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May 27, 2009

Jon & Kate plus eep

Filed under: TV — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:55 am

From the New York Daily News:

What we saw Monday was rubbernecking, slowing down to gawk at a smoldering wreck. It doesn’t mean another 5.2 million people suddenly wanted to see a “reality” show about raising eight kids.

What happened Monday, in fact, took the focus away from what the show has always been about. What was envisioned as an irresistibly cute fifth birthday party for their sextuplets became a footnote to Jon and Kate’s simmering anger toward each other and the suddenly uncomfortable tabloid life they signed up for.

Now, sure, the fate of a “reality” TV show about a couple raising twins and sextuplets will not be the biggest long-term issue for those kids if their parents split up.

But being on TV is what Jon and Kate seem to do now, and it’s hard to see how Monday night’s sad, uncomfortable dance will create the kind of long-term television viewers really want to follow.

Sad and uncomfortable, most of us can get without turning on the TV. It’s not that we have any inherent problem with discomfort on “reality” TV. Watching supermodels eat maggots seems to be cause to tune in, not tune out.

We are intrigued by physical exhaustion on “Survivor,” we feel the frustration of the overweight on “The Biggest Loser,” and we love seeing Gordon Ramsay fillet his erring chefs on “Hell’s Kitchen.”

But watching an actual relationship deteriorate — the cold silence, the simmering resentment, the little cruelties — that’s not much fun.

Right. A lot of us can get that without turning on the TV, too. So when it comes to reality-TV couples, perhaps it’s time to look away — and maybe toward the genuinely charming (and even edifying) The Little Couple, whose honeymoon period, we hope, will last a good long time.

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