She likes freebies. (Wow, stars really are like us.)
-- She spent Mother's Day away from her kids. (Lucky woman.)
-- She's rude. (Really? And Paris Hilton is nice?)
-- She refused free cribs because they didn't match. (Can we give the woman the right to decorate her nursery as she sees fit?)

Gasp, social services helped pay for her caretaking. (At least she got social services; the way states are shedding services to balance their budgets, she'd be lucky to get a toothpick if she had those babies now.)

The only actually interesting facet of this tempest in a teapot is the tidal wave of misogyny coming from the tabloids. Who works at these publications, and why do they feel the need to comment so thoroughly on Kate's parenting skills? She must owe one of the editors money. Aren't they the ones who reported that Jon was cheating? Shouldn't they be picking on him? I'll tell you one thing: If my husband had a 23-year-old "friend," I'd be rude too.