By Rachel Krueger
“Yes, hello, Kettle + 8? This is the Octo-Pot calling. Stop sucking away at my 15 minutes of fame.”
I’ve never been a fan of TLC’s “Jon and Kate Exploit Their Eight” (or whatever). Being party to their marital spats and exhausted parenting makes me feel uncomfortably like an 11th wheel. Most parents have, in front of friends, called their kid a brat or their spouse a hag, but everything derogatory that Kate says about Jon or her spawn is On Film Forever. Too many scenes depict Kate tearing Jon to shreds about something, only to pan back and show Jon himself sitting placidly next to her on that damned couch. Either the man has the best poker-face in the world, or TV cameras really do suck out your soul.
Against my wishes and despite the overwhelming response from the googlenets (even most people who love the show are advising them to bring it gracefully to an end), the Gosselins have decided to go ahead with a fifth season. To an extent, I feel like this justifiably opens them up to peeping and prying and even some gentle ribbing. (For example, what would Rihanna look like with Kate’s reverse-mullet?.) Being on TV = free money, but it also = free “advice.”
My general discomfort with the show in general and Kate in particular, however, has been much tempered by recent attacks from the incredibly unsympathetic octo-mom, Nadya Suleman. It might be a case of the lesser of two evils — Kate is someone I wouldn’t choose to hang out with; Nadya is someone I would actively avoid — or it may just be people in glass houses throwing stones, but Nadya’s accusations of fame-whoring have me sticking up for Kate like never before.
In a recent interview, Radaronline.com bear-baits Suleman by showing her a clip of Dr. Phil wherein Gosselin expresses some genuine concern for the mother-of-a-trillion’s mental health. In between eye-rolls and I-just-learned-a-new-word cries of “histrionic!”, Suleman accuses Gosselin of “glomming” onto her for attention.
Even though Radaronline.com dredged up the interview from last February, it’s understandable that Suleman would think Kate was out to impinge on her 15 minutes (especially now that the ZOMG-JON-HAD-AN-AFFAIR headlines have sluiced more spotlight onto the Gosselins than ever). But for someone who seems so concerned about people speaking to her life, Nadya is more than ready to criticize Kate not only for “cheating” and getting her post-sextuplets-tummy tucked, but for then showing off her slammin middle-aged-woman’s bod in a bikini. On the beach. With her kids.
I’m 100% confident that this little slapfest wasn’t staged by the + 8 crowd, but it’s definitely excellent PR. I may have my issues with La Gosselin, but at least she’s managed to turn her hyper-productivity into a hit TV show and at least two books. Sure, she’s aggressive and naggy and overly concerned with appearances. But thrown up against the insecurity, immaturity, and general inanity of Nadya Suleman, Kate is looking better every day.