March 5, 2010
Never has a TV personality self-destructed as quickly as Kate Gosselin, of "John & Kate Plus Eight." I'm not a TV watcher but that family fascinated me, like watching an Olympic figure skater, waiting for the fall, which happened. I missed the adorable kids. I had to replace them. Look, there's nothing much to watch on TV except news, basketball, "Law & Order" and "Criminal Minds" reruns. I found "17 Kids and Counting," about an impossibly happy, well-adjusted family with "conservative values" and fundamentalist religious beliefs. The girls have long hair and wear skirts. Mom homeschools the gang. Every child's name begins with J.And they haven't run out! They are beautiful, polite, well-behaved, helpful. Since I started watching, the brood has grown to 19, plus a grandchild. No. 19 had to be delivered almost 15 weeks early because mom developed preclampsia. Miraculously, the little munchkin seems to be doing OK. I watch, fascinated, as they travel, do chores willingly, play in a family orchestra ( mom teaches violin, too), take care of younger siblings, cook, shop for second hand clothes although this isn't necessary now that their wildly successful TLC series has earned them enough for a hotel-sized home, vans/busses, trucks and a bank of computers, for home-schooling, of course. Their idea of a vacation is helping construct a larger home for a friend-family with only 16 kids. The Duggars ride in helicopters, appear on the "Today" show, the cover of People magazine...I guess I'm not the only one fascinated. The Duggars live in reality-show la-la land. Mom Michelle never, never loses her cool, except for a nervous little laugh. Nothing bad happens, other than a grandparent dying, which was a two-hankie episode. Dad Jim Bob (his real name), a former Arkansas legislator, has only one vice: hair spray. They own "several commercial properties" which supply income. Most valuable income-producing property is, of course, the kids. Their favorite meal to emerge from the cafeteria kitchen: TatorTot casserole. The gross recipe on multiple Web sites gets about a trillion hits a day. In a way, the show (with daytime reruns on several stations) has a calming effect. It puts ME in la-la land. But, I wonder, when is THIS skater going to wipe out?