Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Child star success stories: Dad and Mom didn't quit their day jobs

Thanks to her Mom's diligence, child star Tatyana Ali 

grew into a well-adjusted adult.
The Chicago Tribune sat down with three former child stars to try to find out just what it was about their childhoods that led these well-adjusted adults to schools like Harvard and on to successful careers. 

Among some of the common denominators:

  • Parents didn't quit their mediocre day jobs. (Kate has apparently kissed nursing goodbye.)
  • The kids were driven by their own childhood passions, not their parents' ambitions. (It was obviously not an 18-month-old's idea to star in a T.V. show)
  • Parents encouraged their kids to pursue other interests outside of fame, like swimming for example. (Kate seems to do a lot of encouraging of school plays.)
  • Parents were on set at all times watching out for their children's well-being instead of schmoozing for their own benefit. (The Gosselin children were filmed several times without a parent on set)
  • Parents supported forward thinking kids who can move on smoothly from their famous past. "It's important to realize that it's something to be very proud of, but also to realize that it's in the past and to strive for something in the future," said tennis champ Tracy Austin. (Kate seems to be stuck in the past, constantly reliving filmed vacations, episodes, and creating new "episodes" in her head which she then plays out on Twitter and her blog for her fans.)

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    Jon's Twitter account goes public

    After nearly three years of being bashed in the public by Kate, Jon finally decided he wants a voice. When asked for updates on the kids, he tweeted:

    Jon Gosselin ‏ @jongosselin1
    there is nothing to tell, so dont follow me. they had enough over the last 6 years.go ask the other parent im not saying sh*t

    And when asked what his biggest regret was he said:

    Jon Gosselin ‏ @jongosselin1
    Trusting in others with out knowing the ramifications and outcomes that came with other peoples plans for me, whoops

    Stay strong, Jon. For the kids. 

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Discussion Thread: Kate on Dr. Drew

    Why all the crocodile tears and hand holding? Find out today on Dr. Drew's Lifechangers on the CW.

    (Love the re-run of the tin foil dress. Get the look here.)

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Recap: Giving Back, a once in a lifetime opportunity--6/20/11

    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. 

    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.

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    My Exploited Valentine: Parents at elementary school object to Sister Wives filming

    When "Sister Wives" went to [DELETED] Elementary School to film a Valentine's Day dance last week, some parents objected and lodged complaints with the school, citing privacy. Several other shows have filmed at the school and the parents want the school to change its filming policy.

    According to TMZTLC had no comment.  But a rep for the school district said, "The district heard the concerns of the parents involved and considered them when developing [the] compromise. In the past few months, we've had the Ellen show, ABC News, Oxygen Network, and countless local broadcasts filmed at our schools. TLC and the Brown family deserved the same." 

    Production reportedly donated $500 to the school. 

    Stand strong on the side of privacy, good parents. Four major productions have filmed at your school in just a few months plus local news outlets? Outrageous.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    'We like to be horrified by 19 Kids and Counting, but not like that'

    You can call us pro-life: An unborn child is a life that has a right not to be exploited

    The new season of 19 Kids and Counting promises to deliver lots of highs: tree planting, baby names, corn maize, music. And some incredible lows--the miscarriage of the Duggar's twentieth child. 

    Last night's season premiere featured Ma and Pa Duggar worried when the doctor couldn't find their baby's heartbeat. False alarm--she finally found it. But the doomed pregnancy, according to previews, will be chronicled in its entirety, including the moment when they find out the horrible news, followed by the baby's funeral. American's latest most exploited family has lost all sense of decency and boundaries. Wrote entertainment writer and recapper Richard Lawson, "We like to be horrified by 19 Kids and Counting, but not like that." Lawson went on to write:
    "The producers presumably had discussions about how to best handle this situation, and it seems they've chosen the most sensationalistic way rather than the most sensitive. The cruelty alone of the show title ending with '...and Counting' is enough to make you cringe. But to then stage a nervous yet ultimately happy doctor's visit at the end of the first episode, as if the season is looking toward new promise, when of course it's not, feels a bit beyond the pale. It feels like they're trying to trick viewers who aren't aware of what happened, hook 'em in with hope and them slam 'em down with a twist at the end."

    In other news, Michelle Duggar told Today this morning, "We would be open to more if God saw fit to bless us with more."

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Kate Gosselin: 'Nothing tastes as good as thin feels'

    Is Kate encouraging the pro-anorexia movement?

    Kate continues to be a horrible role model for teen girls and women. Her latest is this tweet, where she told a fan that this slogan (words eerily similar to what got Kate Moss in hot water) was one of her many mottos. In September, Kate tweeted a similar rallying cry: "Can never be tiny enough lol."

    In light of all of Kate's young, impressionable fans, we plead with her to retract her comments and to stop saying things like this.

    In 2009, another Kate, model Kate Moss, told fans she lives by the motto: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” The slogan was adopted by many pro-anorexia web sites. Moss was blasted by a variety of people in the industry, including other models and the groups Say No to Size Zero and Beating Eating Disorders (BEAT). The Advertising Standards Authority, a regulatory group in England, even banned t-shirts with the slogan. 

    Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S. A survey of female college students found that 58% felt pressure to be a certain weight, and of the 83% that dieted for weight loss, 44% were of normal weight.

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Dance Moms chassés its way to stage exploitation

    What does a fake reality show do to a real kid's psyche?

    Dance Moms, about a no-nonsense, abrasive Pittsburgh dance teacher and her young students, is turning into Jon and Kate Plus 8's biggest rival for Pennsylvania's most exploited kids. From ranking the girls in a pyramid each week, to filming the girls sad and crying when they make mistakes, to all the fighting that happens in front of the kids, this show is hot on our radar. 

    But turns out, even the star of the show admits a lot of it is fake.

    When asked about the infamous pyramid, in which the same girl is usually on the top, dance teacher Abby Lee Miller told TV Guide:
    I've never done that in my life. That has nothing to do with me. That's the show. They came up with that whole process. The whole pyramid thing was for the show because we could not do a new solo for every single child, and a new group and new duets and trios every single week. There's just not time available.

    As for the constant competitions in which the girls have just a week to learn their routines, Miller said: 
    All these competitions we're attending, I've never attended in my life. Teaching children a routine in a hotel hallway that they are performing onstage the next day? That's insane. Nobody would do that. 

    But Miller does admit she likes the perks of a reality show: 
    For the first time in my life at my age, I was at a dance convention, not sleeping on a roll-away, not on an air mattress with seven other kids in my room, but I actually had my own room. I thought, at this point in my life, I have done amazing things and I have dedicated my entire life — I don't have a husband, I don't have children — to my students. And this involves me. And it's the only thing I've ever done for myself and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

    So, real little girls living real lives. But, fake ones, sort of. A lot of it. Has Lifetime thought at all about the psychological implications this fake reality is having on little hearts and minds?

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    'Home Improvement' child star arrested on DUI charges, 'Harry Potter' had a drinking problem, and Aaron and Nick Carter's sister overdosed at 25

    It's been a sad week for former child stars, and reminds us of some of the serious problems fame brought to all three of the following kids. Here is the round-up.

    Taran Noah Smith arrested. The youngest Home Improvement kid was arrested after police found pot in his car. In 2001, he sued his parents over the money he made as a minor, alleging they were squandering his trust fund, including a house and a boat. "My mother always used to tell me to look out for the sharks, people who were going to take my money," Smith said. "Turns out she was talking about herself." 

    Daniel Radcliff was an alcoholic. The Harry Potter star admits he had a drinking problem. "I went into work still drunk, but I never drank at work … I can point to many scenes where I’m just gone. Dead behind the eyes.” Radcliff points to the pressures of all his obligations to the public as to why he turned to alcohol. "I was living in constant fear of who I’d meet, what I might have said to them, what I might have done with them, so I’d stay in my apartment for days and drink alone. I was a recluse at 20.” Radcliff also reveals how he was bullied in school for being a child star, and how hard it is to go out in public and be recognized all the time. 

    Leslie Carter overdoses. The sister of pop stars Aaron and Nick Carter was featured on the reality show "House of Carters" with her siblings. She overdosed earlier this week. 

    The Carter children have had a long-standing feud with their ex-manager--their mother. In 2007, 20/20 interviewed the family (for the second time). Reporter Chris Connely asked Nick and Aaron, "You know a lot of people out there are saying, guys, she sacrificed her life for these boys' careers, she gave them every opportunity. These ungrateful boys." To which Aaron replied, "But at the same time, we gave her a job for 12 years."

    Aaron expressed frustration with his mother's mismanagement of his money. He believes his mother did not pay him what he earned. "She's lied so much that she has to cover a lie with a lie," he said. 

    When Jane Carter asked what the price of fame was, she said, "The loss of my family." Four out of five of Jane's children were estranged from her, as well as her ex-husband. At the time of the interview, Aaron lived with his father. Ironically, Leslie Carter was the only child not to be estranged from her. Jane was her manager. "It's going to be fun this time," Jane said. 

    "Leslie, my advice to you would be, don't let mom manage you," Aaron said in 2007.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Mady and Cara to travel with Kate on Cruise

    Looks like Kate has resorted to using her own children to try to get people to book a spot on August's celebrity cruise on Royal Caribbean. After weeks of begging people to sign up, even adding "morning runs" with Kate to the itinerary, she's finally tweeted this:

     Kate Gosselin 

    Yep. It's true! Mady and Cara are sailing too! Can't wait to have a big girls week with our fans! Join US! 

    Will the children have obligations to the fans too, or do they get to just be kids?