Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Can’t Flip the Switch on Fame

Don’t ask for something you don’t want, you just might get it. I thought of that old adage this week as I watched the travails of Jon and Kate Gosselin, who appear on a TLC reality show featuring their eight children.

“Jon and Kate plus Eight” is a cute show with a cute title featuring a cute couple and their cute kids. But things aren’t so cute lately. In fact, they are downright ugly. In case you haven’t been in a supermarket checkout line, here’s the rundown:

· Jon may or may not have been canoodling with a 22-year-old woman
· Kate may or may not have been cozy with her bodyguard
· The couple may or may not have been perpetrating this cute little fraud on all of us for months

Most of it was painfully laid open before our very eyes earlier this week. As they suffered, TLC racked up its biggest ratings ever.

I feel a lot of sympathy for the Gosselin children, but very little for the couple, despite their rants against the paparazzi and their cries for privacy. After all, from the fertility treatments to the reality TV show, this is the life they chose.

In better times, they parlayed their celebrity into free trips, access to sporting events, tummy tucks, hair plugs, a bigger house and book tours. Now, Jon, in particular, seems like he wishes it would all just go away.

But fame isn’t like that. You can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube. Like it or not, Jon’s life will forever be defined by “Jon and Kate plus Eight,” just as Omarosa will forever be a sore loser and Steve O will always be a jackass.

On the latest episode of “Jon and Kate plus Eight,” Kate tries to maintain some semblance of normalcy by planning a birthday party for the couple’s sextuplets. In one particularly poignant moment she spots the paparazzi following them to a party store. Children shouldn’t know about paparazzi, she says. Ironically, she says this into a camera – one of a group of cameras that have been documenting her family’s life for the past four years.

Kate is right, of course. Five-year-old children shouldn’t be stalked by paparazzi. Mine weren’t. But then again, I never turned their lives into a television show.

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