You knew we were headed into Creepy Crazyville when, in the opening moments of “Octomom,” Nadya Suleman was bringing home the first two of her octuplets and she’s told paparazzi are closing in on her car. What does she do after covering the babies with a blanket? She puts on make-up for the photographers she’s “avoiding.”
Brrrr. “Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage” was a repulsively grim two hours. I hope for your sake you were watching “Top Chef” instead. If it wasn’t my job, I wouldn’t have lasted into the second “Octomom” hour, when Suleman tells the camera crew that seems to be living with her that she believes her house is “haunted” and that she has to get a “Bible for every room in the house.”
No, that makes her sound more sane than she came off here. This Fox special played the audio of a 911 call she makes in hysterics, claiming one of her children is missing. She’s screeching, “This isn’t happening!” (a favorite Nadya refrain — we heard it over and over, as though she was admitting she lives in a fantasy-world) and “Oh, God, please help me!” An onscreen caption reveals that the “missing” child had gone for a brief walk with one of Nadya’s nannies.
We saw Nadya fighting with her mother, who by comparison is a pillar of common sense and generosity, who cared for Suleman’s original six kids while Nadya had her octuplets. But what does Nadya say about her mother? “She never showed me love.” Observes Mom: “A lot of these issues are in her mind.” (It’s never explained how Nadya got the money for the house she moves into after leaving her mother’s house. Or how she pays for the nannies that are present, Nadya says, “twenty-four/seven.”)
For two hours, we watched one miserable child after another crying, moaning, screeching, and (of the ones old enough to do so) throwing temper tantrums. “Octomom” (a word trademarked by Nadya, we were informed) was edited to make Suleman’s life look like a ceaseless hell of chaos. The special culminated in footage in the octo-delivery-room, mostly just film of the backs of doctors and nurses, the occasional glimpse of a newborn baby being handed off, and audio of various hospital personnel trying to get the woman operating the camera to move the hell out of the way.
But of course, Nadya had given this camera-person permission to film. Everything.
I admit I came to this show thinking Suleman was probably just overly maternal and eccentric. Silly me, I know. Even if you think the production company misled Suleman and cobbled together the worst moments to make her look like a dreadfully selfish, misguided person, the two hours had enough unforgivable moments of unhappy-looking children to make you lose any sympathy for Octomom.
Those poor 14 kids.