Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Discussion Thread: Kate Plus 8 "Kate's Advice"

Kate Plus 8

Kate's Advice10:00 PM on TLC, 1 hr 2 min 2016 TV-PG
Kate watches her younger self in clips from previous seasons and discusses her evolution as a mother and a person.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Discussion thread: Jon on Steve Harvey

Check local listings.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recap: Kate Plus 8 'Green Thumb Gosselin': Woman that chainsaw because it's time for 'Kate Plus Kate.'

Coming up on Kate Plus 8! Kate has so many dreams she should really do a sleep study. Now she wants to undertake a major landscape project. I know you're shocked, but watching someone else landscape is even more boring than doing it yourself.

"This show should be called Kate Plus Kate," Leah says as she makes every hater's day. 

I think one of the most obnoxious comments a parent can make to a child is something along the lines of "when you're a parent one day you'll understand." Not that many parents aren't also guilty of it. I'm not sure adults realize how utterly patronizing it is, but it also is a sidestep to get around actually knowing, listening to and understanding your child and where they are coming from. It's a brush-off, and that's lazy parenting and just lazy life-ing. It's really for the child one day to realize it and approach their parent and say you know what, now I understand. That day will come, don't rush it.

Even funerals are conducted with the precision of the Schutzstaffel as they mass bury several dearly departed fish. Quick march! Unless you really dig deep some animal is going to dig that up within 48 hours. Gross. There's a heck of a lot of laughing and messing around from mostly Kate at this burial for a family pet. I find that disrespectful. Not to the fish, but to your children.

The landscape boy has a name, Eddie! Even Eddie seems skeptical about Kate's desire to involve the kids in this project. Kate says she doesn't like the word bribe, she prefers incentive. Makes no difference as long as the kids still film!

I don't know what Kate is doing with whatever unnecessary phallic kitchen gadget, but with that kind of impressive skill I don't know what's taking her so long to snag a man.

Cara lets it out that she usually rolls out of bed around noon. Mady too implies she slept late as well because she missed breakfast. While it's perfectly normal to sleep late at that age, it's also up to the responsible parent to not let them sleep that late and waste half the day. But I suspect with Kate it's just easier not to wake a kid up and have to deal with them, so sleep they can. Incidentally, that really puts the kibosh on any notion that the twins are some strange breed of teenager that don't need almost as much sleep as toddlers, according to science. Mady should not have been up late on a school night helping her mother tweet the creepy fans. She needs her sleep.

Hehe, karma. The boys are eating Kate out of house and home. They're just going to eat more, schmoopy has no idea. In short order Kate has the younger kids outside raking stones and doing other hard manual labor to some landscaping that looks fine the way it is. I don't even know the point of pushing all these stones around, they never explain. The kids get tired of it fast. Why is Hannah allowed to sit on the Gator and watch everyone else do hard labor?

Kate gets a dig in it her family. Why, when she was a kid she had to do hard labor every weekend. So? Doesn't mean your kids should have to do a giant project not suitable for them at all when you really should pay a landscaping company to do it. Don't be so damn cheap. Plus, in Kate's day, back in the day of walking to school uphill both ways, kids weren't nearly as busy as they are now. Kids now do far more work and are far more busy than a child raised in the 80's. Just all the homework the average child gets their age in one year is probably as much as Kate did in all four years of high school combined. Kate had time to help out with projects like this every weekend. A kid in 2016 doesn't.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with chores within reason, but expecting kids to give up a whole weekend doing back-breaking labor is unfair. What's more, they can afford to pay someone now when I assume Kate's family couldn't. Why shouldn't they? Bottom line, this stinks of an episode idea and but for the cameras I really doubt they'd be out here at all, and that's wrong.

Now Alexis has found a way onto the Gatar and is not working. The boys notice. Poor guys. How come Kate doesn't tell those girls to get off their butts and help out? It can't be that she has a problem giving orders. If they have to do this stupid project at least everyone should have to equally.

Colin is sitting on the couch but not saying anything as usual this season. But the look on his face this time tells me he is engaged and making good eye contact with the producer. He is by no means zoned out. However, he's sitting there, mouth closed, not speaking. And he will talk when the cameras are rolling out and about, he does in this episode, it's just not as often as the other kids. He speaks and explains things just fine, though. I know many have speculated about the various causes of him acting like this, but could there be a very simple explanation? Isn't it possible the child is offering up a silent protest by refusing to be interviewed? For some reason that never occurred to me before.

Coming up, caught in the sudden and precipitous highs and lows of a hormonal set of teenagers, poor TFW has struck out once again. Heh.

After what feels like hours Kate finally explains they're trying to clear all the stone from the front of the house. I still have no idea what's wrong with the stone at the front of the house. Joel worked at raking the best, so Kate puts Joel on the Gatar to drive the stones across the property. Kate makes a point to say she hardly ever lets the kids drive the Gatar out of safety of course. Wait, wasn't this their birthday present one year or something? Well that seems more than slightly dysfunctional, giving a child a present they can't even use. Like giving Grandpa a skateboard.

They dump the rocks on a horse path out back that seems to me already has many stones and gravel on it. The camera crew is using drones now and like a kid with a new Christmas toy the drone shots are probably on the extraneous side. Heh.

The girls seem annoyed the boys got to drive. Well, suck it up buttercups, they actually worked.

Kate's got some guy over showing her how to use a chain saw. Oh good grief. This is just absurd at this point. She has no business manning a chain saw. I have no business manning a chain saw. If Kate and I were supposed to man a chainsaw they would call it womaning. They don't! I don't care if that's sexist, but unless you're Sue Aikins and live on a remote airport outpost in the Alaskan tundra, you need to hire someone for something that involves power tools like this and get back to the kitchen. Even the 11-year-olds have more sense than Kate and instruct her not to embark on this.

By the way, I am a big Sue Aikins fan, and I think young photographer Joey L. took some absolutely stunning portraits of her a couple years back. Trust your photographer!

Oops, forgot to pause my DVR. In the time it took me to answer an emergency text from my girlfriend (boyfriend emergency type thing) guess what? Nothing important or interesting happened.

Here comes Leah's now infamous "Kate Plus Kate" comment, and I think it's important to hear it in context. She explains that Kate gets to do everything on this show, including using a chainsaw which is fun. While her remarks are not entirely true, they're a lot true. There are a lot of things Kate gets to enjoy without the kids. There are always various excuses why the kids can't participate in something she's doing. Leah is a mere two steps away from realizing why Kate embarked on this fame thing in the first place. Not for the kids and their fun and enjoyment and financial health. But for hers. The kids receiving some incidental benefits is just a convenient cover for Kate.

Commercials. We're back and they're off to the garden center. Shoka is a dog who misbehaves. It's not his fault. He barks hysterically at the van as they roll out, and he comes dangerously close to the tires chasing it. Sigh. That's lazy dog ownership, period. If you've really tried everything and your dog still goes into hysterics at your car, the dog needs to be put elsewhere when you pull in and out. Be a responsible dog owner or don't get a dog. Rant over.

Mady and Cara again opt out of the 6 a.m. call time for this nonsense. I guess no bribe, er I mean incentive, worked this time. I wonder what Kate is going to do when she has eight teenagers who aren't about to set their alarm for 6 a.m. to look at plants. Then it might really be Kate Plus Kate. Watch Kate rake stones by herself? Watch Kate pick out plants by herself? Watch Kate order about herself and talk back to herself? That might be fun karma.

Is that Eddie again? He's kind of cute, and has a good job. Why doesn't Kate date him? Oh darn just spotted a wedding ring.

The kids don't want to be here. Hannah says she's tired and Joel is outright scowling. I again feel the kids are justified in this. Picking out landscaping is an adult activity, unless you have a budding botanist--pun intended! Alas, none of these kids could plant their way off Mars or even their own back yard.

Bring him home! Again!

I understand many parents have to take their kids everywhere even amid whining and misery because they can't get a babysitter or their spouse is not home to babysit or maybe they're a single parent. But Kate is not one of those parents who takes her kids everywhere because she has to or they all just enjoy the company. They are often home while she's out and about doing things adults do, the pap photos prove it. Plus she has a nanny named Andrea and has had a nanny since they were babies. I simply don't believe Kate would bother to drag them along on any of this but for the cameras.

At least the kids perk up a little over the little lamb's ears plants, which just looks like a regular old plant to me.

Back at the house stupid Kate didn't check the weather report before planning a cookout. Either that or they had to do this today because production was coming over, which seems more likely. Speaking of Andrea there she is, apparently on egg duty. Might I recommend weather.gov (not weather.com) for an hour by hour very accurate weather report for your cookouts. It will even tell you the level of cloud cover, and it's iPhone browser friendly.

I don't know what Kate needs a deck for. She has all the kids hauling all the food outside, it doesn't have to inconvenience her a bit.

This is not a sprinkle. It's raining buckets and it's thundering. But because Kate is pathologically stubborn she gets the grill out anyway. I haven't the first clue why she has the kids outside on their open lawn shucking corn. Where there's thunder there's lightning. This is incredibly dangerous and no set teacher worth their license would allow it.

I'm not sure Kate realizes that hobo really has become an offensive term to lots of people. While I understand you might still say it around your family, why would you say it on national TV? But then Kate is ignorant.

We spend an inexplicably long time discussing what Kate is going to do about grilling now that it's pouring. My suggestion is to cut to the chase and shit or get off the pot. Either grill or don't grill, but pick one for Christ sake. Nothing interesting is happening except Kate calls Joel a "dumb-dumb." That's awful. Also, not accurate. She's the dumb-dumb.

Kate is suddenly freaking out on Cara, who doesn't understand why Kate is yelling at her. Neither do I, I totally missed it nor do I care.

I shouldn't recap when I'm hungry. This is one of the first meals Kate's fixed up that is something I really want to eat. She's got nice thick steaks on the grill sizzling away, along with a wonderful mix of red and green peppers and onions. Medium rare please. Let it rest. Slice that steak up against the grain and put this all on a baguette with some gooey melted provolone cheese and you've got my death row last meal.

Kate finally admits Andrea is the summer babysitter. I think it's appropriate to insert a "duh" here. She really thinks viewers are dumb-dumbs. Everyone knew Andrea's role already. The first few episodes Kate misleadingly tried to imply Andrea just showed up on this or that day because Kate called her up to see if she was available. Real casual like. As a rule, I don't like dishonest or misleading people. I don't understand why Kate's always been so damn reluctant to admit she takes advantage of and can afford full time in-home childcare i.e. a nanny. And yet, she allows these people to be seen on camera over and over where we can see for ourselves they're over there all the time. I think it's fair to say we see the nanny with the children far more than we don't see her. It seems like such a paradox. It wouldn't be hard at all to omit the nanny from the episodes, yet Kate doesn't. Weird.

Kate gives Shoka a huge pile of people food when they're done. God, she's the worst.

Commercials. Oh by the way, we never saw the little spat between the twins and Kate advertised before the last segment. Which means it must be coming later in the episode. There is something very creepy about the idea that you would hype up a conflict with 14 year old children over several segments. Stay tuned, don't go away! The Dionnes will be back for another viewing at a quarter past the hour! The best is yet to come!

We're back. More drone fun. I think it's funny how hodge podge these episodes have become. Just shuttle the family around to various activities and see if conflict develops. Now, out of the blue, Kate's yoga teacher comes to the house to teach the kids yoga. Yoga poses hurt and I can't imagine it would be made any better doing a private lesson on the lawn next to your mansion. The problems of the 1%. Collin looks really (quietly) proud of himself for doing a handstand. Aw. I don't like how Mady is sitting on a mat but refusing to participate. It's rude.

For gaming fans, the funniest yoga session I've seen was in Grand Theft Auto V. Loll. 

Finally the people who should be planting the plants, the landscaping company, come over.

Ha-ha, this is getting so random! Next we're doing a lemonade stand? They want to do one for the landscape workers. Are they going to charge for this, because that's pretty tacky. I hope not.

I noticed the sign also says "and lunch." All due respect to them but I wouldn't go eating some home-cooked lunch a strange family provided to me. It weirds me out.

In an eerie throwback to the Jon days, Kate snaps at Joel that she wants him to say "hey Mommy, can I help you with anything?" Joel looks both confused and very upset, not replying. She then snorts, "One way you can help me is by staying out of my way!" My God, what a f-ing bitch!

When will the kids be allowed to call her "Mom" by the way? This Mommy thing is getting just silly.

For some reason Kate decides now it's time to show off and remove a wasp nest, which should be the landscape workers' job. Does she have any idea how to use wasp spray? It shoots really far, you don't need to get as close as she got. Hehe, she drops her phone and cracks the screen. Karma!!! That will set you back at least a hundred bucks and that's if you're willing to go to a unofficial Apple store. What a doofus.

Eddie brings his wife Lori over. Oh gosh she's adorable, and great with kids! She looks them dead in the eyes and asks them questions. She acts interested, probably because she actually is. They need so many more people like her in their lives. She reminds me of a brunette Laura Dern. She helps the kids plant the lamb's ears. Some of the kids are wearing weird Stevie Wonder sunglasses.

Collin is speaking on the couch, and explains how to plant a plant. While this is very boring, it's nice to see him speaking up finally and he sounds happy.

Kate works up a few tearless tears just like Farrah and says she's happy the kids were so happy to get involved. Is it a prerequisite of a narcissist that you must be an ugly crier?

Coming up, they're still pitching the conflict between Kate and the twins as if it will be in the next segment. Maybe it will finally be in this one.

The kids serve the workers lemonade and lunch, which looks like ordered sub sandwiches. Fair enough. Lori is incredibly good with children. She continues to ask the children good questions like she's interested in them, such as if you had some free time what would you do. That's a great conversation starter with a child. The kids are eager to answer. I have never seen Kate sit down with her children, look them in the eyes, and truly have a conversation with them. Lori helps Collin speak some Spanish to one of the workers, and he's so proud of himself.

We're back the next day and now the kids couldn't be more into this project. I find it interesting although not surprising that with Kate this was all scowls and peace out. But now that someone cool and good with kids like Lori is there, they couldn't be more enthusiastic. Even Collin is talking up a storm, unlike any other episode this season. So in actuality it wasn't the planting itself that they objected to. It was who they were going to do the project with. An adult who knows how to be with children makes all the difference in the world to a child and their willingness and enthusiasm. Kate sucks at it, and she probably always will, and she will continue to have to battle her children on every little thing because she has no idea how to be with kids. Naturally Kate is clueless about why they are suddenly into this but is proud of them. I think she actually takes credit for this sudden blossoming herself. What a fool. I don't know about their indiscriminate affection toward a worker they only just met as they give him big bear hugs, but at least they are enjoying their day.

Coming up! The conflict between Kate and the twins, which was supposed to be in the past four segments. Heh.

Kate is ridiculously proud of herself for ordering each of the kids gardening stones with their names on them and a graphic like a snail. Sometimes I get embarrassed for her. The younger kids actually adore the gift, because they're young enough that this isn't too babyish yet. But even without all the build up I can picture the teens finding this downright stupid.

And here it comes. On Cara's stone Kate had inscribed "It's mine. Stay off of it. I warned you about it." Mady's says "Don't step here! Don't say I didn't warn you about it!"

Kate thinks this was an inside joke among them. Her first mistake was ever thinking she is on the inside of the joke with a teenager. She's one of those adults, and it's obnoxious. It's funny and sad to picture Kate as she spent God knows how many hours ordered these, probably on Home Depot's web site. You know she had this fantasy as she clicked her mouse of the twins opening their stones to giggles and smiles and "thank you, Mommy!" They group hug as the birds tweet and the sunlight warms their heads, and she is the bestest most coolest Mommy of teens ever! 

Cue the Price is Right "wa-wa-wa-woo. wooooooo!" sound effect as Schmoopy way underbid on that boat.

The teens are being real brats about how much they hate the gift. They don't even want the stones to be put out. A tiny part of me feels bad for Kate. She looks really bummed that this blew up. She really did make an effort to do something nice for the children, even if she did it just to pat herself on the back. This is something they could each have of their own in the new landscaping. Mady and Cara could grow up and just suck this up and say thank you. They don't have to play with it for pity sake or even ever look at it again.  Hate to break it to them but chances are like many mothers she's going to give them a lot of bad gifts over their lifetime they don't like or get. But as you get older you start to understand that it's the old cliche it's the thought that counts, and that it's cruel to make Mom feel bad just because she sucks at being clairvoyant. They are old enough now to start developing that.

On the flip side, I think Kate could have saved a lot of bridges by involving the twins in this secret gift. Have them help her design stones for the younger children and as a reward they can each design their own stone. It would make the twins feel special and worthy of more privilege because they are older, and then they couldn't complain about their stones. But she doesn't have foresight.

And here's where my allegiance shifts back to the twins. Kate's still arguing with them about this, trying to reason with them. Let it go. They don't like the stones, they're being ungrateful and bratty, but give them their space to sulk about it and ignore them. I promise they'll be over this within hours. And here's her stupid comment about how Mady will understand one day when Mady is a parent. That couldn't be a more infuriating thing to say. She antagonizes them and I think she knows it and what's more, likes to. Cara spits that they're never having kids because they don't like each other. Sigh.

Sure enough on the couch Mady and Cara are now saying, presumably days or even weeks later, that they're over it. Lol. I mean, it's still dumb, they explain, and never very funny, but they've moved on. Of course they have. They're teenagers.

Kate also got stakes for the kids with their names on they can stick next to their plants. I like that.

The younger kids at least seem proud of what they accomplished. They were lucky they had nice employees engaging with them.

They show this weird outtake of the twins on the couch fighting about how they should stop saying stupid things or go faster. It's neither funny nor interesting. It's just awkward. I continue to worry that if these episodes keep showing the children saying such dumb and uninteresting things, they might actually think those very same things were important to say. And that's bad.

On the next episode. Kate, who doesn't work and hasn't worked in a decade now, and has an army of paid help to do everything for her, has trouble carving out special time for the children. Heh.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Discussion thread: Kate Plus 8 'Blind Date'

Kate Plus 8

Blind Date10:00 PM on TLC, 1 hr 2016 TV-PG
Kate goes to New York when she gets set up on a blind date, which includes a fancy dinner and a helicopter ride. Back at home, Mady and Cara find things to do to keep their younger siblings busy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Discussion Thread: Kate Plus 8 'School Prep'

Kate Plus 8

School Prep10:00 PM on TLC, 1 hr 2016 TV-PG
The end of summer means it's time for the kids to go back to school, so Kate takes them shopping for clothes and supplies, and they all work together on one more seasonal project.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Discussion Thread: Deck Party

Kate Plus 8

Deck Party10:00 PM on TLC, 1 hr 2016 TV-PG
Kate throws a party to celebrate the completion of her new deck. Also: Kate and girls enjoy a day at the spa; and the boys learn magic tricks.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Recap: Kate Plus 8 'What's Old is New' and I'd still rather be playing laser tag or doing anything else but watching this

Coming up on Kate Plus 8, another mash-up of various activities that have nothing to do with each other in the hope of conjuring up some drama that will make good T.V. This will include antiquing, a tiny horse show, and a cooking competition.

Mommy Dearest refuses to let everyone win, which in theory I tend to agree with, but then she says without a hint of irony that you have to work really hard if you want to be first place in life. Lol, not if you can pop out six kids at once.

I guess we're back in PA. Some of the kids are tinkering around on their piano. Oh god, their piano is terribly out of tune. What a waste of a beautiful instrument.

Despite vowing years ago not to film in the children's rooms (From Kate's interview with Oprah: "We don't film in the kids' room. It's a rule. They need their privacy."), here we are filming in Mady's room. Mady explains in excruciating detail about some of the boring knick-knacks she has in there. I worry for the kids in that I think one of the unintended consequences of a reality show is that it can make a child believe that everything about them is always interesting and important. Adulthood is going to be cruel someday.

Cara doesn't want to show her room on camera. She shuts the door. Notably, Mady exclaims to Kate: "You told her you weren't going to do that! You said you weren't going to pressure her into showing her room!"

Number one, I appreciate Mady taking up for Cara. Number two, what a wonderful insight into what really happens behind the scenes. I.e., pressure from Kate on the kids to do things they don't want to do for the cameras. Thanks for that whistle blowing, Mady.

They never explain how we got from no you're not coming into my room to welcome, here's my room (likely a lot of screaming, screeching and whining, knowing this family), but somehow here we are now in Cara's room. It's a teenage girl's room like any other. Neither interesting nor important.

Why is Deanna dressed like a Duggar in a long skirt and cardigan sweater? Cross promotion? In any case Kate's almost-only friend and employee Deanna is going to come along on the antique trip with the twins. Mady quips that she asked Deanna to adopt her a couple times. That's funny.

They head to one of the antique shops, and not surprisingly, it's much more fun to browse antique shops in person than to watch some stranger's kids do so on television.

How old does something have to be before it's considered antique? the half-asleep producer asks the younger three girls. Not willing to fall for that obvious Kids Say the Darndest Things set-up, Leah instead demands: "Why you asking us that?!" I kind of agree with her there. They didn't even go on this trip for pity sake. What do they care? Why doesn't he ask those Roadshow folks over at PBS? They'll know.

They head to some other places around town. Another antique store, more boring browsing. Did Kate give Mady a budget here? What is the occasion for allowing her to go on an antique shopping spree other then the producers thought of it? This junk doesn't always come cheap and I don't see anyone looking at prices.

Whoa, Mady really doesn't give two shits at this point about how Kate looks for the cameras. On the one hand, it's disappointing. On the other, it's a revelation.

Mady is offended because Kate is proud to point out something she knows Mady likes, to which Mady responds with a vicious eyeroll. Out of earshot from Kate she says Kate actually knows nothing about her even though she pretends she does, not her favorite color, or even her favorite food.

I suppose that might be a normal sentiment from a teenager feeling a natural pulling away with her mother. Kids are so fickle at that age too it's hard for even a good mother to keep up with their hormonal ups and downs and preferences. On the other hand I think Mady's probably right, ornery teenager or not, Kate does not really know her children. We know she doesn't just by watching her try to describe them as individuals. She can't say anything more about them than what's on the surface.

Even Cara seems to think that was a little harsh and has to admit that their preferences are always changing. Kate also feels this is just normal teenager stuff. Some of it, yes. Not all of it, I don't think.

The only mildly amusing find they stumble upon is an antique autopsy table. But the joke is over within 10 seconds, yet it feels like we're lingering on this forever. You can almost feel the perking up in the editing bay: Something interesting finally. Cool! It's just like Dexter! Edit, edit, edit!

Mady, with more eye rolls, says Kate makes dating jokes about everything. I'd love to see someone arm-chair psychology that one. Maybe there should be less joking around about it and more getting down to business. Mady says she can't wait until Kate gets married so these jokes can stop. I take that comment as actually the kids would take a new relationship and even marriage in stride. Contrary to the sheeple's claims the reason Kate doesn't date is for the kids (a dig at Jon, who obviously doesn't think of his kids because he dates). The divorce was ages ago, and for most of the kids, it's all they've ever known or almost. There is no hard and fast rule that all kids don't want or can't handle it if their parents move on.


Mady ends up picking up two pretty cool black end tables that in the right hands might be transformed into great night tables. She's enlisted the help of Aaden to help her fix them up. They're real pieces of junk before any work to them, I hope they didn't pay more than 10 bucks for the both of them. So what did the other kids get today? Oh right, nothing.

Mady and Kate are bickering back and forth like school children about whatever, except just one of the two is a school child. Mady finally grows up and thanks Kate for buying the night tables. To which Kate gives her a passive aggressive and immature "yeah" and huffs off. As I said in a recent comment it's very easy to see why this behavior from the children is happening. Kate engages. Instead of telling them stop whining, cut it out, knock it off, she instead engages. She argues back, she whines and bickers back. The kids get rewarded for whining every time because Kate responds and in some cases capitulates. I'm guessing if Kate vowed not to engage or give into them, and to start cutting them off when they start that behavior, this would all change within a matter of a week.  Kids are as bad as the reins allow them to be, and these reins are so long I can't even see the wagon.

Aaden isn't wearing his glasses and my goodness now that he's not hiding behind them this little guy is a real heart-breaker! So handsome. He reminds me of Josef Gordon-Levitt in his younger days.

For an excruciating long time, we watch Aaden and Mady wash and spray paint the tables. The homespun guitar picking soundtrack sounds more like it belongs in a Ken Burns documentary than this drivel. You'll have to use your imagination to picture the camera slowly panning up this photo as David McCullough narrates soothingly.

I guess Kate has already gotten over her grudge, children usually do quickly, and brings the kids out some root beer. I hate to say it but the finished silver and red tables look worse than when they started, the spray paint is terribly uneven, but that's to be expected. Mady's only 14 and did this all by herself because her mother is 12 and left her to her own devices. Paige and Ty this teen is not. Speaking of which, I really liked TLC circa 1999. Didn't we all? Well, all of us except the homeowners of this room:

We're back and a savvy cameraman has zoomed in on the latest chore chart. Thank you for that tidbit, camera boy. I see Kate learned nothing from Kendra, a woman who broke down in tears at how hard the kids work and noticed the imbalance between the boys' chores and the girls. The girls get to do the quick, fun chores like clean the table, feed the dog, and rinse out the toothbrush sink.  Can't each tooth brusher rinse out their own mess they make? Gross. The boys however are bogged down with the nasty, time-consuming chores, like cleaning three bathrooms and tidying up the basement.

Today, in another attempt to illicit some drama, they're visiting The Land of Little Horses. Kate talks as if she's actually considering getting a pony. It's like she's living out every little child's fantasy over and over on this show. Disney World! The beach! I want a pony! It's funny, yet a little creepy isn't it?

The ponies are marvelous. My dear ex-lawyer friend in Wyoming owns a pony named Stewey, and he's the most ridiculously cute thing in the world until you find out he's a little pisser and pushes around all the other full sized horses and humans too. But that's also cute.

Why doesn't Kate get an ass? It would go perfectly with her hat.

I looked down for one second to pull the above photo and found Kate's talking to some proletariat about what's involved with owning a pony. That doesn't happen much, interaction with the riffraff. Thankfully the lovely commoner makes a pony sound like a lot of work and not as easy as it looks. Kate has a dismayed look on her face, which means they probably won't be getting one, thank God. I don't know what she's worried about though. Just add this to the chore chart, on the boys' side.

Next the dog and pony show goes to a literal dog and pony show with dogs and ponies doing agility, plus a goat. So, dog, pony, and goat show. Either they sold out the entire place for this family or this show isn't all that popular. It does feel a little Great Depression era two-bit traveling circus show and definitely a little babyish for 11 and 14-year-olds.

The horses can do math, which means they're already close to edging out poor Schmoopy here in the I.Q department.

Next they go to a petting zoo with adorable goats and llamas. Surprisingly, Mady said she loved this outing. And that's the problem with teenagers is it's walking on egg shells, especially this one. On another day Mady could have been whining and moaning through this entire thing. A tiny, tiny part of me gets Kate. Blech.

Next up, who's gonna get Chopped?! Two things of note during this segment of commercials. One is they're not only recycling plot lines within Kate Plus 8, but now apparently lending them out to other shows. 7 Little Johnstons are going camping, and, surprise, the weather is terrible and everyone is upset! Later is a promo for the stupid Jill and Jessa Duggar show which is really just the Duggars with a different name than that other child molester show. Anyway, this promo features that creepy Children of the Corn robotic 9-1-1 call from Ma Duggar: "Mother is bleeding after birth." Wtf! I guess I already missed that episode but despite myself I want to see it just for that.

Next up in this hodge-podge is Kate's idea she thought up late one night (heh, I just spit my Coke!) to have a cooking competition among the children. Oh it's their nanny again. A couple episodes ago Kate made it seem like Andrea had just swung by on her way to CVS to help them out in Flar-ida. But here she is popping up hither and yon all summer long. There's nothing wrong with having a full-time summer (or perhaps more) nanny if you can afford such a luxury, why not just own it?

The nanny has ugly french-tip nails just like Kate. How does one raise or raise-nanny eight children with those? I wonder if that's why she got hired.

They do a school yard pick, and tragically, Alexis and Collin get picked last. It's obvious those two are the family misfits. Alexis is not girly enough for the girly girls, so she's their scapegoat. And Collin, it's unclear what the issue is, but what I do see is he is solemn and silent on camera most of the time and the children largely ignore him, forming deeper and deeper bonds without him. They are young enough for a parent to intervene and stop this nonsense, but she won't. In fact she's standing right there smiling gleefully at all this, like it's fun to watch two children always left out get left out once again. F-ed up. Here's a genius idea, count off from one to six. Even to Mady odd to Cara. It's fair, and no one's feelings get hurt.

Kate really wants to see someone win (and, i.e., someone lose of course), and emphasizes this is about winning. Alexis says something about um, isn't this supposed to be about fun? Even Mady makes a snide comment about how it's all about winning for Kate. It's really hilarious when the children have moments where they are more mature than their mother, who is almost 30 years older than them.

Like I said before I agree with Kate to some extent, kids shouldn't always win, but could she try to act a little less sociopathic about it?

Mady says Kate criticizes them a lot, telling them they're doing things wrong. "When you only watch our show you only have to take her [Kate] an hour at a time. We do it every single day," Mady says. Heh. Must be hell.

I think Kate's rules are kind of stupid here. She's put ten ingredients in their mystery basket but they don't have to use all ten, they can pass on half of them. But that's the whole point, and fun, of Chopped. You get a wild ingredient thrown at you and there are no passes. If the kids get a pass, or five passes, they won't be forced to think through how they're going to make a difficult or unfamiliar ingredient work, stretching their young minds in the process. The way Kate has it, they can work around anything difficult to get to a dish they more or less would have made anyway on a normal day.  What's more, it makes judging much harder and potentially unfair because you could be judging on a completely different set of ingredients. She never thinks stuff like this through and it's so hard for her to "get" something so simple.

The twins are onto this. Kate just wants the kids to make her lunch. Lol!

Collin, Hannah and Aaden are on Mady's team. Mady says she has the worst team. Aw, does she have to say that right in front of them? They look sad and just stare as she orders them about. How many plates are they supposed to make? There are like three skinny stalks of green onion and two little avocados. Kate's given them enough of these ingredients to feed a small ant farm and that's about it. I think they're right, she does just want someone to make her lunch!

Joel, apparently the smartest in the bunch, advises Aaden not to tell the producers anything bad about the twins because the twins are going to see this. He gets it.

Lengthy conversations about how the twins like to be in charge and the kids think they're bossy. The only thing rather interesting about all this is none of the kids, not a single one, wants Kate to hang around the kitchen during all this. She really sounds like a pain in the ass of a mother.

Cara's team made a tortilla corn salad with guacamole on top. It's colorful. Andrea and Kate say all nice things about it and act very impressed. Mady's team made tortilla chips and sesame tuna salad.  That's something I would eat as an afternoon snack, looks yummy. Kate's criticism is she wants a garnish on the plate? Huh? Okay, 1985. As many of the food network shows say now, you don't put a garnish on a plate anymore unless it's meant to be eaten.

The tuna is simpler than the first dish especially since the tuna came straight from the can, but then the first dish looks raw to my eyes. I would have preferred the vegetables be sauteed and the tortilla be grilled or at least warmed up. Still, if I had to pick what I wanted to eat, I would have just gone with the simple tuna and chips. The tuna team added sesame to it which is a great pairing with tuna, and I'm not sure they knew that, so they get bonus points for that. I'd call this a draw, but I can't really say who should have won for sure without tasting them.


We're back, and nothing sucks the fun out of Chopped more than a harpy bringing you back to reality demanding you check with the other team to see if they've already opened up something before you open the same thing. The fun doesn't stop with lunch, now they're going to make dessert too. Kate's getting really lazy now, she says just use whatever ingredients you want. Lol, what's the point?

What the hell are Andrea and Kate doing? Looks like they're painting Easter eggs or something. There's so much crap all over the table they're at I can't even make out what's going on. And I've spent too much time wondering about something sure to be pointless and asinine. Mady politely asks if she can throw out her dessert and start over because she messed up. Kate is surprisingly patient about that, tells her that's fine.

You know what's nuts? Kate looks so much better without makeup and her hair pulled back in a ponytail. Many women do, but they don't believe that for some reason.

Mady made a cookie with avocado, which is not that weird at all despite the shocked face Andrea makes. Avocado is a common substitution as it's very fatty. Cara made a delicious cupcake she's made before.

Kate says she liked Cara's food better, "which doesn't help us." Why? If you liked Cara's food better, Cara should win. I don't get it. And, Mady wins? Huh?

Kate says she gave Mady credit for perservering and hanging in there. Hanging in there baking a cookie and brushing some sesame seed oil on tortilla chips? Someone please put me out of my misery. I didn't realize you could get wild card points for "trying" that could push you into the winner's circle even if your food was sub-par. Wtf! Even Mady admits she won because of sympathy and acknowledges Cara's food was better. Here is where Mady has some growing up to do. If she notices such an obvious injustice, she should tell Kate. It's just a stupid game, tell Kate you don't have to let me win because you feel bad (or are just trying to avoid a meltdown), give the win to the better meals. You know who is, shockingly, wonderful with child chefs? Gordon Ramsey. He tells them when they fuck up and he doesn't sugar coat it, and sometimes there are tears, but the kids admire and respect him and want to be told where they went wrong so they can learn and grow as chefs. No one ever won on Master Chef because Gordon Ramsey felt sorry for them and gave their shitty poached egg a pass.

The theme of this season has been irony, and here it is yet again. Kate just told us in a long and boring speech how important it is the kids understand in life there are winners and losers and that she's not going to let them win. And I think actually, a lot of parents would agree with her--it's important this helicopter generation of kids understand you win some you lose some. And yet here she is, awarding a win to the undeserving child. What!

And if you want to know why Mady is the way she is, it's because of things like that Kate pulls. Mady runs the dog, pony and goat show, and she knows it, and that's the worst when a child has that much awareness of their power.

Lol, Joel rounds out the episode by saying eh, he'd rather be playing laser tag. Ha, touché!