We're catching up on some lost Recaps. And since we've been discussing how Kate has grifted her way through the past seven years, what a perfect episode to recap: Giving Back.
Coming up on Kate Plus 8! Oh how I love ironies. Kate and the kids are headed to Tennessee to volunteer at a food bank. But then after, (here comes the ironic part) as a reward for her one-time hard work selflessly helping others, Kate gets a colossally awesome freebie: She gets to drive a NASCAR race car around a track. The dream of so many blue-blooded Americans come true for her just like that. You would think she is Aladdin the way her life has turned out. Only, the bottle never runs out of wishes. Where are the kids, you ask? Why, they're on the sidelines watching Mommy get her freebie. Where's their reward?
Kate (i.e. the producers) thought it would be great to give back and feed the hungry, so they went to Johnson City, Tennessee to volunteer at a food bank called Second Harvest. This is so funny, for the amount of money it took to haul Kate, eight kids, Jamie, Steve and a production crew all the way to Tennessee, a thousand people could have had nice full bellies tonight. Maybe no food banks in PA wanted her? They were concerned what with Kate's view on portion control the homeless actually might leave Kate's food bank more hungry than when they went in? In all seriousness though, TLC had partnered with Second Harvest for awhile now, so that's the connection.
On the shuttle bus to Second Harvest, Kate lectures the kids: "When I go to do stuff like this I just try to keep an open mind and see where I can learn and what I can do."
What "stuff" like this has Kate ever done? No seriously, I want to know. We all know Kate is a taker and never a giver, to an embarrassing degree. This is the one time she gives back and it was only because they were trying to give the show a makeover during abysmal ratings. The trips were boring and no one cared, Australia was a ratings failure, and Kate herself even said they wanted to rework the show into a charity show (a plan that apparently fizzled out after this episode couldn't even draw more than a million viewers). "This is only the beginning for us! This is going to be the beginning of the Gosselin Give Back!" Kate told a local journalist in Tennessee. It's been a year, when will that giving back be starting up again? Also, is it really giving back when you're getting paid to film an episode? Did she donate her salary to charity too?
Mady would prefer to help out at some kind of animal charity. "They don't talk as much," she says. I can see why a kid who lives with Kate would appreciate that.
Some sincere Second Harvest worker named Rhonda is very excited that Kate and Co. is coming to help out. It's both sweet and kind of sad how open people are to Kate despite her history of mass exploitation and well, cruelty to her kids--and others. There are a lot of good people out there. Or maybe they just don't know who Kate is and what she is about.
Kate urges the kids to think about the fact that there are people who are hungry and do not have enough to eat. Kate, they don't need to think about it, they live it!
The kids look confused and guilty when Kate says this to them, which I don't like. The way to teach kids to help others is not to guilt them about it. There are better ways to teach them about this other than guilt-trip lectures.
Rhonda shows everyone around. The little kids pile onto the food scale. They weigh 275 pounds total. At 45 pounds average per six-year-old (this was filmed in March 2011), thankfully that sounds pretty healthy. They probably fill up at Jon's.
They tour the warehouse where the dry food is stored. Second Harvest has posted up notes from people they have helped. They are really touching actually. One is about how one family was living in a tent and Second Harvest's food kept them alive. Kate seems touched by these notes, and yet I think she's full of it. If she really cared about the needy, she would tell her fans to stop sending her gifts and give to Second Harvest instead. Until then, this is all an act for ratings. And she's done virtually nothing since this episode to continue giving back. She just keeps taking! If there's anything more selfish than never giving to the needy, it's using the needy in order to try to boost your own ratings and make more money for yourself.
They head to the kids' area to help pack up plastic bags with lunches of donated food. The kids seem to really be having fun. It would be great if their selfish and fake mother would do things like this with them more often. Oh, plastic bag cam! Snazzy, TLC.
Coming up! Kate and the kids scream uncouthly at a hard-working Second Harvest guy named Scott. By the way, this episode is a torturous hour long, so I hope you've buckled your seat belts.
We're back. They go into a huge freezer to see the perishable food. Walk in freezers scare me ever since I saw this old Lifetime movie about a call girl who murders her rich client and puts his body in his socialite wife's walk in freezer. His wife finally finds it at the end of the movie as the call girl chases her through the house trying to kill her too. Remember when schmaltzy lazy Saturday afternoon stuff like that was what made Lifetime so dang good? What happened?
"It was cold," is about the extent of Kate and the kids' description of this freezer part. Rhonda is still excited about Kate. Sweet innocent Rhonda. They box up some cans. Rhonda is doing a fine job explaining to the kids what to do but of course Kate has to interrupt with her loud two cents. Actually, in stingy Kate's case, she would keep her two cents, and even make you give her yours.
Scott, one of the Harvest Bank workers, wondered if it would be crazy and chaotic to work with the kids because he's seen them on T.V., but he's pleasantly surprised that in person the kids aren't at all like the characters they play on T.V.! Isn't it lovely that thanks to your T.V. show a perfect stranger thinks your kids are crazy and chaotic? Talk about setting kids up to fail. Also, Scott was suckered just like a lot of viewers. These are perfectly calm and nice kids, Kate just wants us to think life is crazy and chaotic because that's more dramatic and brings in more ratings. Eight well-behaved quiet little goslings, even if that's how they are in reality, really does not make good reality T.V. Kate and then the kids scream at Scott. "Scott, get over here!" one of the girls demands. Ugh, unbelievable. Kate, who started this whole thing, now says that the kids need to be polite. Like starting a fire and running away, that's Kate for you.
Kate is truly shocked at how much fun they had, which frankly, I find just sad. What wouldn't be fun about this? A big group of happy people, helping others, laughing and joking, and you even get to spend time with your kids. Of course this is fun. There is nothing not fun about this, except maybe that cameras are there to exploit it. "Fun comes in the oddest places sometimes!" Kate exclaims in disbelief. I think maybe she is used to fun being a comped hotel room, a silver-haired stud with an accent, and a bottle of Sake. Yes, fun can indeed be odd.
That afternoon, they go to a school to deliver the lunches they compiled earlier. A well-meaning school principal is also excited about this whole thing and is really encouraging to the kids.
Later, they head to the Salvation Army soup kitchen. The kids are tired and grouchy and some of them push each other as they get off the shuttle bus. This has been a long day and the last thing you want to do is make kids equate charity work with exhaustion and irritability. But alas, there's an episode to make and time to fill. Must keep filming. They tour the kitchen with Major Elliot. Kate confuses everyone by explaining that people come here for dinner who don't have mommies to make it for them. Really? This is a soup kitchen for orphans?
No of course not, Kate, people who cannot afford food in general come here. Orphans and non-orphans alike. There is an industrial size sheet tray of chocolate cake. Mmm. These portion sizes must be so overwhelming for Kate. She must feel like a midget. Sorry, little person. Thanks, LPBW! They help serve the food, but there is a lot more bickering this time. It's just too long of a day at this point. I hate when Kate uses the word "which" to mean "and." Aaden says the needy kids came to the soup kitchen because "they don't have as much food as we do." Is he sure about that?
|A reminder, again.|
Some kitchen volunteer says the needy kids were really excited to meet the Gosselin kids. That makes them sound like an attraction and a side show, and I don't like that. They are kids too no different than the kids getting served food. It's creepy to suggest otherwise.
Kate awkwardly talks to some of the needy kids, saying awkward things that embarrass them like "you're cute!" It's times like this I do feel a bit sorry for her, because her social skills are so abysmal I don't know how you would begin to fix that but I would start with a wrench and a jackhammer and lots of prayer.
Kate waxes on about how important it is to her for the kids to want to help other people. I'll give her credit, she seems to know what to say that sounds good, but she never does follow through. She is a talker, rarely a doer, and I hate talkers. Also, most successful people are doers not talkers, so it's surprising she's still hanging on here.
Kate does some boring radio spots the next morning to promote the food drive later that day. Um, um, and uhhhhh like, we're donation? is the extent of this part. Plus Kate dropping anvils that she just wishes and hopes she could drive a NASCAR race car someday. I wonder if anyone will make this dream come true for this poor kid with cancer! What's that? Kate is not a kid and doesn't have cancer? Coulda fooled me.
The kids are still cranky. Volunteering is great, but this vacation is turning into a lot of volunteering for such little kids. Truly, if you want a kid to want to ever do this again, better to start them off with a few hours at a time, not one long marathon week of it. It's too bad this experience could be turning them off from volunteer work forever. Leave it to Kate to screw this up. Kate spends an awful lot of time explaining how usually if the kids don't want to do something, she doesn't make them, but this time since it was a once in a lifetime experience she made them. (Why would volunteer work be such a once in a lifetime thing? Food banks are everywhere!) Not sure how I feel about that one. This is a nice opportunity, but the kids are tired too and they've already worked so much the past couple days. I do sense some defensiveness in Kate's tone over making her kids do this when they didn't really want to. She is very defensive of every single one of her questionable choices, which just indicates how wrong she knows she could be, and often is, deep down. Kate says people are going to take pictures of them and it's okay. Um, no it's not okay actually.
"I don't want to," Hannah says as they arrive at the food drive. If you don't want to you can wait in the bus, Kate tells them. Oh for God sake.
This is difficult to watch. There are tons of creepy fans everywhere. Fans approach the kids, take pictures, shake their hands. The kids look frightened to say the least. A couple of them are hiding back behind Kate. Even Kate admits they're not used to this like she is. I don't even want to think about what could happen to Cara and Mady on the cruise and how wrong it is to expose them to fans. I think this is way too much to throw on them at once with but a two-second warning on the bus beforehand. Please abort this. Abort! Kate says the kids are doing fine, the ones that want to do this anyway. No, they are not. Look at their faces! God, what a witch. Hannah isn't wearing an event t-shirt like the others and can be seen in the background sitting down on the floor with Jamie behind the table. Only the Golden Child could get away with that. But I have to say I find it interesting that Hannah, Kate's favorite, is the one who is most freaked out by everything Kate loves about being famous to the point where she won't even participate. But good for her.
They interview some fans who gush about how great it was to meet the kids. Blech. It scares me that several of them appear to have young children of their own. I love Sheeple No. 1, who starts to say that everyone loves Kate, and then cuts herself off and amends it to say well, everyone loves the kids at least. Ha, that was great.
Some young mother actually says it's great for Kate to get out places and show the kids. Jeepers, what are they, prized rose bushes? Sheeple No. 3, you're a charming and pretty Southern young lady but please get yourself some education about this mess! Start with the Evidence of Exploitation and Essential Reading sections of this blog.
Kate bitches a long while about how much easier it is to be famous when those dang kids don't come along and she has to watch them. Sigh, being a star is so tough. Oh, there's Steve behind Kate, looking for snipers and ready to whisk Kate off stage and into her limo in the rain should an emergency arise. It actually is raining, which several sheeple apologize to Kate for as if they can control such a thing, so it's a perfect set-up for a dramatic reenactment. Please do not make me Photoshop this picture, it would be sacrilegious.
(RIP, Whitney. Don't you just love how in videos back in the 90s, you could wear a business suit as your costume and that was totally fine? God, she sure did have class at certain times. Before Bobby.)
Look, we all know Kate much prefers to do her famous thing without the kids if the past six months is any indication. But judging by their reactions here maybe it's for the better.
More gushing sheeple and your creep-o meter will go off the charts here so you've been forewarned. It might remind you of what goes on on Twitter these days, only this is in person. Sheeple No. 4 shows her hospital bracelets and said she's under strict doctor's orders to be on bed rest for a week but came out to see Kate because she's her number one fan. Although she might be in the top five, I honestly don't believe Sheeple No. 4 can really hold a candle to Kate's number one fan, maybe if she drags herself to the food drive gushing blood and puss out of an open flesh wound I'd let her be number one, but I digress. Other sheeple are playing hooky from work and dragging along whipped husbands who look less than thrilled to be at the Superbowl for obsessed sheeple. Back to Sheeple No. 1, who says the kids feel like her family. I hear this all the time and yet it still elicits a big EWW! Sheeple No. 5 appears like a normal enough 20-something, but don't let that cute Southern accent fool you. She reveals her forearm, which bears a tattoo: "Alexis Faith." Oh, God, WHYYYYYY. Also, I've noticed, despite not wanting to notice, that Alexis seems to be one of the more popular kids to be obsessed with. I'm not exactly sure why, but this is weird and creepy and I can't even stand it.
Kate does a boring TV spot we've already seen. The short story from the very long interview (most of which they don't show) is Kate wants Gosselin Giving Back to be a regular thing. Ha, here we are a year later and what exactly happened with that? Maybe "regular" to Kate is once a year? No wonder she couldn't get pregnant on her own. The only good thing about this is the turnout was decent and they collected a lot of food. Children were terribly exploited and made to feel unbelievably uncomfortable, but at least some needy people were helped out. Kate says she feels comfortable in the public eye with public speaking, Umm, uh, honestly, like, you coulda fooled me. Oh my God, Rhonda is still going on about Kate! This woman has been talking for days about this. She is one of those people who fixates on one topic and talks about it for weeks before getting bored and going on to the next topic, but they never can talk about more than one thing at once. Really, Rhonda, give it a rest now and go do some good works.
They go grocery shopping with Rhonda for the needy. These poor kids must just be dead on their feet, this is now just way too much. Kate whips out her checkbook in the middle of the grocery store (could she be anymore awkward?) and writes a check to give to Rhonda for $740 for eight school lunches for the year--was that drawn from the Coogan Fund or Kate's account?
Next up, Kate gets to drive a NASCAR race car while the kids, who also worked so very hard these past few days and deserve something nice too, just kind of are left to wander around and watch. Sigh. This whole part is very boring and the short story is Kate sucks. At driving, at motherhood, and at life in general.
"I have dreams that I'm just driving and like the needle is just pinned. I just want to drive fast," Kate says. Yeah, we know Kate. You've gotten four tickets in two years! You didn't think we'd ever find out, did ya! You are lucky you haven't hurt yourself or much worse, someone else. You suck.
Finally, at long last, after Kate gets to have all her fun and decides she's had her fill, the kids get to take a few spins in the car. They love it. What a bizarre role reversal. Usually moms want to see their kids go first and have all the fun they can possibly take, and then, if there's time, Mommy will try it out a bit. It's opposite land in this family, at least when Kate is on her custodial time.
If everyone gives a little, we can get rid of hunger, Kate opines. Little tear. To donate to Second Harvest, check out their web site.