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Jon and Kate – Reality Bites

June 23, 2009

Laura’s Blog Entry

I love me some reality TV. Not just any reality TV. I am a discerning viewer, after all. Many people are drawn to the genre because of the conflict and drama that is created. Others find it is a marvelous way to flex their “judgment” muscles. I mean, look at them… all those people… doing stupid stuff… right there on my TV! There have to be at least 50 ways I can slam them in a single episode!

But that’s not why I watch. Sappy, empathetic fool that I am, I watch because I love to see people grow.

Not all shows feature people that learn and grow. “Rock of Love Bus,” anyone? But the ones I watch do. I was hooked the very first season of “The Real World.” I loved how those kids came together from all over and experienced a broadening of their horizons. Can’t say that the current incarnation of “The Real World” follows this formula any more. It used to, though.

I am such a sucker for this that I am willing to give good old Spenser Pratt from “The Hills” the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe that he’s learned something about himself and is sincerely making some changes. I know. That’s hardcore hope in action.

One show that I’ve watched from time to time is “Jon and Kate Plus 8.” I generally tune in when I’ve had a really hard day of parenting. It gives me a little perspective and gets me out of my woe-is-me funk.

The last few weeks have brought about rumors and drama concerning the Gosselin family. Everyone seems to have an opinion about their situation. The judgment is in full force. They are on TV after all. That gives me free reign to criticize them and their decisions, right?  Cause heaven knows I am perfect.

Uh, no. Not even close. And that is why I have such compassion for this family. As I mentioned before, I am a recovering perfectionist. I see myself so much in Kate. I used to try to control every aspect of my world. It is not a happy way to live. I stuck with it for a long time though because I got enough good results that it was worth it. Until it became impossible.

That day comes for all perfectionists – some sooner than others. I was lucky. I was still in my 20’s and didn’t have kids yet. I was able to start to take control of what I could and let go of everything else. I still struggle with this every day, but I no longer punish myself for every mistake. My house gets dirty. Piles of stuff sit around for weeks and months. But I have some sanity. It’s a good trade-off.

I think that the criticism for Jon and Kate that struck me the most is when they are judged as not being good Christians, or not going to God about their marriage. Listen people and listen well. Christians aren’t perfect. Sorry if I burst your bubble. They make as many mistakes as anyone else.

We don’t know what this family’s relationship with God is. If you think reality TV is about any reality other than what the editors create, you are sadly mistaken. There is some truth in what we see. There is some reality. But at the heart it is TV.

I guess what I am saying is that I feel for this family. I feel for the so called “mean” mom and the “beaten down” dad and the precious children. All I really want is for them to find some peace from all this. I want them to discover their personal demons and deal with them. Just like we all have to every day. Although we able to mess up in private because we aren’t on TV.

So next time you yell at your kids, or freak out because someone set down a dirty glass NEXT TO the dishwasher instead of putting it IN the dishwasher for the 100TH TIME, be glad you aren’t being filmed. And say a prayer for the Gosselins. I think they might appreciate it.

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