My daughter's been watching a lot of Jon & Kate Plus 8 on TLC lately, and one kid who's caught my eye is Mady, one of twin big sisters to a group of sextuplets. She seems to always be the one tantruming, or walking off in a huff, or grabbing whatever attention she can get with six adorable rugrats underfoot.
Mady's caught a lot of eyes, apparently, and many are looking at her without much sympathy. The New York Post put her on its list of TV's "Top 10 Useless Characters." Others have suggested that she needs more discipline, or more parental guidance, or maybe a good swift kick. Then there are the viewers like me, who see a girl who acts up and earns the condemnation of onlookers and think of their own misunderstood kiddos. Could Mady have ADHD? Is she a spirited child? Is her inflexibility a sign of underlying psychological issues?
My understanding of reality-show filming and editing is that they shoot tons and then string together the good parts, so Mady could be an absolute angel most of the time and just get her few bad moments broadcast to the world. Any of us could look dysfunctional if someone tried hard enough. On the other hand, boy, you get a kid with a disability that impairs stress management, and you give her six baby siblings and overwhelmed parents and constant media exposure, and you sure do have a recipe for some out-of-control behavior.
If you're a fan of Jon & Kate Plus 8, what's your take on Mady? ADHD-y? Spirited? Or just insufferable? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo of Kate Gosselin and assorted children by Amy Sussman/Getty Images