"It's a kind of schadenfreude," said Madeline Levine, clinical psychologist and author of the child-rearing book "The Price of Privilege." "Parenting is really hard, a lot of the time if you have even one or two children, you're feeling overwhelmed and not quite sure of what you're doing. In the same way that we watch car accidents and all kinds of other provocative things that really we should look away from, there is something reassuring about our own lives when you see other people trying to deal with these issues."
No wonder a record 10.6 million viewers turned on TLC last June when Jon and Kate Gosselin announced they were separating. As adorable as their tykes are, the real appeal of "Jon & Kate Plus 8," which will carry over into the ex-Mrs. Gosselin's just-green lit new venture, "Kate Plus 8," was watching the parents teeter, and eventually topple, over their troubles.