Move over Jon and Kate Gosselin. See you later Duggars. There’s a new family in TLC-town.
Following in the footsteps of some fairly-successful reality-TV households will not be an easy task, but the Hayes family and their soon-to-be-debuted show, “Table for 12,” seem ready for the undertaking. After all, three sets of multiples – Eric and Betty Hayes have two sets of twins and sextuplets – practically guarantees you one season in the TLC spotlight these days. Before you blink your eyes, the defamed Nadya Suleman and her 14 children, including a set of octuplets, will grace your HD-TV sets one hour per week (this is not on the agenda yet for TLC, but it’ll happen sooner or later, guaranteed!).
Whenever or however this fascination with outrageously large families started is beyond me, but it’s become fairly obvious over the last few years that it’s not disappearing. In fact, the charm and attraction just might be multiplying … by a lot.
If I wander over to TLC and “Jon & Kate Plus 8” while my boyfriend lounges with me on the couch, he quickly refers to it as “the scariest show ever” before asking me to try another television option. Eight kids? In a country where the average family consists of approximately two children, four times as many can be a bit daunting, to say the least.
But that’s part of the appeal; the fact that the majority of us will never have the same number of mouths to feed as a typical set of dinnerware China. So it becomes fairly interesting to watch another family react to that amount of stress and responsibility.
However, when the Duggars emerged with their small country-sized litter, I was a bit dismayed. Their family did not carry the same allure. Clearly with a dozen and a half children – their show was originally “17 Kids and Counting,” but then Mama Duggar gave birth and now they’re “18 Kids and Counting” – one becomes somewhat curious how any parents can cope. But after watching one episode and realizing that this family grew to 20 individuals (including parents) on purpose, the excitement swiftly fizzles.
Need I even mention the fact that they have a MASSIVE house and clearly enough money to adequately support their ginormus family? I thought not.
I will note, however, that what makes this family different than the others is their strict Christian values, their modest dress (they all dress alike though, and that is strange) and their willingness to continue having children until God takes away that ability (so bizarre!). This is one family that clearly sways away from the norm other than procreating repeatedly for 21 years.
Seeing the obvious success of these two families and their lives prominently displayed on cable television, TLC apparently decided another larger-than-usual family was just what their programming needed. Cue the Hayes horde.
I completely grasp the concept of taking something profitable and running with it, but a company can still attain repeated hits while remaining unique. Take “Little People, Big World” for example. How much airtime do little people truly get? Not much, and that’s what draws an audience into this specific show. But the Hayes? I’m sorry, but TLC’s preview of “Table for 12” looks exactly like “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” except two extra kids are hanging out, waiting for supper time, and they all have red hair.
One show about a large family? Fabulous. Two? Still pretty decent since the families are quite different. Three? Well, it just might be too much of a good thing. I guess we’ll find out when the Hayes premiere later this month.
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