Tonight, recovering reality TV star Jon Gosselin falls back off the wagon. At 9 p.m., he’ll make his possibly triumphant return to cable for Episode 1, Season 4 of Vh1’s “Couples Therapy.” He’ll be appearing not with Kate, his ex-wife, but with girlfriend Liz Jannetta.
I profiled Gosselin, who lives not far from Reading, for Philly Mag’s January issue. When I started the assignment, he had no (active) plans to return to TV. I assumed the story would end up serving as some sort of a cautionary tale about our old fleeting friend fame, about what happens when the money runs out and the gigs stop coming, about a guy who used to be big, living in a cabin, waiting tables. And it was–until he got a call from a producer one day in October.
His presence on the show was an indication that he was still somewhat relevant (Flava Flav is a Season 3 veteran). But it wasn’t good for the folksy, redemptive narrative he had been spinning about himself that fall. From the story:
Before the VH1 news broke last November, I spoke to Jon’s former manager, Mike Heller, who shepherded him through that treacherous fall of 2009, and whose father, Mark, was Jon’s divorce lawyer. Heller insisted that Jon is happier now than he was during Jon & Kate Plus 8. “He’s not the one who wanted to do the TV show from the beginning,” he told me. When he added that reality television was “the biggest addiction,” he was making the point that Jon had kicked the habit, not that he had succumbed to it.
Jon and I eventually discuss the VH1 show, and he quickly gets defensive. “I didn’t put out an open bid—this is something that just popped up,” he says. Plus, he did it for his relationship with Liz, a single mom of three who DJs and tends bar. “We needed the therapy for our relationship. We really couldn’t afford therapy. And it’s free therapy.”
So is he just a humble guy, serving up wienerschnitzel on weekends? Or is his whole Waiter-and-Cabin Dweller persona just artifice, just a way for him to get back into the game? Answers within.