Saturday, February 18, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "Gosselins in Space": Super fun!

Coming up on Kate Plus 8! They're heading off "own" a summer vacation. "A" summer vacation is actually a fair way to say it, since they just got back from two other baller summer vacations, New Orleans and the Poconos. It's definitely not their only one this summer like most families.

Hey, did they go here straight from New Orleans? Wouldn't that have made more sense? Or did they come down here separately? How wasteful, if so.

This space camp in Alabama actually looks deliriously fun, with lots of simulators and enthusiastic instructors, but wouldn't the kids enjoy it a lot more going off to overnight space camp, or any camp, without their mother?

Not surprisingly, the extent of Kate's "training" of the dogs is to yell at them to "stop!" By the way, they weren't doing anything wrong. Just wrestling with each other. Totally normal puppy behavior, and actually, important to their development, as they learn their own strength, begin to understand the concept of play fun versus going too far, and have good exercise and bonding time with each other.

Mady describes them as pretty terrible puppies, who jump up on them all the time, scratch them, and don't listen. Well, that's because they aren't trained. Footage shows they won't even let themselves be leashed up and walk with the kids. They are five months old, this is absurd. We'll do puppy school when Kate gets the chance, Kate remarks. She's hopeless. There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.

If I sound like I'm in a bad mood, I am. I have to watch this drivel on TLCgo again because apparently, Playstation Vue won't keep episodes in my DVR more than a couple weeks. Curses. See my last recap for all the problems with this stupid app. Namely, the app does not allow you to pause and resume the program without starting over from the beginning, the commercials are five minutes long, and you're forced to watch endless promos of fat people and the Dugggars.

The kids, who aren't doing anything wrong, are being hollered at by Kate that the house is trashed and they're not going to come back from vacation to dirty floors and a dishwasher full of dirty dishes. The kids obediently clean up, not giving her any lip. Why couldn't Kate just ask them in a normal tone to please tidy up the house and help her with do her to-do list? Does she think kids will only obey if you scream and snap at them? Good God, she's just awful lately.

Some packing footage, which is boring and almost exactly like the packing footage for New Orleans.

Cara takes a break from picking at a hangnail to admit that she had actually always wanted to go to space camp. That's good. I'm glad the twins are enthusiastic about this. Cara even spoke.

Space camp is an immersive program that lets kids get a taste of what it's like to be an astronaut, Kate reads from her script. Kids, Kate. Lets kids experience space. Drop them off and go the F away. Jesus.

Rocket things, says Kate. I punch her in the face, virtually.

Well this is impressive. The actual CEO of the joint, Dr. Deborah Barnhart, is their host. If you're interested in her resume, it's pretty stacked. She was one of the first women captains in the Navy and post-military worked on classified satellite technology. I'm sure she'll be reduced to "Ms. Space Lady Cadet" soon.

They zip up in rather cute flight suits. First up, a simulator that imitates tumbling. Aaden and Joel have proven to be game for trying new things. They are usually positive and cheerful, first in line, and set a good example for their siblings. While the other siblings were worried about losing their breakfast, they were having a blast in the simulator. Somehow, Kate hasn't projected all her fears and freak outs onto the boys.

Oh, yeah, Collin's totally MIA on this wildly fun journey, which is sad, and once again no one explains this. If you missed the initial episode where Kate talked about him, or the People article, you'd be lost, that is if you even noticed he's gone. They keep the editing disjointed enough you might not.

Kate's going to try the simulator, and the kids practically beg her not to scream and make a scene. Really! There's other people here besides them, it's not 2009 and they didn't manage to buy out the whole place this time, and the kids are clearly at an age where she's starting to really embarrass them. I'm with them, could she please just hold it together for once, and if she can't, then don't particulate.

Kate remarks that it looks like the electric chair. Heh, one only wishes.

"Pretend you're in your bed at home!" one of the kids suggests. What? What's happening in that bed? And I never thought Steve was the type.

Kate doesn't like the simulator of course, but at least she seems to somewhat be trying not to have a total meltdown. A few screams get out, but she does try. The kids laugh at her, heh.

Yea! Five minutes of fat people commercials!

Next up, moon walking, where the simulator imitates what it's like to bounce around on the moon. One of the walks is called the bunny hop. Kate is either imitating a bunny, or making fun of a disabled reporter. I cannot tell which.

Fun, funny, and super fun are this family's go-to adjectives lately. And that's about it.

Next up, the lunar mission, which is very similar to something I did as a 6th grader at some kind of museum on a field trip. They simulate check-lists, problems, and other things like that similar to what you would encounter on a real mission. Nobody's mother was there. It was way cool. It's starting to just get humiliating to see Kate front and center everywhere for activities that are clearly geared toward camp kids, not their mothers. She is Rosalind Russell, always there, always in the center, always along for what should be the children's ride.

I'm afraid, Alexis, you would be playing the role of the cow. Don't feel bad, Natalie Wood had to do it too.

A lot of the instructors here look more like minimum wage high school and college hires, not professional scientists. I could be wrong, but that makes it seem much less legit to me and more just summer-camp like. In my brief google of this place apparently it did almost go bankrupt recently.

They're fighting over who is going to be on the "ground" in mission control and who is going to go to space. It sounds petty as most of their arguments usually are, but I actually remember it being a really big deal on my middle school field trip who would be mission control and who would be in the space ship. Naturally mission control sounded boring and stupid to most of us. As I recall some saintly teacher talked up how important and fun mission control was such that we fancied ourselves Ed Harris saving humanity and that smoothed it all over quickly, because that's what adults who are good with kids do.

Why is Kate even chiming in here about what she wants to do (Go to space, of course. Doofus.)? This is the kids' thing. You take the leftovers like a normal mother or better yet go run some errands and pick them up when it's over.

Well, Mady's called this exactly right so I'll just quote it: "I think she has this problem where, like, she doesn't realize that like, we are children, and, like usually, like the fun, like children like enriching experiences are for the children? So like, she always has to do like the best part?" I'll forgive the likes and everything-is-a-question talk this time because she's nailed it. Heh, it was only a matter of time before the kids woke up. The question is what happens next? Will they continue to let her get away with it, or will they pull a Missy Francis (resident patron saint of screwed over child stars), funnel all their own money back into their secret accounts then cut ties with their mother once and for all the second they become adults? Time will tell.

Kate thinks it's cute she is insisting on being at the forefront of all this. She wants to be the flight director, who is the one in charge. It's not cute. It's freaking annoying and it's annoying the kids. Oh my god, Joel wants to be the flight director, as he should want that, and even Mady tells Kate to back the F off and let Joel be flight director. Good lord. Again, not cute, not funny.

What's even more fascinating is that Kate makes a comment that she knows she should just sit back in mission control and not be in the spaceship. So, then why can't she control herself and do what she knows is the right thing to do for the sake of her kids? Fascinating.

It took four hours to figure out how to have some teamwork and accomplish this mission? Please tell me Doofus here is exaggerating.

Kate and Mady disparage Joel for awhile, and then they launch a ship and go for a space walk. An extremely long conversation about how the space suits don't fit just right. Wouldn't this make just a wonderful couple of days for eight Make a Wish kids? Sigh.

As per her usual, Kate is shouting at the kids and barking orders when they're not 100% Johnny-on-the-spot. But that's the whole point of activities like this, you get faced with sometimes pretty challenging problems and you pool your kid brains together and work through it. Nope, it won't be as fast as most adults could do this, but this isn't a race, this is a learning opportunity.  Having Mom yelling in your headset what to do defeats the whole purpose.

Does anyone else find it weird and detached when Kate refers to her own children as "people"? As in, people were very disorganized on this mission. Heh, what?

Three of the kids appear to be doing the most allegedly exciting part of this mission, space walking to repair something. It's not all that. They kind of bounce up some cheap scaffolding. Big whoop. Nonetheless Alexis begins to have a meltdown worthy of the most tenacious five-year-old, lamenting over and over how unfair this all is that she doesn't get to "space walk" i.e. bounce up some cheap scaffolding. She even balls her hands up in fists and pounds them on the table. Geez! Kate's response is to agree it's not fair because she, Kate, would like to do the space walk too.  First, this looks like yet another activity that would make Doofus here yell and scream, so I don't really believe this is up her alley. Second, what an absolute child. Instead of, as my teacher did for us when we felt the same, helping this distraught child learn how to cope with that "unfair" feeling she will experience throughout her life, she essentially validates her. Terrible parenting. How about remind her how this kid and her family is taking the place of eight sick children who would appreciate this whole thing in whatever role they are assigned a hell of a lot more than she does, and wouldn't worry about what's "unfair."

They finish the mission, and Alexis is still pouting. The adjectives are getting way more sophisticated now. That wasn't just fun. It was super fun. As we were discussing on the blog, this family doesn't exactly engage with their audience like the Irwins do.  Plus, it didn't look fun for many of them. Many of them seemed really disenchanted by the roles they were assigned to, so bad they just couldn't get over it. It's very irritating to repeatedly watch someone describe something on a reality show that bears no resemblance to the truth.

Next they basically play a video game involving fighter jets where the goal is to shoot the other people down. I can hang with the best of them playing first person shooter games like Grand Theft Auto or Uncharted, but even this seems rather morbid. It's not like you're shooting a computer fighter jet. That's supposed to be the other person in your path. This was also super fun, by the way.

The twins are suddenly referring to Kate as "Mother," which I totally dig and is so much better than the childish "Mommy." Very Norman Bates.

Commercials. Whitney after all this time is still freaking out over maybe being pregnant. So take the dang test already, good Lord. I feel like I've been watching her having a pregnancy scare for a month.

Next, the Centrifuge, which is basically an amusement park ride that spins you around. Oh, this is rich. Kate is going to sit this one out because she fears she'll vomit. How come just last episode in the Poconos Alexis wasn't allowed to sit out the boat ride when she felt like she might vomit? Does Doofus even care how hypocritical she is? She has to know she does it. Ohhh, that was "very fun."

I see TLC is quietly rolling out a scripted series, and have a handful of other new reality shows ready to go that look okay. Who knows where the Gosselins will fit in with all these changes.

Next up, simulating a helicopter crash into the water. It's painful to watch Mady try to carry this show, try to be funny, cute, the Ruthie Camden of the cast, when she's just not.

When Mady says certain things it's painfully obvious, like when she smugly remarks that she didn't want to do this simulator because the helmets weren't fashionable and they didn't want to get their makeup wet. The simulator dumps them into the water and they get soaked. This feels morbid again. Everyone is laughing at the pure hilarity of a helicopter "crash." They then play a game where they can only squawk like a chicken when they crash. Um. Weird. The kids want to do this like a dozen times. Aren't there other kids at the camp would are waiting to do this? Does anyone ask, can we do it again, if no one else is waiting to use it? Good grief. Kate won't participate in this one either, which means we are spared her screaming and carrying on yet again.

Finally they graduate, and get a scout-like patch to commemorate it. A drone shot of nothing. Drone guy is being lazy. I wasn't as impressed with this space camp as I thought I would be. I've heard it's really expensive, and for that kind of money you would expect more than camp counselors who will be undeclared majors and freshman at the local community college next year. I expected more things like meet and greets with a real astronaut, million dollar telescopes, and funky science experiments you just couldn't do at home.

Is Kate getting in a dig at production? She remarks quite firmly that she really wishes they had spent several days at Space Camp. Heh, production whizzed them in and out in one day. There was a budget for that one!

They head to City of Orange Beach in Alabama and a huge house rental that's gorgeous. They have a mountain of grocery bags and coolers in the van and it's very late. What the heck? When did they get all this food?! It must have taken hours. I bet production got it. Why don't they just go out to eat and spare the aggregation? If they can afford a house like this they can afford to just go out to eat or at the very least get take-out and bring it back. Kate claims there is nothing around so that's why they have to haul in their own food. Um, this is City of Orange Beach:

And this is their restaurant Yelp page, with no less than twenty-two different places you can go eat.

Who is she kidding? Why does she do this anyway, haul in all this food when they could just go out to eat? She loves all the other luxuries of an upper middle class life, I would think eating out on the company credit card would be high on her list. If I had to guess, I think maybe she likes the martyrdom of preparing all their own meals? So strange.

Her spoiled children just must have a beach vacation at least once a year. Are these little princes and princesses aware that much of Pennsylvania's children will never see an ocean's shore in their lifetimes, let alone every year? There is a lot of poverty in the rural areas. What's more, there are so many beautiful lakes and rivers right in their own backyard what a shame that is not good enough for them. And this is after they just went to one of the most beautiful areas in the whole country, the Poconos, just a hop skip and a jump away and far less cheaper than renting a mansion in Alabama. Open your eyes.

Kate says it's 11 o'clock at night. Geez. I wonder if this was all the same day, the space camp, grocery shopping, and settling into the beach house. They sure make it seem like it is. What are Alabama's child labor laws and are they allowed to film children, even during the summer, from the early morning hours to almost the next morning? Doubt it, but as they state home to film with no one watching and holding them accountable, no one will ever be caught.

Next time, yet another vacation, at the beach in Alabama.