It was the year of the Octomom, the balloon boy and the White House party crashers.
The year of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" minus Jon. The year Tiger Woods ran into a tree,
revealing a scandal that linked him not so much to another woman as duplicates of a
2009 started with Octomom, a single 33-year-old mother of six who, thanks to an
unfettered fertility industry, gave birth to octuplets.
Naturally and "naturally" isn't a word one normally would associate with the
mother Nadya Suleman has become a reality TV star. Suleman says that she didn't
have 14 kids so that she could get on TV. But without big TV bucks, she could not
support her family.
So who will be watching Octo-TV? Why, viewers who think Suleman is unfit to have 14
children, yet for some reason want to tune in to watch. (It's time to change the
channel, folks. At least Jerry Springer only exposes willing adults to public
2009 also was the year that reality TV wannabes discovered that there is
such a thing as going too far to get on TV at least in the eyes of
the law. On Oct. 15, Colorado parents Richard and Mayumi Heene falsely
claimed that their son Falcon, 6, had floated away in a homemade
For more than an hour, cable news featured the aluminum saucer as it soared across a
Rocky Mountain backdrop. Was the boy inside the balloon? Is there any way
authorities can save him? Could he possibly survive the cold above 5,000 feet? Is
there something wrong with me that I can't take my eyes off the TV set?
The balloon landed boy-less and Falcon came out of hiding. When the boy later told
CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "We did this for a show," and vomited on the "Today Show" and
"Good Morning America," it became clear the helium-fueled flight was a hoax and
that a good kid had been poorly used.
On Wednesday, the Heene parents were sentenced to jail and probation. Their most
deserved punishment? They will have to live the rest of their lives being known as
the parents who dreamed up the balloon-boy hoax.
It's not clear if Michaele and Tareq Salahi broke any criminal laws when they
crashed President Obama's first state dinner in November.
At the time, they were trying to break into Bravo's "Real Housewives of D.C.," but
their prank lawful or prosecutable upheld the law of unintended consequences:
When you excel at attracting attention, it's not always wanted attention.
A Washington Post series on the couple reveals a flashy duet with loads of charm and
unpaid debts. As the Post reported, "Claims against the couple include $59,000 to a
Warrenton law firm, $19,000 to a Manassas attorney, $18,000 to a Herndon law firm,
$7,400 to an Arlington firm and $5,500 to a law group in Alexandria." It may not be
easy finding the next lawyer.
And it turns out that even Michaele's claim to having been a Washington Redskins
cheerleader was bogus. I don't watch golf, but I do watch pundits and it was
quite the spectator sport to observe pundits as they tried to explain how Tiger
Woods could have better managed his public relations in the midst of his
post-Thanksgiving bimbo eruptions.
The more reality we see on television, it appears, the less there is.