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Jon and Kate: All that glitters ain't gold



I think I have had enough of Jon and Kate Plus 8. I blogged about the familial train wreck seen and heard 'round the world some weeks ago and vowed not to write about the Gosselins again -- because ... what's left to say?

You know the story. Jon and Kate met, fell in love and married. They had two beautiful children and wanted one more. Thanks to the miracle of God and science, the fertility treatments resulted in six more kids making eight. With a lot of love and courage, they endeavored to face this challenge, attracting national media attention for their can-do spirit and attitude.

Facing financial challenges due to Jon's unemployment and having to feed six additional mouths instead of the one for which they had planned, they accepted TLC's offer of a reality show, to hopefully secure their financial future.

As is the case with many things in Hollywood, all that glitters ain't gold, and America's favorite family crumbled before our eyes. The happy family wasn't so happy. Dad was hen-picked, immature, cheap and seemingly unable to hold a job. Mom was a bruiser, who went all Hollywood and seemed to get meaner by the episode. The kids didn't seem to know if they were coming or going.

Jon and Kate were at the top of the news cycle as America became obsessed with the troubled family.

The media pounded Kate for any attempt to improve herself. How dare she get short with her children? How dare she get a manicure, pedicure or a new hairstyle? How could she get a tummy tuck? Even after it became very apparent that this family was suffering, they lobbed blame at Kate for agreeing to sign on for another year.

According to the media, Kate was mean, narcissistic, selfish and had gotten all uppity. Tabloid after tabloid ran down lists of what she was spending on herself including $40 on a manicure. Coming from a trailer park, I guess she wasn't supposed to want more for herself or try to improve her appearance after carrying and caring for eight children, but that's another article.

I thought it interesting that an industry that typically celebrates beauty transformations chose to pummel Kate, who was looking better and better. What was it about Kate that made her so "evil" and what was it about Jon that made him so "angelic"? Why was America so fascinated with watching the demise of this family that once held so much promise?

I had enough of Kate and Jon until they announced their divorce. After weeks of being at the top of the news cycle for their "strained" relationship and alleged indiscretions, they announced that they were splitting, but would continue to tape their show.

Take the needle off the record. They're divorcing, but still shooting the show, which focuses on their marriage? Now, that's Hollywood.

To add insult to injury, America's favorite victim, I mean Dad, was gallivanting around the world with a 23-year-old girlfriend in tow, to whom he allegedly gave a $180,000 ring, just weeks after the announcement. Did I mention that she's Kate's plastic surgeon's daughter and a known troublemaker? A class act indeed.

Yes, the guy who insisted on frugality with his family, took his new girlfriend around the world on a shopping spree, allegedly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars at fancy restaurants, exclusive stores and exquisite travel. I suspect if he had treated his wife like that, they may not be divorcing, but I digress.

Some say that Jon deserves this lavish lifestyle for having put up with the "evil," castrating Kate for all of those years. Really. I always thought that Kate had to have been like that when he met her, and if she wasn't, perhaps dealing with someone immature and unwilling to step up even as the father of eight, made her act ugly. Perhaps, like many couples, they thought marriage would change the other person and it didn't -- they just became more of who they always were.

Regardless of how Kate treated Jon, they have eight young children at home. A man who said that the media spotlight had driven a wedge between his wife and him now seems to be soaking it up as he gets to play "man about town," while his wife is at home with their eight children. Poor Jon -- who is sick of the Hollywood hype -- has, in fact, gone Hollywood.

It's interesting how Jon and Kate have been treated so differently by the media, which seems to have retreated from dogging Kate. Now that it's clear that her husband is a cad, there seems to be a better understanding of why she behaved the way that she did. It turns out, it is he who has gone over to the dark side and has discarded the very people who gave him the financial freedom to do so -- Kate and his children.

Jon has managed to make Kate look great in a matter of weeks. Perhaps he should spend some of their hard-earned money on a publicist instead of paper chasers.

What's left to say? Not much. What's left to do? Cancel the show because, as they say in Hollywood, it's a wrap.

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is managing editor of She is an assistant professor of Communication and Media Studies at Goucher College and writes the blog Tune N (, which examines popular culture through the lens of race, class, gender and sexuality.

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