Friday, July 13, 2018

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "Mother's Day Surprise": Friends, the Mary Kay Leturneau haircut was once cool

Coming up on Kate Plus 8, the high holiest of Gosselin holy days is upon us, a time of fasting and feasting, prayerful meditation, gifting and re-gifting, and celebration. It is .... Mother's Day. No, no, no, do not fill this whole episode with old clips! I hate my life!

So, confession, my own birthday is very close to the day to the Tups, so I too know about how the birthday will every seven years or so fall on Mother's Day or darn close. For me growing up that was never made an issue. Each were celebrated every year as if any other birthday or Mother's Day, just as you would treat a child the same who was born on or near Christmas. And to my great shock, Kate has agreed to allow the children their birthday day, and she will celebrate Mother's Day on another day. That is probably the most unselfish thing she has done in years, and I can't work out what the catch is, there must be one. Apparently Leah was the one who told Kate she felt sorry that Kate had to share Mother's Day with their birthday. Kate's response was Mother's Day can be any day. Wait, rewind. Did Kate say "any" day, or EVERY day? Not sure which one I heard. Because that could be the catch, she'll give them their birthday, but she gets every other day! Moo-ha-ha!

Like good little parental alienated children, Alexis dutifully recites the script that she is most grateful for Kate because she "takes care of us alone!"

Oh, brother. Here we go. This episode aired on May 10, 2015. I know, uncharacteristically timely. Usually we would expect a Halloween episode around about this time. But we're now three years later, and there's a world of difference between trying to brainwash 10-year-olds and trying to brainwash 14-year-olds. See Hannah.

The kids are planning a surprise breakfast for Kate, which mostly consists of Mady ordering everybody else about. Mady is really, really firm with the kids, constantly raising her voice and pushing them around. It's awful to listen to. She learned this from her mother, and it won't serve her well. It won't work for teachers, or professors. It won't work for friends. It won't work for boyfriends. And good luck with marriage.

Kate takes about five minutes to simply tell us she doesn't know what the kids are up to. Yeah, I know people like that. Moments you will never get back.

So, like, Kate left her kids alone with the crew this whole time? Unbelievable. They're probably old enough the crew won't molest any of them easily, but what about their comfort during filming, their safety? Where is their mother to watch out for children who are getting too tired filming, being pushed too hard, are hungry, who need a break from it? Collin is here, and we know now he has special needs! Terrible.

Lol, old pics of Kate. I'm a good deal younger than Kate, yet still close enough in age to be in the same sort of fashion era growing up. It was all about the same for a long period. How come in the late 80's, 90's, all of us kids dressed and styled like 40-year-old tenured school teachers? How was this cool? It's so bizarre. And hilarious. There's Kate, all of 16, and through no fault of her own, dolled up in a snazzy turquoise turtle neck, busy black and white patterned v-neck cardigan thing, little gold necklace and matching ring, dark red nail polish and lipstick, and the Mary Kay Leturneau haircut from her molesting days, bangs and all. See what I mean?! Teacher haircuts were once outrageously cool!


And just some ramblings, but putting myself back in that time period, I'm going to guess Kate was cool. And I think the information we have was she did run with the cool kids, had a cool boyfriend, was a cheerleader, was reasonably popular. What it took to be cool back in the day was often a little money from your parents, to buy the right clothes and get into the right sports, like cheer. Indeed, Kate's clothes look pretty on point for what they are. So all this ungrateful nonsense from her about her parents not treating her right or giving her what she needed to make it, it seems like Kate was doing just fine for herself even back in the teen years. Try being an uncool kid to begin with whose parents genuinely couldn't afford any of these latest styles, or any of the things that would transition you into making cheer (like a little gymnastics lessons) like how I and many of my friends in the rural Northeast grew up. It's not fun at the time, but you grow up and eventually realize everybody did their best and thankfully it doesn't matter one bit you weren't cool then and didn't do cheer and you were probably better off not being part of all that anyway. 

Some boring old clips. Kate tells the story again that she always wanted to be a mom since she was a really young kid, would even have dreams about adopting piles of kids on her doorstep. Pull over the furniture because I want to armchair this. First of all, I don't think it's normal for a pre-pubescent girl to feel that strongly about children just yet. Many little girls will claim they want a baby, but it has more to do with just liking to play babydolls and imagining yourself married to Leo with six kids living in New York City, you're a lunch lady and you drive a Mercedes because that game MASH predicted that, and little to do with what motherhood really entails and the much more complex feelings a mature adult woman often has about having children. 



So, I think Kate's obsession with not one baby but many babies was not normal at her age, and I wouldn't be surprised if the baby obsession was related to her fanciful desire to have someone or many someones love her in the way she thinks other people didn't, namely her parents. Her parents surely loved her unconditionally, but Kate is the type to interpret discipline, telling her no to things, or having rules she doesn't like, as a parent not really loving her. That would be Kate.

Kate says she went to nursing school to bag a doctor husband. Just kidding, she says she went to nursing school to have knowledge about caring for her children and supporting them. You have to be a nurse to care for your kids properly? Can't you just call Kaiser if they get sick? They have a 24/7 hotline and the nurse always helps you out, although the preliminary just-making-sure-this-isn't-an-emergency questions are always kind of ridiculous. If I wasn't breathing I wouldn't be calling a 1-800 number, lady, shouting in my entire ten digit member ID into my iPhone, shouting in the last four digits of my social security number, saying "correct", and shouting 4, then 2, then 4 again, then 1 to finally get to your ass. 

If you want to know how to take care of kids you could also pick up a parenting book or do a basic first aid for babies and children course through the Red Cross and skip the incredible expense of nursing school. It's just a weird reason to go that doesn't really make sense. How about, I went to nursing school to help sick people? Nah, too cliche. 

Also, how was Kate going to get these kids anyhow? Did she even know Jon at this point? Maybe in nursing school she learned how sex works? 

I'm enjoying the old pics of pre-botoxed Kate, though! She truly has progressed over the years. Or, regressed, if you like.


Kate was definitely a girl's girl back in the day, which I can't help but interpret as shallowness. She's always got jewelry on, always in a cute outfit, always has her nails done, always has her hair styled in some trendy teacher hairdo. In an old Halloween photo where she's the spitting image of none of the kids (they all are dead ringers for their dead father), she's got her hair dyed blond and in a tight perm. That can't have been cheap. What did she miss out on exactly during childhood? Because her childhood sure looks happy and privileged enough to me.

Oh, did anyone catch the old clip of Kate talking into the camera about how not-glamorous she felt when the six babies were maybe three months old? It looked just like a screen test tape we always suspected she may have sent off to TLC to get her show. Busted.

Does anyone care about her boring fertility story for Mady and Cara? I sure don't. She had to wait awhile to take a pregnancy test because it's not like today when you can take a test a few minutes after conception. Um, they still don't have those.

Once in a great while Kate will say or do something really genuine, and a tiny part of me wants to like the woman. They show an old home movie Kate herself filmed, showing her pregnancy test with the twins. A faint line. She then pans down to the counter where she's taken two more tests! Much stronger lines. She's pregnant, and it's the most wanted pregnancy ever, she says  Because, yeah, ya totally do line up those tests and keep peeing on them one after another in disbelief! And I almost, almost, teared up a little at year 2000 Kate finding out such good news.

I think you get to a certain age and you just can't help but cry when you hear someone is pregnant especially someone you care about, or even when you know someone else is finding out someone they care about is pregnant! How many of us both laughed and definitely cried as our dearly departed Golly Gee found out she was going to be a grandma not once, but twice, in this lovely tribute video one of her sons made. ("You better not be joking me, I'll kill you!")

Had Kate been more like 2000 Kate throughout these long years, she might actually have some viewers left who genuinely care about her.

Wow Kate needs to stop being, like, a likable person; this episode is getting spooky. She says the twins were such easy-going babies she was like, hm, I'd like another! Dude, I know so many parents who had an easy first child by sheer luck of the draw and were then like, parenting is easy, adulting is a breeze, I don't know what everybody else is talking about with terrible-this or that. Let's have another! 

Famous last words.

There were so many old clips and Kate yammering on I nearly forgot that in "present day" the kids are still making breakfast for Kate. Nothing interesting happens.

Is it just me, or is it really mean when adults say to children, "It's the thought that counts." It's basically just a nicer way of saying your work sucks. I have vivid memories of various adults saying this to me and other kids when I was a kid and even at the time I knew exactly what they were really saying. If there is one thing I caught onto pretty quickly as a child, and still do believe today, it's that many adults assume kids are stupid or don't know wtf is going on. Wrong.

Well, at least the younger girls seem happy and excited to have helped out with the breakfast, including the pancakes and fruit salad. Kids this age desperately need to be assigned mild to moderately challenging tasks and figure them out on their own, it's crucial to normal development and good self esteem.

There's a discussion about "Collin's card-making station" which I guess is where they will make the Mother's Day card, but I don't see Collin anywhere. I'm guessing if he were even still around at this point, this was one of the last episodes he was in the house for, but not actually on camera. It was a slow progression with that kid that gradually took him out of the show.

Mady, who is far too old to still be whining about this, says the day the sextuplets were born was the worst day of her life and it was pretty awful after that too. While it certainly would be hard on a little girl to have so many younger brothers and sisters, now at her age, it's time to grow up. Also in defense of Kate and of course Jon, they went to great lengths to make sure Mady and Cara felt special and privileged and there were many things the twins got to do that the sextuplets were left out of. Mady is, sadly, a selfish and ungrateful child. Some children come by unselfish characteristics naturally, others, like Mady, must be taught and if they're not taught, unsavory aspects become a solid part of their personality, and it's unattractive.

Kate rattles off some of her parenting "rules" as we watching boring old clips. Stick to a schedule, no means no, don't give in. And generally I think her parenting advice is just bad. The first two there are definitely numerous exceptions to when it's beneficial to depart from the schedule as well as just let things go. And don't give in is definitely terrible advice. In fact, most parenting experts will advise you to really pick your battles, that you should only come down hard on the important stuff, and that it's best to let most things go for happy, well-adjusted children and a peaceful family. In other words, you give in a whole awful lot. I'm reminded again of GollyGee, who, in an adorable small video within her video tribute, her son David is refusing to sit up for a family photograph, instead preferring to recline against mom's legs with his hands under his head. GollyGee in short order gives up, shaking her head with a bit of a smile. She gave in! Because at the end of the day, does it really matter David didn't sit up this one time? And you can look back on the photograph and video, as we have, and laugh at the little boy's antics, at doing things his way as kids like to do. No tears, no whining, no battles that day in that house. Had GollyGee "stuck to her guns" as Kate advises, that family photo might very well have turned into a horrific battle of wills and spoiled the whole day. And it didn't result in raising a serial killer. David turned out all right, didn't he? (Thanks for stopping by to say hello, David!) GollyGee was a good mama. Kate is not.

I'm kind of surprised they show the clip of Collin distraught in the furniture store, begging to be changed, because that was surely one of Kate's most evil moments. She's chatting away on the couch as if her behavior in that store that day was normal.

I think the TLCgo app is showing way too many commercials. They just showed ten in a row, followed a few minutes later by seven! I pay for TLC through my cable company, it's not like I'm getting this for free. A paying customer shouldn't have to sit through excessive advertising.

Kate's prattling on about how she taught all the kids to cook. Fascinating. A producer then asks Mady who taught her to cook and she says Kate actually taught Cara, and then Cara taught Mady. Heh. That struck me as kind of funny, though I'm not sure it was a totally fair comment. Who knows who taught her, but I wouldn't put it past Kate to grossly exaggerate how much time she's spent working with the children to teach them to cook and playing the part of the loving attentive mother. Probably not as much as she wants us to believe.

Kate again proves that she doesn't understand child development at all, despite nursing school, when she talks about their eating habits and how the children are trying to "challenge" her with their picky eating. It's not all about you, you cow! Good lord. Picky eating is a completely normal stage of child development and has far more to do with kids genuinely having very sensitive taste buds that don't adjust easily to the plethora of foods that adults easily love and chow down on. In fact a British study found that a child's food likes are almost 75 percent based on genetics. That means it leaves only a small percentage to be determined by a parent pushing it down their throat until they give in and eat it. Kate's so freaking stupid. Most kids grow out of pickiness naturally, as long as they are getting enough variety of nutrients it's just not something to stress about. I woke up one day and loved the things I hated as a kid--salads, feta, coffee, Chinese food, hummus, limes, cheesecake, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, zucchini, carbonated drinks, and lots of other foods kids will often avoid. Love them now! Nobody did anything to push them on me, I just started eating them because my taste buds developed into adult ones.

Kate really is rich talking about how much she struggles with sibling rivalry. Good grief, I can rattle off dozens of examples of both her handling sibling rivalry terribly or even outright encouraging such rivalry. For starters, when you blatantly play favorites with your children, sibling rivalry is inevitable.

Mady says twice that her younger siblings are brats, and there's a perfect example of the kind of completely unacceptable behavior towards one's siblings Kate has allowed and encouraged. It is not acceptable to name-call your siblings with such cruel and nasty names.

The producer tries to get Mady and Cara to say what a hard job of it Kate has raising eight kids, and they actually won't really go there. Mady says in actuality they all make it a lot easier for her. Heh. Well, I like that comment. For all Kate's whining and playing martyr about raising these kids, the kids do their best to help her. And I think that is a fair comment, we've seen plenty examples of the children pitching in and overall cooperating to prove they aren't total nightmares and can be very helpful when it comes to their care. The boys especially seem super easy to me. There's a huge difference between raising a child who is helpful and cooperative versus one who is constantly resisting you (even if it's due to things out of their control like special needs).

Kate gets lots of emails from strangers saying they're worried Mady is mean. Really?! This makes Mady laugh. How does that email go exactly? "Dear Kate, your daughter Mady is mean and I'm concerned. God bless"? Sounds like something GollyGee would have had the nerve to do! Heh! Also, I know I keep talking about GollyGee, but there's a lot about this episode that brings her to mind, and one of them is I think I understand much better now after her death and getting to know better who she was in her private life, why the kids meant so much to her. And I think so much of it had to do with her truly relating to raising three boys. She raised three boys, she did it right, Kate was doing it oh so wrong, and that really bothered her because she knew how much better their mom could have done by those boys. She would never toot her own horn about what kind of mother she was, but we know now she was amazing.

I catch a little glimpse of Collin at the card making station. He looks fine, even politely asking a sibling to hand him a pen and setting the table perfectly, explaining he "observed" how to do that in a restaurant. Aw. He's so cute. This is the kid who needed to be locked up for years? Was this the last episode where we really heard from him? Also he didn't learn how to set a table from his mother? Maybe this is because she eats all her meals standing at the counter.

Kate has a theory and I fall asleep. What the hell is a "girl mom"? She had girls first and so that made her a girl's mom? I really have no clue what she is talking about. Her theories are about as useful as those of the Flat Earth Society.



Oh I see this was just an opportunity to slam the boys for being normal little kids and to make a host of stereotypical and exaggerated comments about the girls. You can guess that the sum of it is the boys don't understand anything at all and all the girls do is have drama. As I have proposed many times, it is women themselves who often set women and girls back the most, and this is but one example of a woman, one who is semi-famous and has a bit of a platform to boot, using terribly exaggerated and untrue stereotypes that girls are all emotional fluttering basket cases who can barely make it through the day without a meltdown worthy of a truck of ice on a 100 degree day. Maybe if Kate did some work as a mother for once to help them better regulate and cope with their emotions, you wouldn't have so much drama. Children need to be taught how to handle intense emotions everyone will feel boys and girls alike, just as much as they need science and math. Make no mistake little girls watch this show, and it is disappointing they have to hear Kate say these things. I hope their mothers are around to set things straight.

I don't much like her comments about the boys, either. If boys are stupid with glazed over eyes all the time, does that mean they don't hold any responsibility for their actions, like when they go too far with a girl who doesn't want to? After all they're just a stupid boy. One could take it there.

Kate gives some cliche advice about doing your best that nobody cares to listen to. Also, I think doing your best is a cop out, because only you the person really knows for sure what your best is, so you can use it as a crutch to do half-ass work all the time because after all, that's just my best!

The kids and Kate do some terrible acting pretending that this all wasn't arranged by producers as the kids finish breakfast and Kate pretends she's surprised and impressed and goes out to eat her pancakes and read her card.

Collin made an incredibly creative card in which you actually can remove the heart from the center of it to hold it. That's really good, Collin! At least Kate takes the time to read each card individually and spend a moment with each child telling them how much she enjoyed the card. They need much more individual time with their parents.

Why is Kate still talking??? Eat your breakfast, bitch!

Shockingly, Kate admits it's not the kids' fault she has so much to do. Of course it's not. They didn't ask her to trick the fertility doctors into having a fuckety billion kids at once. So STFU already.

Oh, I hate her guts. While the kids are cleaning up without complaint, Kate has to say, "who are these children?" Oh shut up! There are piles of tapes in the archives of these kids helping out and working hard. Just stop it.

Ha, the bird is on Kate's shoulder, totally channeling Tanya Harding's stage mother. Nice. From now on this bitch's nickname is Lavonna any time she has that bird. It's just such a great villain name anyway isn't it? Lavonna Golden!

Lavonna Golden

Ick, they made a nice table for Kate to eat at  with tablecloth and all, but instead she eats on the nice couch. I think that's gross. All that syrup and crumbs. She's a slob. And also they made the trouble to put a table together for her, so sit at it!

Gross! The kids are massaging her feet. Yuck. And look up grooming behavior, because it often starts as massages and other gone-too-far touching. I'm not saying Kate would groom her kids, I don't see any evidence of that, but it's still gross to engage in grooming behavior even though you're not really trying to groom them.

Woo-hoo, a clip from the book signing I attended in Santa Monica! I think that will always be my favorite Gosselin memory. I arrived directly from work and Kate was sandwiched in between two narrow bookshelves and WTF? I somehow immediately ran into a Radar online reporter who was maybe about my age, we somehow immediately hit it off which was fun, and she explained that Kate was embarrassed by the low turnout so thought moving her in between the shelves would help. I see, so like, if you move yourself into a tiny house and invite some friends over to it it will make it seem like you have a lot more friends. Good thinking actually. I logged onto realitytvkids to "livestream" from the event and so the night began with a bang!

Why is Kate talking about what the haters say about her? Nobody was talking about that. I thought we were talking about breakfast! Again, she insists she's just doing her best--a cop out, see?

Nobody does everything right so cut me a break! she insists. Um, Kate, nobody suggested you must "do everything right" whatever that means. I hate when she misstates what the criticism is then answers the misstatements. It's called strawman-ing, and it's a cheap debate tactic and she knows damn well she's doing it. Aw, did the book signing bring up bad memories? Poor thing.

Kate wouldn't ask for eight different kids. That's kind of a weird thought to have. Except Collin. She would like to return Collin. I know it's maybe thirteen years and six months past the warranty period, but could they pretty please make an exception for her? She'll accept store credit!

It's kind of irritating to hear the brainwashed kids talking about all the good things about Kate she has drilled into them she does for them, but when you think about it, it's probably a really good thing they are able to see the positives of Kate. Some of them apparently already and soon more of them are really going to have problems with this woman and the choices she made for them (filming, Jon, the physical abuse), but in order to work through all those issues and have a rebuilding point with Kate and develop some trust, they're also going to need to be able to find some of the positives about her. For better or worse she is their mother to deal with, and cutting her out of their lives is always a method of last resort. So, for those who want to keep her on board as their mother, they have to work with what they have and what they do have is a mother who growing up let them have a lot of pets they love, on some level cares for them and on some level loves them. It's a start.