Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pop Fiction

Two posts in one, folks. This week's deals with two events in pop culture that got a strong reaction from me, one positive, one not-so-positive.


I have never watched Jon and Kate Plus 8. True story, true story. No, I have never watched the bizarrely popular TLC show about the married couple with eight kids. Frankly, I can't understand why one would want to watch it. I work at Target. I see enough screaming kids every day.

Even though I don't watch the "show," the pop culture universe has been swirling with news about the titular couple, Jon and Kate Gosselin. Though I'm not sure of the details, I believe Jon cheated on Kate, then Kate cheated on Jon, and so on and so forth. (I'm not sure who the Plus 8 cheated on, but I'll research it and get back to y'all.) Anyway, after that little bit of Melrose Place-style infidelity, they decided to divorce, and their show is now going on hiatus until August.

"...Wait. I'm sorry, what? On hiatus? Not cancelled?" That's right, the show must go on, even if Jon and Kate aren't Jon and Kate anymore. (A new Bachelorette-style show for Kate, perhaps? Date her and her eight kids, make it through the date without pulling your hair out and you win?) The show's not ending any time soon, either; EW.com reports that the couple still have quite a few more episodes to produce this season.

I don't know why this story bugs me so much, but maybe it's because of that eternal question: "What About the Children?" These parents go on television with their eight kids and essentially pimp them out to make money for them. Yes, I understand that they need a lot of money to raise eight kids, but this is not the way to make it. This is Billy Ray Cyrus-style child abuse: riding your kid's coattails until you've made yourself a pretty penny; never mind the psychological damage to them. Why CPS hasn't swooped in and taken these kids away yet I don't quite know.

If Jon and Kate want to get divorced, that's their business. If they want to pimp their divorce on televison, that's their business. If they want to let their celebrity consume them, that's their business. Those kids, however? Shouldn't be anyone's business.


As an American Idol devotee, I would have pulled my hair out if Allison Iraheta, fourth-place finisher, had missed out on a record contract while third-place finisher Danny Gokey received one. Iraheta's treatment on the show was lukewarm at best, spiteful at worst. Judge Simon Cowell, who these days cares more about the personalities of contestants than their singing ability, was particularly harsh on the scarlet-haired rocker. I didn't think my fear was unfounded.

The history of talented Idol finalists to not get record contracts with 19E is a sad one. Finalists Tamyra Gray, Elliott Yamin, Melinda Doolittle, and Carly Smithson all had to venture to other labels to get signed, and Vonzell Solomon and Syesha Mercado remain unsigned to this day (those last two particularly piss me off). Iraheta's snub seemed to not be far behind.

Yet my worry was unfounded, as Iraheta received her record deal two days after Kris Allen did, and the day after "big brother" Adam Lambert did. As for Gokey? He's still languishing without one, which is where he will hopefully stay.

Finally, a snub I can get behind.

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