Sunday, February 26, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "Beach Time!": Shoulda let her strings go, Ike

Coming up on Kate Plus 8, another baller vacation, this time in Alabama, where they pretty must do every expensive excursion you could possibly do at the ocean.  This is their "yearly" trip to the ocean, says Kate, and by yearly she means if they are filming she will finagle a trip to the ocean. They also finally train their almost six-month-old puppies, who should have been trained four months ago. Don't try to figure it out, one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. You know, why does one get puppies over the summer anyway if you know you're going to be out of town so much? Part of the reason they're so poorly behaved is because their owners are not providing them any consistency.

Kate again emphasizes they came in late last night. We were all shaking our heads to realize they filmed the space camp footage and traveled a six hour drive to the beach house all in the same day. What reason would she have to lie about that? Wouldn't she lie and say the opposite, that they filmed it over several days, so as not to give the appearance of over-working the kids? We had a discussion on the blog about this show's budget, and all signs are suggesting it's been slashed dramatically. From having to film everything in just a day or two, to hauling in their own food from grocery stores instead of eating out, to now, vacationing in the deep South in the dead of summer, when prices tend to hit rock bottom because it's so hot and muggy. God bless Alabama, but it's not so comfortable in August.

There's an aerial shot of the beach house, and it's huge. It's a mansion, with a big dock right along a beautiful inlet. In the background, you can see the city just a hop, skip and a jump away. And this after Kate claimed the house was in the middle of nowhere so they had to bring all their own food in. No they're not.

They're about to go parasailing, and Kate demands they all finish up lunch quickly or she "might ask the man to let the strings go." I'm all for having a sense of humor with your kids, but why is Kate constantly teasing about things that could either kill or cause great bodily harm to her children? It's truly creepy, no joke.

Those "girls" of Kate's, oy! Put them away, especially in the kitchen. Is this a brothel or summer vacation?

The parasailing instructor Ike introduces his crew but gets bored when Kate tries to introduce herself and instead he just keeps giving directions, cutting her off. Heh, I have a funny feeling he really doesn't care who she is or what this filming is all about, this is just another customer to keep safe and provide a good experience to and on to the next one. He will soon go the way to the river raft man, I feel this one coming.

Oddly, there is no discussion of seasickness this time. We have to have the conversation on every other boat ride, what gives? The three youngest girls whoosh up first, and love it. Everyone is shocked how high they go up when parasailing, including me. 450 feet?! Yowser. Okay, I'll give Kate a pass here on not liking this. This is way too much like skydiving, only even worse, there's no instructor with you and the harnesses look really flimsy. The boys and the twins take a crack at it, too. You guessed it, this was fun.

A long discussion from Kate about how she didn't want to be pressured into doing this. What dramatics. I didn't see anyone pressuring her. It's no skin off Ike's back whether she goes or not and the kids don't care. In fact most kids wouldn't care what mom does or doesn't do. It's all about them at this age. The kids were enjoying their own fun on this ride, and telling her all about it, and if she wants to do it fine, if she doesn't, it's not their problem. This actually is part of her narcissism, that she thinks anyone gives a damn what she wants to do with herself. Nobody does. Heh, I like the flashback to the New Zealand bungie jumping, where Brad pushes her off the ledge. One of the few flashbacks they should just keep playing over and over. Ike is finally like well are you going or not, decide now. That's right, it's really freaking annoying when someone is holding up the group with their indecisiveness. Oh good Lord, she's crying now. Ike is like, okay, nope abort. Seriously! I love that he's not putting up with her shenanigans. Either jump in the deep end or not, but if not, get off the damn diving board so everyone else can carry on with their fun.

Of course Kate refuses to abort because at the end of the day she knows good and damn well she will do this, that this is all for maximum show and attention and making sure this is all about her. She demands Ike only send her up a few feet.  Once again in an effort to make herself feel better, she's made the ride more precarious. Common sense suggests that's terribly unsafe. You wouldn't get as much wind in the sail that way, and if anything goes wrong, there's absolutely no room to correct it before you slam face first into the back of the boat. Idiot. Nope, that's not how it works, is essentially Ike's response.

Kate eventually gets on the ride, with the obligatory screaming and screeching and parentified Aaden and Cara going up with her to comfort her. Kate remarks once again that it was not being able to swim that was one of the things bothering her. Good God, then get some swimming lessons for the love of holy heck and then that fear will be solved. Holy moly. And by the way, from that height, not being able to swim is not going to be the problem if anything does malfunction. I mean, you're dead from 450 feet if it failed. Is she dumb, or just stupid? By the way, in some brief googling about parasailing accidents, I found that the Federal Aviation Administration has regulated parasailing to 400 feet maximum. So, was Ike exaggerating when he said they would go up 450, or breaking the law? Hm.

Let me be clear here, there's nothing wrong with not liking parasailing. I'll admit it, I would never do this and do not feel unfulfilled for not doing so. About on average one death every 1-2 years doing this is enough for me to say no thanks. But to cause all this drama is uncalled for.

You know, the kids were having fun. A blast. They loved seeing the sites from up high and no one was fighting or bickering, or feeling sick to their stomach, or upset. Doofus ruined a rare pleasant outing. And I think a huge part of her disturbing psychology is that she can't help but ruin it. One, because she's petrified it won't be good footage because calmness in her mind is boring to viewers. And two, she can't help but want the attention all on her. Quite the opposite, I enjoyed seeing the kids relaxed like this, it was good to see them have a moment where everything was working out. It only got obnoxious when the plot turned to her freak out.

Kate does a weird nervous slithering snake thing with her tongue on the ride. The twins make fun of it. It's almost like a tick, which may be just a tiny clue into the chemistry of her brain. That's something a six-year-old would do when they are stressed, not a mature adult woman who has control of herself. If you don't believe something is very wrong with her upstairs, I don't know what to tell you.

Heh, they do a private interview with Ike once back on shore, who calls Kate a basket case. He should have let her strings go, eh?! I expect about five years from now Kate will be trashing him just like she did the rafting instructor from five years ago, because that's how this woman rolls.

The next "day" (I'm keeping track of the days now, it's got my attention), they go on a segway tour.  Joel's segway won't go fast, to which Cara calls him "stupid." Um, no, he's not stupid. His segway wouldn't go fast because it was on "beginner" mode. It had nothing to do with Joel. These kids always jump to the most cutting, nasty remarks about each other, and often it's completely unjustified. One of the instructors fixes it for him and he starts going at normal speeds, no big deal and no cause for cutting him down, Cara.

They were "naturing along" on the segways and it started to rain. Naturing??

It's a little hard to tell what's going on next amid all the whining, but it certainly appears that Mady and Kate are ready to make the whole group call it quits because of the sprinkle that's messing up their hair. Many of the other kids are very distraught at the idea of cutting this short, as they should be. What the hell? It's not pouring nor do I see any lightning which would make this unsafe, and once again, it's hella rude to quit a group activity when so many other people would like to continue, not to mention the instructors who made great efforts to set this up nice for you. And probably, are doing so with the understanding built into this that filming will include some free promotion. Therefore, quitting early is even more not cool in this scenario. Same as what they did on the horseback ride in the Poconos! Just quit!

I'm well aware Mady is just a child, but she is extremely selfish and spoiled, and I have never once heard Kate tell her she is being selfish and spoiled, to knock it off, get back on her segway, and suck it the F up, as she should as the parent. In fact in this case, Kate backed her up! What?! The instructor wants to know if these kids always complain this much. I'll answer: yes. Kate doesn't seem at all embarrassed a perfect stranger has within minutes pegged her kids as massive bellyachers. She should be mortified they are behaving this way in public, or at all.

Kate gets mad when Lex stops in the middle of the path, and blames Lex for almost making her crash. No, Doofus, you need to pay attention to what's in front of you and be ready to stop if you need to. I wonder how many cars she's rear-ended in her lifetime. I'm guessing a lot. And it was their fault too they stopped you told the cops, right?

Kate refuses to turn the speed up on her machine, yet is complaining (after that guy just told them they complain too much) that kids are darting in front of her on the road. Cara explains that the reason everyone is darting in front of her is indeed because she's going too darn slow. Well, that makes sense.

"I'm so tired of getting picked on about everything I do, just leave me be!" says 12-year-old doofus here.

Sigh. You weren't being "picked on," Kate. You were being called out, correctly so, for being obnoxious on a fun activity. Same with the parasailing; if you can't keep up, sit it out. But don't insist on doing something you really aren't mentally prepared for, and then spoil everyone else's fun. It's refreshing to see the kids call her out now that they're older, yet at the same time, I'm really sorry that their lives have to involve calling out their raging lunatic of a mother so much. It looks stressful.

It's their last day. So, I clocked the beach portion of the trip at three full days, plus their one full day at space camp, for a grand total of four full days on the trip to make two episodes, not counting flying days. Wow. What is the point to travel this far for less than a week?! These kids must be absolutely beat.

Kate makes half full coffee cups of oatmeal with a few drops of liquid brown sugar, and a third of a small cup of orange juice, which is not nearly enough food for kids this age, period, especially those about to do a very physical activity. We watch her pour the oatmeal into the pot and can see how little she puts in for eight people. Thankfully there are a few big croissants floating around, but it's unclear how much they each got to eat of each of them. An airy croissant is not going to fill a kid up either unless they eat a lot of them. I never hear the kids complain they're hungry, I wonder if they've just accepted the dainty portion sizes. So many of them seem irritable all the time, one really has to wonder if it's because they're getting hungry within a few hours of eating. Once conditioned to under eat for so long, they might not recognize and connect their irritability to their hunger. I think I was one of the bloggers here in the past to ere on the side of concerns about their food intake are probably overblown, but I've been rethinking it lately. The undersized portions are much more noticeable now and much more concerning now that they are older and need to eat more. Almost all the kids are thin, and I daresay a lot of them have a dull look to their skin (or bad skin in general) and hair which can be a strong indication they're not filling up on all those yummy calories a 12-year-old craves or drinking enough. Another thing to note is that everyone got the same exact portions. With eight kids, there's going to be some kids who are eating more than others. It's unlikely they all need exactly the same amount. For instance, at this age the boys and the twins should be starting to have appetites that pull away from the younger sisters. In some cases, a 12-year-old boy will want to eat nearly double what the girls are eating. In any case, nothing starts a day off terribly than not getting enough to eat and drink.

The kids take over this big floating trampoline thing in the middle of the water. Huh, is that theirs to use? And who is lifeguarding this when Kate can't swim? Incredibly dangerous. Oh, and by the way, once again she won't let them dish up the amount of oatmeal and brown sugar they would like. She has to portion it out for them like they're in a nursing home. It would have been nice to just stay at a hotel with a breakfast buffet and let them fill up their own trays, full of as much waffles, yogurt, eggs and biscuits 'n' sausage gravy they want. And a tall glass of juice.

This is getting tedious. Next they go kayaking, where this instructor has to tell the group to relax and calm down, and that they're here to have fun. Again, isn't it embarrassing that a perfect stranger has to tell your family to relax and calm down? Is anyone in this family feeling chagrinned at all, or are they so used to making a scene it doesn't phase them anymore? Ha, I'm liking Alabamians. This instructor, Chris, flat out tells them, eh, I'm not gonna remember any of your names but whatever, sure, you're Kate. Lol. She must just hate this blasé attitude by the locals. No one seems at all impressed by them or seems to know who they even are.

At some point Mady loses phone privileges because she pushed Kate's kayak away. Huh, what? Kate has an absolute meltdown over who even knows what. Kate is convinced this was an intermediate kayaking trip. Not in the slightest! It was a flat little inlet. Baby to beginner at best. What is she even talking about? Not really relaxing though, right under a freeway overpass. Heh, drowns Kate out though.

The instructor finally gives up and tethers his kayak to Kate, towing her back. What a dolt.

Heh, the instructor jokes that they have four miles left. Well, he'll go the way of Brad and river man in short order.

The way Kate angrily grits her teeth and says "Hannah, stop paddling!" was flipping scary. It's the tone of voice nasty parents use right before they yank their child's ear two feet up. In all seriousness, there are a lot of red flags present that this woman still harbors a very, very serious anger management problem. If she can't even keep it together while on camera, it is frightening to imagine what her limits are off camera. (Here are some of the tell-tale signs of an anger issue and Kate pretty much displays all of them just in this one episode: Criticizing, belittling, putting down, lack of patience, irritability and short temper, blaming everyone and everything else, people avoid you, people feel like they're walking on eggshells around you, and so on.)

Well this is sad. The instructor in his private interview said he had intended to take the group out to collect some trash and do a mini environmental clean-up, but he had to scratch that plan. Good job ruining everything, Kate. Again.

The vacation comes to an abrupt end and now we start the completely unrelated storyline of training the puppies. Naturally they get private one-on-one training with professional dog trainers, which is exorbitantly expensive. Kate spends a long time explaining how much of a crazy dog lady Kate is, with little to no clips to really back that up. I mostly get the impression the dogs to her are, depending on the day, a mild inconvenience to up to a total nuisance. Meanwhile when the dog trainer lady comes in, I know instantly she's a sincere dog lover without her just talking about it, as she greets the dogs down at their level in that baby voice true dog lovers use to speak to their dogs: "Who's a booo-tiful girl, yes yoo are!"

Kate? That's a crazy dog lady. Not you.

The dog lady is using clicker training? That's going to be way too complicated for this family. You guessed it, right out of the gate Kate is arguing with the trainers. What a pest she is.

Cara's picking lint again as Mady is explaining what is at the end of the day pretty boring.

I do like the trainer's firm emphasis on positive training. She believes in never punishing the dog at all, which is what I believe, too, mostly because I believe it is the most humane, but also because it just works better. Kate desperately needs this kind of training in parenting teens, I'm serious. She would really benefit from some one-on-one parenting training, I really think it would make everyone all around happier if she used some other technique, any other technique, other than being such an obnoxious nag yelling at them all the time. Click, Kate. Click click!

Kate says she has to say "come" 500 times. That's what she said.

The kids are having fun during all this, wrestling a bit, and there's Kate yelling and hollering at them again and making snide, unfunny remarks. She doesn't see the irony in all this emphasis on positive reinforcement, as she's being nothing but negative to the kids.

She thinks her joke about how the kids need children training is so funny she says it twice to the trainer and yet another time on the couch. I get a kick out of it when she gets so proud of herself for coming up with the most minimally clever dumb lines. Heh. In any case, no, Kate. The children are fine. They are children. You are the one who needs intensive, one-on-one parenting instruction. It's you. 

Oh stop the presses, at age six months, someone is actually teaching these dogs how to walk on a leash. My God. Hint, put your dog on a leash and get them used to it the moment you bring them home and you won't have such an issue with a dog who looks nearly full grown looking at a leash like a confused child stumped by a math problem. That's pretty damning evidence these dogs have never been walked before in their lives. Another huge reason they are poorly behaved. It is not enough to just let a dog run around a big yard, they must be actually walked by an owner, on a leash. There are numerous articles all over the internet explaining why if you're interested in knowing more about that.

Next up, Sweet 16 for the twins. I kind of question whether a kid who picks lint on the couch the whole time during these episodes really wants her birthday party filmed. Sixteen, whew. Digest that for a second, the twins are sixteen and still being filmed. For the record, we first met them when they looked like this. That's them in between their parents:

Sixteen candles, Kate remarks. Heh, a poor man's Molly Ringwald.

See you next time.