Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dear Jon Gosselin:

People Magazine March 23, 2009 Vol. 71 No. 11
Seriously. If you had ever hoped you could “get away with” the whole cheating-on-your-wife scandal by playing the poor-abused-husband card while continuing to deny you ever cheated on Kate while married, you pretty much screwed that up by taking your not-cheating-on-my-wife-female-“friend” to France on a vaca with you.
Though your celebrity is rather new, (I hate using the word “celebrity” as a verb, it really should solely be a noun) you sure did graduate with flying colors from the Dairy School of Cheating, whose free-range mantra is “How to have the cow, make the cheese, and sample milk from as many bovines as possible, all while claiming to be hormone and antibiotic free.” Unfortunately, you’re not in very good company, what with the likes of Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Senator Jon Ensign, and Governor Mark Sanford being alumni of the same college. Of course there are many more cohorts of the sort, but really, this is a blog and not a dissertation. In fact, have you every thought of running for office?

What is so very sad to me—and the millions of people who have become sucked into the Jon & Kate Plus 8 vortex—is how transparent your whole conundrum is. I’m lucky enough to be older than 32, and this looks to me like your run-of-the-mill mid-life crisis. Trust me on this: us women with children have an identity crisis almost hourly, which pretty much makes me an expert. Sub out the red hot convertible sports car for the big booming motorcycle (you have already clearly scored the much-younger-than-you-and-so-opposite-your-wife-girl), some late night partying, and trips to France, and there you go. The salve that will heal all your wounds from the life you didn’t plan on. While the grass does appear to be greener from a distance, I can assure you that up close, there are always brown dead patches, even on those manicured, pristine golf courses. Grass is grass after all.

Let me break it down for you and tell you how it ends:
  1. Passive guy marries strong willed woman. Knowingly.
  2. Couple gets pregnant with twins. Unforseen.
  3. Couple gets pregnant with sextuplets. Really really unforeseen.
  4. Guy gets bowled over by wife daily, but never says a word. Resentment builds. Knowingly.
  5. Guy feels trapped by eight children he loves but didn’t plan on, while continuing to be bowled over by wife. Daily.
  6. Guy explodes and refuses to “take it anymore.”
  7. Guy finds a girl nothing like his wife, who "likes him for who he really is." Claims he isn't cheating, they are of course, JUST FRIENDS.
  8. Guy divorces wife.
  9. Guy publicly announces relationship with party girl ten years his junior, who is openly considered a “wild child” and who has a drug arrest. She also likes his motorcycle. Bizarrely enough, she has NO children.
  10. Guy finds out that girlfriend is shallow and so is his life. Eventually.
  11. Guy breaks it off with girlfriend—or she leaves him—and guy is now alone, divorced and his grown children hate him for cheating on their mother.

I’m telling you, this isn’t one of those win-win-win situations you never read about but hope will happen to you. You want to be friends with Kate? Hardly. I must admit that at the beginning of your reality show, I tried to keep an open mind about the connection between you both. You two appeared to know where the other was coming from and seemed to be realistic about each other’s personalities.

As the seasons progressed, I have to say I started to venture over to your side. Kate did seem to be condescending and rude, making fun of you at every opportunity and using your back to step up into the camera focus to show us her new hairdos and how “together” she is. Maybe having eight kids does that to you. I’m sorry to say, that if you thought she was overbearing, controlling, and yelled at you before, honey it’s bound to be nothing like what you’ll experience as the ex-husband. The ex-cheating-husband. The ex-cheating-leave-my-wife-and-eight-kids-husband. That’s a Kate we haven’t even seen yet, and I didn’t think anything could be worse than the shopping in the toy store episode. It made me want to hide under the bed and I’m on the other side of the television.

I must admit to being inexplicably fascinated by your family and story when the series was new. I watched to see how two humans could possible raise that many kids who are that close together, since I only have three children and would like to rip out all my hair most days. The kids were cute, you and Kate seemed so normal, and most of the time it looked like—at the end of the day—things were going to be fine.

But now I’m Switzerland. At 32 you’re no victim, and laying low taking her blows is 50% of the problem. Seems to me, instead of trying to “stick it” to Kate (which is sure how it looks out here in viewerville), you’ve gone and reduced your family to just another dysfunctional example of how not to live. I watched your life to escape my reality (to a degree). If I wanted to see and hear more family dysfunction, I need only pick up the phone and dial close family and friends. There’s plenty to go around. I’m sure I’m also not the first to remind you, unlike those of us who live in relative anonymity, your life is not only recorded, but will no doubt be available in boxed sets in the series movie section at the local Target. Instead of labeling them “Season One” or “Season Two,” your family video collection may be labeled “Jon & Kate Plus 8: Media Machine Virgins,” “Jon & Kate Plus 8: Things Get Ugly,” “Jon & Kate Plus 8 Separate,” and the last season aptly titled, “The Aftermath.” Not only can the world re-live your moments, but your kids will be able to watch them with a bowl of popcorn. And maybe a glass of milk you brought home.

Honestly? I'm not willing to watch your show anymore; it's lost its appeal. I'll get my dose of Jon and Kate drama from the local tabloid headlines, or perhaps my MSN homepage when I fire up my internet. But there is something sad about watching two parents try to give their eight kids a normal life--claiming it's their first priority--when the rest of us adults know how the story ends. When you're finished experiencing the "life you missed out on," you'll see it too.

Sincerely,

Rachel Vidoni, realistic ex-viewer