Friday, November 3, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "The Finale": Move over, Angelina Jolie

Still finishing out the last few remaining recaps I haven't done and we now come to the series finale, from September 2011.

If you're wondering why there were about 30 new episodes of this God forsaken mess that aired long after "The Finale" aired, well, you should be. As you may recall from long, long ago, this show really did have a pretty big cancellation announcement six years ago, with tears and regrets and fans in a tizzy. It was 2011, just a hair before television really started to change, for the better (for the most part). There are a lot more platforms to get a series on television these days, and television has been expanding, giving viewers a lot more choices and niche genres. Shows regular networks never would have taken a chance on have thrived on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu. This expansion has left a lot more room for shows to get their reunion episodes, or for many, a total revival.

Back in the day, if your series were cancelled, you really were cancelled. You would never be heard from again other than the $9.99 DVD bin at the grocery store. A few very good series got a reunion episode or two, or even a movie, but that was rare.

Some of these revived shows they've put together recently are simply charming and a wonderful throwback, like Full House or Gilmore Girls. Others should never have been messed with, like Boy Meets World and Will and Grace. Kate got her revival too, starting back up again in 2014 to the present, and it never should have happened. The kids were older and more outspoken and disgruntled, and as we now know during much of this time, Collin was having such serious issues he is no longer living in the family home. The family should never have gone back on T.V. post-2011, but here we are.

An unintended consequence of this sea change is that revived shows like Kate Plus 8 seem to be surviving on much lower ratings than they ever could before, and new episodes are being ordered, albeit on obviously lower budgets, when they never would have been before. Voting with your remote doesn't seem to make much of a difference these days, with such low audiences. So in sum, the changing T.V. landscape is great for most shows, but breathes life into a few that shouldn't be here, with little to no way for viewers to get them off their screens.

Another interesting thing that seems to have happened is networks don't seem to be making grand cancellation announcements anymore, not usually anyway. Probably because they want to leave a door open. I'm not even really sure if Kate Plus 8 got the axe again this year; TLC was never really clear. For those whose incomes depend on their series, not just the talent but the local production companies, such treatment is rather cold, but as we learned now more than ever recently, Hollywood is more self-interested and devoid of any morals or accountability than we ever imagined.

Predictably, this show is going to be full of old clips we've seen before, some many times before. But they also do an unusual format for this show where some of the major players sit down for a one-on-one interview, like Steve, Ashley, and Jamie, who remarks that she always tells Kate she's not Angelina Jolie. Baw, she's pretty good sometimes.

Interestedly enough, old clips of Jon are shown, which invokes legal implications, like possibly having to pay him again. I wonder how that all shook out and whether he noticed and demanded his check.

This aired just after the infamous RV episodes, so we're going to rehash all the drama of those. You can review my recaps here and here if you're interested in the finer details, but the short story is Kate actually thinks she did everything on the RV trip and was pleasant at it too, and that was really f-ing obnoxious to those who actually were doing it all and exhausted, like Ashley and Jamie.

Kate is actually blaming her nasty troll-like behavior on that trip on stress and the hot weather. Classic not taking responsibility for her role as chief instigator.

I like how the Kiwis say tense. Sounds like "teens."

This segment goes on and on.

Jamie I think at her heart is a good person with a good head on her shoulders, despite her misguided friendship with Kate. Jamie says fine blame it on stress, but the reality is that is no excuse to treat the people who love you and support you the most poorly. Well, right! Also, I really like how the producers obviously interviewed Kate first, then went tattle-taling to everyone else about what she said to see what they would say. Heh!

This reminds me of a scene in the upcoming season of The Crown, which has had a great opportunity to show itself off thanks to the changing landscape of TV I was just talking about. It is one of the best series I've ever seen, a slow but delicious plod month by month through Queen Elizabeth II's life starting at age 20. (It will go on many seasons as long as it continues to do well. We're only up to her early 30's now.) In it Queen Elizabeth appears to be irritated by everything going to shit around her--the prime minister resigning, her sister on all the front pages of the tabloids, her mother always on her case. All of this makes her job harder. And Phillip, her husband, stares her down and asks her if it occurs to her that she has people in her life who are there for her no matter what.

"If only," Elizabeth replies.

I think Elizabeth has grown tremendously as she's aged, and learned a lot in particular since Diana's death. She wouldn't say something like that now, but I think that incapsulates her when she was younger. And much like Kate, who is also an "if only" person despite being surrounded by those who love her unequivocally, E-2 struggled to grasp and respond to normal love and friendships. It was all duty, country, and preservation of the crown.

The only thing I can say to the lovely Ashley is just get out. This is a toxic relationship no matter how much you love the children and it's never going to change.

Kate is truly, truly a cold woman. When viewing Ashley's outburst on the RV trip afterward, she calls Ashley "over-dramatic." She's outrageous. Can't she just keep that comment to herself and just try to mend things with a nanny that the children love? So unbelievably selfish. She fits right into the industry she so wants to be a part of.

Ha, Ashley says she regrets not saying more on that trip. Good for her.

Steve admits that he too had thought about leaving but he committed to this trip. So noble. Jamie kind of considered it but didn't want to hurt any of the kids including her own so she stuck it out. That's just maturity is all.

Kate says funny enough she and Ashley have never even had a small disagreement before. That's because, doofus, someone like Ashley puts the kids first and hasn't said how she really felt all this time. That was good for the kids, but not for Ashley. It's clear her outburst had been building for years.

It's hard to tell whether they're really going to patch things up or not but Ashley said they did have small talk conversations a few times since and Kate has said she is welcome anytime. Well Kate isn't about to let a lackey go just like that no matter how big the fight was.

Benevolent Kate says she still loves Ashley, Ashley can do no wrong, and it's up to Ashley whether she would like to keep on loving them in return or not. It's unbelievable how insane Kate is. Why can't she understand this has nothing to do with Ashley's love for the children, and everything to do with a young woman finally finding her voice and developing her own personal boundaries? Ashley's maybe 23, 24 here, I don't know. Point being she's around the age where a young person is really delving deep into their feelings and getting to know who they are and what they really want out of relationships even platonic ones. This is the age where you might decide to leave an old friend from high school behind because they've become an alcoholic, finally estrange a parent who is cruel and abusive, and around the time when many people say they had their first "real" relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend. But love is not something you can just shut off like a faucet. Even if Ashley decides she can no longer be around the family, I can promise you she will always love the children. When love becomes too much to bear because either the person you love or someone around who you love is making you miserable, everyone must eventually make a tough choice.

That wonderful University of Phoenix ad plays again. "What if I swore I'd succeed so you could wake up one day with the choice to be anything you wanted?" Bawling! Bet that hard-working grandma never spent one second wallowing about some sexist pig in the office and posting trite "#Metoo"'s on instagram, and instead just told him to buzz off and then got on with it.

At the time they interviewed the kids for this last episode, no one knew this show was ever coming back. An off camera producer asks some of the sextuplets how they feel about the show ending. The kids look confused by this question. They blurt out canned answers like it's sad, but tellingly, are unable to articulate what about this that is so sad. In fact Alexis says she's sad because she's sad. Wow, the kid doesn't understand this, like, at all! I think they are either so used to this show they don't even realize what it means for it to be over, or if they do this means really nothing to them. But I don't believe they truly feel sad about this, so this idea the show must carry on because the kids need it, as Kate has suggested, is nonsense.

Kate says they owed viewers a last episode that tied everything up. I don't know what that means, tying up your real life as if there's loose plot lines that still need to be resolved like it's the The Walking Dead. But they don't owe the creepy fans anything, and that's step one of her problem.

Kate actually doesn't look sad to me either, even though she says she is. I can literally see the creaky ole botoxed wheels turning, I think she has something in mind that will bring in lots of money after this is over. Most likely a spinoff all about her, maybe a stint as a host on a talk show, some kind of wildly successful product line. She did try things like this after the show was cancelled and absolutely nothing panned out, but point being I think she thought at the time this was the start of her next even better career where she can finally ditch these kids. I swear to God, there is a glimmer of excitement in her eyes she can finally move on to other things.

Weird spa music is playing in the background. I want someone to crack my shoulders!

They show a little bit of Jon and Kate recording the opening segment from the original show, which I actually find rather interesting, because if anything it shows that they are doing what looks like dozens of takes. Jen is there, being a very patient and supportive producer. When they let us in to little behind the scenes moments like this, it becomes all the clearer how heavily produced this show was no matter how much Kate has tried to deny it. It is no wonder a boy with special needs could not thrive to his fullest potential under such conditions.

Kate gives yet another explanation for why they're on T.V. and I swear I've never heard this one before. They owe it to the little old grandmas who sent them 10 bucks here and there. Kate needs to let them know they're doing okay. Huh? Who old ladies what? And why can't you pick up the phone and call your supporters and let them know how you're doing, or get everyone's addresses and send a stupid Christmas letter update every year with a photo? How do you even know these old ladies have cable? I wonder if she's updated the little old grandmas on Collin. He's not doing well, ladies.

Oh, burn, Jamie says the person she met at Reading hospital (I didn't know they met at Reading hospital, was that where the multiples support group was?) was kinder and gentler. Now Kate is all about TV, how skinny she is and what she's wearing. I really can't believe Jamie is saying this! This is the juicy shit you say on secret video tapes to your biographer not to be played for forty years. What's next, Jamie hates Martin Luther King, too? Jamie must have been really upset about the RV trip to just blurt all this out like this. Wow.

Kate says about a million times there's no going back from this. Oh, that's just silly. Americans are the most fickle audiences ever and with rare exception, quickly forget about shows they watched and has-been celebs they were fans of. Try it. Name a T.V. show that was cancelled two years ago and two of its stars. Bet you have to think long and hard, because viewers just forget that stuff and move on to the next show.

A bunch of creepy footage of paparazzi.

I don't remember this story at all, Kate says they did a T.V. spot and a man was hanging around them and putting the kids in his lap. What?! Who was this creep, how did this happen, and why didn't they call security or even the police? Surely even small TV stations have at least one security guard. And shouldn't this have been a huge, huge red flag to you this industry is very dangerous for children? So many questions, no logical answers. After that Kate knew she needed a booby-guard.

Lol, I love when these talking heads unintentionally insult Kate. Steve says he quickly realized after booby-guarding for Kate there was some notoriety here. Heh.

Jon was always ready to quit the show, says Kate. I think that is a pretty big revelation, because a lot of fans have implied that he up and quit just to spite Kate during the divorce. In fact, Kate has unintentionally admitted, quitting had been brewing for him and was no sudden matter or bore any connection to trying to slam her in the divorce.

What's an episode without Kate getting a chance to slam her parents again? Kate rarely if ever left the state growing up and she wanted something different for her kids. Wouldn't you remember whether you left the state or not growing up? And boo-freaking hoo you never went anywhere. It's not like Pennsylvania is 100 square miles. It's a huge beautiful state, with endless things to see and do. You could spend a decade there and never even get close to seeing everything. Also, parents do not owe children trips out of the state. The bigger question is did her parents do the best they could with what they had? Did they do their best to teach their children good values? Did they enrich their minds with good schooling, plenty of books and music? Did they teach and show them love?

Her dad is or was a pastor. No matter what your beliefs are, religious leaders are usually a noble profession and most are very good men and women who often do a whole lot of schooling to not get paid very much. I've never heard one ounce of gratitude for the role he has played in her community. If her dad is like most pastors, he's probably sat up with a family for 18 hours while their toddler gets heart surgery, held the hand of a grandmother dying of cancer and read her scripture, coordinated help for a family who lost everything in a house fire. You're a first responder to the spiritual side of people, and on call all day and night. Nothing, nothing at all ever from Kate about admiration for this?

I think her parents just popped a lemon with this one, because from the bits and pieces we've seen of some of her other siblings, they seem like decent people. I highly doubt her parents were sitting on a pile of money refusing to spend it on the trip Kate wanted to Florida out of spite. Kate is lucky she had a roof over her head, a full belly, great schools and sports, the best medical care around, good friends and a nice safe small town to grow up in. Some families would kill for such a cookie-cutter place to grow up. What an ungrateful waste of space.

Kate said she thought of the kids twenty years from now and what they would think of her decisions, and that influences her choices. How dare she speak for what her kids will think about their lives 20 years from now and how dare she assume her 30-year-old children will be just fine with her decisions just because she thought of what they would think in advance. And how convenient for her that she insists the decisions she makes just happen to be the ones a 30-year-old Gosselin kid would fully support, given that there is no 30-year-old kid yet to consult. What a nut job! It's really not her place to speculate how the children will feel and it's insulting. And if you're paying attention, the narrative has changed again. The show was supposed to be for the little old ladies. Now I think she's realized that answer is stupid, and so she's moved the goal posts to say that if she doesn't do the show her kids will have a piddly growing up existence like she did and because she resents it she's sure they would too. What an assumer and an ass-hat. She needs to read Christopher Robin Milne's books about being haplessly thrust into fame when he was in grade school. All he wanted, all he wanted in the whole world, is to just be a normal boy no kid knows, and get his parents back, his toys back, and his damn woods back. One could just as easily assume a Gosselin kid might grow up and all they want in the world was to have a normal childhood to look back on. Why not assume that just as easily?

Kate says the show has been a great opportunity to "travel" the kids. Travel them? How about, it was a great opportunity for the kids to travel? Awkward phrasing, she makes it sound like the kids are objects, which she's done on several occasions, so this is not a fluke.

Point being, no one knows how these kids will eventually feel about their childhoods, not us, not even their mother. So then why risk it? Why not just give them a normal childhood so you'll never have to worry that they might not eventually like their extremely abnormal one? Selfishness and greed on her part is the answer to this rhetorical question. The only sad thing is she can't admit she exploited the kids for her not for them, and that the grown children may have the biggest problem with of all.

Kate pats herself on the back for about five minutes about how she did it all by her lonesome when the kids were little, again leaving out Jon and the helpers.

People told her they would have liked to just stand at their window and look in. What creepy person said this and was her name Gladys?

One of the few things Kate says that is correct is that over time viewers fell in love with the kids. I think that's true for most fans and non-fans alike. We had some buy in with these kids, we like them even though they have faults, some more than others, and the faults they do have we understand are directly related to an exploited childhood and terrible parenting and therefore forgivable. So, she understands viewers genuinely have a stake here. But doesn't seem to understand much else. The fact that Collin is just gone, poof, for so long, is truly upsetting to fans and non-fans alike, and that's directly related to the years viewers spent watching him grow up and giving a tiny piece of the T.V. portion of our hearts to him. The little bones she throws out there about him are toying, manipulative behavior, like a cat with a mouse, and that's really screwed up.

Kate says she and Jon had vastly different views on how they see the world, which is why the show was interesting. That's true. Here's a little hint, if you and your boyfriend or fiance can't agree on anything, your marriage is very, very unlikely to work. Frankly that goes for Jon too. He should have called this off or spent longer dating her before putting a ring on it. He was only 22, he could have waited another decade to make sure this was right. Now he's paying. Makes for good T.V., but a bad marriage.

Steve says he thinks couples would watch this show and say, thank God I'm not as useless as that. Implying Jon?? Useless? Oh my God! What a jerkwad! Was he paying attention at all when he watched these episodes? Jon did it all including working and caring for the kids and Kate accepted coffee delivered to her bedside when she woke up, then put the kids behind bars all day and gave orders and freaked out about $10 off coupons. No, couples were saying thank God we respect and appreciate each other like she doesn't and are good to our children.

Kate admits after a producer comes up with the idea that maybe the kids like watching the old episodes to see her and Jon together. Well, that's a rather sad though probably true thought and never anything Kate would have come to on her own because she has no feelings.

Apparently Kate's kids are like no other kids in the world and can remember all these things they did as if they were 10, not toddlers, says Kate. Well, we've since learned that's a load of malarky. In the recent trivia episode the kids really struggled to remember much about the show at all. So doing this for the trips was mostly pointless for them. What else ya got?

Lol, Kate is blaming her totally unacceptable behavior on editing. She also blames her nastiness on, get a load of this, the kids asking too many questions of her. She actually says this. She's too much. Poor Kate, no other mother has ever had to deal with why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why. Well maybe they have, but I bet you not times six! So there!

Mady is parroting Kate's reasons for what she liked the most about the show. We never had time to make our own home videos, Mady echoes. Well, we know that is malarky too, since at Mady's 16th birthday, Kate herself admitted that she was filming every day once the twins were born, and even put together a very long compilation for their birthday. I'm sure there was less time for that once 6 babies were here, but we still saw home videos of them she or Jon took, and surely just whipping out a little camcorder and taping a few moments is far less time consuming than organizing the taping over several days with an entire camera crew. Come on!

She talks about the kids' favorite things and Collin's is the chickens. Aw. She got rid of that little boy and got rid of his favorite things next. Wth, lady!

Alexis has absolutely the most darling Anna Wintour haircut. I never remember seeing that before or since but it's nice to see her have some individually for once.

She's defending cupcake gate again. Man, that incident really bothers her the most of all huh? She says just the other day some of the kids didn't get their cupcakes. That is a stubborn and defensive thing to say. She is twelve.

Kate is still boo-hooing about a divorce that even in this episode was a long time ago. She works up some tearless tears. She says she couldn't make Jon want to be there. Um, it's not that Jon doesn't want to be "there." Jon just doesn't want to be with you, doofus, and since you're always "there" that becomes a problem now doesn't it. And wait a second, didn't she file for divorce? Lol!

Kate is in agreeance over the divorce. Gaa, that word. Well that's good to know, because she was the one who filed.

Kate is defending herself about the divorce again saying they had to do it in public and she did so tastefully and they would have gotten divorced show or not blah blah. There was absolutely nothing tasteful about her embarrassing purseful of bills pity tour and all the below-the-belt comments she made about Jon in various venues. It was pathetic and self-serving. It was basically like Grey Gardens tasteful.

That tough as nails grandmother commercial is back again! I really remain perpetually in awe of the Greatest Generation and what they endured in the name of freedom, especially those who were kids and endured months of bombings straight or in the alternative were sent up north to live with total strangers. I fear we are no longer honoring their sacrifices and have become far too tolerant of the crap they sought to end once and for all, and my God are our feelings ever hurt just like that. I really recommend the Imperial War Museum if you are ever in London. It's comprehensive, incredibly moving, and free. For kids who don't know much about civilian life during WW2, I hope this commercial causes them to ask their parents, what was that bombing about when she was a kid?

Ashley saw the divorce coming a mile away but was in denial, like it was her own parents. Ashley, bless you, but a blind and deaf centipede could see this divorce coming.

I hate when people do what Kate does when telling a story and ask themselves questions and then answer them themselves immediately after. Was I proud of that no? Did I love that? No. Would I like a grilled cheese for lunch? You bet.


The editors are being mean here. When Kate remarks she and Jon have different parenting ideas, they show Jon texting on his phone while Hannah is trying to ask him something. Maybe it was an important text, or something to do with the kids or work. Or even if it wasn't you don't have to leap to attention every time your kid demands something of you, as long as there's a balance. It's fine kids know there are other things going on for their parents besides their spoiled children. How about tell the kid, I just need 30 more seconds to finish up this text I was writing before you started talking to me and then we will talk, okay baby? It's good for them to learn to wait.

Like no parent has ever been on their phone before while their kid is talking to them, including Kate herself. Stop it. In later years, the editors were far more fair to Jon and could be mean to Kate. It's clear they've come around.

There's a whole lot of rambling and fluff here about the divorce, like it just happened. Keep in mind, even in this episode it was three years ago. Yeesh.

The vow renewal episode was not a hoax, Kate insists. A hoax? That's a strong word. I think we just said they knew then they were separating even while taking that free trip, that's all. What's next the vow renewal is going to show up on Eh, I'll call this rumor MOSTLY TRUE.

Kate can't bring herself to say she does not regret the marriage because of the kids she got out of it even though the statement was spoon-fed to her to say. She hates Jon more than she loves her kids.

Did Kate actually just say Jon was there for the family and did anything she asked of him to do. Wha-what! A moment of clarity. Good, glad she said that. Now go tell your lackey Steve and the idiot sheeple to stop re-writing history.

In a flashback, Kate and Jon have a light-hearted laugh over some of the kids insisting they are more Korean than others. I feel like this conversation would be extremely offensive to snowflakes in 2017. They would probably start a hashtag campaign, or want somebody fired.

Oh lovely, the kids nickname that crew member who never showers "Stinky." That is hilarious to a kid, but should be horrifying to a parent. He probably smells like pot, too. That's crew members, folks.

Kate admits there is only one original member of the crew left. Well, that's not surprising at all. Crews come and go. Better or more interesting projects come along, or promotions, or career changes. The idea the children should be encouraged to have such real bonds with such a transient lot is very concerning.

Hm, um um I guess Kate says she will have to get a job now. Uhhh ya think? Go to work, you able bodied woman. Good Lord. Lol, the future holds T.V. and media for me, says Kate. She's so arrogant. You have to get somebody to put you on T.V. first. Oh and um thank you to the cheerleaders, says Kate. Who? Is she talking about the fans, the helpers, both? Could she be a little bit more specific when thanking people?? Why is Kate fake crying? She's not sad at all. She clearly thinks she's winning an Emmy for whatever her next project is.

Without the show Mady says she would have to sit at home and stare at the walls. I'm sure that's the lie her mother tells her. She'll resent this coaching someday. I wonder when Mady realized that not having a T.V. show does not mean a very full and enriching life is cut off from you. And with a little effort a parent can provide endless fun and enrichment that is either cheap or free. A middle class or even poor child can have a good and happy life and the idea that Kate keeps implying that the only path to happiness is to do what she did is nothing but insulting.

This is a long recap. Thanks for bearing with me. It was a full 42 minute episode unfortunately, but it was full of rather notable comments and revelations that just couldn't be glossed over. When Kate is allowed to just run her mouth, recapable stuff always seems to diarrhea out.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "Treehouse & Chicks": I hope no one comes down with aviation flu

Still catching up on a few old recaps, and now I'm up to Treehouse & Chicks, which for reference, first aired in August 2011.

Coming up on the problems of the one percent, the treehouse builders are coming at the same exact time as the chicken people. How will the family cope with such a jam packed day? (As we find out later Kate scheduled them to come on purpose, thus intentionally setting up this incredible drama.)

In my day, we built a treehouse with Dad and Uncle Dave, a couple hammers and some scrap lumber. You didn't contract it out like you might a family home.

I like looking on the bright side of these episodes, and the bright side of this one is this was back when the episodes were the correct length, only 20 minutes long. That's all the nothingness of these episodes that they require. Pushing them out to 42 minutes as they've done in later seasons is not only ridiculous but may have led to the declining ratings. This episode pulled in just a hair over a million in ratings, which is more than can be said for many of the episodes that came later. Though incidentally, this was one of the final episodes that aired just before this showed was first "cancelled."

Kate makes some reference to the chicks never hatching and that's why the kids wanted chicks. I vaguely remember an incubator in one of the episodes, and I found my recap about it here.  Why did those eggs abort anyway? It doesn't appear Kate explained why in the incubator episode, at least not according to my recap. Apparently she just said they never hatched. But there is no reason a good percentage should not hatch as long as you follow directions and give the eggs the proper temperature and rotation. Things that make you wonder the extent of Kate's negligence on a day-to-day basis.

It's 2011, so it's the heyday of Kate's tanning and botox. She's an unnatural muddy shade of brown, and in fact the twins look very dark too, way darker than they appear today. I wouldn't put it past Kate to take her 10-year-olds tanning, too.

Kate admits she hadn't thought at all about how to lay out the coop in the barn. Ashley appears out of nowhere and thank God she's here. She has sense. It takes her all of ten seconds to come up with a layout that works.

I don't understand what the treehouse has to do with setting up a chicken coop. But some builders show up and start scouting the property for a suitable tree. I can't understand half what the sextuplets are saying. They're not that little, but they do not make any effort to articulate at all, and often speak in obnoxious sing-song tones. No one corrects them. They're seven, not three. I don't remember them being like that, but it's annoying. They acted like babies far too long and some still do sometimes.

Ashley and the kids help clear out the barn. Kate mostly supervises and complains. I count her taking out one plastic bin and that was about it. Ashley flips on a switch apparently connected to an old radio and static comes on. For some reason Kate and Ashley find this absolutely hysterical and haunted-house like. The radio is cool, I would have asked Kate if I could have it. It's just going to end up in a bin of junk somewhere on Kate's watch anyway. Kate passes out brooms and supervises sweeping.

I am hyper alert to how Collin behaves and what is said about how he is, in light of him being gone from the family home for how long now? Collin seems very engaged with this project and enjoying it. He appears to be working hard, and Kate remarks that he was "on task." There are really no signs the boy was struggling in any way, socially or otherwise.

So apparently they already have the outdoor coop set up, and I guess this will be their indoor coop or are they ditching the outdoor one? They either never explain or I missed it. It's very annoying to watch a reality show and be confused about what is going on, even if you don't like the show.

Anyhow, the poop bin in the outdoor coop is so covered in feces they can barely get it open. This family should not be allowed to have animals if they are going to abuse them. Negligence is abuse, by the way. Never cleaning up an animal's feces from their living area is abuse, make no mistake. If they can't be bothered to clear out the poop once in awhile, is it a case where they can't be bothered to change the water dish and put out some feed? Sheesh. And I also think one can make a reasonable inference that if one cannot even properly take care of a small chicken coop, one is probably not very good at taking care of three dogs or any other living thing.

Meanwhile in a totally unrelated story, some contractors are building the children a treehouse that rivals Punky Brewster's. The foreman is talking about actual construction stuff.

Ads! University of Phoenix has been doing a big advertising push lately. Once in awhile a series of commercials come along that are just a really good short piece of cinema, and that's University of Phoenix. They are telling people's stories of their life and education at the college in short but moving bursts. I'm unclear if these are true stories or just made up melodrama, but they're good. I especially like the one about the child who endured bombings in Europe in World War II eventually to emigrate to the United States, in search of safety, work and the dream that her future children and grandchildren could make something of themselves too. Her future generations indeed have the world at their fingertips thanks to Grandma's education at the University of Phoenix. Big tear! 

There's another one that's really good too about a single mom who adapts to the hurdles life throws at her and supports the family. Well done.

What's amazing about this schmuck Kate is that she admits that it was on her summer to do list to clean out the chicken coop. Um, that should be on your daily chore list, you animal abuser. Someone call animal control. Sometimes her idiocy is funny, and sometimes, like this time, it's downright blood boiling because it's hurting other people or animals.

Kate explains, with a straight face mind you, she scheduled the coop and the tree housing building on the same day because they'll be down there on that area of the property anyway. Oh goodness, that's smart. One would not want to have to walk down there twice! Sometimes I really cannot believe she hears herself.

Collin is working so hard helping out with this there's a little bead of sweat on his brow. Aw. For someone who claims to be so organized Kate's garage is a mess. She has various crap just shoved in cardboard boxes. Wouldn't she like to see everything all lined up pretty in giant Tupperware like normal organized people?

Aaden and Collin fight over a hammer for a very long time. Yawn. Kate is pounding some posts into the cement. The cement? How does that work? I literally have no idea what's going on. I also don't understand why an entire team of contractors is across the way building the treehouse, but Kate and Ashley are all by themselves doing what seems to be a fairly complicated project in their own right, whatever it is they are doing, pounding and stapling and such. I'm no Bob Villa, but wouldn't it make more sense to jack hammer pieces of the cement out, then pound posts into it, then refill the cement?

Franky I really don't know what I'm talking about or how to do this project Kate wants to do but I do know when to call in the professionals and leave it to them. The intern chooses dopey guitar string music for this part. Heh. I wonder if that's labeled the way I imagine it to be on the sound board when they cue that up :"Dopey guitar strings."

The younger kids try to explain what Kate is doing but it only leaves me more confused. I do see they are moving the chicken run to the barn. Collin blurts out that the treehouse took three days to build. The episode does indeed seem to play out as taking place over three days when all is said and done. That is a heck of a long time for ten and seven year olds to be forced to stay around the property and film all day.

Kate pays a very brief visit to the treehouse construction, and can't resist mentioning that she is working hard too over at the chicken coop. What does that have to do with the treehouse and what do they care what she's up to? What a narcissist.

The chicks finally arrive in a cardboard box with holes poked in it.  Is that really how they transport them? Yipe. "They were so cute, like a pillow!" says Aaden as he cuddles up with a pillow on the couch. Lol. Aaden, you're so cute!

Kate was worried the kids would step on the chicks?? That's a gruesome fear! She makes the kids stand back away from the chicks, which is no fun at all. Why can't they just be asked to shuffle their feet, or get on their knees? The way she problem solves is so insane.

A glimpse inside Kate's head: "I could see that door in my mind, I totally could see it, sitting there in my mind, but I thought I can't do that. And then I thought, well why can't you?" I wonder if her thought process really goes as slow as she makes it seem.

In unrelated news, the tree house sure is coming along.

I don't know what Kate is doing, but it involves a lot of nailing together of boards. It's some kind of door frame I guess? Ashley suggests maybe they should drill it, because like I said, she has sense. Who nails things anymore? It's not Little House. Kate is clearly in way over her head, and I still have no clue why they didn't assign a contractor to the chicken coop too. Uh oh, doofus made the door too wide.

She heads back over to the tree house contractors and asks them if they would help her trim the door to size. Is it me or is that really, really rude? You paid them to build a treehouse, not step in and lend a hand here and there for other random unrelated projects. They are very nice about it, but it doesn't negate how rude Kate is being.

Next they drill some hinges into the door. I have a feeling without Ashley here Kate would still be sitting helplessly on a giant pile of chicken feces staring at all the building materials. Thank God.

I think the kids are finally sick of Kate going on and on about how amazed she is at the project she is accomplishing. As Stephanie Tanner would say, well pin a rose on your nose. Collin, at the ripe old age of seven, mocks Kate. He rolls his eyes and sways around on the couch, saying, she never built anything in her whole entire life! Heh, I love when kids are old enough to realize some adults are completely absurd.

Kate scares her young kids about Avian flu, only she calls it "aviation" flu because she's an idiot. Way to give them nightmares, geez. Many sensitive kids don't see anything funny about jokes like that. I remember when I was a real little kid, and AIDS was all over the news, and I was way too little to understand anything about AIDS other than to think it was really scary. And then some stupid adult made a joke about a family member possibly getting AIDS because they had recently had an operation. I cried for two days after that. So many adults fail to understand that the bits and pieces of things that kids hear on the news can get grossly exaggerated in their little minds to the point of terror.

In unrelated news, the tree house is just about ready. It's rad, as one would expect when contractors spend three days on it. It's like a one-room tiny house, and even has a loft in it you get up to with a ladder. There's a swing down below that fits two kids at a time. The kids love it all. Too bad we found out later Kate keeps the cool place under lock and key so they can't even enjoy it. That's the whole point of a treehouse for kids, so they can run off to it when they need a break from the real world. What a buzz kill she is.

Kate jokes dumbly that someday it could all be too much for her and so she'll go out and stay in the treehouse. No Kate, someday it will all be too much for you so you will send a child away forever.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "8 Movie Makers": Onlooker #2 films some orphanage kids

Still catching up on a few outstanding recaps, enjoy! 

8 Movie Makers is another cop-out bottle episode, where it all takes place at the house, which is dirt cheap to film, and it's mostly filler. Thankfully it's only 21 minutes, so this recap should be much more brief and a relief for me!

I have a new toy. Amazon fire stick. It's amazing. It has a gazillion apps to access all the T.V. and movies you could ever want, and music, and it's only a one-time purchase of $39.99. Much of the content on the apps is free or at least partially free, if you're a cable cutter, and if you're not you should know you can now pretty much watch all or almost all of your shows this way for much cheaper than a cable box would run you. Even if you like a traditional "guide" and DVR options as you channel surf, you can still have that: you have the much cheaper options now of Playstation Vue or DirectTV streaming on your fire stick, both of which operate more like a cable box for a third of the price and no holes to drill in your floor. If you haven't cut the cord by now, why? They even have sports available now. Best of all my T.V. is mounted over my fireplace, and with the fire stick I don't need any wires coming down from it because it's just a little piece of plastic that plugs into the back. I'm in heaven! Fire stick is not paying me to say this nor do I make any dough if you buy one through the link I posted, I just like sharing things that make life enjoyable.

TLCgo has their own app for Amazon fire, and for once, TLC has an app that is smooth, organized and easy to use. You just browse or search for your series, and when it pops up it shows you all the seasons they have and all the episodes. Scroll on over to what you want and hit play and you're off and running. For the longest time I wasn't able to catch up on old recaps because I simply couldn't find the episodes anywhere, not for free anyway. I like that TLC has now put up all the episodes of all their series on TLCgo now. TLCgo is free, by the way, as long as it's part of your regular cable subscription (it should work just fine if you have Vue or DirectTV streaming, too).

This first aired in August 2011, a whopping six years ago. It's always interesting to look back and see what's different and what's the same. Things are frankly, mostly the same. As per the usual, Kate is taking credit for an episode idea in that she thought of it to have the kids make their own movie. The movie they are forced to live all the time for the cameras isn't enough? Geez.

A company called "Movie Makers" comes to the house, headed by Melissa and Sam. I googled the company to see if they're still around and yes, here they are, still running their camps and private lessons. Their 10 week classes are only $375, which frankly is very reasonable.  They're also still bragging that they are "as seen on Kate Plus 8". Seven years later maybe it's time to drop that association. What's also funny is I found an interview with a very polite Melissa about her experience on Kate Plus 8, where she explains that the idea to hire her was dreamed up by one of the producers brainstorming episode ideas, whose daughter had participated in Movie Makers and enjoyed it. Baw! Busted, Kate. Wait a second, why would you need to sit around a table brainstorming episode ideas for a reality show? I love when people inadvertently out this charade for exactly what it is.

Melissa is an "actor," by the way, and has a decent-sized IMDB page of mostly bit parts in mostly D-list shows and movies. But she did make an appearance or two on reputable shows like Army Wives and as "Onlooker #2" on One Tree Hill. Follow your dreams and all that. Onlooker #2, lol. I prefer ogler myself, and I'd like to be #1 please!

Well this is nice, Kate takes a hike because she wants the movie to be a surprise. More than likely this is not a trip so she's not interested, but it's fine by me. Imagine collecting a huge paycheck, likely in the high five figures, just by saying, "Here kids go make a movie with Melissa" and then going upstairs and cutting yourself up an avocado to put on your salad. Kind of crazy.

The younger kids seem awfully young for the things Melissa is explaining to them: rolling, speed, slate? The kids look like they don't care and more just want to play with the clapboard. I'm going to call this right away that this activity is way too old for them, teens would get way more out of this. With little kids, it just turns more into a chaotic play time. What is with this show and their struggle to find these kids activities that are age appropriate? Usually the activities are way too babyish, but it goes both ways, and this time the activity is way too mature for them to get much out of it.

Collin is yawning away on the couch. The kids pull out a crap ton of costumes from God knows where and start trying them on. What is this movie about? Are they just randomly picking customes? Do the kids understand what they're doing and why? Because I'm confused myself.

Well armchair psychologist this, Mady has decided the movie will be about an orphanage. Melissa instructs one of the sextuplets that she will play an "orphanage girl". Um, does she mean "orphan"? Oh well, actors are not known for being bright.

They cut to a shot of Sam folding up all the mountains of unused costumes and putting them back. Why aren't the kids doing that? They created this cyclone. What tends to happen to celebrity kids, wealthy kids or kids on T.V., I've seen first hand, is that when people come over like this, they don't treat them the same as they would other kids. Happens all the time. They get special treatment, including cleaning up all their crap for them. It's not good, Sam. Not good at all. When I nannied, I used to have to ask the housekeeper to please stop making the children's beds in the morning and cleaning up after them all the time, as I wanted them to make their own beds themselves and clean up after things themselves, and to get in trouble when they didn't. It didn't matter to me things weren't made up as perfect as the way Ophelia would do it, I wanted the children to have to do it. It's important. There is a long line of people in these children's lives who have done them no favors.

Melissa explains that they're going to start filming, but they will film out of order. That's typical of most films. Mady remarks that their reality show is filmed in order, so this is a change. That's not true, we have caught them multiple times filming out of order, and Jon was once ordered to keep his beard for the sake of "continuity." Now why would you need to worry about continuity if you were always filming in order? Heh.

It's fascinating to watch how much time they waste showing us absolutely nothing. There's a whole lot of the younger kids rambling, which is even more meandering because they're so young, and a lot of walking around, and nothing is happening.

Even at this age, it seems to me doing the camp, or having friends over to help make the movie, would be so much more fun than Mady and Cara having to direct all their younger siblings. Kind of a drag.

Collin and Joel are manning the cameras, and they're just way too young for this. They're chopping people's heads off gyrating them up and down so much I'm getting nauseous. Collin is wearing an adorable oversized pirate hat. Hehe.

Great, perfect! Melissa is constantly saying to everything these kids do. I can't stand when all adults do is over-praise kids.

Melissa's introducing herself again. I thought we already did the meet and greet portion earlier. Well, hello, again. Why do I get the feeling Melissa is the type of gal who tends to do stuff like mix up the salt for the sugar?

Melissa says at the moment the movie doesn't make any sense, but she'll figure it out. Um.

The TLC interns are getting cutesy, putting a little of the script up on the screen "Ext. Magical World."

Melissa thinks it's just so wonderful that the kids don't have a problem with looking at the cameras, which is the problem for other kids she teaches. Melissa, that is because since birth they have been filming a virtual Truman Show, you understand that, right? Don't you find their heightened abilities to work so smoothly with a camera crew at such a young age creepy, like, at all? She's getting dumber by the moment. I'm surprised she didn't use the cool industry lingo she's been invoking all along, it's called spiking the camera, and it's such a common mistake even from adult professionals that is should really weird her out these kids never do it.

The kids are starting to lose it with all this filming, and some are hitting each other and getting annoyed. Kate and Melissa are excusing all this atrocious behavior, especially with guests over, as just simply sibling rivalry.

Day three of filming? This doesn't sound fun. It sounds exhausting. That's over half the time it takes to film a real drama episode, like Law and Order, and it's well documented how exhausting those five days usually are. Why does everything have to be a 10 out of 10 here? Why couldn't they just make a short film for half a day or something, maybe a day? Melissa has given up even putting make-up on at this point, heh, and she looks tired.

At this point Melissa says she has no clue how the movie will turn out and it's all over the place. Um, isn't she supposed to be in charge here? How much is she getting paid to be this confused? And in conclusion, may I please remind you that it does not say RSVP on the Statue of Liberty!

So, was Kate really totally MIA all these three days? That's kind of odd, though I really enjoyed the break from recapping her histrionics. But, I have to admit, it makes the episodes even more boring than they usually are when no one is having a mental health episode for me to discuss. Kate said earlier she cleaned her room during all this time. Good, I'm sure it needed it.

Kate looks so tan she looks like she's a totally different race, she looks like people who aren't white but who like to dye their hair blond. She looks ridiculous, and you can really see the difference here in how much less she tans these days. They finished filming and now it's time for the movie premiere. They don't explain how they get from filming to a movie premiere. I'm guessing Melissa goes back to the office and splices it all together in between bit parts as Onlooker #2?

The kids are so young, I'm not sure they really know what a movie premiere looks like to get a kick out of this. But production did a good job nonetheless, making a real mini-red carpet at the house, and Melissa and Sam standing in as reporters asking questions. I like Melissa's movie poster, it looks like a poster from when Lifetime used to make halfway decent Sunday night movies about things like kidnappings. Not bad at all.

Melissa interviews Kate on the red carpet. Shmoopy is in her element. Talk about myself? Yes please!

They all line up on the couches and floor of course with popcorn, and watch the movie, The Orphans' Adventure. Good punctuation, Melissa.

So far this is kind of the plot of Annie, in which the hard knock orphans have to clean all day. Also, it sounds like their real life. Remember Kendra crying because the children had so many chores to do every day? It takes kind of a Stephen King-like twist when some of the orphans get sucked down into a vortex and end up..... in Kate's back yard, far as the eye can see!

I'm losing the plot here, suddenly there are other kids popping up in various costumes, and Mady and Leah find a pirate chest and take something out of it. Oh, Melissa.

For once I think Kate's expression is justified. She's trying to be proud of all this, but can't follow the plot either.

Leah and Mady aren't the worst actors in the world, I'm mildly impressed with their ability to trip and fall realistically, and make scared faces. But the best actor in this whole thing is wearing a unicorn costume so I can't tell who it is.

The hard to follow plot ends with some of the kids in costume inviting the orphans to stay with them. But why? It's extra mouths to feed, and they barely know them. Wouldn't it make more sense to call CPS if children are being worked to death at an orphanage? Or even the cops? Yeah this is me, during every movie. I'm that film-goer.

Melissa is getting quite lovey dovey with these kids after only knowing them three days, affectionately holding Leah's hands and swinging them back and forth and giving her a very warm hug. Does she honestly think that's a good idea for their sake? She's just going to be ripped from their lives at the end of the filming never to be seen again. This is a big reason these kids have the problems that they do now, the revolving door of people doling out love to them, then being taken away, including their own father.

This episode had a huge redeeming factor in that Kate was barely in it. She only swooped in at the end to obnoxiously make this all about Mady and her growth, when all the other kids, especially Leah, were chipping in their fair share and I'm sure grew too! And that's a wrap!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Police called during brutal custody exchange of Hannah

For years, Hannah has always been one of the
most affectionate children toward Jon. 
The scene was so contentious reports are Hannah had to be taken to the hospital after Kate tried to pull her out of Jon's vehicle by the arm.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "The Room Project": Mind NOT blown

Catching up on some more old recaps! You can review the discussion thread of this episode here. Enjoy! 

It's interesting to watch The Room Project, which aired over two and a half years ago (sorry for my tardiest recap yet!), from the perspective of now. Things are so different today, with Collin gone, the chickens gone. But, so much remains the same. There's still the same amount of bickering and yelling and overall stress whenever they do anything.

I hate people who drop pronouns when they speak. This is Kate: Got back from summer vacation, put kids back in school. No, it's we got back from summer vacation. I put kids back in school. Grr! And there's that odd, stilted language again. You put kids back in school, like you might put away the pool toys for the summer? Not, "the kids started back up with school?" Strange.

For some reason Kate has the kids lined up on the stairs to lecture them, only she more seems to be lecturing the producers about what's happening, and she calls all the nasty acne on her face shingles. That's not shingles, it's acne. She needs to get a better doctor, as "stress"-related shingles has been thoroughly debunked much like no doctor anymore thinks ulcers are caused by stress (they are caused by a bacteria called h.pylori). Shingles is caused by a virus, not stress. Kate always has some weird stuff going on with her skin, I'm guessing she's the type who never washes her face before bed out of laziness. The kids look really bored.

Spoiled Mady and Cara are demanding their own rooms and have been for a while. In a family of eight kids, usually you tell your kids, "too bad." Not Kate though, she's going to make it happen. After all she's got to maintain some kind of leverage or at any time they could quit wanting to film anymore.

There's a TV and VCR in the boys room. I personally think kids should not have TV's in their room, and for that matter adults shouldn't either if they can stomach it. Not only is it a huge time suck and a distraction, but virtually every study concludes that it interferes with a good rest. Naturally, Kate is moving the boys' room to, you guessed it, the basement. Heh, you can't make this stuff up. They show a 3D rendering of the entire layout of the house, which I find extremely reckless. I guess she's never heard of cases like Elizabeth Smart or JonBenet Ramsey, where criminals get to know the layout of the house first before striking.

Mady is hysterical over something, wiping tears from her cheeks. I can't quite make out what the problem is. It's something about Kate warning them that cameras were coming up to their room and a dispute over when or who would clean up. In any case, it should be illegal to film your child when they are this upset. In California, it is. By law, a set teacher would have shut down production, and made sure the child was comforted and mentally stable before filming resumes. All Kate can say is people should feel sorry for her having to deal with Mady. Right, Kate, all the sympathy should be on you. Asshat.

Kate's one of those who has to remind you every five minutes they're sick. She has shingles. Yes, we heard you the first time, duchess. Kate's really loving her pink-hued French tip dated manicure she got. She's waving her fingers so close to the camera her hand is starting to look double the size of her head. Perspective, ya gotta think about that when you're on camera.

I would say I can't believe the way the kids mouth off to Kate, but I've seen it so much in the two years since this episode I've almost gotten used to it.

Kate is still trying to sell some kind of B.S. that having kids this age is so much harder than when they were infants, plus, she's a single parent. Heh. Single parenthood was her choice, by the way. The younger girls are very adamant about not moving, though I can't quite figure out why they are so against it. It is very noticeable to me that I never see the boys stomping around like this the way the girls do, refusing to go along with the plan the adults have decided for them. And therein lies the problem, the girls think they get to tell an adult what to do and what decisions to make. And that's one reason why, sorry to say, Kate has failed as a parent. She has instilled no sense of authority or respect in her.

The kids are ungrateful, Kate tells the camera. Her kids are ungrateful, it's true, but it's not fair to tell the public that, especially when you are the root cause of it. If you have an ungrateful child, you work on in privately with them, and perhaps with their teachers and therapists. You don't tell the world about your problems.

Mady is still hysterical, what the hell? She is red faced and sobbing. Could Kate be a good mother just once, once, and shut down filming until Mady gets a hold of herself? She is repugnant. The true nature of why Mady is so upset is becoming clearer. She is troubled that the younger girls don't want to move, and she offers to cancel the whole thing if it's going to make them this upset. That's nice of her, actually. I've said all along there is a kind soul in Mady, and I think it genuinely does upset her that her younger siblings are so ticked off about this move.

Kate says she should have just remodeled her own bedroom and be done with it. It's rare I agree with her, but I think she's right. There is nothing about these kids that suggest they deserve a new room. Or, give the boys their own room, as they behave and are grateful. And when the girls earn it, someday they can have theirs, too. I remember getting my own room at about age 13, and I don't remember having any negative feelings about it. It was pure excitement, and I loved it, even though there were downsides, like it was smaller than my old room (which I shared). I'm not saying that to propose I was some kind of perfect child, far from it, but I was raised to be appreciative, and when you are raised as such, it doesn't really cross your mind to look a gift horse in the mouth.

The conflict escalates to getting a little grabby and physical, and now Leah is sobbing, too. What a mess.

Kate makes a ridiculous comment that everyone's lives are stressed and that only the strong survive. Let me explain something to her. Stress is something that, barring mental health issues, you choose to invoke to react to your situation. You can choose to deal with a lot on your plate or difficult problems by being "stressed," or you can choose to be calm, rational, and low key about it.

A lot of potential stress triggers are also avoidable, so you can also plan ahead to mitigate stress. So no, not everyone lives in a constant state of stress. I don't, even though objectively, you might say there are things in my life that could be "stressful." For instance, the dozen child abuse cases I work on Monday through Friday and often weekends, too. I don't feel stressed about them in the slightest, however, because I don't approach them from such a negative emotional place. I think if I did let myself feel overwhelmed, I wouldn't be able to handle them as well. As for Kate's comment only the strong survive, realize she's talking about switching around a couple of bedrooms! Survive?? So dramatic.

They check out the basement where the boys' room will be. Thank goodness it has some big long windows, which makes me think this is a ground level "basement." Much less like a prison. It's going to need a lot of work, right now it houses Kate's storage of a fuckety billion BBQ sauce bottles and cleaning products fit for the apocalypse, and her freezers. Remember when she was bragging about all of those freezers? Wasn't that on her blog somewhere? Lol, I remember what fun we had snarking on her back when blogging was her flavor of the month. I guess if North Korea really does go nuclear this family is going to be eating a heck of a lot of BBQ chicken.

Because they're going to paint anyway, Kate lets the kids graffiti the walls with paint samples. That is really neat, though she has to suck the fun out of it by shouting orders at them and making them wear huge plastic smocks like they're about to go on Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. Don't they have old painting clothes they could wear, the kind you just toss after it gets dirty?

Collin is as talkative and happy as I've ever seen him, thrilled with how he painted his name on the wall so colorfully and also painted a crying smiley face who doesn't want him to leave the room. Aw. Collin goes around and says goodbye to all of the murals they painted, and then the room. Double aw. This, Kate, is why people keep asking, "where's Collin?" We like the kid.

Mady has speckles of paint all over her feet somehow, and leaves the room, getting some drips on the hallway floor. On the one hand, you just want a strangle a kid for doing that. On the other hand, Mady is sorry, and because they noticed it right away, Kate was able to rub the paint right off. No harm. Kate opened the door when she allowed them to paint. Any time you do that, one should just assume paint will get somewhere it shouldn't be.

Some random painters are now in one of the rooms, and they painted a sample of the purple paint Kate chose. Heh, it's Barney purple now that it's on the wall, and Kate freaks out about how dark it looks. What do we do?!

Pick another color, the painter says calmly and rationally. Right, because, you just pick another color. What else can you do? He doesn't seem stressed in the slightest about any of this. I'm sure he's dealt with hundreds of people who don't like the color now that it's on the walls, which is why he painted a sample for her. I'm not a fan of various busy colors she has scattered throughout the house. It looks way too childish and dated. I notice she has evergreen in one random room, and I have a feeling the girls are going to outgrow the purple fast. More contractors are in the basement refinishing the boys' room, and it quickly looks really, really good. They've done wood paneling from the floor to halfway up, and above the wood, a very sleek slate blue paint. It looks so good I'm sure Kate had nothing to do with designing it. Kate gets the contractor to agree to cut some two-by-fours for her for a pumpkin bulls eye game. Huh? What does this have to do with remodeling the basement? Charge her extra, buddy! She awkwardly flirts with him, promising hugs and kisses. Ew. His expression is also, "ew." He suggests maybe just hugs? Heh!

I guess I didn't catch on it is Halloween time until they start carving pumpkins. Kate figures this is a good time to do it since they're stuck at home due to construction.

That's a weird comment. Number one, they always seem to be stuck at home, so I don't know why this would be any different. Number two, it's often better to leave when construction is going on. The house is a wreck and often not very livable, and the contractors usually want you out of their hair anyway. They'll call you if they need you. I wonder if these contractors got annoyed at the nine people in and out of the workspace constantly the whole time.

I have no idea why Kate is having a meltdown over the downstairs bathroom being messy, which it barely is. And why she would choose to have this meltdown now when everyone is elbow deep in pumpkin carving and can't come address the issue without cleaning themselves up first? Kate should have checked the bathroom before they started carving pumpkins. She makes a rule that "it's not mine" doesn't work anymore and if you see something messy, clean it up. In theory, yes, but in this family, that will only result in the boys doing all the work and the girls doing nothing, because they will take advantage of that.

Some of the kids are really getting antsy on the couch, closing their eyes or picking at toenails. They're two years younger than they are now, and at that age endless sit-down conversations about things they did weeks ago has to start getting really tiresome. I've always wondered how long these interviews really take door to door, but realistically, it has to be at least a few hours if not much more.

Next up they play a pumpkin bullseye game, where you have to throw little sugar pumpkins at a big bullseye spray painted sloppily on some plywood. Kate has no idea how she came up with this great idea, she says innocently. I bet I know. Cherry Crest Farm in Paradise, a mere 50 miles from her home. They were doing the pumpkin bullseye game as far back as 2014. Gotch-ya!

Wouldn't this game be much more fun if they were allowed to have some friends over, instead of having to play it with Mommy, who is a perpetual nag? Recently the kids seem to spend a bit more time with friends, and I suspect that's more because Kate really can't stop them. But even in this episode, they are well old enough to be spending most of their free time with kids their age. They just weren't old enough to tell Kate to piss off. Yet.

Lol, the pumpkins aren't smashing. They're just hitting the plywood like a basketball and bouncing off. It's making everyone agitated. Two problems here. First, I'm betting the pumpkins need to be overripe to smash easily or maybe even carved already. A sugar pumpkin you buy fresh from the store is like a rock, and you could drop it without a problem. Second, plywood is way too thin and flexible, too much give. Even something prone to smashing could bounce right off without injury. Kate really wasn't paying attention in Physics.

The twins have a lot of nerve complaining that the sextuplets are competitive and annoying. These twins are outrageously competitive themselves, and even at almost 17 now, are still trying to stack the deck in their favor whenever they play a game, to ensure they win. Two words come to mind: grow up.

Eventually after repeated hits the pumpkins start smashing, and the kids start having fun. That's a relief. Smashing good fun, says Kate. Dork.

The kids are experiencing a problem of the one percent in that they have to sleep on air mattresses and they can't find their stuff while they wait for the remodeling to finish. We meander down a little side thread in that the kids play instruments and are excited to show them off. That sounds like a short-lived endeavor, I never remember hearing about those again. The boys feed the chickens and the family cooks dinner. Maybe it's better to kill time showing old clips after all, as all this whole lot of nothing is mind-numbing.

Kate explains the way they've survived all of this over time (all of what??? She never says) .... and I almost think she is going to say by love and leaning on each other. But no, Heir Kate says it's routine! The schedule! that gets them through. Quick march! Sigh.

A couple chicken fingers and a small side salad. I guess this was back when Kate could ration their food Oliver! style. At least give them a nice honey mustard dipping sauce for the chicken. Come on!

Furniture shopping. I'm in the middle of that myself, trying to furnish a house that's double the size of any apartment I've ever lived in is quite an undertaking. It was fun at first but you get to the point where you just want a chair to sit in, any chair, and you just don't give a darn anymore. I think it's nice actually Kate takes the kids with her to do the shopping, as certainly it would be infinitely easier to shop without them. Oh, so it's the kids who are estranged from Jon who went on the shopping trip--the twins, Collin and Alexis. Collin is cute, he loves all the patterned rockers you might see at grandma's. Kate teases him, saying he's 60 years early for that. I don't mind that kind of banter with your kid, it's cute. I wish Kate would be light-hearted and fun like this with her children all or at least most of the time. I think she would find herself with much calmer, happier children. Life's short, so better to make a joke than to be a shrew, I say.

Kate's taste in furniture is 1999 at best. Her house is, to be frank, awful. It needs a remodel and to be redecorated, it's so dated. It looks to me like she kept most of the decor from the previous owners, and cheaped out on hiring a real designer for the rest, relying on Pinterest instead. Big mistake. Huge. If you know you're not going to redecorate for a very long time, then it's a good idea to buy more timeless, traditional pieces. Going with the trend of the year means you're setting yourself up to need a redo within the decade, and that's a waste of money. You can't take the no class out of that girl.

They're doing something I learned not to do furniture shopping. Don't walk into the store blind trying to find your vision. Look online first and try to know exactly what you want and what store to find it at. We've avoided a whole lot of up-selling and misdirection this way. Incidentally, the couch we just picked out, which is one of the most competitively priced yet best reviewed couches you can find (Pacific Beach designs, if you're interested), was conveniently hidden at the back of the store. They don't want you to buy that good couch, and they won't steer you that way if you go in cold. That's for smart people who find it online.

The big reveal is finally here. This woman makes my blood pressure go up, I can't imagine what she does to her own children This should be a purely happy moment, full of anticipation and excitement. Instead Kate takes it upon herself to lecture them firmly and in my view very nastily about how they need to keep these rooms nice and organized and pick up after themselves.

I have an idea. If someone is being messy and disrespectful of their space, address it with that child individually, and when it happens. The kids look at her in a daze, as why wouldn't they, as they have done nothing wrong. They haven't even seen the new rooms yet to mess them up. And I have another newsflash for Kate. Her children are teens and pre-teens. She will spend the better part of the next six years telling them to clean up after themselves, if it's that important to her. That's just part of having kids this age, and it's probably caused by a number of reasons. They don't have a concept that you pay for the space you live in, or understand what money is even worth, which often motives older people to keep it nice and protect your investment, they have many other more important things on their mind like school and friends, they could be just going through a slob stage or lazy stage, or very likely, they are modeling adults who are messy, like Kate herself, who (it's all on film) lives in a very cluttered and disorganized home where nothing seems to have its place. Kids also don't have enough life experience to understand why a mess is such a big problem (it gets harder to clean up the more it sets, it makes the rest of your life feel chaotic, you can't find things in the rubble, it's embarrassing when guests come over, etc.). Bottom line, messiness is normal in a child, and most outgrow it with help and encouragement, and most of all, patience and some compassion for their emotional development. There will be plenty of time to lecture them on this point, can they just have some calm and peace for once?

For once the boys get to go first, which is nice. Their room is, clean, I guess, and they're very appreciative. It has the wood paneling and trim everywhere as we saw before, and cool cubbies below each of the three windows. They're cute, Joel says he was so excited it was like that feeling when you're on a rollercoaster. Collin say his stomach did a U-turn, heh! What are they, 11 here? That is the best age ever.

No boys in girls room and no girls in boys? Seems like they're a little old for such a strict rule. Couldn't the rule just be, knock first?

The room is pretty bare, though, even though the boys adore it. There is nothing in there but the beds and a few pieces of ugly furniture. I hope they get to hang some cool stuff on the walls at some point. Other shows have had designers come in and do a really cool remodel of a kids' room. Check out Chip and Joanne Gaines' and what they did to a boys' room.

The vintage clock and fan, the bar, the live baits sign, the canoe acting as a window box, and the center area with some seating and a coffee table, all take a room from "meh" to marvelous. The Gaines room is the difference between kids saying, wow, thanks, it's nice, to MIND BLOWN.

I'm glad the boys appreciate this, that's benevolent of them, but it could have been so, so much more on the same or similar budget, too. What a shame.

The younger girls' room is sadly, just as uneventful. There is literally nothing in there but three beds, two dressers, and these rather dumb white boxes to store girl stuff that will end up mostly collecting dust within a year or two. Kate is so proud of the oddest things, it gets embarrassing.

So really, this wasn't a remodel or reboot even at all. Nothing cool came out of it. It was painting a few walls, and moving some furniture around. There's a Yiddish word for that, where you just move things around, fuss with things, only to be right back to where you started. Darn it, what is that?

The girls are getting lectured again? Wtf, they're not doing anything wrong but being happy about their new rooms!

Finally Mady and Cara's room. I see now, we started with the least important group, the boys, and are building up to the real stars of the show, the twins. If it's possible, the twins' rooms are even less interesting than the others. There is nothing going on there. I feel like these look very different than the twins' rooms we saw in later years. Please tell me a designer took pity on what we're seeing here and came in and did something real finally. Hm.

Kids never appreciate things, says Kate. That's not true at all. Not never, anyway, so don't say that! First of all, her boys have proven to be very appreciative of much of what she does for them. Furthermore, an adult usually must teach a child to feel and act appreciative, it often does not come naturally. So if her kids are ungrateful, that's her fault. She is the one who doesn't appreciate things, as she actually complains with a straight face that their mansion is feeling smaller and smaller the older the kids get. Well, then, toss some of their stuff, and get rid of your own piles of clutter. You'd be amazed how huge the house becomes.

No little kids in our rooms! Cara gripes. Cara, stop being eight years old. Until next time.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "Six Teenagers!": Glitter and sawdust and an awesome gender-specific party that Mother will never leave

The Duggars have the patience of Job, I'll give them that. It's incredible the way JimBoob has gradually eased himself back into the show over the years, with the promos for next week prominently featuring him at yet another wedding. Nobody will notice the family actually got fired, right?

Coming up on Kate Plus 8. Well, this party looks reasonably cool, with camping, mani-pedi's for the girls, archery tag, and the return of some yesteryear characters in Ashley, Jamie and Steve.

The thing is, kids don't need fancy ski trips, lavish parties, private lessons in whatever, or to get on a plane and go somewhere where the humidity is 90% and it's off season so the Air B&B mansion is half off. Rather, kids just want to blow up an air mattress and sleep in their own back yard. I'm glad they finally get to experience something cost effective and normal on their special day.

Kate has dreaded age 13 since they were born, Kate says. Well, that's a rather negative outlook on a rather wonderful age. Need we say more, she asks?

Pretty please do not say more.

But, of course, we're not getting off that easy. She will say more. A lot more. Kate struggles with party ideas, and to top last year's birthday every year. Not only is this woman in a competition with everyone else, but for goodness sake she's even in competition with last year's Kate. Sheesh. Her kids can speak now, and have minds of their own. Why not ask them what they want to do for their birthday. That will take a lot of burden off you to think of something. You'd be surprised how much a teen knows exactly what they want for their birthday.

Between Aaden and Mady and Kate, and producers of course, they came up with the idea to do a camping birthday, with the boys camping and the girls "glamping."

Sounds like an excuse to do a huge shopping spree at REI to me!

Lol, why make something easy. Kate has to remove an entire giant swing set in order to have room for one of the tents. The kids are bummed about this. At least she's not just dumping it into the dumpster, she's going to give it to a friend. That's nice. I actually remember when we removed the swing set at our house when I was a teen and I did find it surprisingly sad, even though like these kids, I hadn't used it in years. I remember us kids protesting, and our parents calmly reasoning with us that we never use it, and it will make caring for the lawn easier and provide more room for things we do more of now, like kicking a soccer ball around. Every kid should grow up with a swing set, and then have to watch it go when they are a teen. It's a right of passage and actually, a life lesson.

No one consulted Mady about this, Mady protests. And that's another reason that seemingly little things like removing a swing set are good for kids to see. I guess these kids are an exception since they do pay their way, but, for most kids, it's a life lesson in that it wasn't really your swing set, it's your parents' set to decide what to do with it, and it's not really your lawn, you aren't paying the property taxes and mortgage or doing the lawn upkeep. In life, many things that don't really belong to you will be taken away by someone else it does belong to making the decision. And if you don't like that, you need to work hard to get your own property someday so you can make your own decisions about swing sets. And also, it's good to teach kids that it's okay to let something go that was special to you, move on and let other children enjoy it, and just have the memories. Kate is too busy actively trying to teach her children things to notice that she just did so without trying.

We go on some long unrelated tangent complete with flashbacks about which sibling is which's favorite. Weird, divisive question and who cares?

Some guys who apparently don't want their business associated with Kate (their shirts are blurred out) set up the tents. Heh.

Some intern had fun with the drone getting a nice high speed shot of the house from above. It really is a sprawling property, with impeccable landscaping. I would do so much more with the outdoor space though. All they've got is a "meh" pool, and that deck fit for preachers and gays alike. I'd do an expansive outdoor space with an outdoor TV for watching sports, built in grill area with a sink and fridge, a bar, and lots of kinds of plush seating to choose from. A ping-pong table, corn hole, and other outdoor games are a must, and these kids would have everybody over at their house all the time. Seeing it now from above, the deck doesn't really serve much of a purpose. You have plenty of room at ground level to house all the same furniture across a much bigger area, instead of crammed onto a small deck. I don't get the point of the deck at all. The only thing I remember Kate saying about it is that she was tired of carrying things from the kitchen upstairs, I guess, to the original patio area downstairs. Well, that's a poor layout of a house then, and something you should have thought of upon purchase. Also, that doesn't seem like a good enough reason to create a smaller outdoor area when you could use the huge area downstairs and make it up really nice.

Jamie's back again. They must have come to terms on her contract because she was gone for awhile prior to these past few episodes. The boys' tent is going to be deep in the woods, which is cool, but kind of strange how isolated they are back in the woods when the girls are right near the house. The kids are arranging a cool fire pit, which should have been done years ago, but better late than never.

It's kind of nice the girls come to help the boys set up their stuff, though they seem to only be doing it to have an opportunity to boss them around, and the boys don't really appreciate much of it. Aaden is in that stage of his voice changing where he mostly just sounds stuffed up. Heh.

Kate's already called it quits even though I haven't seen her helping with much anything, announcing exhaustedly this is the last big birthday party she's doing for them. Good, she should butt out for once and let them go off with their friends for their birthday or heaven forbid have Jon host the party one year.

The day of the party is here, and Kate has a million and a half excuses why she had to do everything last minute (i.e. why she intentionally creates drama for the cameras). Funny thing is as she says this she and Jamie are doing things that absolutely could have been done ahead of time, like putting a pillowcase on a pillow. It's really a good thing she is not someone's regular employee because she would be a pain in the neck.

Wow, we're getting a knock in at her parents and childhood early this episode. We're only 16 minutes in and this is the party Kate always wanted as a kid but never had. I'm really, really sorry to her parents they have to continue to hear spiteful comments like this from their daughter on such a public platform. I'm betting her parents did the best they could with what they had, did not value spending money as the only way to show a child love as Kate does, and I hope, hope they know that for the vast majority of adults, a good childhood does not mean an over-the-top, lavish, expensive birthday party. If all they threw for their children were modest birthday parties here and there over the years, they did nothing wrong. Many families can't afford to throw parties at all, other than just inviting family and a few friends over for cake and ice-cream. It's expensive to throw a big party with a bunch of kids every year. Kreiders, ya got dealt a nasty kid here who is in the minority, not the majority, when reflecting on what makes a great childhood, okay?

Kate and Jamie are assembling things. Kate argues with everyone, even the instructions, yelling at the instructions and Jamie that clockwise, counterclockwise, it doesn't matter.

Jamie is like, eh, it probably does matter. (It probably does!). But Jamie was never one to push her until absolutely necessary.

Steve is our "Head of Security" Kate says with a straight face as he shuttles her around the property and does shit for her more like a personal assistant would do than a bodyguard on the roof watching for snipers.

I just spit my orange juice. Head of security?! Lol. Like there's an entire secret service in place for these has-beens. And for head of security, he sure hasn't taught her well, as just the other day she was encouraging fans to approach her and talk to her in The Cheesecake Factory. Not very wise to invite such close access to total strangers.

More like Head of Dolts, chief head! Steve is usually behind the scenes, explains Kate. Ha, he sure is!

I guess this is part of the slow master plan to ease Steve into the picture. A long conversation about a compass and setting up a scavenger hunt for the party. There is something about how he is talking here that rubs me the wrong way. He's so matter-of-fact, direct, and rings rather arrogant. Nothing is thought through because he already instantly knows the answer. He seems like the kind of husband who never asks for directions, always decides what the plan will be for the family without caring what anybody else thinks, and never lets you touch the credit cards. In other words, an ass. I never liked anything about Steve, unlike friends like Ashley and Jamie, who seem okay to even really cool sometimes.

This also seems like something that could be mostly set up the day before. They're like an old dysfunctional married couple, with Steve making a-hole comments to Kate like she should go back to the house to be safe, and that she's disorganized. I don't like someone like this. I know it's Kate, and she's annoying as hell, but it doesn't mean you get a free pass to be an asshat to her.

Steve says, interestingly enough, that a lot of people don't tell her things, but he tells her the truth. If she's wrong, he tells her. I'm not at all surprised people don't want to offend Kate, because when you do, you usually get cut off from the children. Doesn't seem like Steve would care much if that ever happened. But again, Steve sounds like an ass. Yes, of course you should tell someone the truth about themselves. Prince William said years ago he can't stand lackey friends, and only surrounds himself with people who are willing to call him out. Otherwise he fears he'll go haywire. But, the way Steve says it, he makes it sound like he's always right and Kate's always wrong, and thank goodness he is around to save her from herself. I can't believe Kate puts up with this condescending crap. I'd fire this guy within a day if only for the terrible example he's setting for the kids.

Mady is working on the girls glamping area, and it's really nice, with lots of pinks and whites and comfortable seating. Cara is nowhere to be found. Maybe she is doing what normal kids do on the weekend, go play sports, hang with friends, off at a music lesson, upstairs doing homework.

The archery tag people arrive in an absolutely gigantic vehicle. Yeesh! This party is really starting to $$$$$$$$$$. Also this is a good excuse to kill time showing a bunch of flashbacks to archery tag. Aw, the kids are absolutely thrilled about this.

Boys vs. girls, Kate announces immediately. Good golly, enough already!!

The kids are conforming to the usual gender stereotypes, with the girls wanting a prissy glamping experience and the boys a more rugged, GI-Joe like party. They are this bound to their gender stereotypes because they are being raised by a mother who adheres to strict gender stereotypes. On the one hand, this rigid adherence to typical gender roles is beyond antiquated, and is the kind of thinking that eventually makes some children uncomfortable to be who they really are. I'm not implying gay necessarily, but just non-conformist or just not into things like nails and dressing up (perhaps, Alexis). On the other hand, there is a lot of pressure on parents lately to do away with gender roles and raise kids homogeneously or nearly so, and in my view, that is really crossing a line into parental rights that people have no right to interfere with. We say a lot about Kate's bad parenting here, but I think the only thing she should be legally forced to do is not abuse her children and get her kids off T.V. Otherwise, if a parent like Kate, possibly in large part due to religion, or for other reasons, wants to raise a boy or girl in a certain way based solely on their genitals, that is their right to do so and they should not feel pressured or shamed by social constructionists for doing so.

Ashley's back, wearing an awesome Johnny Cash shirt. Ashley is going to take on the drudgery of sticking with the boys for the party. Poor thing. It looks like for much of the party the girls and boys will be separated. Wouldn't a good mother want to help out with both parties? It's so sad she sticks Ashley on doing the bulk of the work with the boys, instead of switching off so she spends equal time at both parties. If she thinks her boys don't notice this, she's mistaken.

I don't see Kate doing much work herself, but she sure can delegate the work to everybody else. She is manipulative and everybody falls for it for some reason. Or maybe the only people who fall for it are the ones willing to stick around.

The party begins, with a few friends arriving. I don't think this is going to be a big blowout with dozens of kids, but it's okay, smaller parties are okay too. I've always wondered if the reason they never seem to have endless friends is because a lot of families won't agree to filming, and that would be sad.

Mady is being really great as she helps out with the girls party. I saw shades of Mady's kindness when she was a tyke, along with a flash of temper, too. But when she's regulating herself, she is a kind, cool big sister. She helps organize the mani pedis and the crafts and the girly girls love it.

Oh, their hair stylist hanger-on Ronnie and main beard is here, lugging around water like a regular cabana boy. He sure is their toy, isn't he?

Andrea is here now too. I think this is the same Andrea nanny, or is it? She seems to be incredibly close to Ashley. I'm so lost, are they sisters, BFFs? I had no idea there was a connection between Andrea and Ashley.

The boys and their three or four-odd friends start a scavenger hunt with the A's. They're so cute with the war paint and camouflage. If they cover them all in paint and never show the boys in the same frame, you'll never notice Collin is gone. Typical teen boy stuff, like daring each other to eat a worm.  Aw, Collin would have loved this.

All the girls can do is complain that the boys are making noise. They're having fun! Geez! The girls are nothing if not obnoxious. Not only do they seem to do everything they can to ruin the boys' fun, but once the boys are actually having fun, they resent it. It's sad the animosity that has built up, mostly on their end. For the boys' part, they seem far less annoyed with their sisters, and were even pointing out earlier how cool Hannah is. Incidentally, Hannah is the one complaining the most about them. I wonder if she felt guilty afterward. Probably not.

Poor Alexis, she admits this is not her thing and she would rather be down with the boys. But her mother, as is her right, has decided her genitals dictate that she will have her toes painted for her birthday, so alas, here we are.

I'd rather be down with the boys too, they're having a blast on their scavenger hunt, using a compass and finding all the clues. "America!" Aaden shouts as he finds a clue. They're so funny. But he forgot, "F--- yeah!"

Kate can only discuss what she heard about the boys' party, as God forbid she would actually help with any of theirs. Kate was shocked to hear (she didn't actually witness it) Joel took the lead on the scavenger hunt, but, it's okay that he doesn't normally take the lead, as that's just a very normal boy thing, Kate remarks. To not take a leadership role? What in the world is she talking about? Okay, her gender stereotypes are out of control. Girls are bossy and boys are just blind dumb followers? Maybe in her family, because she made it so. She's insane. If anything, for many children it's the opposite, with boys easily falling into leadership roles without opposition, and girls having to be encouraged to take on roles of leadership in a society that has for many years discouraged it or at least made it harder to do so. She's lost her mind.

There's Kate over at the girls party of course, doing the only work I've seen her do this entire time, hand out lemonade. I hope the duchess takes a long rest after that, looked taxing.

Well I'll hand it to Steve, the scavenger hunt he allegedly set up is legit. One clue they have to cut out of a tree, another they have to wade into a creek to get it. Kiwis just intuitively know cool bushwhacking stuff to do like this I think.

They have a creek on their property? I never remember seeing this! What a lost opportunity to get a canoe or kayak and have hours and hours of fun every summer. An idyllic childhood is at their fingertips right in their own backyard, and mostly for free.

It's approaching time for food, and you can't take Kate out of Kate. She screams at the girls to come over and find their seats immediately. Why? Why can't they meander over and sit down like a normal party? She's so high strung and ridiculous, there's no way these kids are going to put up with much of her as adults. Naturally the boys are eating their meal totally separate out in the woods, and Aaden has learned what every growing child should learn, that food tastes so much better cooked over an open fire. Unfortunatly, this lesson wasn't thanks to his mom or dad, but his nanny.

The girls are probably doing glitter, the boys say, which is probably true. "You know what man glitter is? Sawdust!" one of their friends says. Heh! I love their friends, too!

Can Kate please stop hovering over the girls during their filet minot meal yammering on? They're 13 for gosh sakes, nobody wants Mommy there! I don't have any problem if she's there for the party, but hang back with your friends and watch, you're not just one of the girls. Sheesh.

I'm scratching my heads a little over the girls party. There are only five girlfriends there, which is less than two friends per girl, and they all fit easily around one table. But the tent is set up more for a party of 20, with several tables, chairs, and tablecloths. Did a bunch of people not show up? Weird. The demographic of their friends is interesting, too. Mostly nerds with glasses. I don't think these girls are all that popular--filming doesn't necessarily make you the toast of the school by any means. But as long as they are nice friends, that's what's important. I'd put money on these boys being far more popular, their friends are definitely the cool guys. And no surprise, as they are kind, easy going and funny, unlike the girls usually.

At least they finally come together for cake and ice cream, though separate cakes. The cake for the girls is double the size of the boys' little cake. Sheesh. The boys' cake is super cool though, in the shape of a campfire. The girls' cake is so pink I couldn't tell you what it's about.

Happy birthday to Collin? Who's Collin??? And what kind of facility doesn't allow a child to have a birthday visit and party? F that. Kate reads her PR statement, she is comforted that Collin is receiving exactly what he needs, and that hasn't changed. Yeah, not much is changing with Collin--he ain't coming home. She admits this is the second birthday without him, and for those not paying close attention, I think that knowledge is going to hit them like a ton of bricks. Second birthday without your son? Woman, get off the camera and get your priorities back out of whack. Outrageous.

It's "bittersweet." What is sweet about your child being gone for over a year? There is nothing sweet about this. They can't do anything without realizing Collin is missing. Eh, Kate seems to be getting along just fine without him, I don't get any sense any of this is painful for her. She only finally said something, and she should, because she opened the barn door and everyone got pissed she never closed the loop on it. Only, this was not the closure everyone was seeking here at all. If anything, her statement only raised more questions, and provided no indication of when the end will be in sight, as people naturally want to know. Dolt.

I'm glad they're coming together again for archery tag. Watch some kids you don't know play archery tag. You guessed it, nothing interesting happens. Why the holy F is Kate playing? God, go away!!! They are not toddlers where it's appropriate to get right in there and play with them. Leave them alone to have fun with their friends and go watch with your adult friends. I cannot remember a single parent my own or my friends ever butting into our parties like this, not at this age. It would be bizarre. I wonder what their friends think of her helicoptering, it has to be annoying.

Pool time, and all the girls can do is complain about the boys, who are doing nothing wrong. Kate says the boys were off the wall. Because they splashed each other a little? Please. The girls bail on the pool, to which I say good riddance. Kate says the most developmentally accurate statement I've ever heard her say, in that at this age they talk a big game about how boys and girls are gross, yet there's this little underpinning of curiosity there, like hmmm. Heh, yep that's thirteen all right.

Nighttime arrives, and Kate is still at their damn party like she's also turning 13. Go away. 

The girls find a spider in their tent, and embrace all their stereotypes reacting dramatically.

Kate goes around to all the girls and hugs and kisses them goodnight. What about the boys, did they get all this fussing? And does this mean she's finally going to leave their party? Go already!

Meanwhile, the boys sneak into the girls tent with bull horns. Lol. Kate goes on about how she had just got them settled into bed and now they're going to be all crazy again. What's the big deal? Let them run around a bit while you go to bed. They're not toddlers, you can close your eyes and leave them be, with a few ground rules (no pool, stay in the tents area), and they'll be fine. She really is a classic helicopter parent, still thinking she has to tuck her toddlers in at night and keep a close eye on them all the time. It's obnoxious and strange. Kate makes some remark about all the girls taking showers and how long it took. I never remember taking a shower at somebody else's house for just a one-night sleepover, that's kind of odd.

Kate says, well, maybe she'll consider another party next year, if she's alive. I don't find that joke funny. Especially in light of the constant advertisement in the corner of this episode for Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason?, which I guess must be TLC's contribution to the endless stream of documentaries out this summer as we approach the 20th anniversary of Diana's death. Her son Harry turned thirteen weeks after his mum died, and twenty years later is still crushed over losing her. The things Kate jokes about are not funny, and the things she finds no humor in are usually hilarious.

Where we you when Diana died? I vividly remember it was a Saturday night, and like normal kids Prince William's age, I had two or three girlfriends over and we were hanging out, giggling and doing whatever it is teen girls do. We had the T.V. on and watched as the news scrolled by at the bottom, then interrupted the program. I went to tell my mom something bad had happened to Princess Diana, and I remember it seemed like only a few minutes later Peter Jennings showed up to announce she was dead. Even at my age I clearly remember saying, "Oh my gosh the poor boys!"

Twenty years later, after they have broken their silence this year about how they really feel (still crushed) I'm still saying those poor boys. I wish them lots of help, whether it's therapy or some other outlet, so they can finally process so much of which they say now they never did. Their mum would have wanted them to find closure with this and be happy, and I think they know that.

Kate's still out with all the kids, freaking out over a snake they found. For the tenth time for goodness sake go away and leave the kids alone. The boys remark that Alexis was showing off about the snake, picking it up, and she never would have done so if it weren't for their friend Luke. Lol, nice. She need not fear though, for all the tomboys I've known growing up who are straight, me being one of them, they eventually end up in surprisingly stable and healthy relationships with men, and early on. I wonder if it's because while all the other girls were off with girls, we spent a lot of time getting to know boys without the baggage of a romance. Which means our social skills with boys got really good really fast, because we've had a lot of practice. So by the time we were teens we knew what boys are all about while they are still a mystery to other girls. It does not surprise me Lex is apparently one of the first to show an interest in a boy, and I think she will do well with the opposite sex like other tomboys I've known. I would love to see her have something to one-up the other girls for once, like the best boyfriend. Crossing my fingers.

The boys adored the party. That's sweet. It looks like the girls loved it too. All in all it was a great party despite the gender stereotypes and poor Lex really wanting to hang with the boys. I doubt Kate noticed that other than buying all the camping equipment and the archery tag, this was a very economical party--and the kids seemed to love it the best of all their past parties.

Kate takes the time to blah blah on and on about herself and how in five years she's not sure if she'll still be single. The kids are annoyed she is single. Judging by this party, probably because they want to see her off with a boyfriend and out of their damn hair. Sorry, was anyone asking about Kate and her love life? I thought this was about the children's birthday. Also, in five years? She'll still be single.