Monday, November 17, 2008

TLC Night

Around here, Monday night means I watch TV. TLC, to be exact. Ed tends to find shows to watch and I'm a bystander. Once in a while, he'll get hooked on a show and I'll actually watch it. Several years ago, Ed started watching "Little People, Big World". It caught my attention because hey, they're real people-and they have a messy house on national TV. We found them likable and sometimes would laugh at their foibles. They made an impact.

Then TLC added to the lineup, and somehow, we started watching "Jon and Kate Plus 8" when it debuted a few years ago.

I'd heard about them before they'd even had the six, thanks to a message board I participated in. Someone from the Reading area was bitching about this family that was about to have six after having twins and the couple was pretty darn demanding about what they WANTED for the new arrivals, going so far as to put up a website listing all the things they desired. Yes, I checked it out back then and was reminded of a family that had five kids in the Frederick area that asked for nothing but volunteers, so the 'wish list' struck me as a fishing expedition.

From the outset, we watched the show and while the kids were cute, both of us would critique Jon and Kate. She never seemed happy, despite being blessed with eight healthy kids when others go through similar fertility treatments and have nothing but an empty bank account to show for it. I know a few people in this situation, which makes me a little touchy on that point.

The family is given quite a few 'comps' and they've played them off as 'we got the kids this', when it was clear it was a product placement. Or they would take their eight kids to an activity that I found expensive for my family of four earning two incomes. What about a family of 10 that professes to be 'struggling'? Don't believe me? Check out Dutch Wonderland, Strasberg Railroad's 'Day with Thomas' or the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster and add it up. Nowadays, they do mention that these are they are guests, but they didn't at first.

Along the way, I browsed the Net, and found that there was a couple in Jersey who had TWO sets of twins and sextuplets, the Hayes. I was more curious about how they managed it, since raising eight was 'so exhausting' for Kate. There wasn't much about this family out there to know how they do it. They had to be doing it on a single income, because the child care for six would kill a paycheck and make it pointless to even go to work!

Tonight, the Hayes made their debut on TLC. You know what? They are a hoot! The parents were hilarious and the kids? Perfectly normal, what you'd expect when they don't live their lives with television cameras taping their every move.

The Hayes have one sextuplet who has brain damage, but the little girl is doted on by all of her siblings and Mom and Dad. Mom Betty says "I love that she doesn't yell at me, so yeah, she's my favorite!" It's clear there is plenty of love to go around in that house, and plenty of laughter, too.

Much like watching the Roloffs feels real, the Hayes were real. It was refreshing after seeing a trip to Hawaii spread out over three weeks episodes. It's doubtful the Hayes even want a weekly show, but to check in once a year with them would be great. It was an hour that had us laughing over and over, because we could relate to their brand of parenting.

3 People talked back:

Hobo Mama said...

I've gotten the same impression from watching Jon & Kate. I don't dislike them, but I never felt very connected to them. I've heard others say they like them vs. intentionally large families because J&K never wanted so many kids, but I figure they knew the potential when they got fertility treatments and now are kind of whiny about it.

I liked when I saw a different show about an intentionally huge family (it was NOT the Duggars, who are interesting in an entirely different way...), where the parents seemed genuinely happy to have had so many kids. Jon & Kate seem in such a need to control, whereas these other parents were very laid-back and genuine. Maybe that's why they're no longer on TV! :)

They showed them eating out (an infrequent indulgence, since they were living on one income), and the parents just let the kids play with their food and make a big mess but be happy, and everything was fine. I did feel bad for the waiters, but oh, well! I'm not having a gazillion kids (knock on wood), but I wanted to take their relaxed, contented attitude home with me.

I'll have to check out the Hayes family!

imaginary binky said...

Glad to know there is another show with more "real" parents. That Kate chick gets under my skin. I wish she would treat her husband with more respect. The dude is the best, but he ain't gettin' the love.

Suzanne said...

HoboMama, I know the family you're speaking of-their oldest was estranged from them with a child of her own?

The Hayes seemed like they were friends, neighbors, relatives, warm and welcoming. The Gosselins don't exude any warmth-it's a business.

Sarah, I sorta feel bad for Jon, but hey, he married her!