Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Show I Have Never Seen

For quite sometime I watched "Jon and Kate Plus Eight".  For a long while it was a fascinating peek into the logistics of what happens when one has eight children all pretty close together in age.  And then, well, it turned into a peek into some other things.  But, in one of their interviews with the camera, Jon and Kate talked about why they would open up their home to cameras, and they said they were impressed with the producer and how his concept was to take unusual seeming families and film them so people could see that while the logistics of packing ten lunches for a picnic are certainly a little different, that in the end this was a family that operated much like other families. 
And while I know absolutely nothing about "All My Babies Mamas" and whether it really was that kind of show, or the kind of show that sets out to mock, while simultaneously glorifying bad behavior (which is also a choice) part of me hopes that it's intentions were good.  (All of me hopes that really.)  Because as this article points out, there are a really low number of people of color represented in reality TV, and whatever your personal thoughts about reality TV, certainly one could agree that it could at least do better at reflecting the population.  (Yes, I realize that reality is an intriguing and often misleading term when it comes to TV, but I certainly think that a TV landscape that includes a show about people who used to party in Jersey, and a show about people who moonshine, and a show about people in Alaska, and a show about people in a Boston neighborhood has space for some more shows about more diverse groups of people.) 
On the flip side, I recognize that this is a title and a scenario, a man who has children with ten different women, that is designed to titillate and does not, on its surface appear to hold education or illumination as its goal.  But I confess, I am a little intrigued as to how one manages the logistics of eleven children with ten different mothers. I also understand, that when your group is under-represented on television, it is more galling for some of those portrayals to feed into stereotypes. 
But, as the article pointed out, sometimes you tune in for one thing, and discover that it really is not that different from your own experience.  I'm guessing most people don't have to juggle ten co-parents, but I can only imagine that in many ways it's not that different from juggling two, which is really not that uncommon with today's blended families.  The Bradys never had to talk to their original spouses, but that's not really how it works for most people.