Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Discussion Thread: Green Thumb Gosselins

Kate Plus 8

Green Thumb Gosselins6:00 PM on TLC, 1 hr 2015 TV-PG

The Gosselins do landscaping as one their summer projects, but they also take time for lemonade, yoga and an unexpected burial.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Recap: 'Florida Fun.' Fla-rida NOT very fun.

Coming up on Kate Plus 8. Kate loves to deep sea fish. Does she deep sea fish a lot in the creeks and rivers of PA? I only remember one other time she tried this sport. She's totally one of those fake people who did something posh once only because they had a Groupon--like golf, or fencing, or Ethiopian food, and then later claims to just love it so much that it's a lifestyle for them. She is hopeful maybe this time the kids won't puke, but not really, because she's counting on that as a major plot line.

Kate doesn't do waterparks, because parenting is only about engaging in activities that you would independently schedule for yourself even if you were childless.

This year, their summer family vacation is in Fla-rida. Next up is a sand castle lesson. That sounds like fun. Obviously most people know how to build a simple sand castle, but I'd be interested in learning about the finer points of architecture for the really elaborate castles adults make.

Who are these instructors teaching them? They never explain. Mady quickly loses interest in all this, explaining it was just too hot that day to want to participate. This is sadly getting boring fast, likely because it's running way too long and I can already hear Betty White quipping about having to watch other people's vacation videos. The kids build some towers and the instructors show them different ways to make stairs and blocks on the towers like with spray bottles and what looks like butter knives.

Kate thinks the kids were hesitant to get involved in this project without her, Kate. Lol, what?! The kids are all really into it just fine, I don't think Kate is even a thought in their minds. What a narcissist. Where is Kate, anyway? Cigarette break? No wonder it's been so quiet and stress-free and boring.  Kate finally reappears to take an iPhone photo of their finished castle. A picture she won't think to post on Twitter because why post anything interesting on her social media feed?


No, not another thing Kate "typically" does. Gaaa! I'm typicallied out. Just once I'd like to see Kate introduce a segment by saying,  "now just to mix it up we're going to do something a-typical." Typically on vacation they plan some messy activity, this time it will be tie-dye. Kate honestly doesn't know where she got the idea back in the day to have a pudding war. Will it refresh her recollection if I suggest to her production thought of it? Mady spends a really long time explaining they have done tie-dye before. Bless her heart, she explains things just like her mother. How did they get all this tie-dyed stuff on the airplane, or did Kate find time to swing by Michael's while they were building sand castles to get all this, plus pick up some of those huge canopy tents you always see on movie sets? Heh.

The kids more or less seem to enjoy the activity. The producer sounds like he'd rather have a nap right now as he asks Kate if Kate likes to follow instructions or wing it. Does anyone care whether Kate prefers instructions or winging it? Does anyone care what anyone prefers as to this incredibly mind-numbing topic? That sounds more like a stupid interview question for a tech start-up and your answer is the difference between the offer or the boot, which is dumb. This segment is, mercifully, pretty short, more than likely because no big drama happened. I almost feel a tiny bit sorry for the editors trying to find usable footage to fill up an entire hour. Sounds like quite the task.

Next up, and this will later prove to be a very important moment so listen up! Hehe. Kate says, who is going fishing, and who is going to stay behind and clean the house with their nanny? So yes, as Kate later tweeted, she did give the poor vomiting children a choice whether they would like to vomit. And that choice was: hard labor or vomiting.

I can see a kid debating the finer point of this one in his head. Well, I know I probably am going to vomit because I've vomited on boats before, but maybe I will only vomit once or twice and the rest of the time I will have fun. I sure don't want to clean on vacation, so I guess I'll take my chances on the vomiting.

The only fair choice is to give the kids who stay behind an equally fun activity, period.

Why do they have to clean the house anyway? If you just tidy up as you go there shouldn't be much to clean, and it's completely unnecessary to clean this as you would your own home unless that's required as part of your rental. I can't imagine a nice house rental like this doesn't charge a cleaning fee to take care of that for you at the end of your stay. As long as you don't trash the place, you're fine. Sigh.

I see too she's one of those parents who lures the nanny along on a wonderful all-expense paid trip to Florida, only to leave them home to mop while you all get to have the fun. They're such joys.

I think it's funny in a random way and at times somewhat offensive when people pull out a Southern accent for no particular reason, which Kate suddenly does when she says she's gonna catch the biggest fish. Lol.

Cara tries to explain to Kate it's likely the children are going to be puking, so thanks but no thanks. It sounds like she mostly doesn't want to go not because she has an objection to deep sea fishing but because she just doesn't want to watch children vomit. Who would, sheesh. Aaden is looking at something toward the ceiling near Hannah, and is getting rather close to her personal space, seemingly unaware she is there. Hannah appears to smash her foot into Aaden's in bitter retaliation, to which he yelps in obvious pain. This goes unchecked, of course. She could have tried "excuse me, Aaden, you're in my personal space" first before physical assault.

The three older girls and Hannah wisely stay behind to do hard labor.

A minor point I haven't seen anyone mention. Kate says she was thrilled she got at least five of the kids to join her. It was probably obvious to the children right then this made her happy. Another reason this was not a "choice" for the children, or an impossible one anyway. Stay behind and disappoint Mommy or at least see her indifferent, or make Mommy "thrilled." If they didn't get the message then they will get it now after watching this episode, and it will affect future "choices" she offers to them. The deck was stacked against them before the "choice" was ever even presented. The system is rigged.

I do have a genuine little laugh when Kate says to one of the girls, who is whining about something or other, I'll give you a piece of gum but be quiet. A rare truly funny moment frazzled parents may relate to.

Haha, Kate can't really explain why she likes fishing when asked. How could she, she's done it once, twice? I think someone hit the nail on the head in that she just likes this because she likes the attention from the men on the boat. Doesn't matter if it's fishing for tuna in the Atlantic or fishing a spider out of a kiddie pool. The activity itself is not what interests her, it's the attention. She finally comes up with some weak answer about how blah blah she likes open water. So did they.

In any case, deep sea fishing seems like such a ridiculous sport from someone who lives in such a landlocked area to take up unless they really have the time and means to sustain such a sport (and I know some do, and that's great for them). The reality is it's prohibitively expensive not only to charter your own a boat but to even get to locations you can do fishing like this in the first place. What a silly hobby for someone like her with eight kids to raise. If she's really sincere about this fishing thing why not take up something like fly fishing? I've heard there are some wonderful spots in PA's rivers for that. She could even get the kids into it and no one would vomit. 

Dolphins, a pirate ship. Choppy water. Green kids. Some of the kids are catching a few fish and are proud of themselves. Notably Leah says they have done deep sea fishing before in North Carolina (a previous episode as you recall) and "it wasn't very fun." Sigh. 

Kate proves how selfish she is by saying she's sad the kids just don't take to the ocean because she loves it. That's wonderful for you. But your kids don't.  So why do you keep on insisting on doing this to them? There are just so many other fun activities you could do with kids in Florida.

Back at the ranch, why are the girls not doing hard labor? Wth! 

Instead they're planning to make a fun dinner. They suggest veggie pizza. Add a hearty mixed salad and that sounds delicious. Their nanny sure is a barrel of laughs. Just kidding, she's totally checked out, like hello-anyone-home checked out. 

Mady is getting into a sassy argument with her nanny about whether the meal they are planning has to include meat. While I don't like the way Mady is copping an attitude with her nanny (any good nanny wouldn't tolerate such nonsense for a second), I do have to say Mady is right. The girls can cook a great, healthy, filling meal for the family without including meat. I will say this though, the nanny may be worried more about Kate, since there's a good chance Kate might come home to a vegetarian meal and be mad at the nanny for allowing this. So I'm tempted to give Andrea the benefit of the doubt on this one.

A long discussion about who is good at cooking and other boring stuff. They're filling a lot of time by having Mady read the whole shopping list. These poor editors, they're trying so hard. 

Back at the boat, Kate's got something on her hook reeling it in like a boss, and this time it's not her ex-husband.  She's having the time of her life, smiling like a goon, while her kids sit dejectedly behind her, growing greener by the minute.

She can't just quit while she's ahead. They've already caught some great fish. Instead they decide to push farther out, where the waves are much worse.

I won't belabor this part too much other than to say Aaden eventually gets sick to his stomach, and there's a lot of puking. Kate actually tells them this is all mind over matter. Okay, Tom Cruise. 

Kate lists all the things she brought to help with this, like ginger ail and towels, not one of which includes medication for seasickness. She also admits she doesn't suffer from seasickness so what does she know. Right, that's my point. What a doofus. 

The girls are making lasagna. They go on some tangent about present wrapping. Yawn. It's good for teenagers to bring a friend. Yes, genius.

Kate's back on the pole. The fishing one that is. And there goes Leah. Kate keeps reeling as she watches her puke, feigning concern. She later goes into a long explanation about why she didn't go help her that doesn't make much sense. But I do notice as she reels Kate's hair is getting precariously close to the reel and I imagine how hilarious it would be if it got tangled up in there. Bitch got tangled! Alexis is now in tears. Aw.

A producer asks Leah when she started to feel sick. Um, what the heck does that matter? What a creepy intrusive question. Leah rolls her eyes and says she doesn't want to talk about this, and good for her. Jesus, I approve of that eye roll. I can't wait until they don't want to talk about anything much less their vomiting habits.

Kate finally, finally, calls it a day when Alexis tells her they all want to go home except Kate. Poor things. Kate the martyr says she had to call it a day because sometimes moms have to do that. Um, what does being a mom have to do with making compromises for your loved ones? That's what any decent person would do much less a mom when everyone else around them is vomiting. And good Lord, a good mom never would have taken the kids on this trip in the first place, or would have gotten them strong sea sickness medication, or would have turned around much sooner, well before the point where the children were suffering. I cannot believe after all this she still has hope they can get back on a boat together someday. No! Stop it! My God. On a positive note, this little stunt prompted a big sheeple fleecing like we haven't seen in years, so. Lol. 

The lasagna the girls made looks great and they all came home to a yummy dinner. Kate actually with a straight face acts like she never, or rarely, has had someone wait on her with dinner ready when she gets home and that it's so nice. Mady is pretty proud of this dish and the fact that it's vegetarian. I wish she had more constructive activities like this to harness her energy. Most of the kids really loved it, aw.

Commercials. We're back, and Kate doesn't enjoy water parks and therefore they've never gone. Uh huh. She really doesn't see the irony there to the deep sea fishing trip they just did.  Amazing. 

We watch a family we've never met go to a water park. Betty White, where are you? Pass the rumspringa!! Mady doesn't want to be here. Mady doesn't want to be much of anywhere apparently. 

Kate is worried about the inability to control eight kids at a water park. How do school groups do it? Hannah gives her huge lip about Kate wanting them to stay in the same group, which I understand is a real drag, but like Andrea said I'm not sure how else they're going to supervise them. There are great things about having a lot of siblings and some down sides, and they're eleven now and are really going to have to grow up about some of the downsides and just deal with it.

Kate practically humps this inner tube in the shape of an eight, she loves it so much. I don't know if I would see that so much as an "eight" inner tube as opposed to just a double circle one. Only thing better would be an inner tube in the shape of a dollar sign, eh? 

This episode is an hour and three minutes? That extra three minutes is not fair!

Mady sucked it up and admitted she had fun. Well that's good.

The kids really want Kate to join in, which of course they don't show them really saying (they never show the kids saying half the things Kate says they do) but Kate doesn't want to do much because she's.....afraid of losing her top????


Awkward. Anyway Kate finally agrees to do the lazy river which I know is much more fun to actually be in than to watch strangers and their kids go on. Hey, I once recovered and returned someone's lost waterproof camera I found in the lazy river. I am a lazy river hero. Oh god, the only thing that could make this worse is if Kate starts to talk in a string of up-tilt questions.....and there she blows.

The kids now every day ask to go back to the water park. Every day? Wow. Do the kids have any concept of how much it costs to take eight kids to a waterpark? They are old enough to be made aware of such things and to not make such demands daily. Geez. I'm just thinking, if you're so afraid of losing your top at the waterpark, why not just wear a one piece? The Lord helps those who helps themselves. 

Commercials. TLC really is peddling the Duggars hard. Apparently in 2015 "cancelled" means more like "cancelled only until most viewers forget whatever the scandal of the month was that caused us to cancel it."

We're back and at some place called Gator Beach where we will do a redux of Alexis handling an alligator. If there's one thing quite noticeable about this episode is there was no theme or direction, no "storyline." It's just a bunch of random activities stitched together into 63 minutes in the hopes that at least a few of them will cause some drama. Who even knows if any of these activities occurred in the order they show them. What it has done is made this trip seem very jam packed and whirlwind. On vacation I just want to relax sometimes. I feel sorry for Alexis in that she acts like she thinks the man running the alligator show actually chose her from the crowd randomly. Kate is sneering from the sidelines trying to act concerned for what she is doing, which is of course completely safe and benign. Later they all taunt some small alligators with food on a pole. Gross, I hate such places. I can't believe Kate says Alexis enjoyed her "alder-gaters." She hasn't said it like that in like eight years, just stop it.

Not another packing segment. The only highlight is the epic eyeroll Hannah gives Kate, heh. Parting is such sweet sorrow, Juliet opines. 

To make the episode stretchhhhhh to fit the time they now show us a bunch of "recap" clips from this episode. Lol, that's too much. 

Every year is one less year Kate has with her children? That sounds terribly morbid. I've definitely heard kids grow up too fast, but never quite heard it put that way. 

Next time, antiquing and then someone will get chopped!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Discussion thread: Kate Plus 8 'What's Old is New'

Kate Plus 8

What's Old Is New9:00 PM on TLC, 1 hr 2 min 2015 TV-PG
Kate takes Mady antiquing to find some deals on vintage items. Meanwhile, the family takes a trip to the Land of Little Horses in Gettysburg, Pa.; and Kate judges the kids' cooking competition.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Discussion thread: Kate Plus 8 'Florida Fun'

Kate Plus 8

Florida Fun6:00 PM on TLC, 1 hr 3 min 2015 TV-PG
The gang is still in Florida, where some of the kids go deep-sea fishing, but their adventure is cut short by seasickness. Later, Mady and Cara look up recipes to cook the family dinner; and the kids have fun on their first trip to a water park.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Recap: 'School's Out!' Jim Boobs gets locked in a room without a muzzle and bitches her way out

Coming up on Kate Plus 8. Which I guess was cancelled, then back for some specials, now back for a "season"? I liked the olden days, like in the 90's, where when your favorite show was cancelled it really was dead and you mourned and cried and then moved on and found a new and better show and hoped maybe someday you'd see those people again at an autograph trade show you stumble upon in a Burbank mall.

Anyway, coming up there will be a lot of whining and arguing and drama, and the comment of the day goes to the lovely Leah, who, arms crossed, quips, "This show should be called Kate Plus Kate." Baw! The kids are finally old enough to get it, and it's glorious.

They heavily promote the terribly awkward Bachelorette date complete with a NYC helicopter ride. Oh, they know that's the pinnacle moment of the "season." The budget was all in on that episode. At least the guy seems very nice for an actor, although I half expect him to hand her a head shot at the end of the night in case she's ever interested in booking him again.

Kate doesn't know what's the proper way to say goodnight at the end of the date. Is this really that hard? Maybe it is for someone who doesn't experience emotion. Usually a polite hug is fine, whether you like him or her. If there's sparks and it was a really spectacular date, a little kiss is appropriate. Kate however shuffles into her limo, the inside glowing with halogen blue lights, and gives him a little acrylic finger wave, avoiding eye contact. Not even a full wave, just a forefinger. She will never get married again if she can't even wave with her full hand at the poor guy.

There's a lot of blah blahing about the beach and how she's sure many families like going to the beach during the summer. Many families could never possibly afford to go to Florida for 10 days in the summer let alone go to the beach every year as she says they do, but she's tone deaf to that.

The kids, the girls namely, pretty much give her lip to everything she asks them to do. The kids are going to pack their own bags for the first time ever? Aren't they 11 and 14?? I wonder if they will also get to feed themselves on their own this year, and even wipe themselves. Geez.

Kate is explaining all this in excruciating detail, without a stitch of make-up on. She is really getting comfortable with the cameras. We flash back to another recent 1 percent boring vacation in Mexico. I keep thinking of the great Betty White, who once said of Facebook, "In my day, seeing pictures of peoples' vacations was considered a punishment!" Oh, it's still a punishment here, Betty.

They head to an unnamed department store because the store probably wouldn't give their permission to use their name. Looks like a JC Penney or Bon-Ton, one of those places that has "semi-annual" home sales semi-weekly. In the parking lot they're all walking just fine, two and three-abreast and relatively close to the parked cars. No other cars are driving around. Kate barks that she wants them to walk away from the middle of the "street" and walk "single file." The kids mostly just ignore her, which is hilarious. Actually, one of my pet peeves is circling the parking lot looking for a spot and there are people walking in the middle of the road you can't get around. You feel like it would be a little much to beep at them, especially when they're bogged down with several shopping bags, yet you don't want to crawl around at 2 mph for the next 30 yards either following behind them waiting for them to get to their car and get out of your way. But since there are no cars circling to be found, is it really worth nagging them about this?

Aw, poor Joel has a back ache and feels sick to his stomach, but according to Kate, he wanted to go shopping anyway. I find it rather disturbing Joel asks his mother for permission to sit down. He has to ask her? Just sit down if you want to sit down. You're her child, not her hostage.

Joel, bored with the coach conversations about this, says I just didn't feel good.

But, but, tell us more. Did you puke? Was it everywhere? What was your temperature? Is it rabies, or amebic dysentery? The sheeple want to know. Autocorrect to this day still wants to change sheeple to something else, this time it was "shekel." Well, tis the season! L'Chaim!

Kate immediately had thoughts of he's sick and, literally, "oh my gosh we have to travel tomorrow!" but then immediately realized she literally doesn't care if someone is sick and they have to travel tomorrow because typically what does that matter. For someone so organized, should they be buying luggage the day before a big vacation? I always like to wipe down new luggage and let it air out a few days to get the formaldehyde smell out. Plus what if they don't have what you're looking for? You'll have to take your old luggage on the trip and that would be just terrible.

Kate was hoping for six different colors of luggage. I don't know how realistic that hope is unless you shop online. Isn't it funny how dated this process already seems, going to a box store and picking out luggage?

How do you read reviews and know which ones the wheels fell off within six months or the zipper broke? What if you pick something out and realized later it only has 2 1/2 stars, or what if you saw it online for 20 bucks cheaper plus a coupon code? That would suck. These days you go try out the luggage in the box store then go home and buy it online, and box stores are desperate to figure out what to do about that. In any case I would be happy to just watch Kate browse luggage on Amazon for the same amount of time we watch her go through these shenanigans in this store, it can't be much more boring and at least poor sick Joel could go to bed.

Different colors helps keep everything organized. I get that, but wouldn't it be easier to just tie six different colored ribbons on the handles? Surely there is a Joann Fabrics nearby to help with that.

Aaden and the girls really want to buy some stuffed animal neck pillows. That strikes me as rather babyish but I guess whatever makes them happy. Another girl is approaching Kate with a memory foam travel pillow. Memory foam? Lol. I'm sure that makes a hell of a lot of difference 14 hours into a trans-Pacific flight. What's next, the twins want to buy Rachel Ray's garbage bowl? The kids are behaving as if a lot of whining and begging has gotten Kate to cave before. And I bet it has, because they hold some serious collateral on her.

They finally decide on their bags, and it looks like she gave in on the neck pillows, heh. This segment was only about four minutes but it sure felt like four hours. I can't really get a good look at the luggage nor know much about any luggage but my own, but some of the posters here said it is pretty expensive. Naturally. Unless you go to a discount place like Target or Walmart, luggage often is crazy expensive and I'm not sure why. Seems a little scammy.

Commercials! Tomorrow they're going to Flar-ida. Heh, you can't take the PA out of the TFW.

The little kids are going to pack their luggage? Who? The 11-year-olds? I took 41 11-year-olds to Sydney last July, six adult chaperones, and no one was nearly this helpless with their luggage.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I could have sworn either TLC or Kate vowed many years ago never to film in the children's bedrooms. I recall them being smug about it too, like of course we wouldn't do that how dare you suggest that! Yet here we are, in their bedroom, filming. They talk to a male production member, a producer or camera man I suppose, about the inexplicably boring subject of packing their own bags. We have, literally as Kate would say, been talking about this subject the entire episode. Just this subject. The door is closed. Sigh.

You know, the whole house is very cluttered in general. It's not Little People level, but it's getting there. That would drive me nuts. There are kitchen gadgets and various crap all over the kitchen, and their bedroom floor is covered with American girl paraphernalia. They have lots of cabinets, shelves and other storage materials, put things away. Kate doesn't work, surely she has time for a little tidying up every day.

The twins tease Alexis about how she rotates the same three outfits over and over. That's common for a child that age and not a big deal as long as you wash them. She'll outgrow it. That's nothing, often boys her age want to wear the same one outfit over and over. Cara has some graphic on the bodice of her shirt that they must not have gotten permission to show because they blur it out, but it's in her bodice area so there's this weird constant blur on poor Cara's chest right where they would tend to blur the Girls Gone Wild women on those commercials. Sheesh.

Mady tries to help Alexis branch out and try out some different outfits just like those montages in the movies where the girl tries out lots of different looks. Where are these outfits coming from? This makes Alexis very uncomfortable, she thinks the outfits are "harsh" and "ugly" but this is a normal sister thing to do I suppose. I think they should leave her alone and let her wear what she wants, but sisters never do. If Collin is the child singled out from the boys, Alexis is singled out from the girls. All the other sisters treat her differently, like she's odd. I feel awful for her.

Well that didn't take long, Kate has taken over the packing for the boys. Lol.

There's a lot of harmless teasing and joking among the kids, and it's a relief to see. At least some of them seem to enjoy and appreciate each other instead of everyone hating each other all day long.

Kate is still going on about the packing like this is interesting, gesturing widely with her fake nails. You know what's harsh and ugly? Those things.

Is that a black and white professional photo of Jon in the background, kissing one of the newborns? I think I see a candle on the shelf there too. That must be the butsudan to him, may he rest in peace Amen.

The packing shockingly went well, Kate opines. But she stepped right in and fixed it all, so what does she mean?

Andrea, the childcare girl Kate can't give the respect to call their nanny, is going on the trip with them and she also went with them to Australia and Mexico. I don't remember her at all. Marley is going with the twins as their bribe. Kate says she knows they've been to the beach a lot but that's where the kids want to go, and Kate loves it, too. Funny, in the preview Mady clearly says she hates the beach. Or maybe her kids just want to go where ever makes her, Kate, happy, because it's just easier that way.

They talk at length about how excited the kids were to find out they were going to the beach. They shook the floor with excitement. Really? After Mexico and the other fun swag and trips they've gotten this year they're still this engaged? Color me surprised. Why do I get just a little bit of satisfaction about seeing that harpy having to fly coach these days, and in the back of the plane too? Lol.

Kate assigns them their rooms in their gorgeous house rental. Is she looking at a notation on her phone for this or is she just using it for a flashlight? Number one, she can't remember the assignments by memory? Number two, can't she just assign them on the fly if she must? I've never seen someone waste so much effort being "organized."

Aaden, Joel and Alexis together? I feel like they're getting a little too old to have to shack up with opposite genders. Not that anything inappropriate would happen, but it's just a matter of respecting a child's privacy and understanding they're getting to the age where everything is embarrassing including having to room with your brothers. Alexis looks dismayed. Well that sucks.

I haven't the foggiest idea why Kate is arguing with the twins about the room assignments. They're not paying, they have a nice room they don't have to share with the opposite gender, deal with it.

The ungrateful twins are upset over something or other they never explain, to which Kate says she has to share a bathroom with five girls and three boys, so this is fair. God, I hate when I agree with Kate. This is a beautiful house, any room is a good room, who cares?

The bottom line is though, this is not a discussion. You don't negotiate with teenagers on nonsense like this. It's clear these girls perpetually feel slighted, and maybe in many ways they have been over the years. But when you start seeing slights in virtually anything your parent ever does, it gets exhausting for the parent.

I think a huge part of Kate likes this drama. She likes to see the twins get strung out, and then she likes explaining the justification behind her wonderful ideas for them as they get even more upset. I think she likes the power she has over them. She won't just tell them this is your room, deal with it, and walk away, because that's not dramatic and interesting. The twins suggest Kate take this room, and Kate refuses. Part of me wants to yell at the screen to just switch rooms and end this. But now I'm thinking no, teenagers don't get to tell their mother how it's going to be, even if their mother is Kate and she might deserve it. The teens could ask her nicely if she would consider the merits of taking this room and switching, but she doesn't have to if she doesn't want to. That's not how they approached it though. They were not polite. They were rude and whined and treated Kate like Kate was being cruel to them when she wasn't. Kate's right on this. And a lightning bolt just struck me down.

The kids are all hugging Kate and thanking her. For what? TLC paid for this and likely planned all of it, do they still not understand that? They understand a lot else. I think Mady at least was being a little sarcastic there. Or patronizing. Funny.

Commercials, and we're back. They're staying in what I would call a gated golf course community popular in Fla-rida beach towns. The rental comes with two extra long golf carts to drive down to the beach. They pile them high with beach stuff and hit the road. The kids are griping the whole ride down. I really don't care what they're whining about this time, I've started to tune them out. A tiny portion of the ride involves getting out onto a main road and then making a left turn to the beach. This scares Kate, and she admits she drove like a granny. Safety's first! Kate cries. I think the expression is "safety first" but I understand what she means.

The kids loved the beach and the water. Alexis is so bored talking about all this on the couch she tosses her head back and clutches her forehead. Betty, please pass the sangiovese, we still have 30 minutes to go of this.

Just like in the preview Mady says she hates the beach and always has, including the sand, swimming, and outside in general. Lol. She's kind of an indoor girl, as Jack Dawson would say.

As they head back to get some lunch, the older girls were, wait for it, stopped and chatting with three boys. There must be at least a couple yards distance between the two genders.

"No, that's not okay with me," Kate says. It's not okay with her the twins talk to boys from more than an arm's length away? Why, Jim Boob? I mean, Boobs.

Mady and Cara explain that the boys were simply asking what was being filmed. That sounds credible. Seems like that will often happen when you bring an entire production crew onto a quiet little beach. Lookie loos are going to be curious and ask. Mady tosses her hair and says she told the boys, "If you want to see more of this, like, watch it!" Cara cracks up. Heh.

For Kate's part, she accuses Mady of flirting. I don't know if I would call that flirting so much as showing off. Either way, Mady didn't do anything wrong.

Commercials. The Duggars are coming back and even Anna is now speaking, holy goodness. Anna says it was heartbreaking to hear what had happened. Which part? Is she talking about the child molestation perpetrated by her husband or the fact that the vicious and vindictive media broke the story? Because the latter is all her sisters-in-law seem to be upset over. I don't know if heartbreaking is so much the word as terrifying for the safety of your three young children. If there's one thing the Duggars have done is give me perspective. Kate seems as harmless as the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz compared to that f-ed up family. Or maybe she's the scarecrow. Whichever one didn't have a brain.

Kate i.e. production found this game Escape Zone where you have 60 minute to solve puzzles and get out of a room. Like we've talked about I've done something similar called Exit Game and it was fabulous. But with Kate at the helm we all can predict how fun this will be.

I don't like Mady's lip about this. She says Kate needs to accept the fact that they are not a team. I have no idea why Mady to this day still feels so antagonistic about the family as a unit but I don't like the younger children hearing such negativity. Not that they don't get it from their mother all the time. This is rich, Kate feels team work is important and that she has to instill the idea of working together into her children. She has done nothing but create divisiveness among the children, how can this woman not see that? I think she intentionally pits the children against each other because she's terrified they might some day band together against her.

She hopes the kids someday will stick together when they're older. Heh, she might not like that if they all decide to estrange her together. Be careful what you wish for.

Sadly, Colin is nowhere to be found during this activity, so I guess it's a family team minus one.

This room is much more cluttered than the Exit Game I played. It's full of colored belts, jackets, helmets, clocks, things posted on the wall, books, white boards. I think you would need a big group to be successful in this room just to sort through all the junk.

Thirty minutes in Kate has already lost it and is snapping and yelling at everyone while just leaning against a counter and not helping. She snatches a book out of Mady's hand and says "Who died and left you in charge?" Wtf! It's just a game, and if Mady wants to take a leadership role in it she can if she darn well wants to. It's not like Kate was contributing much just standing there helplessly.

"We" get stressed and "we" fall apart, Kate explains. You, TFW. You. At least Mady was still trying to solve clues at that point.

"You are stupid," Mady says. I'm not sure who she is saying that to, I think it's Kate.

Commercials, and we're back. Twenty minutes left and they seem to be onto something, and are turning off the lights and finding clues I guess you can only find in the dark. Kate's shouting orders, barking at them, and now that things are actually moving along she's suddenly back in the thick of it instead of along the sidelines feigning a headache. Heh, she's a fair weather Escape Game companion. Those are the worst! Mady remarks that Kate gets way too competitive.

I don't understand why Kate is competitive in this scenario. Competitive against what? They're on the same team, or is she too stupid to understand that. In any case, I found when I played it's best to be calm during the game and not get so frantic. It can help to slow down, read all the clues again, and take your time.

Even one of the girls has to tell her, "It's just a game, Mommy!" Geez Louise, that's what we in child welfare call "parentified."

This room does seem hard. They're flipping through what looks like a periodic table textbook. My word, no thank you.

They're getting all kind of clues up on this TV screen. Wouldn't you know it with two seconds left they break out of the room. Kate was right, this season did bring some twists and turns!

The instructors were amazed they got through with just two seconds left. It's not that amazing. What would be amazing is if they got through this without any hints. They got tons of hints including telling them what to do with the numbers they had. That's not really beating it at all. By the way the instructor said earlier no one makes it out without a hint. No one ever? So maybe they should make the room a little easier then. Some people, like me, preferred to play this game without hints because it's more satisfying that way. Getting through something hard but with a bunch of hints from Big Brother along the way doesn't mean much.

People over 40 shouldn't say holy crap. People over 30 shouldn't say holy crap either for that matter.

They take a photo with a "winners" sign. The kids seem very proud of themselves, so that's nice. Poor little Colin missing all this. He would have loved it.

Commercials, and Kate and the nanny are making Korean bbq for dinner. Did Kate get another nip tuck? Those girls!

Kate said it. She said Voldemort! May he rest in peace.

What are we, Alexis asks curiously? Just mutts, Kate remarks lazily. Opportunity blown. Contrary to popular belief, Kate says, she actually cares about their heritage. Popular belief? Was there polling done on this issue? Lol, what a narcissist! She cares about their heritage, right, which is why she blew off their important question about their heritage just now, heh.

Jon is Korean-Hawaiian. No, no, he's not, dummy. Hawaiian "influences," she says a bit afterward. Yes, that I will give her.

I want them to look at who they are as a good thing, and support it, Kate explains. Why on earth would you ever look upon who you are as a bad thing, especially Korean, which is such a colorful and rich culture and heritage? That should just be a given, like saying my life philosophy is to just be nice to people. TFW doth protest too much.

Kate loved what she made and the kids like it too except Cara who is vegetarian.

So, what is in Kate's Korean bbq? They never explain. I've never made it, only been to Korean bbq restaurants, which I very much recommend if you get the chance to find one. L.A. has a Korea town and I imagine other cities do too.

You know, this is part of why these episodes are so mind numbing. Anything remotely interesting, like their heritage and the Korean bbq ingredients, is glossed over and we spend most of the time watching them pack luggage and then escape a room we don't understand.

Kate is honestly amazed at her dinner. Heh, she's something else. Our Asian dinner is out of the way, Kate says. Yes, get that out of the way right away, please. "Asian" cultural heritage activity: check!

Kate has much more planned for the kids. Sweet, there's more episodes to come from Fla-rida, including potentially, some vomit. The sheeple/shekel will be thrilled.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Discussion thread: Kate Plus 8 'School's Out'

Kate Plus 8

School's Out!6:00 PM on TLC, 1 hr 2 min 2015 TV-PG
Season 4 begins with the end of the school year and a trip to Florida. Also: Kate cooks a traditional Korean barbecue dinner and discusses the kids' heritage.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Kate on Today show

Kate is slated to make an appearance on Today this morning with Kathie and Hoda.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Law and Order SVU: Patrimonial Burden

Last night's Law and Order: SVU was a brilliant ripped-from-the-headlines satire based heavily on the Duggars and other high profile sex abuse scandals, including a side plot pulled from the story of sex offender and Jon and Kate editor Bill Blankinship. If you missed it, you can watch the full episode on NBC.com or below.

Who done it? Was it the pervert camera man who saved naked footage of the girls? What about the creepy older brother who was shipped off to Ecuador for a "mistake"? Could the Warren Jeff-like pastor-slash-lawyer have something to do with this? Are the Bakers really a Bakers dozen or will DNA prove otherwise? Mariska and the team crack the case within the hour with a couple great zingers (Chastity Empire, lol!), a lot of binge watching and some solid detective work. Well done, SVU.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Blogger and reality star Jaime Primak Sullivan defends exploiting her children

Facing mounting criticism from her readers after posting daily updates and photos of her young children, the Yahoo mommy blogger and 'Jersey Belle' star lashes out.

Sullivan says it's okay to exploit her kids. Here, we respond to her flawed and misguided reasoning.

  • Sullivan says the support of strangers is a beautiful thing.

Our response: It's normal for human beings to want to feel loved and supported. However these emotions almost all feel deeper and more sincere when they come from people you have a stake in, namely family and friends. Most strangers probably have all good intentions when it comes to offering support to another stranger, but how do you distinguish the good from the unhealthy or even sinister, especially when the support is for your little children? And why aren't these strangers concentrating their support on their own friends and family?

  • Sharing her children's humor brings joy to her 100,000 readers, which in turn brings Sullivan joy.
Our response: Again we ask, wouldn't the emotion of joy be felt much deeper if it were a grandparent, husband, friend or sibling your children brought joy to? What's more, children should not be brought into the world to bring other's joy. That puts too much of a burden on a young child who will not always feel silly or joyful. A child needs to be free to experience a variety of emotions, including getting angry and acting out, without the pressure put on him to make others happy all the time, much less complete strangers.
  • I never post if they ask me not to, Sullivan says.
This is good I suppose. However, it's not enough. The Sullivan children are not teenagers like the Gosselin twins, getting to an age where they fully understand what they want the public to see and not see. They are only seven, six, and four years old. None of them are even remotely old enough to understand the implications of posting a photo on social media. They are not old enough to even be told about what physical and emotional dangers could befall them from such posts, let alone capable of understanding those dangers. Sullivan needs to be the adult here and make these adult decisions for them instead of burdening them with decisions they are not old enough to understand. Sullivan also needs a much better understanding of her children's emotional and cognitive development before burdening her children with the complex decision of whether something should be posted on social media.
  • The risk the children might someday look back on what Sullivan did and resent it are not any greater than letting a child play football, go trick-or-treating at night or to a sleepover, or letting a child ride a bicycle down the street.
Not knowing how her kids will feel someday, it's hard to compare risks. The risks may be the same. They might be less, they might be much more. It will depend on her individual children.  However the risks Sullivan compared social media to have a very important distinction. Those other risks all enhance childhood to a degree so important that it's worth any negligible danger. Those risks all promote a child's social and emotional development. It's important for children to strike out into the world and learn how to navigate it, whether that's on a bicycle or at a friend's house, or playing a team sport.

Social media, in striking contrast, does not provide any benefit to her children. Social media does not make her children's lives any better or worse. It certainly makes Sullivan feel better. It clearly justifies her, makes her feel important, makes her feel validated, and is financially lucrative. But her children reap none of these benefits. They're just kids, too young to feel the complex emotional gratification Sullivan does after every "like". 

  • Sullivan believe the risk of pedophiles coming after her children is unlikely and overstated.
Why take the risk at all when there is no benefit to them to plaster them all over social media? 

  • As a parent, Sullivan has a "given" right to decide what's best for her children.
She does. And when she chooses to make those rights public, readers have a right to criticize it.  As one comment said so pointedly on Sullivan's blog post, "The real reason(s) that you let people watch your kids online is for the money and because you want to be popular."

Final thoughts. As for the #noshameparenting hashtag, talk about confusing the issue. No one is asking anyone to feel shameful about parenting. We're simply asking that parenting be done in private. What's particularly frustrating about this situation is that Sullivan is a smart and savvy businesswoman who has made it on her own. She spent years in Los Angeles as president of a highly successful PR firm for some of the hottest bars and nightclubs, and recently started venturing into movie production. Her husband is a high powered lobbyist  She doesn't "need" to exploit her children to be successful. Due to the Sulllivans' hard work and success, their children's privacy rights can be protected without need for them to earn the family's paychecks for their parents. We urge the Sullivans to give their children that right.

Friday, September 18, 2015

McCaughey septuplets begin senior year of high school

Patriarch Kenny said the family purposely avoided reality T.V. all these years because privacy is the 'best way' to raise a family. 

In a previous interview for their 16th birthday, Nathan told reporters he did not like doing the infrequent update specials the parents allowed: "I never liked it, all these cameras following you around everywhere," Nathan said.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Discussion Thread: Breaking the Silence

With little fanfare, tonight TLC airs their promised documentary about sexual abuse awareness. Commercial free. Check local listings.



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Josh Duggar enters rehab after admitting to an Ashley Madison account

Duggar Family Statement: "We are so thankful for the outpouring of love, care and prayers for our family during this most difficult situation with Josh. As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear. Yesterday Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center. For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change. In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future. During this time we continue to look to God—He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family."


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Josh Duggar: 'I have been the biggest hypocrite ever'

The oldest child of the Duggar clan, whose history of molesting his own siblings brought down the family's show earlier this year, is now mired in another scandal as he admits to living a 'double life' and being unfaithful to wife Anna.

Josh's statement:

"I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.

I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him. 

I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust. 
The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failings. 

As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose to our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example. I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time." 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Gawker: Josh Duggar had an Ashley Madison dating/affair site account from 2013 until May 2015

The plot thickens. 

"But data released online in the wake of the hack on Ashley Madison’s servers certainly seems to show otherwise. Someone using a credit card belonging to a Joshua J. Duggar, with a billing address that matches the home in Fayetteville, Arkansas owned by his grandmother Mary—a home that was consistently shown on their now-cancelled TV show, and in which Anna Duggar gave birth to her first child—paid a total of $986.76 for two different monthly Ashley Madison subscriptions from February of 2013 until May of 2015."


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Jacob Roloff: "Just because the adults say it's what's best, doesn't mean it's what's best"

The youngest star of TLC's Little People, Big World, who has been filming the show since he was about seven years old, has been speaking out more frequently about his dislike of filming and his desire to protect other reality stars from a childhood played out on T.V. screens

Jacob recently met Jack Hamill, star of Our Little Family. Jacob had this to say on Instagram about the encounter (click to enlarge): 

The post garnered more than 2,500 likes in less than fourteen hours. (On average, Jacob's Instagram posts get 800-1200 likes each).

Well done, Jacob, and keep speaking out. You have a unique perspective not many others can claim to possess

Friday, July 31, 2015

Graphic, horrifying details emerge about extent of Jon and Kate Plus 8 editor's child pornography collection

According to North Carolina court documents obtained by Radar.com, 'Jon and Kate Plus 8' and Duggar editor William Blankinship, who was arrested in 2011 and convicted on two counts of second-degree felony sexual exploitation of a child, had a disturbing collection of child pornography in his possession.

Blankinship is currently serving probation and is in compliance with his 48 month probation terms, including registering as a sex offender, according to North Carolina public records. Contrary to many reports, it is not our understanding Blankinship's plea deal ever included prison time. Rather, just probation.

Warning, the following new details about Blankinship's pornography collection are extremely graphic and disturbing. In an unprecedented move at this blog, they have been obscured by a black background for those who wish to scroll by and not see them. If you would like to read the following, please highlight this passage in order to more easily read it.

The Raleigh resident’s pedophilia collection of images and videos included: *Begin highlighting*

One photo centered on a 1 to 3-year-old girl with “ejaculate” around her vaginal area. In a second picture, a 2 to 4-year-old girl laid on her back, legs spread open, with an adult male’s penis touching her vagina. A third image featured a 4 to 7-year-old female being anally penetrated by an adult male, her hands tied with duct tape. The father and grandfather even possessed a 9-minute video of an adult male having oral and vaginal sex with two 7-11 year old girls.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Recap: Couples Therapy episode 10: This ring is a promise to give you another ring, later, at some point. Eventually. Unless we break up.

I'm still playing catch-up on some recaps I haven't done yet and I thought I would start with a really old one, the last episode of  Couples Therapy that I never got around to! Enjoy!

Last time on Couples Therapy. The producers set up a dating profile for Farrah, who promptly became the first woman to ever stump Neil Clark Warren.

There's no box to check on eHarmony for sociopath, which is why one should be cautious when browsing other's profiles. No one can believe Kelsey is still with that pig Wu-Tang much less willing to breathe the same air as him.

Since we've talked so much about regional accents and I find them interesting, I would say that Jon and Liz's regional Northeastern accent is what I would consider pretty typical of the area. It's heavy on the R's and W's, with some nasal notes, and hints of blackberry. Or is that my glass of wine?

Dr. Jenn says everyone has done a lot of work in therapy and that we're nearing the end of the program. Out of curiosity I wonder how much time each couple spends in therapy throughout the show.

Jon and Liz are hanging out again with Taylor and John out back. Jon laughs as he says he's talked to his mom about masturbation. Well, uh, that must be one understanding and progressive mother! Kelsey says she doesn't masturbate, and the other women seem horrified. You don't masturbate???

What? It's work for a woman to masturbate. It requires props, usually, and sometimes charged batteries. Many of us really could take it or leave it, am I right ladies? And, this is about as close to talking about sex as I've ever gotten on this blog. I think it just isn't proper for a good God fearing mumu-wearing lady and her crocs to discuss the bedroom, and I am all right with that!

Lol, Liz says she felt bad for Kelsey, wanted to give her something (a prop, she means?) and send her to a room for five hours somewhere.

Five hours??? Good grief, do you know how productive I could be with five hours? I could do my entire taxes for the year in less time. See, this is what I mean. Female masturbation is work and hardly efficient! John says the mask is coming off Liz. Sure is.

Taylor too claims to be quite the mastermind when it comes to female masturbation. Ew.

Taylor's daughter Kennedy arrives. She's about seven. She's a gorgeous child and looks a lot like her dad. John says Kennedy is a real handful. I bet Taylor probably just spoils her, which is natural when you're parenting a child whose other parent recently died. And also natural when you're a self-absorbed bimbo. They take her out to breakfast.

Kennedy walks all over Taylor and John, talking back and copping a constant attitude, and Taylor's helpless to deal with her. The kid won't even pick something to order off a wonderful menu and is throwing silverware. Yeesh, kids really turn Lord of the Flies right quick when adults let them do whatever the hell they want, it's kind of creepy. Taylor needs help with this and Dr. Jenn knows it.

Back at the ranch, I just realized for the first time I think Taylor's John might be wearing a toupee. How 1992. They see Kennedy off with I guess her nanny. Taylor at least knows her problem with Kennedy is just setting boundaries and that she just wants to take her to Disneyland because her dad died. I get that, and it's really sad, but her dad will be dead for the rest of Kennedy's life and at some point she needs to start having a normal childhood.

Taylor kind of reminds me of Kate the way she talks so negatively about her own child, calling her a tyrant. That seems rather nasty to say about your child even if it's true. Plus, she's a tyrant because Taylor won't parent her, so that's Taylor's fault. John says he's been reluctant to step up and parent Kennedy because he's worried she'll resent it. I think John needs to stop making excuses. This is not a situation where Kennedy has a loving and available father who lives twenty minutes away and John can just fill the role of Mom's nice friend. Her dad is dead and John is the only father she has now. He needs to parent her. Taylor's sure not going to do it.

Well, Dr. Jenn has some rather generous spin on this whole situation, saying that Kennedy acting out so wildly in front of Taylor just means they're bonded. Lol, yes, sure, that's what it is. Thank goodness she has a "but" here, in that Taylor gives her absolutely no structure or expectations or "focused" time with her. Dr. Jenn recommends they spend twenty minutes a day together where Kennedy gets to direct their play.

I completely agree with Jenn that not taking charge of Kennedy is going to create a highly anxious child. That is 100% true. Kids this age crave a parent to give them structure, to say no, to be firm at times--no matter how much they look like they're having a ball running their own show.

John is tearing up and saying this is so very important for Taylor and Kennedy. I like him well enough. He seems sincere.

Jon and Liz are walking back inside and I have no idea what they're talking about, but Jon says something about how he wouldn't be mad at her. They approach Kelsey with a present which is revealed to be the cutest little purple vibrator. Did I just call a vibrator cute?

Kelsey seems to enjoy the joke. Lol, the lesbians are looking on in the doorway saying a woman's body is something to be explored and nurtured. Haha, they are the best.

Jon is cracking up saying Kelsey will always remember he and Liz got her her first vibrator. Hehe, Jon can be a goof.

Woo-hoo, it's Farrah time! Dr. Jenn's going to analyze video footage of a date she had last night. Awesome, love it.

Hey, this guy is cute, if you're into guys who wear scarfs. Oh, he lives with his mom.

Well, I don't blame Farrah for blinking over that.

You can tell Farrah is trying so hard to act like how a normal caring person acts, saying she's sorry about his sick grandma and that it's too bad he and his son's mother couldn't make it work. Her eyes betray that not only is she not sorry but she doesn't even understand sorry, but she gets an A for effort.

I hate when people say "you guys'es." God, it's just a terrible butchering.

Whoa, date's going south fast. They haven't even gotten their waters yet and this guy launches into some long thing about how bitches are just as bad as guys these days. And, now we know why he's single.

Flashback to a string of bad dates. Help. Hehe, even Dr. Jenn is cracking up, this is just....bad. It's PlentyofFish.com, what can I say. You get what you pay for, bitches. Let's get back to this awful date.

The guy brings up that Farrah is from Chatsworth and then starts laughing. Is it sad I know exactly what he is laughing about before he ever explains? I guess it's because I'm local. Chatsworth is well known as the porn capital of the world. All the porno is shot there, and if you choose to live there, which is actually a fine choice as it's a very nice (though way too hot) valley community, you will probably be subjected to a lot of teasing the rest of your time there because Americans still snicker over porn like children. Must be our conservative pilgrim roots. Initially I was sure this date was going to say something really douchey like so you do porn for a living? But to my surprise he says that he used to work in Chatsworth, as a receptionist at a sub-studio of Playboy and even got to go to the mansion once. What the F?!!

I think it's kind of funny Farrah is so horrified by this, having done a sex tape, but I don't know, there's something about this that is universally shocking even if you've done porn yourself. I don't care if all you did was staple contracts together and stamp COPY on them, you worked at a porn studio! What a terrible, terrible date. Like a date that gets you to shut down your profile forever and change your phone number date. Poor Dr. Jenn, and she did try so hard to set her up. I don't think Farrah should waste a second of energy being angry over this douche. It was just a bad date, could have happened to anyone. He looks normal aside from that scarf, who could have predicted this?

The guy actually wants her to call him. Dr. Jenn can't stop laughing over that. She said Farrah stayed too long on this date. Yeah, really, I woulda been out of there around about the time he was discussing living with his mother. Hehe, I love Dr. Jenn so much. Dr. Jenn said Farrah worked too hard on the date. She needs to chill. Yes. Also I think Farrah is more awkward than a 14 year old at their first school dance. It's hard to watch.

"You have to say 'ouch' when someone hurts you," says Dr. Jenn profoundly. Shakespeare couldn't have put it better.

Kelsey tells Wu-Tang she wants to forgive him. Dr. Jenn says they've broken up. It's been so long I don't really recall that was official. But I'm glad to hear that.

Naturally Wu-Tang is being the pig that he is and blaming this all on Kelsey. Kelsey calls him out and says had they never come here he wouldn't have told her about that other woman. Wu-Tang then says he forgives her.

Ha, Kelsey's face! You forgive me??? Oh, hell no! She throws something at his chest, looks like a piece of cardboard or something.

Kelsey and Wu-Tang meet one last time with Dr. Jenn. Dr. Jenn says they've both grown a lot. I think that's true for Kelsey but that's quite a stretch for Wu-Tang. He seems as nasty as ever. Wu-Tang still wants to be friends. Quite frankly, I think Kelsey should never see this guy again. He's not just a bad boyfriend. He's a bad person.

Dr. Jenn seems to think maybe they shouldn't have contact, at least for a year anyway. Kelsey, sadly, thinks she's probably open to catching up with him now and again on the phone at some point, asking how he is doing. Ugh. Let it go.

Kelsey said she knows now she needs a man who is emotionally available. Well yeah, that's always a good quality to have in a relationship.

Day 22. The lesbians, the most normal and well-adjusted couple here (take that, Duggars), are outside being cute and talking about cute things like making a bucket list together. One of them says I have one and I've already done something, fall in love. They kiss. Oh gosh, that's sweet.

Jon heads to a jewelry store. He wants to get a ring for Liz that represents a turning point in the relationship.

He meets up with Liz at Cafe Fiore, a delicious casual Italian restaurant in Woodland Hills.

Jon gives Liz one of those speeches that is sounding like it's leading up to a proposal. He keeps telling the cameras he hopes Liz doesn't think this is that kind of ring. Yipe, I don't think a guy should ever get a girl a ring before marriage unless it's thee ring. Of course any woman would think this is it.

Liz opens the box with a little ring and Jon says this is his promise he will get engaged to her. Lol, is he sixteen? What the hell? Well, at least Liz is into rings, her fingers are full of them, so I guess in light of that this makes a little more sense. She likes rings I guess.

Liz reminds me of a tom boy who never grew up. She refuses to cry. She says Jon will be her "best buddy" forever and is a wonderful person. She could picture herself with him forever. As we know now, it wasn't meant to be.

The music selections continue to be top notch. This time they're playing Back to You by Twin Forks. Great one. I love the exposure shows like this can give to relative unknowns.

They all meet Dr. Jenn at a pier to go on a steamboat cruise for dinner. Oh, I love that. Fun. Dr. Jenn says she's proud of them. She wants them to go down the table and toast each other. Ha, who's Farrah gonna toast. "Herself!" Dr. Jenn says. Lol.

Ugh, poor Kelsey has to toast that pig. She is far too generous with him, praising his honesty. Yeah, he was finally very honest about that ho-bag he has been seeing behind her back all this time. Wu-Tang says he knows they'll be friends.

Farrah's happy she found the strength to better herself.

Jon says he loves Liz and they learned a lot. Liz says she's thankful for him and glad they got to share this experience together. They were a nice enough couple. They kiss. Even though it eventually didn't work out, this seems like one of those relationships where no one is ever going to regret their time together. I think some relationships are about finding your forever spouse, others are more about finding yourself. This was the latter.

Sada says she's grateful and wants to be the person Whitney deserves. Whitney says it's been a rocky road but they're dedicated to their marriage. I just love them. Anyone who is still bigoted enough to try to stop a beautiful relationship like this should STFU and turn into a spotted toad forever.

Taylor cries and says she loves John, he makes her feel safe and protected. She sounds needy. John stands up to give his speech. I think it's nice for a man to stand when he's saying something important to the woman he loves. He hands Taylor over some papers.

"Is this a prenup?" Taylor quips. Hehe, she's funny at times. And, all joking aside, get a prenup, Taylor!

Aww, it's adoption paperwork for Kennedy! Oh, gosh, I'm gonna cry! John, you're all right, bud.

Dr. Jenn says Whitney and Sada developed better communication skills. Jon has learned how to be more assertive. I have to say she hit the nail on the head with Jon. Good for her for seeing it. Taylor has learned to move past the trauma of her first marriage. Farrah is a sociopath and there's nothing I can do for her, Dr. Jenn says, throwing up her hands. Hehe, just kidding, she says Farrah's discovered love and acceptance for herself. Yes, sure, that's what happened.

Well, Dr. Jenn believes everyone can find love. Even Farrah? How optimistic of her!

Well, it's the end. It's been an eclectic cast this season and the recaps were a lot of fun. I like Dr. Jenn and I think she's sincere, albeit a savvy businesswoman. It's interesting watching it now knowing that Jon and Liz eventually split, but I don't think his time with her was a waste and I think they both benefited from spending time with Dr. Jenn. I wish he and his new relationship the best of luck.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

TLC cancels '19 Kids and Counting'

After more than a month in limbo, the network decides to officially axe the popular show and says it's committed to educating the public about sexual abuse.

"We spent the past month and a half in thoughtful consideration about what is the best way forward here. It's no secret that '19 Kids and Counting' was a really, really hit show. But we have some other great shows, both on the air and in the pipeline.
"  Marjorie Kaplan, group president of TLC, Animal Planet and Velocity networks.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Recap: G'Day from Australia!

I hope everyone will indulge me in a brief hiatus from our usual posts to do one of my "recaps", this time about my own reality, my visit to the Australia Zoo last week. My reason for doing such a personal recap is because there is a pretty strong connection to our chatter on this blog and this zoo. Number one, Kate Plus 8 filmed some episodes of the show in Australia and had their own spin on what goes on at the zoo which may not have been entirely accurate. Secondly, Bindi Irwin is probably Australia's most exploited child, even attracting attention from legislatures there who are concerned about her welfare, and for that reason alone I think it's interesting to keep up with what that family is up to.

And I guess a third reason is I think you'll enjoy hearing about this as I enjoyed my day there.

I won't bore you with the long details about how I ended up in Australia. The short version is I was given a wonderful opportunity to work here for a couple weeks, an opportunity which also included some leisure time such as a visit to the Great Barrier Reef and a stay on a cattle station, and I couldn't pass that up. This was one of those right place and right time things that came my way and makes me feel very lucky and appreciative. 

So last week I stepped on that 14 hour flight out of LAX bound for Sydney with several other colleagues. I'm not going to lie, that flight was brutal, but there were lots of new movies to watch and enough episodes of Veep to have me giggling a good two-thirds of the way across the Pacific. ("How much would I love to speak my mind on this campaign  Can you imagine if I did that? 'Mississippi is chock full of assholes, I don't trust the Chinese, and I gotta tell you something. I'm not going to be able to pass a single piece of legislation that's really going to make any fuck of a difference in your life.' How's that for a campaign platform?") Going back, the flight was more than an hour shorter which was a difference you could feel. Every hour counts when it's that long I guess.

After a few days recovering from our jet lag in Sydney, where not me but some of us were unfortunately vomiting for a few days (airplane food, we decided) we headed up on a short flight to Brisbane, near where the Australia Zoo is located. We made our home base in the gorgeous seaside surfer town of Caloundra, which hosts an old ship wreck the S.S. Dicky that is probably the most beautiful thing you will ever see at sunrise. A few of us managed to get up to witness it two days in a row. This was the prettier of the two mornings though both were spectacular. 

We planned almost an entire free day at the zoo and nearby koala hospital, and hit the ground as soon as it opened at 10 a.m. the day after we arrived in Caloundra.

My first impressions of the zoo was that it was extremely clean, very large, and quite classy. There was very little that was tacky about it as some attractions like this tend to be. It is of course heavy on Steve, with his photo plastered pretty much everywhere, but the heir apparent Bindi is everywhere too. Overlooking a croc infested creek there's Bindi's treehouse, which you can look at but not actually go up in, and coming later this year is something called Bindi's island. None of us bothered to figure out what that was about. A lot of people were commenting that Robert, her younger brother, is hardly anywhere. Neither is Terri for that matter. The marketing team knows what sells, and that's Steve and Bindi. Some remarked that they felt bad for Robert, who perhaps might feel like he plays second fiddle to his sister and dad. (I suppose it's also possible Robert doesn't want to be a part of this, though I doubt it.)

In the morning we wandered from exhibit to exhibit, just checking out whatever was nearby. We saw the crocs, several different birds, and snakes. They had camels you could ride and a sleepy tiger you could get your photo taken with, which I believe is the same one Kate got her photo taken with. It was kind of funny to see three zookeepers in there with the tiger, the people just sitting there on the ground hanging out like it was the most normal thing in the world. We speculated the tiger might be drugged, but I hope not. We saw koalas, one with a little baby riding on her mommy's back that was ridiculously adorable. Zookeepers were everywhere in the zoo, answering questions and often bringing the animals out of the enclosures for a closer look. We saw one worker actually walking a perfectly content wombat like you might a dog.

They were moving him for some reason. I asked if that's how they always move them and they said yes. Well, that seems more humane than sedating it and throwing it in a crate, as long as it's happy to walk with you.

I have to say I was impressed with the zookeepers. Most of them were very young, enthusiastic, and had the most nurturing touch with the animals. I watched one young woman remove a dozing koala from a tree with such a gentle hand, like a mother might wake up their sleeping toddler. There are also many areas of the zoo that are hands on and encourage you to touch and pet the animals, which Steve Irwin was so big on (and at times, criticized for) and there was always someone nearby to monitor everyone and make sure the animals were okay. I heard a few zookeepers speak up and ask people to step back when they felt the animal was getting too crowded, but I never saw the animals themselves act uncomfortable. The spirit of Steve and how he believed we should interact with wildlife, whether you agree, carries on. 

Now to what I imagine the zoo would consider its highlights. They have a huge enclosed area with a bunch of little kangaroos ranging from about three to five feet tall. They just hop around of their own accord and are perfectly tame around people. We bought some feed and went in and hand fed them. 

It was really fun and the roos had such personalities. I have a hysterical selfie with one where he looks like a silly kid photobombing me. Some of them had babies in their pouches and I saw them kicking in there like a human fetus kicks his mother. Someone else in my group saw one poke a little head out but sadly I missed that. I took a lot of photos in there and I didn't have to approach a roo, they would approach me and mug for my camera. I felt very much at ease in that exhibit. 

There is another similar roo feeding area with a different breed of kangaroos. I think it was Red Kangaroos. They were just as outgoing, but because we stopped by that later they were pretty full and not interested in eating. After that our group all took a turn holding a koala.

It was like holding a sleepy toddler, they were adorable and clung to you instantly. It was very special. I said they looked like sleepy babies, others said they looked like sleepy drunks. Whichever you prefer!

At noon we gathered in the "Crocoseum" for the croc show.

I imagine the show we saw was similar to what was shown on Kate Plus 8. This part was probably the least enjoyable for me. There was a lot of teasing of the crocs with bait and even trainers to get them to come out of the water or do certain things. Shades of Sea World. I did enjoy the birds, who flew very close to our heads.

Australians in general I've found to be honest, inviting, and curious. They also love to tease and laugh and when I asked some zoo staff where the "restroom" was they burst into giggles and said, "Restroom! You don't rest in it!" They just call it "the toilet" there and thought the Americans and their Americanisms were good fun. Which reminds me, the Australians we were with remembered it was the Fourth of July, which none of us expected them to (after all, most of us don't have the first clue what their holidays are or when), and made us a beautiful flag cake. I think most of us cried when they brought that out, it was just so kind.

It was fairly crowded at the zoo the day we went, although to be fair it was the first day of winter break for Australian school children, so it's hard to judge what it would look like on a regular day. The winter weather was beautiful, in the high 60's, with just a light shower in the morning we barely noticed because we were so absorbed in hanging out with the roos.

Australians are also chatty and love to tell you what they think if you ask. They don't have some idea that they best not say what they think to strangers out of politeness, as some cultures do, including to some extent our own. They are my sort of people! I had chatted up several of them throughout the trip and found out some interesting dirt about Terri. I met someone who knew Steve and said he was just as he was on TV and that everyone loved him, but that most people were not too keen on Terri. He found her to be standoffish and was never able to form any kind of friendship with her as he did Steve. I found myself wondering exactly what Steve saw in Terri, since everyone describes him as so genuine, and she as, frankly, a hot mess. Australians are very aware of the criticism of the Irwins and it makes them uncomfortable. The zoo has been struggling even before Steve's death, and the turning point as one Australian thought, was when Steve held baby Robert near a croc. He said from that moment on they never recovered.

Terri is estranged from Steve's father and he has washed his hands of the zoo, however under Australian law he apparently still has access to and sees Bindi and Robert. The zoo staff is, according to those I talked to, quite concerned about Terri's handling of the zoo's finances. This I had heard in the press, too.

Many locals were also vocal that they didn't like the zoo either, in particular the way you are allowed to touch and hold some of the animals. They said if you encountered a kangaroo or koala in the wild (which I did, incidentally, at about 11 o'clock at night I ran into three roos bigger than me--although that's another story!) you should quietly walk way around it or they'll claw your eyes out. I quietly walked around the three I saw! Way around.

At the end of the day a zoo is a zoo and I don't find them particularly necessary, but if you must have a zoo, they did as good of a job as you can with it. I give them credit for getting rid of some of the most exploitive exhibits, like the elephants, even if it were more for financial reasons, and for taking care to hire a staff that treats these animals like their own children. I also know many people who had a stake in the zoo have lines they won't cross. For instance, Steve Irwin's father has been very vocal about his disgust with Sea World. I've been to Sea World San Diego as well and I never felt the level of comfort there that I did at the Australia Zoo. This zoo has its issues, but it was not Sea World.

After a nice lunch in a big food court near the Crocoseum we headed over to the Koala Hospital, which is just a short walk over on the other side of the parking lot.

Here is where my heart just swelled. This is a real living working hospital that takes in injured animals and restores them to health. Many are released back to the wild. If they cannot return safely to the wild they are absorbed into the zoo or go to other good homes. They have it all open for viewing with huge glass windows, and some of the vets were working right at that moment on a sea turtle. You can see in the photo a great example of the gentle, loving touch of the vets. One of the doctors was actually soothingly rubbing the turtle's back. I don't know if a sick turtle responds to a back rub, but it's worth a try. 

The vets came over to the windows to talk to us and show us the turtle up close.

When we were there they were treating several animals including a koala who shattered his pelvis when he was hit by a car. He was doing well enough to rest in a little tree they had set up for him. You could see little shaved spots on his tiny back where they had been working on him. The turtle was suffering from excess air in its body and shell. Apparently a defense mechanism when turtles are injured is to retain excess air, however too much can kill them. There is treatment for it that can help it get better. They did not know how he was injured but guessed maybe a boat.

I'd love to see the zoo focus much more on this rehabilitation, but I suppose the other exhibits help fund this great work. We asked ahead of time if the hospital needed anything, and they said they could use office supplies like post its and pens, and that they could always use new or gently used towels. Well, my group delivered, and brought over from the U.S. with us the motherload pile of supplies you see here in front of one of the vets. I'm very proud of these Americans.

All in all it was a wonderful day, I learned so much, and we all felt so good about being able to help out the hospital with supplies. 

Thank you everyone for your patience while I've been absent from the blog. I'm glad I'm able to share with you some of the cool things I did while you were stuck on the same post! Australia may be a progressive country but it could use some work when it comes to its wifi! It's nonexistent in many places and slow as all get out in most others. Incidentally, one of the few times we had really good wifi was at the zoo (thank you, Terri, for that), but of course when that happened we were too busy seeing the zoo to be online much. Thanks again all you blokes and g'day!