Friday, May 29, 2009

Child Services to Remove 8 from Jon and Kate?!

By Maria E. Andreu
Friday May 29, 2009, 2:22 PM


The Pennsylvania Department of Labor is investigating whether "Jon & Kate Plus 8" is complying with child labor laws, according to AP. And one has to wonder what took so long. Sure, it may seem like it's a case of kicking people when they're down. After all, Jon and Kate Gosselin have had their share of hardship in the last several weeks: allegations that Jon cheated with a 23-year-old schoolteacher and that Kate is everything from a money-hungry power freak to a manipulative schemer and a cheater herself. Amidst reports of their disintegrating marriage, the fifth season of their increasingly popular TLC reality show aired, and the strain on them was clearly evident: paparazzi stood at a distance and photographed their sextuplets' outdoor birthday party while Jon and Kate barely exchanged a word. It was all so riveting, 10 million of us tuned in to watch. But today's AP story brings up another point: what about the kids? Underage performers have long been protected by child labor laws that regulated how long they were allowed to work. But if it's a "reality" show and cameras are just hanging around (and kids aren't performing, just living their lives), is that work? While we'll have to wait and see what the investigation uncovers, it brings up the murkiness of issues that "reality" t.v. raises. We all know that reality television is that often more in name than in fact. Reports have long surfaced about "missed" scenes re-shot for the cameras or scenarios set up for the benefit of the audience. At this point, it is unknown just how much of that goes on in this particular show. But as with the old scientific maxim - the very act of observing something changes it - so too do I wonder if the very act of observing these kids' lives has changed them. They certainly seem busier than my family. And what are the ethics of profiting from the story of these minors who are too young to consent to be filmed? Reportedly, the family is paid between $50,000 to $75,000 per episode. Is any of this money being set aside for them? Jon and Kate Plus 8 used to be a guilty little pleasure I watched when I wanted to unwind, take a breather from my own two-kid life and think, "See, my life's not so hectic after all." But as with all escapism, when you look behind the curtain, the reality may not always be so dreamy.



No comments:

Post a Comment