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« Spin Control or Spinning Out of Control? | Main | Disposing of Red Herrings »
Wednesday
Feb092011

How Real Was It? ~ E! True Hollywood Story's "Kate Gosselin"

E!s True Hollywood Story is considered reality TV and being on it gave me an opportunity to experience giving away the complete rights to my image and words to E! to use as they choose from now into eternity, just like others in reality TV do when they sign their contracts.

The show is documentary style, which means they attempt to give an accurate unbiased view of their subjects. It is also an entertainment show, not a child advocacy show. Yet I have a point of view and did the show in order to be able to talk about the harms of reality TV to the family, particularly the children.

Prior to my interview, E! Sent me a list of discussion points they'd ask me about and I responded by sending them a list of discussion points I wanted to cover. During the interview, which took place over 3.5 hours, we covered all of E!s and my discussion points, plus more. Below I've presented both of our discussion points, some of the additional things we discussed, and my sound bites that ended up being included in the show after editing.

Based on the information below, how real was this “reality” show?

E!'s discussion points:

Local Community – Who lives here, demographics, how Gosselins fit.

First impression of Gosselins – As neighbors

Relating Locally – How residents feel about Gosselins

“Jon & Kate plus 8” – Impressions of show

“Small Town Gosselins” – Story behind blog

Kate, Speaker – Kate’s speaking engagements

Christmas Taping – Impressions of staged Christmas

Summer of 2009 – Paparazzi invasion

Rumors & Speculation – Cheating, etc…

Divorce – What it meant

“The Gosselin Bill” – Advocacy, Exploitation of children

Kate vs. Jon – Who fairs better?

TLC – Influence on Gosselins / Community

The Halloween Stunt – Reflections

The Gosselin Children – Long term effects

Open Topics

In response, my suggested discussion points:

Local Community – Who lives here, demographics, how Gosselins fit.

Small Town Gosselins blog – history and where it fits in

Summer of 2009 – what like in a small town

Why Gosselin case important in pop culture history

Issue of consent (re: children)

Reality TV as traumatic

Theory of forced codependency

Reality TV impacting real life safety of children

Reality TV differ vs fictional shows

Psychological effects of fame on children

Additional things we talked about during the interview:

What was learned from the corn maze incident

The Eric Roberts interview

Need for debriefing for reality TV participants

Symptoms and effects of trauma

What we've learned from former child stars

Local impressions of Jon and Kate

The Hawaiian episode in relation to real “marriage”

Kevin and Jodi

Beth Carson

Dana Hoffman

Walt Mueller

The bodyguard

Jon and Ellen’s relationship

What made it to air, in this order:

Gosselin parking space at the Giant

Kate wearing a 'good bra”

Not always clear to viewers what's real and what's not

Fake Christmas episode

Kate's sense of entitlement & was always difficult even before fame

Gosselins moved to Wernersville for privacy

The photo of Deanna Hummel that started the tabloid mess

Appeared they kept filming after marriage over to continue revenue

It appeared to me that what was being aired as entertainment was actually a painful family situation

Who Stephanie Santoro was

Summer of 2009 hard to know what to believe

What Kate's fans admire about her

                                                   ~     ~     ~

 

Reader Comments (154)

hahaha "the good bra" that one always make me laugh. She really thinks we believe her?
Maybe the second season will be the last season. There is always hope. The older those kids get into school the more they can hear from others kids. Makes me cringe what they can say to them, if any of those kids have mothers who blog in such childish way, I can only imagine what they could hear and repeat .

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie B

They supposedly get a lot of teasing from other kids at school from kids who Google them and them tell them what they've read. No wonder some of them have acted out, IMO.

February 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Interesting that the talking points on both sides were fairly serious subjects but what made the cut was mostly "fluff" and "filler", WG. Knowing what you know now, after seeing the finished product, would you do it again? Do you think enough of your message got through that it was worth the time and aggravation and the current firestorm of criticism?

Interesting, your comment about the kids being teased. I think your comment is a lot more realistic than those of the people who insist that the school is so exclusive and "high minded" that there's NO teasing and NO bullying going on. Kids will be kids, exclusive private school or not. Given the atmosphere in the blog world, there's no reason to believe it doesn't spill over into the real world.

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterreaderlady

I seriously doubt that the sextuplets fellow kindergarteners are googling them.

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTala

Yes readerlady, I would do it again, just for the experience. Now I understand reality TV on a whole new level that I wouldn't if I hadn't done the show. It wasn't as deep as I would have liked, but it wasn't bad, and it was very good for the general public (altho maybe not for the blogging community because we are better educated than the general population about all of this, IMO.)

The school they go to has up to grade twelve and yes, people talk there just like anywhere else. The school may discourage it, but people are people. Kids the twins' ages are certainly old enough to Google and there are lots of older kids there too, and the G kids are on the school bus with kids of all ages besides being in school with them.

February 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

"They supposedly get a lot of teasing from other kids at school from kids who Google them and them tell them what they've read. No wonder some of them have acted out, IMO."

I've mentioned that repeatedly, especially when particularly embarrassing incidents from the past are made into actual topics for discussion. Occasionally my protests have even been published, however bloggers have climbed down my throat saying the kid's parents chose to televise the kids, so it's all their fault. Bloggers have had absolutely no problem rehashing embarrassing moments that the kid's school mates could be teasing them about. I've found such in-depth dissecting of the children's most embarrassing moments and/or discussing their developmental deficiencies on a public blog for all to see to be unconscionable behavior.

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Worm Has Turned

I haven't read the last comment, but I have a story. It's very short. Back in the 90s, when Scott and Patricia Richardson each got divorced (from their respective spouses) the tabloid on dead trees posted a story that they were "together." They were not - they did a series together and they are friends.
The thing about it was that Scott's daughter saw it. Let me do the math. She was ...11.
I can't remember what was said precisely or how we fans found out, but it something to the effect of "how tabloids lie." After all, Scott's daughter knew the truth.
Sad to hear that the little G's are already being affected by the press by way of their friends (or classmates).

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPamelaJaye

Werny, why do you think Eric Roberts did a total about face? I am curious as to your read on this.

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda in NS

Linda, I don't think Eric did a turnaround. I think he differentiate between the person and the behavior (as do I.) on the show he said he didn't think Kate is not a bad person, and to have kids is the easiest job but to raise them well is the hardest, and he has compassion for her. IMO it helps that he can see it from all sides since he has anger issues from things that happened when he was a child and he has had to learn to not be abusive as an adult. The Natural Child Project that he and his wife Eliza are involved in is anti-violence. So IMO that all ties in with his having compassion for Kate. Like me, he thinks she wasn't given the proper parenting tools growing up. Eric has faced his past and used it to improve his adulthood, and hopefully Kate will do the same.

February 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

On E's Discussion Points list: what does The Halloween Stunt refer to?

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlalaland

Hi LaLa, they meant the corn maze episode. They read about the corn maze incident in my blog before compiling their discussion points and that's just what they called it.

February 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

Moving to Wernersville for privacy -- that was one of the assertions for which I took issue. They moved because they were no longer welcome in the neighborhood and she needed to better the Joneses by having what, in the past, hadn't been attainable -- a large, upscale house with land as far as the eye could see. In addition, there was the zoning aspect of it -- commercial filming in an community zoned residential. Sooner or later, they would have had to deal with the zoning board. It was best to get out while they could. She knew it, and TLC knew it.

They didn't move solely for privacy reasons. If they had, those kids wouldn't have been playing in the front yard in full view of the photographers and she wouldn't be calling the paps whenever she needed a bake and fake refresher tanning session. They moved so that she could say, "all mine, all mine, as far as I can see," and "welcome, world!" -- it wasn't privacy that she so much desired, but rather being able to flaunt the new property. She made no effort to hide how ostentatious she was.

"I think your comment is a lot more realistic than those of the people who insist that the school is so exclusive and "high minded" that there's NO teasing and NO bullying going on."
=========

I'm wondering if anyone has given thought to the fact that it's not so much that the kids are teased and bullied, but they themselves could be, in fact, the teasers and the ones who bully. It's not always about retaliation; sometimes children can be the aggressors because of internal emotional issues stemming from family conflicts at home. WG said that there are older kids in the school. Yes, the school is Pre-School through 12th grade, but the older kids are in separate areas from the LS wing, with little or no interaction with the younger children. Classes are different, lunch times are different (Kindergarteners don't eat in the Dining Commons), and there would be very few times, if any, during the school day that older kids would be with the younger students.

The marriage being over, but the filming continued -- there were those in the neighborhood and school community that knew as early as the fall of 2008 (prior to the move to the new house) that the marriage was in serious trouble, if not over. Kids talk; parents talk, and considering how fast word makes the rounds, Kate and Jon did a pretty darn good job of keeping the situation under wraps until after the fake wedding renewal. Without knowing it, Kate kind of tripped herself up when she kept repeating that the kids needed to know that Mommy and Daddy would be together forever. Unless trouble is brewing in a marriage, what parents say that to their kids? It's a reassurance that wouldn't be necessary unless there was trouble on the horizon.

I think that a glaring omission in the E! story was the soliciting of love offerings, even after they were on solid financial footing. I am somewhat surprised that those trusting souls in the churches didn't get together and file a class action lawsuit. Deception is deception, and this was just as bad as televangelists who bilk viewers out of their last penny, all in the name of the Lord.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLand Of Midnight Sun

Tala said- seriously doubt that the sextuplets fellow kindergartners are googling them
They might have older brothers or sisters who repeat things to them and go to class and tell the younger ones etc. In any case its a no win situation for ALL the kids. they didn't ask to be famous and in the limelight. I feel bad for them. No one likes to be bullied. They just want to fit in like the others. Its a real shame.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie B

Land said, "there would be very few times, if any, during the school day that older kids would be with the younger students."
and JulieB said, "They might have older brothers or sisters who repeat things to them and go to class and tell the younger ones etc."

All ages are together on the school bus and that's at least and hour and a half each school day.

Land said, "I think that a glaring omission in the E! story was the soliciting of love offerings, even after they were on solid financial footing."

I wish they'd had time to put everything in the show. It could have easily been two hours, which they do occasionally for True Hollywood Story, but it is what it is. I wrote about the church scam in my chapter in Al Walentis's book and he was kind enough to allow me to republish it as a bonus chapter in my book so hopefully that will educate some readers who are new to the scene.

February 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

With all due respect, all ages are not together during the school day. When would this happen, and more importantly, WHERE? Quite honestly, older kids have more important things to discuss than the Gosselins. The school is so over this; they are tired of it. It's old news.

WG - do you happen to know the last time the love offering scam was used? I know that they were still asking for donations when they were looking for a new house, but I'm wondering if this ceased when the public found out that they had indeed paid more than a million for new property. Yes, the show could have gone on for more than two hours, but why give her the time? She'd see herself worthy of having an extended show, no matter if it were to elaborate on what couldn't be said in one hour. She would think that any publicity (even negative) would be good publicity.

Question: A poster on another blog has stated that the administrator of this blog, because WG is an E! consultant, is now in charge of this blog. I'm not sure I understand this...

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLand Of Midnight Sun

Hi Land, I corrected my above post, it was supposed to say "All ages are together on the school BUS and that's at least and hour and a half each school day." I disagree that older kids have better things to discuss. My kids have gotten many comments about my appearance on the E! show and that probably didn't even total three minutes. Either they read about it in the newspaper or they saw it or heard about it from friends or their parents saw it and told them about it, but in any case kids are very aware of everything that's going on around them through the media.

I couldn't give you a date but the love offerings thing was still happening after they moved to the large house here, after the Hawaiian episode which we now know was for a bogus marriage.

"A poster on another blog has stated that the administrator of this blog, because WG is an E! consultant, is now in charge of this blog. I'm not sure I understand this..."

I have no idea what this is about but it sounds like another crazy conspiracy theory. I started this blog with the user name Werny Gal. I was an interviewee on the E! show as myself, Polly Kahl. I am not a consultant to E! and E! is unrelated to this blog. There were several interviewees and I was one of them, period. Thanks for checking this silly thing out with me. More people should be so responsible.

February 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

This is from another blog. I wonder if Joan just said Kate's moved to NY for laughs or could she really have moved? I should think that would be a difficult thing to keep quiet. I take it you haven't heard anything, WG?
____________________
Joan Rivers Mocks Kate Gosselin on 'Lopez Tonight' (VIDEO)

Joan Rivers Talks Kate Gosselin on 'Lopez Tonight'Joan Rivers shared the stage of 'Lopez Tonight' (weeknights, 12AM ET on TBS) with a "curse jar." Each time she or George Lopez let out a profanity, a dollar bill would go into the jar.

Rivers got on the subject of Kate Gosselin. The mother of eight children "has moved to New York, which is great. And we're thrilled to have her, because if there's another terrorist attack we can all hide in her uterus," she joked.

http://www.tvsquad.com/2011/02/10/joan-rivers-mocks-kate-gosselin-lopez-tonight-video/

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJust asking

WG Joan Rivers was on Lopez and she said Kate Gosselin has moved to New York. Have you heard about this.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda in NS

Regarding the love offering schemes...
IIRC, the G's often booked at churches in advance and in Fall of 08, they started canceling the bookings or asking for a large sum of money to do them. As many of the churches could not afford the fee, the booking was canceled. Notice was short in some cases and many churches/organizations ended up losing money and left scrambling. Around this time, they were booking womens shows and similar type venues and reportedly being paid $25,000 for appearances and demanding first class air and accommodation on top of the fee. Once they realized paid appearances were real money-makers, it was bye-bye love offerings. This is fairly well documented - google or read through GWOP archives from that time period.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlongtimelurkerfrom AB

Land with all due respect if a kid wants to bully someone they will young or old, and to an adult the Gosselins might be old news but to kids in a school with those kids on TV and all over the world on trips jealously can trigger many emotions. Why do people bully? They are a good target for other kids since being on TV and their parents divorce and Kate's personality. Like WG said the bus is a great place , lunch, passing the hall, who knows, in any case I feel for them. Like I posted earlier they never asked for any of this. I bet if they were asked big house, trips and things or being a family, they would chose being a family.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie B

Tala
as a mother of three you prob right about the Kindergartens not googling however if you think that kids that young are not aware of those kids being celeberities and all that goes on with it then you should spend some real time with little kids! Once my little girl went to school all I heard was gossip about other kids and thier parents and we and none of them are famous! I repeatedly had to tell my daughter that we should not spread other people stuff around or go telling everyone everything. I am undoubtedly sure the Gosselin kids have heard all kinds of things from classmates esp if Kate is not well liked by some of the staff or other parents

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBillie

No, I don't think kate bought a property in NY or moved to NY. I think Joan made a mistake.

Billie said, "I am undoubtedly sure the Gosselin kids have heard all kinds of things from classmates esp if Kate is not well liked by some of the staff or other parents"

Unfortunately true. I blogged a long time ago that if Kate had been part of this community, the community would've been a lot more protective of her. But there's no sense of neighborhood connection because she's been so rude to everyone who tried to offer a neighborly Hello, right from the beginning.

February 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterWerny Gal

WG said, "Unfortunately true. I blogged a long time ago that if Kate had been part of this community, the community would've been a lot more protective of her. But there's no sense of neighborhood connection because she's been so rude to everyone who tried to offer a neighborly Hello, right from the beginning."

True in the Reading community, but the school community and the Reading community are two separate entities. However, she's not nice in either one (or in her former home communnity), so there's no neighborly connection anywhere.

I continue to say that the school, classmates and parents are so very much over this entire debacle now. It's novelty that has seen its day. As I stated earlier, the younger kids do not interact with the older kids; Kindergarteners do not eat lunch with upper school kids; they don't pass in the hall, etc. LS is its own little community in a separate area of the building, with its own entrance, yard, playground, pick-up area.

In the early days of the show, when all of this was new and exciting to have "celebrities" among them, certainly "news" of the happenings circulated. I'm sure kids talk on the bus, but honestly, it doesn't occupy every waking school moment, if any at all. NOT ANYMORE.

This is not heresay from someone who knows someone who knows someone whose uncle graduated there thirty years ago, but rather from personal experience. I'll just let it go at that.

I'm just hoping these kids get their childhood back and that something breaks very soon regarding the filming. These kids deserve so much more.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLand Of Midnight Sun

Hey all. I haven't posted over here in awhile, but I was reading the "Red Herring" comments & saw that some were, ummm, what's the word...well, not being very nice to Admin from 15 Minutes. What the hell is going on?? Aren't we all on the same side here? First of all, I would like to say that Admin receives NO money from those ads as far as I know. Whatever you have been researching online pops up on her site when you go there. She has explained it many times. Secondly, do you really think she works for TLC? Seriously? One post just recently was up for over a week. If she was going to publicize Kate in anyway, there would have been something new. And this whole cease & desist letter, she explained SEVERAL times that it was personal, & she didn't want to share it with the class. I don't blame her.

I agree, the comments about Werny Gal got out of hand. They should have been immediately deleted. I honestly think it was sheeple saying most things, but Admin lets those through for discussion purposes. Some of the time, those comments should be deleted, but she is stirring things up, which is kind of fun actually. We get to "get heated", tell OUR side, not that it matters, because WE know the TRUTH! This whole thing with the blogging world & the Kate "haterz" being against each other is ridiculous. We are all on the same team here. We are all for the kids. I'm happy I have choices about which blogs I can go to to read about Kate & her stupid antics & I'm glad THIS blog is here for more serious topics.

Werny, please don't let anyone get you down. And I think we should all be peaceful again with one another. Let the Kate fans be vile, hateful, & black. I know that is NOT me. I am barefoot, running in wild flowers...mellow, chill, at one with myself & the earth. I know, I know, but I'm a Hippie! Now, Give Peace a Chance!!
~Peace, <3 & Happiness...to everyone!

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHippie Chick

Just wanted to say hello, and I hope you are doing well :o)

Thanks for sharing your behind the scenes experience with "E True Hollywood Story".

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPink

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