Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just Say No, My Friends.

A few years ago, some girlfriends and I attempted to develop a plan where we could split the cost of one subscription to a famous gossip magazine and pass around each week's issue on some sort of rotating schedule.

Apparently we felt like we needed to know exactly how many children Angelina is currently raising and look at pictures week after week of size 0 starlets who claim, "I eat all the time! I just can't gain weight!" And we wanted to get this celebrity fix at a fourth of the cover price.

Such a plan never actually happened. Perhaps we all decided to hold onto our precious pennies (have you ever priced such subscriptions? They are outrageous!) and get our fill of celebrity nonsense while standing in line at the local Krogers. Maybe we simply decided that filling one's head with such trivial nonsense on a regular basis is really a waste of time when there are much better things to be reading or participating in.

Although my scheme to gain a subscription to the weeklies failed, I still take notice of their covers on occasion.

For instance, have you seen this one?

This family of ten (whose full name I will not type in fear of google hits landing here) has gained increasing media and public scrutiny over the past few months. In the early winter a few blogs made some rumbles about this reality series being anything but reality (staging the family's Christmas Day three weeks early, hidden onset nannies, tons of free gifts lavished on the family in hopes of product placement). By Spring of 2009, tales of extramarital affairs and of general family disharmony floated to the surface and the bubble on this reality show popped.

Nine million people flipped their televisions to a used-to-be low-budget cable channel and tuned in to the premiere of the Fifth season of this show at the end of May....merely in hopes of hearing tales of family discord straight from the parents' mouths.

Wished-for tales were indeed spoken from Mr. and Mrs. Family o' Ten. Tears were shed. Blame was assigned. Victim-status was claimed by both parties. Even more money was hustled into the bank accounts (said Mr. and Mrs. earn between $50,000-$75,000 an episode. They just celebrated their 100th episode...yet somehow still feel the need to charge fans $25 a picture at event signings. Hmmm.).

However, the show went on...because how cute are multiples running around in the midst of a crumbling family unit? Especially when wearing coordinating Gymboree outfits?

Week after week, the gossip magazines have churned out stories regarding this family. They have pulled out all the skeletons in their family-sized closet for the world....and the eight children of this see.

"Beyond tragic" are the only words I can think of that describe this situation.

Until I saw a news story regarding the cover of this upcoming gossip magazine.

As depicted through the high-tech lens of a paparazzi, Mrs. Family o' Ten felt the need to discipline one of her five year olds. The paparazzi felt the need to snap a picture of it. The magazine felt the need to run it as a cover story.

(Inject a BIG. OL. SIGH. right here.)

I thought this family and their reality show might retreat back into the shadows when people began to talk about them earlier this spring. Nope...Mr. and Mrs.Family o' Ten simply adorned their own respective cover of People magazine telling their own sob side of the story. I thought perhaps they might retreat when paparazzi began following them on a regular basis, even to the children's fifth birthday party (which was filmed to be a part of their show). Nope...they simply donned bigger sunglasses and painted a pained expression of celebrity annoyance when walking through the parking lot of Mr. Chow.

Now, Mrs. Family of Ten, can affix a large glossy picture of herself angrily spanking her daughter right next to the ink-stained newborn footprints in this particular child's baby book.

In an attempt to be honest, I think it is fair to say all parents have moments in raising children where they do not always discipline in the correct way or lead their child in an appropriate manner. We all have days where we go to bed, feeling weighed down just a bit by some bad parenting choices or words said that day. We all say a little prayer that tomorrow will be better, that God will give us some gentle words to speak even in the midst of tantrums and chaos, and that our children will one day remember the good aspects of their youth and all those little parenting mishaps along the way will be forgotten.

These eight children, who have unknowingly become celebrities merely because they are high-order multiples and because their parents know how to work a deal, will one day be able to dig through magazine and newspaper archives and read in detail of all the mishaps that happened in their youth. They now have a picture captured for all time of their mother's anger, they have stories of their father's unfaithfulness, and they can read thousands of personal opinions (such as those expressed here at about the state of their own family.

But, hey, at least their outfit always coordinated with the other seven siblings, right?


Again...please remember my advice: If ever asked to do a reality show about your life, Just. Say. No.


DCVol said...

Awesome post! I couldn't have said it better myself......TRAGIC.

Paige said...

I was watching a little LPBW this afternoon and caught a preview for a 1 hour show next Monday where they announce a life changing decision! I admit, I am lured. I only catch the show, like at this very moment, because it came on after LPBW. I will turn the channel quick. However, if you find out what the announcement is...please share! :)

Jennifer said...

yes, this is so very sad! I have never been a huge fan of this show mostly because I was never a big fan of the mom and also I felt like my days were filled with craziness from my own why would I want to watch such drama in my down time?

I did read though that she can walk into any Gymboree she wants and get whatever she wants...for free. Apparently she was taking advantage of the situation so now they give her $1000 gift cards to use at a time. Can you even imagine?

Lisa said...

I've been a huge fan of the show since the beginning. I used to love tuning in to see the craziness of it all. Now it is just so sad to watch the downward spiral of the family.

Phillips Family said...

Apparently TLC has pre-empted their regularly scheduled show for this Monday with an hour special, teasing a "major announcement" for this family. Most speculate they are announcing an official divorce.

What could be more traumatic to children than their parents' divorcing....having an hour long special discussing the divorce in length that said children (and their friends) can watch whenever they want.