Monday, May 25, 2009

Jon & Kate + Hate

Everybody talks so much about Jon & Kate + 8, I finally had to slow down and look at the car wreck when a marathon aired.

It isn't one of those "there but for the grace of God goes I" impulses -- it's more a "that could NEVER happen to me, so relax and watch the carnage unfold" impulses.

That's the nice thing about my 40s -- people finally believe me when I say (as I did for the first 39 years) that I never had one single moment of wanting to have kids. Not one. My 20s were irritating because people kept insisting I would change my mind. In my 30s, they kept insisting "there's still time!" -- as if it was on my to-do list and I needed to hop to it. By my 40s, everybody kinda got off my back -- though I still hear the occasional "aren't you afraid you'll regret...?" The answer is Nope. I have almost no regrets about anything: all my haircuts and wardrobe choices in the 80s; one boyfriend (out of nearly 30 years of dating, that's not so bad); and, also, I probably should've flossed more when I was younger. That's about it. Oh, and I probably shoulda killed that one crazy-ass stalker when I had the chance.

So anyway, that's why I thought I might find Jon & Kate... Validating.

First off, I was surprised I didn't hate Kate.

Maybe it's because she bears a striking resemblance to one of my favorite friends -- right down to haircut and accent.

Also, she's a little like me -- controlling, bossy, and pretty OCD about how clean things are. She clearly loves to cook and feels pretty strongly about not raising kids on a toxic diet of McNuggets and high fructose corn syrup. That impresses me, because she walks the talk. I could not keep 8 kids alive, much less fed. My values would go right out the window and I'd just put a giant bowl of Fruity Pebbles on the floor and let em have at it. Sooner or later, Child Protective Services would intervene.

I like the way she doesn't indulge fussy eating -- she makes one meal, and that's that. Same rules I grew up with. I never starved. Kids'll eat when they're hungry (unless there's a real medical issue). The rule in our house growing up was we had to taste everything -- one bite -- and if we didn't like it, we were free not to eat it. No alternate meals were made. We were not free to scrunch up our faces and say "ewww, I don't like that" about anything we'd never tasted. We both developed healthy palates, and babyBrother went on to chef school.

I like the way she doesn't let construction crews mess up her house. The moment when she told those guys drilling holes for blinds that they had to hold the vacuum hose underneath the drill? Sheer genius. I practically misted up.

The thing that mystifies me is what prompted a woman like that to have kids at all? But she seems to have genuine affection for them. Inexplicably. Because they seem pretty wretched. They cry. They whine. They shove each other for no reason. They get filthy dirty. Although to be fair, pudding-painting was her idea, and I coulda pretty well told her how THAT was gonna turn out. Ya don't have to be a Mom to know that. Though she rarely seems to cry on camera -- only once that I saw -- on a flight to Utah with all 8 kids. Hell, I was cryin before they took off. She was really melting down too. I finally made out what she was saying: "I'm done. I am done." I have a feeling if she'd had one of those military-issue emergency cyanide capsules to bite down on, she would have.

Everyone seems to feel sorry for Jon, but the hardest part for me is wondering what would've ever prompted anyone to have sex with him the first time, much less twice. Though they did do fertility, so maybe the whole process was in vitro. That would explain a lot.

As unlikeable as the kids are, he's worse. He's whiny. He's sullen. He's immature. He's resentful. He's oblivious. He's thoughtless. And most of all, he seems Weak. The guy can't even back up a van with a trailer attached. He's also Unemployed, having quit his job. Yeah. What a catch.

And why does everyone on the show talk about him "helping" Kate. It's his house, and his kids. How is he "helping" her, exactly? Is he also "babysitting" when he takes care of the pack?

As for how they seem together, it's hard to imagine that they EVER loved each other.

But at least she seems to love those kids. Somebody has to.

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