Sunday, April 10, 2016

Recap: Kate Plus 8 ''School Prep": Typically, everything purchased in this episode can be found much easier online, in general

Next time on the little people, little people swimming!

Coming up on Kate Plus 8, school shopping for clothes, backpacks, and Kate gets distracted by something shiny and starts buying things for herself. This is a literal repeat of at least a couple other back-to-school boring episodes, including Kate buying much more for herself than for the kids. No one in production is even trying to do something original, and why would they when phoning it in is enough? Kate doesn't believe in being fair because that wastes money. She should write a blog post on saving money by not being fair, Dave Ramsey would be proud.

It's always about Kate, Cara explains, who is old enough to be on to her mother but not old enough to realize when she should probably shush, which is my favorite age.

Kate is more orange than usual today in her couch interviews--I would say it's "Trump orange," which is a color I better patent soon before someone else steals it. But in the footage of her packing up the van her hue is back to normal, which is more eggshell white. Hannah gets stress headaches, Kate says as she discloses what should be confidential medical information. At 11 she's stressed? What on earth is she stressed about? Kate packs her into the van with a blanket.

Is that a booster seat? Wtf? I understand the carseat guidelines have shifted to include much older children now (in Pennsylvania, the law is booster seat up until age 7), but these kids are all way too old for that now. Most seat belts will fit children 4'9 and up comfortably and safely. None of these children are that short anymore. Give it up, Kate, they are not toddlers and haven't been for a long time.

It looks horrendous carting a sick child to the mall, I know, Kate says. Correct, it does. So why do it? A set teacher certainly wouldn't permit this or risk losing their license. Kate did the same to one of the boys not too long ago. They have a full time nanny, why can't Hannah stay behind with her? Kate explains this is just a Hannah thing and she'll get over it in a few hours.

There's Shoka again, a mere inches from the moving tires of a several-ton vehicle. Grr!!!

Dowdy Deanna just happened to be visiting and takes the twins off separately at the mall. Why couldn't Deanna stay home with Hannah, and make the twins suck it up and go with Kate and the rest of their siblings? Why do I hurt my brain wondering these things?

The boys say they don't like shopping other than for toys. By the looks of them they don't much enjoy endless couch interviews either as Aaden tosses his head back and lets out a huge yawn.

You know something that I didn't notice much in the past but is really starting to irritate me? How funny-cute Kate thinks she is. She tries to make these little self-depricating jokes and they're just annoying, not funny. "I get distracted by things I want to buy .... maybe I even acted like a person who had never been to a mall before. Did I remind you of someone like that? " She smiles like a goon.

Typically, no one cares what was done in year's past or why or how they need what they need, who likes what or doesn't, and all the whining and begging that ensues.

Joel says they don't want the same backpacks because that makes them look younger. Exactly!! Of course the kids don't want to dress alike or have the same things, contrary to the sheeple claiming maybe they like that. Of course they don't like that, no 11-year-old likes looking like a baby. The only nice thing about the fact that these kids a decade later are still working is that they are validating pretty much everything we predicted about how they likely feel. 

I enjoy watching Kate try to reason with a pre-teen. It's one of the few tolerable things left of this God forsaken reality show.

The kids want her to buy them water bottles but Kate passes on that, initially anyway. She says bottles get dirty and disgusting and they leave water in them and she ends up being the one always cleaning them out. I can't disagree there, reusable water bottles are a great idea in your perfect green fantasy but rarely work out in reality. I have a Contiga cup which is an incredible invention, when I get around to cleaning out last month's English breakfast tea.

Half a minute later Kate's buying them water bottles. She is either the biggest pushover in the world or is just trying to be on her best behavior for the cameras. Much like how she parents in general, she only seems to understand the tangible aspect of raising kids, the stuff, the things. She doesn't understand good parenting is not that you bought kids water bottles because they really wanted them, but rather good parenting is making sure your sick child stays home with someone they trust instead of being dragged along on this trip, or better yet shop on another day. Hannah says shopping stresses her mom out. I wonder if that's why Hannah in turn gets stressed out. 

Kate selects some tupperware and admits 90% of her shopping is done online. I was just going to say why don't they buy all this crap online like normal people? Does anyone even go to malls anymore? Malls are closing across the country at an alarming rate because people just don't go anymore. You can get better deals online usually anyway, and almost all stores now have a liberal return policy with free shipping no questions asked. You save stress, time, and gas and can try things on in the comfort of your own home. I'm guessing the other 10% of Kate's big box store shopping occurs solely because of the cameras. 

During an excruciatingly boring conversation about gym clothes I can hear one of the kids politely saying "excuse me, Mommy," trying to get her attention. She is ignored of course. It makes sense now why these kids shout, scream and stomp around so much. Being quiet and polite gets you nowhere. 

We're moving "owwn" to the next thing which is I guess clothes. This could easily have been the same footage from the premiere episode of this season, School's Out! where they went to the department store to buy luggage. It's that similar. Kate's helping Leah pick out some dresses and Alexis wants something too. Naturally Kate's comment about how shopping isn't always going to be fair was about Alexis, the least girlie of the girls. Figures. I'm not sure I even agree with Kate about how it can't be fair. It seems like this can easily be made fair. Give the kids each $50, $75 or whatever your budget is and have them pick out what they want with your approval. They're old enough to handle the money and pick out their clothes and that makes it perfectly fair. That noggin of hers sure thinks funny. 

This is rather interesting, I assumed the twins didn't want to shop with the younger kids because they seem to hate sharing the same planet as them, but Mady reveals that actually she doesn't understand why she didn't shop with the other kids since she needs clothes too, and that she "wasn't allowed." Wasn't allowed by whom? Production? Conversely, Kate claims the twins didn't want to shop with the younger kids. I immediately assume Kate's lying and Mady's telling the truth. So was separating them out done to have two separate shopping segments and stretch this out? Hmm!!

Anywho, the twins are with Deanna and picking out stuff and it's all absolutely uneventful and boring. Kate buys their boring stuff and then does that sarcastic "thank you, Mommy," thing that some annoying parents say to their kids when their kids forget to say thank you. In defense of Mady, Kate started it, and Mady explains that she was going to say thank you, was in fact about to say it. I'm going to give Mady the benefit of the doubt on this. They had just bought the shoes, at least give the child until the car ride home to thank her. 

This sets Mady off on a snide little tirade, accusing Kate of treating her like a brat. "Thank you, but you can say it to yourself," she snaps, whatever that means. She is I would guess about six months away from saying, "Thank you, but you should be thanking us because that's our money you're buying it with." Just ask the former child actor Missy Francis how old she was when she realized the same about her mother and started embezzling her own money to herself just to be sure she'd see any of it by the time she was 18. 

Mady can be trying, she's mean to her siblings and I think the way Kate allows her to speak to her is completely unacceptable, but I also understand what Mady's saying here, and that is that Kate is unreasonable, disrespectful and patronizing to her, yet expects perfect respect back. It's a set-up, it's unfair and certainly very obnoxious.

All Kate can do is sigh and ignore her at this point, and I think she's wise to shut up and just let Mady say her peace. Kate won't take any of it to heart though, which is a pity. A little give and take with this dysfunctional relationship might do wonders. 

It's a good thing we're not playing a drinking game this afternoon because I'd be soused to the gills. I just heard two typicallys and an "in general." Kate basically admits she's bribing the kids with pretzels. To buy shoes, or really just to stick around and film? I sense the latter. Mmm, I love mall pretzels. And mall cinnamon buns. That's all I miss about malls now that I don't go anymore like most people. Speaking of which, some of the finest television "short films" were made in a Cinnabon in Omaha. Watch Better Call Saul, the best show on television this year, and you'll understand.

I love the way Lancaster is pronounced in Pennsylvania: Lane-kes-ter. That is the correct way if I may say so. We have a Lancaster here, a medium-sized city in L.A. County but pronounced Lan-caster, and to go with its inferior pronunciation it's a desert with lots of snakes and varmints and not enough gas stations to run your tank down to almost empty and be fine.

How ironic, Kate has wonderful fond memories of her grandparents taking her to the mall. Grandpa gave them each $5 to spend. Sounds like even ole Gramps understands how to make shopping "fair."

The store didn't have a good selection of shoes, didn't have their sizes or the styles they want, and it doesn't look like they ended up buying anything. Remember those days? Now we have the inter-webs, where I promise you can find your size and style somewhere in that vast wonderland even if you might have to resort to ebay. Kate says for the second time how much she hates all this. Well, she makes it harder on herself. All this could be accomplished with a few clicks and a credit card that's already automatically entered by the little green men at Google. 

The little people are swimming again, which I realize now was a good excuse for production to try out their underwater camera rigs. They don't come cheap.

We're back with a completely unrelated subplot storyline to plot A, about how they're going to refurbish their picnic table. Kate and the younger kids head to the hardware store. The twins complain that they were not told they were going to the hardware store, they just woke up and they were gone. Sheesh, I hope schmoopy at least left them a note! Assuming it's true, that the twins weren't informed of this outing, this is what I mean by Kate not respecting them. You can't be as rude and inconsiderate as she apparently is to them, then expect respect back. It's a two-way street. 

Kate admits she doesn't "typically" take them to do errands like this, but the cameras are here so .... well, she really claims she took them them because this is going to be a whole-family project, but the truth is the kids are just in her way and she's not making any effort to include them in this shopping trip, and this is really about the cameras. 

Mady and Cara couldn't be more unenthused about helping to sand the table. They're insufferable but understandable.

Kate pulls out a power sander and makes a whole big deal about operating this machinery. This happened before too, just a couple episodes ago when she worked with a chain saw. I hate women who think its funny and cute when they tackle traditionally male jobs and act all damsel in distress about it. At one time this show recycled plot ideas from a season or two ago, now it's just an episode or two ago. It's like a blond bimbo high-pitched awful version of Groundhog Day, a movie I hate in the first placeHa, Kate's awful at sanding, it runs every which way taking the scenic route down the table. Either that or she's really playing up the woman fumbling around with power tools gag. Amy Schumer she is not. 

Of course most of the kids start to gradually wander away, bored, now that Kate is power sanding and not including them or even letting them try it. What does she expect? 

Just an observation now that yet another too long and boring segment is over, but why didn't they pull out the power sander sooner? Why did they all sit there with sandpaper blocks and slave away for who knows how long when Kate had a power sander right there all along that could have done the entire job in 10 minutes?

This is a rhetorical questions I suppose, and the answer to most of my rhetorical questions is usually, because it was being filmed. It makes no sense to do things quickly and efficiently when you're being filmed, then you'd never be able to find enough footage to fill up 60 minutes of this drivel every week. You can only roll your eyes I guess. The kids are half onto all this and will be all the way there soon. 

Commercials, and when we get back they're still sanding that god damned picnic table! I feel like I'm in sandpaper purgatory and can't get out. A somewhat new thing they are doing during the kids' couch interviews is have them say the same thing at the same time. It's Children of the Corn creepy.

Amy Schumer here is working with an air compressor now, acting all inept again. Blow me.

Kate's glad the full-time nanny Andrea happened to be there since for some reason Andrea knows about how to stain picnic tables. Why wouldn't Andrea be there? She is their full-time nanny. The kids trickle back in now, interested in painting. Instead of whining about it, maybe Kate should just appreciate what they are willing to help with, little as it is. Finally after two long segments the table is finished, it looks great and the kids are mildly proud of their efforts. It really is amazing what a little sanding and staining can do. That's what she said.

Commercials, this time the promo is about people who are 600 pounds and a network that still pretends watching people pull their rolls of fat out from their pants and roll it around has educational value.

We're back with the third subplot in this episode that's actually related to the school shopping this time, final preparations for their first day of school. Mady makes an interesting comment that it's not cool to be entering high school, though she likes they don't have to wear uniforms anymore. I have never in all my life met a kid who wasn't thrilled to finally be going to high school with the big kids, even if there were a little first day nerves about it. It's just a strange comment. The twins are going shopping for clothes again? The first trip wasn't enough?

They're at one of those small boutique clothing shops that most women can't afford to shop at until at least a decade after college is over and several salaried paychecks later. In typical Mady and Cara fashion the twins are ungrateful, disagreeable and unhelpful to the very nice salesperson helping them who apparently cleared the store out for them. Kate defends their rude and unacceptable behavior by saying she was just like that as a teen. Well, then they get it from her.

Kate can't help herself and goes after all the shiny stuff, grabbing up dresses and blouses and handbags like it's a pop-up swag tent. The twins knew that would happen, heh.

Kate's still defending Mady who is making snide comments by saying it was actually a round-about way for Mady to say Kate looked nice. Lol! Kate, "oh my gosh you look like a human" is not a nice comment no matter how you twist and turn yourself around to make it one. She is the worst, no wonder these twins are the way they are. The music during this segment was pulled from stock 17th century harpsichords, which is random. 

Up next, they're going to another boutique??? I really am in shock how much is being repeated and recycled in this episode, and the sheer greed I'm witnessing. 

At last the final segment. What's the point in clearing out an expensive boutique for ungrateful teenagers if they don't like anything? Cara is actually arguing with Kate that she has enough summer clothes, she doesn't want anymore, and Mady doesn't seem to want anything at this place. Why in the world is Kate pushing them into buying summer clothes on a back-to-school trip in the Northeast when 95% of your school year will be spent in winter clothes?

Kate complains they're in a phase where they have very narrow likes and don't want to branch out. So? That's normal. At that age I think I had one or two sweaters and a pair of jeans I wore to death, as long as they are washed regularly it's not hurting anything.  What does Kate care? Just get them what they like, online, and be done with it. She really picks a lot of fights she doesn't need to.

Mady gives Kate one too many "it's all about you" comments and Kate finally loses her shit, haha. Love it.

A third store???? This is truly agonizing. Just take my word for it absolutely nothing interesting happened here. Kate suggests she and Mady get these completely ugly sweater pants and share them, "share custody of them" she says. Oh yeah cause Kate's so great at sharing custody of anything. Mady, you'll never see those sweater pants again except maybe for a Tuesday night dinner once in awhile but that's it.

It's finally over, and next time we pick out more clothes but at least it's for Kate's fake-date, and her rather cute (!) suitor, nice selection from all those head shots, production! Baw-hahhaa, the side hug and turned cheek at the end of the date. Shade! Cannot wait.

Little people playing with bubbles, and we're out.