Since when is having litters of children something to be exalted and applauded?
Given the hoopla surrounding octomom Nadya Suleman and TLC’s “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” WE is doubtless hoping for some scandal to erupt — creating sizzle and inspiring US Weekly covers — in connection with Jenny and Bryan Masche, an irritating Arizona couple who are (ta-da) “Raising Sextuplets.” Since the series initially proves reasonably uneventful, reactions will largely hinge on where one sits on the fertility-drug-fueled procreation continuum, with reactions ranging from “Aw, aren’t they adorable?” to “Since when is having litters of children something to be exalted and applauded?”
Selective reduction in the number of babies she was going to deliver wasn’t an option “because of our faith,” Jenny says in voiceover — she narrates the whole show, by the way, in a sing-songy, “Access Hollywood” correspondent fashion — without specifying which faith that is. Never mind, though, since that’s about as close to edgy or controversial as “Jenny and Bryan Plus 6” (whoops, that must have been a typo) ever gets.
After that, it’s all the usual matters associated with raising a kid, only multiplied by six — watching Jenny change diapers, seeing Jenny nag Bryan about his weight, Jenny and Bryan taking the kids out to dinner, Jenny bathing the dog while trying to wrangle her busy brood of toddlers. There’s even a cloying ’70s-style-sitcom theme song, titled “Six Is Much More Fun.” Yeah, says you.
Mostly, the show dishes up a whole lot of Jenny, who is one of those gals you’d expect to see a year or two down the road opening up about what went wrong to Oprah. When she insists on costuming the oblivious tykes for Halloween, the uncomfortable feeling is that she’s doing this for herself — or worse, for the benefit of the cameras.
In the first two episodes, vague hints surface of potential trouble in paradise — say, Bryan grimacing through a photo shoot for a runner’s magazine featuring Jenny, or sniping about remodeling the house — but nothing yet to set tabloid tongues wagging, darn the luck.
As a result, “Raising Sextuplets” feels a bit like spending the day hanging out with other people’s children, which probably isn’t the most nurturing environment for a TV show. Because sure, they’re cute, but once the novelty wears off, you’re generally happy to hand the little angels back and get the hell out of there.