TV Epiphany

8 years ago


After thinking long and hard about what to post today, I finally
settled on an important issue, one of utter importance to us all.

I'm speaking, of course, of Jon and Kate Plus Eight.

This
program should be subtitled "Husband Repellent," because nothing will
send Paul into the other room quicker than this show. If the whining
and wailing of one (or more) of the eight children does not
sufficiently raise Paul's blood pressure, the interviews with Jon and
Kate will.

Paul calls Jon, "the man with the dead eyes," for
this man has been hen-pecked by his wife to the point that nothing
fazes him. He just stares and drifts off to his happy place, while his
wife berates him for neglecting to use a coupon, being an inattentive
father, or for breathing too loudly. None of these examples are
exaggerated.

That being said, I hope that the rumors of
infidelity are unfounded, because there are kids involved. Also, Jon
and Kate apparently speak at Christian churches, so it would be nice to
not confirm some people's expectations that faith=hypocrisy.

While
Paul heads for the hills, I find myself watching, fascinated. I watch
for the same reason that I fill my mind with other garbage, such as House Hunters or America's Next Top Model:

First of all, there's something to admire. Just as I coo over the vaulted ceilings and wainscoting on House Hunters, or covet the cheekbones of Eva or Heather on Model,
I admire the cuteness of the eight kids. They are always clean,
generally dressed in adorable matching frocks, and they say and do
funny things.

Yet, and I fear this is the real reason I continue to tune in, these shows make it easy to feel superior. When the doofus of the week on House Hunters
explains that a house is perfect, "except for the paint," I look at my
own (self-painted) walls and nod smugly. Likewise, when the model of
the week is in hysterics because she's plumping out to a size four, I
roll my eyes and eat another Sour Patch Kid. And yes, when Kate
threatens to throw away the beloved comfort object of one of her
children (because he got gum on it), it's easy for me to think, "What a
terrible mother. I would never do that."

Except
that I could. And I have. Just the other day, I was furious at Owen
because he had torn apart a basket while upstairs, "napping." I said,
"How would you like it if I tore Big Teddy's head off? Would that make
you feel good?"

Owen's tears assured me that, no, that would not
make him feel good. Despite the fact that I'm the adult, I didn't fight
fair. I was impatient, disrespectful, and downright nasty. And I only
have two children, not eight.

Perhaps there should be a third
reason to watch these reality programs, if I truly cannot think of a
better way to occupy my time. Perhaps I should watch with a spirit of
empathy and humility, understanding that it is possible to be short
with your child, dislike a paint color, of even (heavens!) be a size
four, yet still be human, and forgiven.

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