It’s been viewed over 12 million times, and yet when she posted her pregnancy announcement video on June 11th, Shan’ann received just five comments. Two were from family – her father Frank and brother Frankie. That leaves three comments from friends. Three comments from three friends.
Since her death more than 300 comments have been left and the video shared over 1200 times. Where was the interest from her family, her mother, her community, her fellow promoters when Shan’ann posted this video for the first time? Weren’t all those Thrive friendships real friendships?
We don’t know if certain friends like the Thayers and Nickole Atkinson went back and and scrubbed their social media pages to disassociate themselves after Chris Watts’ arrest, but if they did, that’s pretty lousy.
On Nick Thayer’s photography page he still has Shanann’s endorsement of his photography business, and what’s more, has probably made a packet selling his Watts family photos to the media. So association appears to be okay, as long as the terms are right.
In terms of the video itself, many of us watched it a few months ago, formed our respective conclusions, and went on.
As part of ongoing research I took another close look at and listened to the video today. My analysis has definitely shifted from those first impressions. Here’s what I picked up in those 65 seconds this time round:
1. The video – in my opinion – is definitely staged in the sense that it’s not spontaneous. This has to be appreciated in context. Shan’ann made videos daily and none of them were spontaneous. It was her job to rig each day’s spiel so that it involved product placement and promotion. The whole point was to pretend that it wasn’t promotional, and to insinuate that it wasn’t rehearsed either. Of course, in each case she has all the tools she needs on hand [patches, numbers to call, dates to memorize, freebies to claim]. In the pregnancy reveal she the shirt and the stick ready, not so much for his benefit, but for her viewers.
Just like the Christmas spiel, it’s made out to be spontaneous but it isn’t. It’s engineered to be a happy moment, but it falls flat. And then she posts this less-than-great moment anyway, to limited reinforcement from her limited flock.
At about 20 seconds into the clip, when he rounds the corner, he knows just where to stop and look and sort of overdramatizes the moment of being “taken aback” by what’s on her shirt. Chris Watts is a terrible actor. Even though there was perhaps a little preparation going into the video, it’s still executed poorly. There’s very little that’s warm and fuzzy about it. The video clip itself isn’t a crime, so the staging isn’t proof of anything except that when it comes to this family, we shouldn’t take anything at face value, especially the stuff that’s posted by them on Facebook. This applies in general to Facebook, but it’s doubly true of this supposedly Thrivin’ couple.
2. After Shan’ann directs the camera to her shirt and smiles for the camera, Deeter skitters off and around the corner. We can hear him bark presumably when he runs into Chris Watts. So he’s not shy when it comes to barking. During the rest of the video, simply because Shan’ann and Chris Watts are both ambulatory and talking, Deeter can still be heard skittering around them. He’s an excitable animal even when very little is happening.
3. During the actual interaction, very little is said between husband and wife. For such a momentous, life-changing milestone, 65 seconds of mostly silent footage speaks volumes about both of them. He reads her shirt, makes a show of laughing and appearing pleased, and tells Shan’ann he likes her shirt. Pretty much the only moment of intimacy and exchange is when he asks: “Really?” and Shan’ann responds with a mute-sounding “Really.”
It’s difficult to say who is weirder in the interaction, him or her. During the whole thing, though she smiles at the camera, she seems standoffish towards him, doing little more than putting him on the spot. If she knew about the affair, then her being standoffish, especially under these circumstances, would be appropriate, wouldn’t it? Then it would be all about putting him on the spot, wouldn’t it? Time to make your move pal, are you with me or her? That’s the actual question being asked here. When he asks what “pink means” Shan’ann’s a little curt with him. One has the impression Shan’ann feels she’s able to keep him on a leash, and this is about getting him back onto a tighter one.
4. The biggest moment in the clip is right at the end when he stutters about “it happens” when you want it, and then sniffs as he gazes up at it. I’ve commented previously about the darkness in his face here. He seems down, perhaps sick or brooding, but there’s little genuine joy from either of them. If the clip is rehearsed, then the heavy atmosphere from him is because he’s acting through some sort of psychological malaise around the knowledge of this third pregnancy. We see it, she sees it [I believe], and he’s trying not to show it. He failed.
5. Compare the thick heaviness of this clip to the bright sunny fairy tale stuff that’s everywhere else in the Watts social media. There is a heavy psychological load weighing on these 65 seconds. Why?
When Chris Watts walked away, after finishing the spiel, perhaps to continue mowing the lawn, did he feel enthusiasm in his belly, or was something else – bitterness perhaps – burning him? Well, we know how this story ends.
What the video seems to communicate best is if the couple were this bad at pretending to be happy, how unhappy were they behind closed doors when the cameras weren’t rolling? How unhappy was he – really?