Saturday, June 17, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "Kate's Advice": Growing organic humans

Catching up on some recaps from episodes past. Enjoy! 

Coming up, another low budget bottle episode full of old clips, in which Kate claims the older, wiser Kate is finally in a position to give advice to the younger, dumber Kate. It's kind of like the plot of Terminator 2 and Back to the Future, mixed in with a whole lot of idiocy, like, say, Zoolander.

Eh, Michael J. Fox did this whole go back in time thing so much cuter.

I guess what I have to say about the whole premise of this episode is that I really don't see the evidence Kate has changed all that much since the start of this series. I think she lets her kids walk all over her a bit more rather than ordering them about, but that's just because it's easier to order around a toddler when if they don't comply you can just yank their arm into submission. Not so easy with a teen. But, there's still pretty much the same level of yelling and screaming going on all the time, as far as I can tell. Kids still seem frequently unhappy, and often cast aside. She still plays favorites--if anything that's even worse. Her justice is unfair and nonsensical. She's still extremely disconnected from people, certainly her fans, and at times her own children. Her level of apparent disconnect from Collin's ongoing separation from the family is disturbing.

She's still very rude to people just there to help. She's still not really game to try new things. I guess I don't think she gets quite as angry all the time, but she still gets there enough where I can't say that issue has been resolved.

This is the thing, her mental illness is not going to change, or is unlikely to. It's not like Kate has to "learn" to be a better person. Her mental illness prevents her from doing so. She would need intensive therapy, possibly even medication, to change, and even then there's no guarantees. The big question missing from this whole episode, if you accept Kate's assertion she has changed (which, I don't, obviously), is why did Kate "change." What prompted it? People don't just change for no reason.

Anyhoo, this episode could of been a hell of a lot more interesting if they got into the why's and how's. Because the armchair psychologist in me sure wants to know how a 30 year old woman who is a liar, nasty, disconnected, angry, rude, unfair, and nonsensical, suddenly becomes not any of that by 40.

I forgot when this episode aired, but it feels like a redemption tour, trying to rebrand the new Kate. Who did she molest?! Well anyhow, I don't think it much worked. Ratings have been consistently pathetic for the past couple seasons.

First up, gum gate. The only redeeming value of this clip is that we get to talk all about Aunt Jodi! Woot! Of course today's Kate makes no mention of feeling regret about all the nasty things she said about Aunt Jodi, including "whatever possessed her." It was a golden opportunity to extend the tiniest bit of olive branch to Aunt Jodi and redeem the incident, and she blew it. It's hard to watch Collin so heartbroken over her threats to throw out his bear. Another child off camera seems upset too, remarking that their bear and Collin's bear play together every morning. Aw. Kate admits she good and darn well meant it when she said she would throw the bear out. That's scary, and a bit of an I told you so, since I'm sure the sheeple said she wasn't serious. In fact, she was. We see a softer side to Mady, gently stroking Collin's head, holding his hand and standing with him as he endures this, as if his priest or counsel. Mady was a compassionate child in tune with other's pain, and Kate's since beat it out of her. Kate says the public often asks her if Collin still has the bear. Yes, she says. This kind of repeated trauma to a child's psyche can have lasting consequences, as we now well know.

I'm hating this episode less than I expected, if only for the psychological aspect. Kate says the reason she was so upset about gum gate is because she is expending so much energy already, she can't have anything else piled onto that. That is a classic symptom of an anger management problem, in that whenever anything goes off script, which life invariably does all the time, the person can't handle it. People with anger management problems only budget for how they think their day will go. They never allow any leeway for outside forces. Hence, when an outside force does happen, they flip out. Anger management therapy can help someone like her learn to accept and cope with life's hiccups in a manner that is not going to damage your children.

Flashback to somebody vomiting. They've shown these kids vomiting so many times I couldn't begin to tell you when this was. Modern Kate attempts to convince us she has compassion, muttering, "oh, honey," sympathetically as she watches the clip. Heh. Modern Kate doesn't seem to have much of any advice for cold and calculating nurse Kate of yesteryear as old Kate methodically and melodramatically cleans up her weak and sickly toddler of all the vomit. Rather modern Kate says the house should have been designed with a sick room to keep everything in one place. Eureka!

A sick room, seriously? How Elizabethan. Well, heck, why not just get a pirate ship, and fly a yellow and black quarantine flag from its pole? You can send the kids off to it whenever they get queasy. It sounds a hell of a lot easier than the hassle of remodeling.

On a positive note, thank God the interns finally fixed the TLCgo player. Now not only does it hold your spot after you pause it, but I recently had to refresh it because I had shut down my computer, and it remembered where I last left off! Sounds like their summer program this year is off to a commanding start!

Aaden was purposely refusing to be potty trained. She knows this because he was laughing, says Kate. No words.

I'm kind of surprised they're so willingly showing clips of people Kate has estranged as it that didn't happen. Awkward! Next we see producer Jen Stocks, who once put Kate in her place about how demanding she was being (and how much Jen had accommodated her), get hit by a dirty diaper. She just didn't like this because she didn't have kids yet, explains Kate. Um, I really don't think having kids has anything to do with whether somebody wants a dirty diaper in their face. Also the way Kate remarks about how Jen has two kids now as if they keep in touch all the time? Bitch, please.

Did we lose the theme here, because I don't hear any advice to old Kate lately. The episode is quickly turning into Kate just getting an opportunity to qualify everything we see.

Flashback to the pudding body painting. Kate explains they must ask the other person if they would like to be painted. If they say yes, they may paint them. If they say no, they may not. The kids seem to understand. Well, I'll give Kate this. At least they understood consent at the ripe old age of four. I still don't hear any advice to old Kate.

Kate's loving talking so much about herself and her pea brain thoughts, I'm pretty embarrassed for her. She's rambling like a wife going over a long honey-do list. And this is pretty much me:

Ah, the New York City episode, which was the height of Kate's hoochie-mama stage. That era is long gone, thank goodness for small favors. Kate has no advice for New York City hoochie-Kate, who is freaking out in a gift shop (over, admittedly, a fair amount of creepy fans who are very rude about boundaries), because well, as usual, hoochie Kate did nothing whatsoever wrong.

A producer asks Kate if she regrets not documenting enough of the kids growing up. Wha-what? This producer has a sense of humor! Even more shocking, Kate actually regrets it! She claims she didn't tape enough! Lol, wtf?! She's certifiable. She has more photos and footage of her children capturing nearly every moment of their growing up years than most parents could make in a lifetime. We found out from Mady and Cara's sixteenth birthday party that the woman whipped out the camera and filmed the twins every single day until she signed on the dotted line with TLC and they took over. Well hells bells, I guess she's missing a bunch of streaming footage of them pooping on the potty and snoring away the night, so maybe that area is lacking. When are you going to watch all this boring crap anyway? Who wants to putz around all day watching old home movies, even of yourself? So stupid. It's great to have some video and photos here and there of the kids growing up that they will appreciate someday. But, to put it in perspective, if you only filmed your child for a total of an hour each year, by the end of their childhood you would have a whopping 18 hours of footage to watch. Who would ever honestly sit through that, much less the child? And at a certain point, your kids want you to just put away the technology and be present in the moment and stop thinking about freezing time so much. Also many kids are embarrassed by pictures. Is it really fair to constantly make them uncomfortable? And one more thing, less is more. One of my favorite, though cont
Sally Mann captures her look-alike son
roversial photographers, Sally Mann, has taken absolutely heart stopping photos of her gorgeous children through the years She's only released a handful of them after all this time, but each one is so perfect, you wouldn't need to see hundreds of others.  If you follow her at all, sadly her son passed away recently after a long struggle with mental illness. But she has photographs to treasure for the ages.

Oh, TLC, you can show the clip of Kate being rude to awesome Kiwi Brad as much as you darn well please. Carry on. Heh, my favorite part is when Kate pulls the "I'm a paying customer card!" like a brat, and Brad immediately retorts, actually if you were a paying customer, I never would have spent this much time on you. Baw!

They also show the clip where Kate promises to email Brad and apologize.

"I didn't," says modern Kate with a coy smile. Of course she didn't. She's not cute. She's not funny. She's rude, and even when she acknowledges she's rude, she won't make it right. You're not Shirley Temple, and a mischievous grin doesn't do anything for me here. She'll do it now, though. Except, she doesn't even really apologize, and still blames her rudeness all on fear. Fear explains her reluctance to jump off the building. It does not account for how mean she was. Plus, as if Brad is watching. He's probably never even seen his own episode much less any other of the hundreds out there.

Kate's not proud of her yelling, but.....does anyone really care about the but? Didn't think so.

Kate finds it very difficult to deal with the children when they won't own up to things they did or worse yet lie. Number one, it's pretty cotton picking normal for children to not own up to things, even lie. Some experts suggest that lying is a very normal part of childhood; a child is figuring out complex human interactions that sometimes will involve experimenting with mistruths. They even suggest parents need not even waste a moment stressing out over it or even really going out of your way to correct it, as constantly punishing a child can simply make a child lie all the more to avoid it. It would be unusual if a kid always told the truth. Plus, lying can be a good thing and frankly, adults do it all the time and need to learn when it's appropriate to do it and why. Kate couldn't be bothered to understand human interactions on a complex level or why lying can actually be a beneficial social skill.

Number two, and more importantly, her kids don't trust her or have the kind of relationship with her where they feel safe coming to her and unloading some truths on her. In the old days, they were probably just afraid of her wrath, the physical and verbal abuse. Now, they just don't see a need to let her in on anything because they have no respect for her nor any trust. Then and now, there's no substance to her relationship with them that would allow those doors to open. We all know Kate is lazy, but no area is she more lazy than parenting. She hasn't tried to learn anything about the psychology of children, or made any sincere attempts to try to understand why they are the way they are. She clearly doesn't care to know. In her mind, the kids don't do things because they have interesting kid brains that are fun for an adult to try to understand, rather they do things just to spite her. Her parenting style is, at best, antiquated and ineffective, at worst, abusive. Yet even with some minor adjustments here and there, adjustments she refuses to make, she could see a huge change.

It's been a long time since modern Kate gave old Kate advice. I think she enjoyed talking about herself so much she got off track. Talk about totally losing the thread!

She has a lot of nerve to talk about how exhausted she's been her whole life when the woman hasn't worked in years. She's clueless who her audience is.

Most parents would agree most of your life was lived exhausted, explains Kate. No, most parents would not necessarily agree. Get the whole family to bed earlier, get some regular exercise and eat right, and you'll be amazed.

I forgot how very upset Kate was about the stupid DVD player not working on the RV trip. Heaven forbid she'd have to come up with ways to entertain the children herself. She had an iPhone. Google "entertaining kids on road trips" and you'd have plenty of fun solutions that could last out weeks. She's so helpless! They don't show this part of the clip, but I also recall some of the kids saying they had really gotten movied-out after awhile, were so bored with watching TV. Geez. The microwave broke down too, laments Kate. So use the microwave in the other RV or go out to eat. Did it have a little stove? Most big RVs do. Heat up the food on the stove. It's not a big deal.

Kate emphasizes very strongly that the kids want to do another RV trip because the first one had too many things breaking down. Well, I don't believe her. Kids don't notice breakdowns like that. They have the ability to have fun and laugh over little hiccups much easier than adults do. They might even see a breakdown as something positive, as it will often lead them down a path less traveled. And, she makes the kids sound ungrateful. That road trip was a vacation of a lifetime and a broken microwave and DVD player ruined it? Talk about spoiled. You shouldn't be watching TV on vacation anyway, and half the fun of a great vacation is the local food. Shaking my head.

It's interesting watching the dramatics of pizza gate and the RVs breaking down again, because what I'm noticing the most is how upset Kate is when they have every resource available to them in the world to correct the problem without fanfare. The most glaring thing is that really the only thing the RV breakdowns robbed them of is a little time. It was a huge road trip anyway, so a few hours or even half a day really isn't that bad. Think about a normal family having a car breakdown. Maybe repairs are going to bleed them dry. Perhaps they don't have cell service to get help easily. The baby is hot and crying and there is no nanny to take her. Fixing the problem is all on Mom and Dad. There is no nanny, bodyguard, or production crew to help. It could really be disastrous, including financially, and thus, emotionally.

Kate had to wait and that's it. Production handled everything else. What an ungrateful piece of work.

Kate says it is now second nature not to be dramatic, because it wastes energy. I don't agree she has changed that much. But at least she's saying the right things.

Kate says she doesn't understand why it sort of ended up team Kate's RV versus the other RV. She creates divisions herself and insights competition in others, to a point where it's very unhealthy, so I have no clue why this would stump her so bad.

Kate doensn't understand why Jamie would give her an attitude. Because you were completely nasty to her from the beginning, why else? Jamie seemed nice enough to me, chill, and someone I wouldn't mind on vacation, until Kate came along. She is disappointed in her. Sorry, is Jamie twelve?

Jamie was on the trip in order to watch her kids and Kate's. Well, wait, what was Kate's job? What a tool!

A really nice shuttle finally pulls up to the breakdown. Thank you, whichever minion got that, Kate says. I see she was really paying attention to who was saving her butt here. Ungrateful bastard.

Kate hates watching cupcake gate. But she just said in the Game Night episode that the kids had a ball getting no cupcakes, laugh about it to this day. So which is it, it's an uncomfortable sad memory, or hilarious? She needs medication. Kate stands by what she did of course. What does it teach a kid when you let them have a cupcake before good food, she wonders. Um, that there are exceptions on birthdays because birthdays are special? My God, you're not going to ruin kids with one cupcake.

Kate says the weirdest things. She likes seeing my faces, referring to the kids. Heh, all I see myself is Jon's faces! Also, she's growing humans. Growing humans?? They're not a chia pet! Organic humans I would hope.

From what I gather of the Easter egg clip, since I don't remember much when I first saw the episode, is that Collin hustled, busted butt, and collected far more eggs than everyone else, and the other kids didn't like it (TOO BAD). This wasn't "fair" and Kate had to put caps on their egg count in future hunts. Wait a second, but I thought Kate encouraged competition, and winning. It seems rather confusing for a young child to encourage him to be as competitive as possible, watch him work hard and comply (and not do so by cheating that I can see, as the other lazier kids claim), and then imply he did something wrong gathering the most by capping him in future years. It sounds silly and insignificant to do something like that, but I truly think it could be very psychologically damaging because of the mixed messages she is sending. Pick one or the other--either encourage the kids to be competitive, or throttle them. But when you do both, it can very much disturb a child, especially a mentally fragile one.

That creepy clip where the kids have to eat a sandwich then crunchy things then fruit in some sort of bizarre order. Kate stands by that one too of course. What does it teach a kid when you let them eat whatever they want! she asks. Um, can I phone a friend. ..... And my friend says, to grow up and NOT become an anorexic??

A simpler solution would be to not pack dessert at all in lunches. They don't have to have it, they can get dessert after dinner. You don't need two desserts in one day. Plus kids tend to find cookies and cakes and other sugary things at school anyway regardless if you pack it. They'll be fine. That way if they leave their carrots in their lunch you don't feel like they ate a brownie instead of carrots. And that way you're not putting this all on a little kid to feel so controlled and guilt ridden. Again, it's just one little bizarre thing she did to them to mess with their psyche, but these things tend to add up.

Kate sucks at taking care of her beautiful property and always did. It's getting really annoying when Kate keeps saying in a sing-song voice she wants them back! Referring to the children when they were younger. Shut up.

The boys are never around to help. I have no idea what she's talking about. She really is a man eater. And what a tool the off camera producer is to encourage this lie, remarking that the boys never seem to be around when help is needed. That's not flipping true! They were probably out at the chicken coop shoveling poop while you were off filming somewhere, or cleaning toilets or all the other shit Kendra told us they had to do, so STFU!

Out of character for Kate, she praises the cake baker by name, remarking she has never let her down. Well, that is a nice comment and good promotion for Marcia. If she took care to do that a little more often over all these years instead of bellyaching about everyone who has ever made her life so much easier, she would be infinitely more likable.

The kids are more self-sufficient now, Kate says. They've been self-sufficient for like five years. Geez!

Kate never would have believed she'd still be sitting in this interview chair 10 years ago. Bullshit, she has intended to film until they are 18 since day one, and probably beyond 18. The way other shows have transitioned their child reality stars to adulthood by creating series out of marriages and babies, only gives her more inspiration. She won't stop until TLC makes her stop.

Kate thanks viewers and fans of the show. Haha, I guess we are the viewers, and the sheeple are the fans? I truly don't remember Kate ever thanking viewers and fans. Or at least it's been rare. She actually says it took her several years to connect that things would have been very different without the viewers. Um, is she stupid, or just dumb? Your viewers and ratings should be your absolute number one priority when making a show, any show, assuming your goal is to have a successful show and you're not just making a film for your personal use.

The one redeeming thing about this episode, the children didn't have to do any work for it they hadn't already done.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "Game Night": Mind-mouth! Mind-mouth!

Coming up on Kate Plus 8, in quite possibly one of the dumbest, and incredibly low-budget episode ideas ever, the family gathers around the mismatched cluttered living room for a game night. Only this Trivial Pursuit is all about their own family trivia, which is stupid and narcissistic. This is what the industry calls a bottle episode, an episode that takes place in just one or two locations (the store, and the living room) and usually only involves the main characters (Kate and the kids), usually to save money when the season has gone over-budget. In many cases, though, a bottle episode can be one of the best of the series (see Breaking Bad's "Fly," Dr. Quinn's "To Have and to Hold", which literally is set in a shack the whole time somewhere outside Colorado Springs, and Seinfeld's "The Chinese Restaurant," which takes place not even in the main dining room but entirely in the waiting area, LOL). That's usually because it gives a chance for characters to really develop and actors to play off each other and for writers to stretch themselves without the distraction of car chases, snazzy locations and other special effects in the plot. But here, as expected, it's just dumb.

Best portrayal of game night on film? The Break-up! Mind-mouth, mind-mouth, mind-mouth!

These days everything Kate does seems to warrant a fresh shopping spree at Michael's on the company card. Doesn't she have a closet or at least a bin full of art supplies they could raid for these very sort of events like normal mothers?

After all this time TLC still hasn't fixed their TLCgo player, such that every time you pause it, it starts over. Gaa! It's going to be another long night.

Kate had the idea to do family trivia and puts Mady in charge. Sure, Kate, you had the idea. Mady is always in charge, and it's not fair to the other kids. Mady is sipping a crafted iced drink from Starbucks. Those really add up, Kate. Last episode you were just complaining about not having hired help. One can easily spend a couple hundred dollars a month at Starbucks on drinks for them and their kids. That money might be just enough for a monthly housekeeper. It's the little things you spend your money on that make all the difference.

Mady has morphed into a poor man's Kardashian with that thick layer of doll-like makeup and wavy black hair. As per the usual, the kids are annoyed that Kate is trying to micromanage everything.

This is unnecessarily elaborate to the point where you're in danger of this not being fun, which I thought was the whole point. Now Kate and the twins have to go shopping to get team t-shirts? Cara wants grey t-shirts, which Kate vetoes. Why? There's nothing wrong with grey t-shirts. Talk about not picking your battles.

Kate goes on an equally elaborate explanation as to why the twins talk back to her all the time and are so gosh darn disrespectful. You see that's because Kate has made them feel "safe" to say whatever is on their minds. Haha, that's some fine spin there. I've never seen anything like this. My kids are brats because I have made a safe zone for them to be brats? Heh! What idiot parenting.

Hey, Kate, your kids are disrespectful because they are so disrespected by you, and also, because you don't dare ever put your foot down that the way they speak to you is not appropriate. Honest is not the same thing as being mean. It's not cute, it's not free-thinking, it's certainly not funny in the slightest, and you are setting them up for absolute failure in so many aspects of adulthood I don't know where to begin.

Next they head to what is obviously Target to buy sheets and curtains to make the living room look like a game show set. Huh? Why can't they use what they already have around the house? There's nine people in the house, they should have bedsheets galore. What a waste of money.

After a whole lot of bickering back and forth they finally check out with their cart absolutely brimming with sheets and other junk, to which Kate mutters, "That's an expensive game show," as she swipes the company card. Still way cheaper than another dumb vacation, says the bottom line for this episode. I think it's funny that they won't tell you this is Target, because Target's clunky shopping carts and red decor everywhere are so distinctive you'd have to be really dense not to know where they are.

Just in the episode before this Mady was lamenting how mean the younger kids are, but in this episode, Mady is snapping at everyone and overall being a very unpleasant pill. Kate remarks that she sees a lot of herself in her. I agree, especially the way Mady favors the girls. They at least got to cut some colorful paper, while Aaden was ordered to sit still as a soldier in his chair and don't touch anything. Poor guy, he just takes it. I doubt Kate knew what clip they were going to use when Kate said she sees a lot of herself in Mady, which is funny, because they picked the meanest, bossiest clip ever to match up with Kate's statement. Heh.

Collin makes a sudden appearance. I think we had all speculated this was filmed out of order based on the snow on the ground and no puppies, but deceptively, they don't explain that, leading the dumber fans to believe he's back. As usual, Colin looks fine to me. If anything, he's one of the best behaved of the bunch. He obediently helps decorate his team t-shirt, is quiet and well behaved, and with a huge smile on his face, helps to hit the marker and announces the next segment. It's just so incredibly hard to picture a child with this much ability and self-control, having to be institutionalized.

For some reason TLCgo is pushing endless ads for Oregon tourism, which is odd for a show that takes place in Pennsylvania. Why not put these ads on Little People? They live outside Portland. In any case, Oregon really is an awesome place. I recommend Yachats, if you ever get out there.

The game finally starts. It's sort of a cross between Family Feud and Trivial Pursuit. Hey, did anyone see Saturday Night Live's recent Family Feud skit starring Liza Minelli? "You know, it always feels like someone just freed you from a bubble!" Inspired. Also, I love that they're not afraid to take risks, like going full on Liza Minelli skit with the full knowledge that the bulk of their millennial audience might not even know who she is. I could watch SNL game show parodies all day as opposed to this drivel.

The constant power struggle between Kate and Mady gets exhausting at least for this viewer, and you can tell it wears on all the kids. Kate said Mady could be in charge of Game Night, so let her be. Stop trying to micromanage her! It's a stupid game night, what does it matter? Save it for the important things. "Strike one!" Mady snaps, when Kate tries to name the game. Hm, what happens on strike three? Does Kate leave the show? Pretty please! I guess this is the kind of rude talking back that Kate calls Mady feeling "safe." Heh. Hey, does it feel like Kate's explanation of why the twins talk back, because they feel "safe", could easily be something said in an SNL parody of helicopter 2017 mothers? Lol!

The intern kind of ripped off the Price is Right theme song to compose his own little ditty for the game show. Good one.

Already the rules of this game are annoying and being made up as Mady goes along. Who gets to spin the wheel? And what happens if they both ring in at the same time? And once they're allowed to go consult with their team about the answer, then who gets to go first? Mady wings all of this, and already she's changing up the rules. Aaden is not allowed to answer first because he knocked his bell off (Why not tape the bells down with some gaffer tape? Production is sure to have some.). But Joel knocked his bell off on the first go around, as one of the girls pointed out, so how come he got to answer first last round? Stupid. You're better off getting out Pictionary, reading the rules until you understand them, and going for it. You'll have a great time, I promise.

Great, is every question going to prompt an old boring clip of something? I can't even!

At the end of the day these kids genuinely don't like playing with Kate, I believe them when they say that. Her extreme competitiveness is obnoxious, they explain. Of course it is.

Just as we all said years ago, Alexis reveals that the vast majority of these questions she has no clue about because she doesn't remember the vast majority of the things they have filmed. Mind-mouth it, Alexis! Of course she doesn't remember this shit, she was four.

Mady is favoring Cara's team, laments Kate. Shut up, Kate. Shut up, shut up, shut uppppp!

Speaking of four years old, Alexis sulks like a four-year-old after she forgets to ring the bell when she knew the answer, and Leah wins that question because she remembered to ring. Instead of Kate pulling Alexis aside and telling her to grow up, Kate assures her they are still going to win so don't worry about it.

But, what if they don't win? (Spoiler alert: they don't win) And even if they do win, that doesn't mean you shouldn't sulk because you are going to win anyway. You shouldn't sulk because it's childish and stupid. Good grief.

There's still a good 20 minutes left in this episode not even including ads, are they going to do this boring trivia the whole time? (Spoiler alert: yes) On a positive note, Collin looks happy. He's paying attention, participating, and giggling. It's kind of heartbreaking to think he's about to be sent off to an institution.

Kate's philosophy on parenting which she has said before is that she wants kids to know not everyone wins. That's all well and good, but how about teaching kids that not everything is a competition and that some things you should just let go and not worry about, one of them being a family game. Equally valuable to teach children, I propose, is, it's not worth it. Also, you don't need to "teach" kids note everyone wins. Even if you did everything you could to let them win everything, they would still encounter many times where they would lose at school or at a friend's house. They'll learn. Not everything a child learns about life needs to be micromanaged with such purpose by their parents. Let it be once in awhile.

I swear these kids have been programmed to react "it's not fair!" to everything. Alexis goes into a long explanation about how this is not fair because she can't remember any of these past events. Well, number one, her mother says they all watch the episodes all the time, so if Alexis would watch the episodes, she would know as much as anyone who was actually old enough to remember. And number two, the teams actually are fair, Alexis. Each team has three younger children on them, and one older person. Kate on Alexis's team and Cara on the other. Therefore, each team has one person who can remember that far back. Since everyone else has access to the library of episodes and could have watched them, it actually is fair. Arguably, Alexis's team has a slight advantage, because they have Kate, and these episodes go so far back even Cara is a little young to remember them all. The thing with saying something is not fair is that sometimes, it's totally warranted. But you better make sure it actually is unfair before you pull that card. Otherwise, you're just whining.

Alexis is getting herself so worked up she looks a thread away from bursting into tears. Just mind-mouth it, Alexis! Kate again reassures her they're going to win. Oh for Pete sake! At this point even that comment is trite. Even if they do, Alexis is going to feel like yeah they won but it's no thanks to me. Sheesh. That being said, some people just aren't good at trivia, at remembering random useless facts. I'm not the biggest trivia person myself. I remember big picture things more than nuances, and I forget dates and names easily even if I could tell you everything else about what happened. Eventually I'm usually able to recall most things, but I'm not able to do so under the pressure of two or three seconds to draw the information up. So, for someone that just doesn't have a knack for trivia, playing trivia games just isn't fun, I can attest. Still, in life you will now and again end up playing games you don't like. You just have to deal with it and get through it, it'll be over soon. Why doesn't Kate reassure Alexis that not everyone is good at trivia and it's okay, that there are many other things Lex excels at?

Cupcake gate was okay because the kids now laugh about it, explains Kate. Nope, the fact that you laugh later at something does not make it okay in that moment, Kate. For example, Life is Beautiful is a film about an Italian-Jewish prisoner who makes other concentration camp prisoners smile despite their absurd situation. It doesn't make the gas chambers, or shall I say holocaust centers, okay. It's just a way to cope. Does it occur to her the only way the kids can compartmentalize a very upsetting moment in their childhood is to just laugh? Strike two, say I! The kids laugh about cupcake-gate daily, claims Kate. Well, that sounds healthy.

Not the Hannah pooped thing again, let this poor child be!

Because Kate is nuts, she then proceeds to go on some random spiel about how this wasn't about winning. But she just spent the first half of this episode reassuring Lex that they would win, and, she wrote on her team shirt "Who's your winner!" so WTF! She's certifiable.

Clearly the producers put together all these questions, they are starting to get really specific and elaborate, one even has a photo they are to identify (of the turtle hatching).

Mady snaps at Kate that Kate doesn't get to call it when they can go back to their team and discuss the answer. Only Mady can call discussions. I think that's strike three!

Who said, This is awkward? Mady asks. I'm surprised I didn't remember who said that until they show the clip of Kate's staged date with Vann where as soon as she meets the poor guy, she blurts out what she is thinking, "this is awkward." Ohhh, yeah! Lol! Dating tip number one, it will be awkward on the first date, but for God sake, don't say it's awkward! 

A very bizarre fight erupts, spearheaded by Leah, who says it's unfair to ask about that episode, which aired in January 2016, because they haven't seen it. I thought they all gather around the boob tube together, holding hands and singing about harmony, to watch these episodes as they air, as Kate paints the picture. Then, even more oddly, Leah blurts out several times that Kate won't let them watch. I'm confused, won't let them watch any episodes, or just the date episode? Kate denies this, saying it's on the TV, go watch it. But why would Leah say that if it had no basis in fact? Really weird exchange there with little explanation of the backstory, leaving my rather curious what that's all about. Did Kate at some point not want them to watch the dating episode, and if so, why not? Was it because the kids know how fake it was? This almost deserves a Reddit conspiracy thread.

I'm struck by the sharp contrast between Kate's contrived relationship with Vann, and Little People, Big World, where both Amy and Matt are in real relationships with new people now. I'm not sure I know how to feel about Amy's boyfriend Chris. Something about me thinks something is off there. And the kids seem a little wary too, which is important to note since they would know. He claims he's happy to be with her, but when after six months she very gently tries to press him on demonstrating a little commitment, he won't agree to anything. Does he even call her his girlfriend, because I haven't heard him say so. He's in his 50's, what is he waiting for at this point? But, I am genuinely convinced it's a real relationship, organic, would happen cameras or not. I just think Amy is going to end up terribly hurt by that guy when he decides on a whim, eh, I'm gonna move on now. In any case, because it's so real, it makes for much better T.V. than Kate's stupid blind date.

Cara's team starts to pull away, and Kate's team starts to get bored because it actually is all about winning for everyone in this room.

Kate dresses up as a clown with a pink wig and passes out popcorn like she did for one of their early birthdays. The kids find her mortifying. Kate thinks she's hilarious.

Once in awhile they show a clip that's not mind-numbingly boring, but rather interesting, this one because of its foreshadowing. In this one they show Kate engaging in a battle of wills with 5-year-old Mady, insisting that Kate must hold her hand on a decidedly not busy New York City sidewalk. Mady is not two, she is five, and perfectly capable of walking alongside her parents without having to hold their hand like a baby. But Kate insists. And what's worse, argues the point with the poor kid, giving her false hope this is a negotiation. It's that kind of repeated, tenacious refusal to give up any control over your child, that breeds a teen like Mady ten years later. Mady woke up one day, probably at age about 13 or 14, and realized she could actually be in control from now on, and it's been misery ever since.

Kate, who says she doesn't care if they win, is sulking and going on about how some question and answer was unfair. I'm too bored to try to figure out why she said that. "That's wrong!" Kate, who doesn't care about winning, gleefully shouts out when the other team misses a question. "I really wanted to win," says Kate. But she just said she didn't care! Brother, she is such a nut job.

Kate announces the prizes toward the end of the game. The winning team picks the takeout and the losers clean up. Sounds like she made that up on the fly. I know that's not that big of a deal as prizes go, but something about that feels very dysfunctional, and I think it breeds unhealthy competition, and bitterness. Why can't they just finish the game and that's it, without this unhealthy focus on winners and losers? How about decide take-out on a majority vote, or rotate who chooses the takeout fairly each time?

More dumb questions and bickering. The only thing interesting that happens is somebody says Kate thinks she's funny, but she's not. Pretty much!

Collin, who apparently has such special needs that he needs to be institutionalized, is the only one to correctly identify and name the liberty bell, in Philadelphia. He gets both the landmark and the city. Whatever, Kate. Where is he?

Cara's team wins, and Cara calls the other team "losers." Sigh.

Of note, this recap took me several weeks to finish because I broke up the chore as I had time to do it. At the beginning of the writing, the TLCgo app was doing its usual crap. But I think the interns may have tweaked the code, because today, it's running much better. It doesn't restart all over when I pause it, and the commercials don't pop up every time I try to move the slider. Thank you, interns! Finally!

It was so much more fun than she thought it could be, remarks Kate. She's said something like that before, and I find that kind of comment odd and kind of mean. Why wouldn't being with your family and talking about the fun things you've done together be just great? Why would it surprise you to have such fun with your family? Weird!

Kate, you're the only loser here.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Discussion thread: 'The Keepers'; and the Duggars file a really stupid lawsuit

Sister Cathy, who was murdered for trying to protect children from abuse.
We've been riveted to The Keepers since it first appeared on Netflix this week. Equally heartbreaking and painstakingly detailed, The Keepers tells the story of Jean Wehner, who was molested by a priest at her high school in the 60's. But this is not just another all too common tale of betrayal and sexual abuse towards children at the hands of the Catholic church. This one is also about Jean's beloved young teacher, a nun named Sister Cathy, who ended up murdered around about the same time she discovered some of her students were being abused. When Cathy set about to stand up for her students, one of the most shocking cover-ups to come out of organized religion ensued.

The internet has been ablaze with amateur sleuths on this story for years, and now it comes to our screens. One review calls The Keepers, which has been compared to Making a Murderer, similar fare yet much more haunting, and that Sister Cathy's murder is a corner piece of a jigsaw puzzle. We agree. Discuss here.

In somewhat ironic timing, the Duggars this week filed a lawsuit against various government officials, protesting the release of police reports and other documents in connection with Josh Duggar's molestation of several of his younger sisters many years ago. The City of Springdale quickly responded with a press release, denying any wrong-doing and pointing out that the documents were heavily redacted, and protesting the use of tax dollars for this scheme.

If there's one thing that comes through in The Keepers, it's that keeping the story quiet about sexual abuse makes it worse, not better. In fact, because Jean and others kept quiet until the early 90's, one perpetrator continued to sit on the pulpit for decades. He was finally removed when Jean decided she must come forward no matter how painful. Because people thought sexual abuse must be kept quiet, Sister Cathy, who did not think so, was murdered. Disclosure and public acknowledgement of abuse is how we solve this problem, Jim Bob, not more covering up. Perhaps if Jean lived in a society in which sexual abuse was not regarded as something so shameful and private, she wouldn't have been so reluctant to come forward, and Sister Cathy would still be alive. Shame on you.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

'Little People, Big World''s Jacob Roloff: 'Money, things, and trips cannot ultimately compensate for the immaterial experiences of a childhood innocently experienced'

Jacob Roloff is sounding off against about the dangers of growing up on TV, and how he feels about all the "trips" he received in exchange.

I remember once seeing my parents go into a room in a restaurant to do a scene, and in the show's storyline it was about the beginning of my parents' separation, although I'm bad at gauging time. In the scene they were supposed to be discussing some serious matter, I don't know, I was just outside the room. I remember though that the scene they were doing was inherently staged and fake. Whatever discussion they were acting out had already happened in real life, so this was at best a rehashing. When they came out though, I saw tears in my mom's eyes and I suddenly realized that this staged 'joke', 'fake' thing was effecting real life in a profound way.
I see the money I have earned and the vacations I was lucky enough to go on as 'compensatory', for lack of  a better word, for a tainted childhood. I feel disappointed in language here because saying that makes it seem like my childhood as a whole was not enjoyed and just a waste. Not true. I had tons of fun and so many opportunities and friendships, and also anger, frustration... the myriad of emotions. However; money, things, and trips — all material — cannot ultimately compensate for the immaterial experiences of a childhood innocently experienced. 
One of my least favorite things to do while filming was formal interviews. We sat down on a tiny uncomfortable chair, small enough to be hidden so as to not break the fourth wall; "Who set up that chair anyhow?" — this was Reality TV after all. Then the producers asked us silly repetitive questions that no right headed 6-10 year old would have a solid answer to; rather I should have been asking the questions to the adults! But I suppose they probably knew that, further creating a certain shy, relatable character in contrast to the brat that ordinarily wreaked havoc —— cunningly dynamic. 
The post actually dates back a few months, but seems to have been recently discovered by the media. The only thing the adults who exploit children on reality TV can't stop is that someday they will grow up, turn 18, and can finally say whatever they like about the experience. Thank you, Jacob, for being the voice of the first generation of children who have grown up on reality TV.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "Sweet 16": Mady turns 16. Cara picks lint.

Coming up on Kate Plus 8. Mady turns 16. Cara picks lint.

They show a lot of sweet photos and clips of the girls growing up, some I don't remember seeing before. You would almost be fooled into thinking this is a nice family with twins with no screaming and hollering going on. This is a time for Kate to reflect all about herself.  Ultimately Kate doesn't worry about the twins because she knows they will make good decisions. Kind of like their decision not to see their father?

Kate gives the girls Gator driving lessons. Wait, I swear the kids were driving the Gator a year ago when they first got this. Now they get lessons?

Like so many other teens I've encountered these days, oddly, Mady doesn't really care much about getting her license. Kind of a, I'll get it when I get it attitude. She doesn't go anywhere really except school and home. Sad.

My theory on this, and it's totally a theory, is that kids today are so much better connected with their peers than we were as kids, and therefore, don't feel that compelling drive (I can make dumb puns too just like Kate) to get behind the wheel and hit the road. We had to learn to drive, because there was no texting or iPhones, and when we called Ashley's house on the good ole fashioned telephone, we either got the answering machine, or were told by her slightly annoyed mother, sorry she can't talk now she's doing her homework/at scouts/at soccer/practicing the trumpet/being punished. I never met a teen in my class who wasn't gunning to drive. We had to get going behind the wheel to drive to each other or risk never connecting with each other again outside the hours of 7:30am to 2:30pm. A 2017 kid can text Ashley, FaceTime, instagram and snapchat her, and get instant feedback from Ashley, and therefore doesn't feel as compelled to get in the car and drive somewhere to meet up with Ashley. The need teens have is simply to connect to peers and exchange feedback. It's clear that connection doesn't have to be in person just so long as they're getting a lot of it and it's instant. I like my theory, personally.

What does "over-start" the gator mean? I don't understand over-start. This has to be fake, Mady driving into the plants. Or Mady is driving erratically purposely for attention.

Cara says the most she has said all season, in that she actually used to think she would like to get her license because she would like to be able to drive herself over to Lancaster (where their school is) for lacrosse and such, but then she found out that apparently, she is not going to ever be allowed to drive that far. Forbidden by Kate, presumably. And therein lies one of the stupidest reasons ever to send them to a private school so far away. It's too far. So many of us warned that this commute was going to be a beast, especially when they got older and had to get themselves to school more often and for longer days and establish a group of friends over on that side of town that they want to see outside of school or even sometimes have to see, for school projects and study groups. And there it is. And sadly, Cara is losing out on valuable practice time behind the wheel while she is still under an adult's supervision. Practice time that is crucial and can be the difference between a teen ending up in a horrific accident before they are 20, or getting through the most dangerous years on the road unscathed. A public school or even a private school five to ten miles away would be close enough to make most parents comfortable with their child driving that distance, while still giving them practice time on the road. A shame.

I really don't know how much value a driving lesson on a Gator is to driving a real car in real traffic. They'll be ready to whiz around their retirement neighborhood in Florida someday, but little else.

Moving on to planning the party, Kate and Mady fight endlessly over ideas they're looking at on their MacBooks. Looks like Pinterest. Mady hates all of Kate's ideas for the party. In this case, since we know Kate has no style or taste, I'm thinking we have nothing to lose leaving this to Mady. Kate keeps trying to micromanage this, while Mady obviously would prefer to make the calls and is proud to plan it herself. Mady is sixteen years old. At this age, couldn't her mother just give her a budget to spend, a couple hundred bucks or whatever, and let her do this on her own? Mady wants to, she gets enjoyment out of party planning, and it's good for a child this age to take on such a major responsibility. And if Mady slips up and forget something important like the forks, then so be it. That's part of learning how to plan things responsibly, a life skill.

Three days before the party they're meeting with a baker about the cake? That's cutting it awfully close. I don't buy that. This episode feels more staged than usual.

Cara is really resisting helping to plan, won't give an opinion on anything, and doesn't even really want a party. She sounds self-conscious and reserved, easily embarrassed, which is normal for many teens that age. It's funny, because some teens like Mady want nothing but attention, to be the star of the high school play. Others want just the opposite, and would be mortified to have to go on stage or anything of the like. That was me, and I remember that feeling where you were embarrassed even to say you preferred chocolate cake over vanilla. God knows where that comes from but thankfully most teens outgrow it. It seems like teens are usually one extreme or the other. What doesn't make any sense is why a reserved teen would want anything to do with filming. My hunch is, she sure as hell doesn't and is being forced to comply, so she resists in any way she can, including refusing to say much on the couch or cooperate with things like party planning.

Mady has bullied her way into holding the reins here, which is what you have to do when your mother is Kate. Heh, I like how much it bothers Kate to have no say in things. Like watching someone who can't reach an itch in the middle of their back.

Another shopping trip to some kind of craft store. Kate says something like Mady wants to control things for the sake of controlling them, whatever that means. And doesn't that really more aptly describe Kate? This conversation about how Mady and Kate disagree over how to decorate for the party feels like it's going on hours. I can't anymore.

Finally they take two full carts of booty to the checkout for the company credit card, plus some Junior Mints. I always get flashbacks to that classic show Supermarket Sweep when I watch Kate shop on the company card. She tossed those Junior Mints into the cart like they are the special bonus item of the day worth $150. You should always focus on going after the bonus items and make sure to grind the coffee and get the frozen yogurt first. Don't be a fool wasting time on the turkeys, that's for chumps. Such a good show.

The day of the birthday, Kate is running around the house in a total panic. She starts taking out salmon for 20-30 salmon burgers and laments about how it's supposed to be foggy and rainy and this will ruin everything. Well, you planned a birthday party for the outdoors in Pennsylvania in October. Odds are the weather will stink. Why on earth didn't you have a Plan B you could easily turn to, like, I don't know, move the party to inside the house if the weather is bad? She really is a helpless twelve-year-old.

I'm kind of speechless at this next part because it's just so nuts on every level. Kate calls up her "friends" Chrissy and Todd. Remember them? They own the beef jerky place they agreed to be promoted on the sextuplets' birthday episode. Kate knows they have some kind of party room at their store, whatever that means, calls them up, and asks them if they could have the twins'  party at their store due to the weather. I think that's such an incredible thing to ask of someone at the last minute that I'm embarrassed. And remember, she's not just asking them to have 20-30 people over, but also to bring in a whole film crew to their store and film there. Wha? Why not just have it at the Mcmansion, inside? What's the point in buying a mansion like this if you don't have room indoors for a simple party of 20-30 people? Plus, hauling all the party crap they bought to a different location is a huge chore. Shaking my head.

And what are the odds that Chrissy and Todd just happened to be available that very afternoon to have 20-30 people over last minute? Don't most normal families with kids usually have plans over the holiday weekend? Like I said, this episode feels staged. I think all along they were going to have it at Chrissy and Todd's if it rained.

Kate quickly realizes a location change is a logistical nightmare. Of course it is. The kids are upset at how stressed out she is, as they should be. Even Mady, who sometimes can bring the drama, is like, what is the big freaking deal? We have a location now, the food is being cooked as we speak, it doesn't matter. Why on earth didn't she make the salmon the day before? That easily could have been done yesterday, it'll keep. Or pick some other food you can make the day before. Or heaven forbid order a bunch of pizzas and make it easy on yourself. Kate does this purposely I'm convinced, intentionally makes things as difficult as possible on herself. It's a martyr complex, maybe.

Ha, when Kate goes on about how she can't just show up at the party in work clothes and no makeup, Mady says no one is going to care if she's not there. Uh, actually, that's true. This is a party for 16-year-old girls, not their mothers. Nobody will notice whose mother is where or when. You just don't care at that age. Kate randomly launches into a bizarre rant looking straight into the camera, globs of sweat dotting her forehead, about how she does not have a nanny or housekeeper or hired help. Number one, yes you do, and it's all on film. Number two, grow up, Kate. If you don't have a nanny or housekeeper at the moment, get one. You can afford it. That's not our fault you allegedly don't have help that day for whatever reason. And she doesn't even need to pay people to not be so overwhelmed with this party. If one had friends and family, one could ask their best friends, their sister and sister-in-laws, their mother, and so on, to come on over. Something tells me the likes of women she has discarded like Beth and Jodi would have been all too happy to come over and help out today. And what about Jon? It's her choice not to get along with him for one day and put on a party together for the children they made together when they were once in love. Lots of divorced couples do this for their children all the time. Unfortunate.

Mady has to point out to Kate that a party is supposed to be fun. Making salmon burgers, party planning, picking up flowers, is all supposed to be fun. You might be confused who is the adult and who is the child here, but Kate is supposed to be the adult. There's so much yelling and whining about the stupidest things, I cannot even imagine growing up in this house. You know what's interesting is that over and over Kate has emphasized how she just wants this to be perfect on this special day which is why she's having a meltdown, and over and over Mady and even Cara have told her that it's okay. Maybe the twins didn't articulate it quite clearly so doofus could understand it, but I'm not getting the impression at all the twins are demanding this be "perfect." They just want to have a good time and be with their friends. Kate doesn't listen or pay attention to what her children are saying or what they really need. If she did, she would understand that what's far more important to the twins and all her children is that this day is chill and happy. "Perfect" is not what anybody else is after but doofus here. In fact if she would breathe for a second, she would realize that sometimes the most imperfect things make the best memories. The laugh you had when the icing stuck to the lid of the cake box, how muddy everyone got splashing in puddles when the party got rained on, the way Auntie's car wouldn't start when it was time to leave and she had to spend the night and you stayed up late with popcorn and a Disney movie with her. The best memories are often made in life's little hiccups and imperfections, aren't they?

I don't think it's unfair to say that Kate has ruined so many special things for her children like birthdays with her insanity, and this 16th birthday is no exception.

By the way, the house is incredibly cluttered. Random papers, bins, gadgets sitting out, all kinds of miscellaneous stuff. You couldn't even sit at the dining room table if you wanted to. It's always like this, not just before parties. You know, it's not a capital offense to be cluttered, but sometimes, it can contribute to a stressful household, especially if there is already so much stress there already. Everyone might feel a lot better if she would just put stuff away.

Kate thinks that Mady being so parentified by comforting her lunatic mother is "adorable." Oh, brother.

Where's Colin? Just saying.

So, back to the beef jerky change-up, how are they going to make sure 20-30 people know about this sudden location change? Who worked up the permits for this so fast, and what are the odds that the jerky place just happened to be totally available today on a holiday weekend? This is more fake than ever, not that this show isn't fake to begin with.

Nothing happens during this next part except a dress got steamed for a child who doesn't appreciate what a pain that is, and the twins call Kate "Mother" again. I love when they do that.

Kate says the younger children can't come to the party because there is not enough space in the venue. I don't have a problem with that. No teenager wants their kid brothers and sisters at their party. They can do a more intimate family party later and include the sextuplets. What I find hilarious, though, is that Kate just went on a tirade letting us know that contrary to popular belief she does not have a nanny! So who the heck stayed with the younger kids last minute while Kate and the twins were gone? They're a little young to be left by themselves all afternoon. If only to make sure someone is after them to do their homework and that no one burns the house down making grilled cheese.

Kate sure has a sudden group of old friends from various places like lamaze class of all things. Who are all these seemingly nice, down-to-earth people and their pretty daughters and why doesn't Kate contact them when she's feeling so overwhelmed to help her out? Does she not understand this is what a good girlfriend would be happy to do, help out their overwhelmed friend? Is she afraid if she asks for help she'll be asked to return the favor at some point? Or are these people really not all that close friends perhaps? Does she just like the drama and martyrdom of doing it without help? She had no problem letting Jon do it all. So many questions in this episode, and no answers.

Another complaint about TLCgo. Halfway through this episode, about now, when they were showing more endless ads, their ad for Amazon prime froze the rest of the video. Thinking it a glitch, I refreshed it. Went through all the ads again, because they make you, and the Amazon prime froze the darn thing again! After giving it one more try to the same results, I switched over to a bootleg copy found on Youtube. TLCgo is a hot mess. Take it down and re-write the code because it's garbage.

Some marginally handsome dude named Ronnie shows up. Maybe in his late 20's. Kate identifies him as their hair stylist and dear friend from NYC. They have a lot of dear friends who don't actually live in their town, don't they? Both the twins absolutely adore him. Maybe it's me, but this lovey-dovey relationship seems a little odd. I'm all for kids having older mentors, but the hair stylist? I think I would feel better about it if I knew they also had people in their lives they ran to like that like a grandma, or an Aunt Jodi, or a special Sunday school teacher or scout leader. Their circle is just not rounded out with the normal people one would expect a child to really adore and look up to, and it's strange and unfortunate. This guy is not going to be there for these kids through thick and thin as they go through life, like a relative or other close friend would be. It's fun now because he's just starting his career and befriending celebrity families, but he'll settle in soon and realize he has no time for this latching on nonsense and move on.

Mady lets loose that Ronnie was the best surprise ever, except for her laptop. So, she got a laptop for her birthday? This family can finagle a hair stylist and a laptop for a birthday present but not basic day-to-day hired help? Huh.

Back at the ranch, Kate sends an ice cream food truck to pay the younger kids a visit because she felt guilty they couldn't be at the party. Is this for real? The cost of a private food truck visit is outrageous. The way this woman pisses away money then turns around and complains she lacks basic rich people things like a housekeeper, is bizarre. 

This next part has a huge back story to it that I'm only going to summarize ever so briefly, in part because I don't even remember all the details of it, but folks can feel free to elaborate on it in the comments. And that is guess who is watching the kids? A fan! A creepy one too! This is so f-ed up! She's known around these parts as Brownie. On this blog there is a wealth of information about her and her creepy antics that goes back, I'm not even joking, until at least 2011. I did a quick google search of the blog for her, and found some posts to highlight about her. One, from an old poster Red Sky at Night, was talking about how Brownie was incessantly tweeting Kate about meeting up, having coffee with her, seeing NYC with her, and that Kate would just ignore her. And then there were the posts and posts about the expired cereal incident, as explained by good ole poster No Regrets, who said Brownie was going on and on about how she only spent 95 cents a box instead of five bucks, and 21 boxes were for Kate. "Just reading that woman is exhausting," remarked No Regrets. LOL!

I guess crazy as she sounds on twitter, Brownie actually has a legitimate job in real life as an art teacher. (Allegedly. I mean, I could say I'm an art teacher, too. Doesn't make it so.) But how in the holy f--- did she end up not only on this show but watching the kids alone??? How do you go from, I'm a creepy pest on Twitter, to, and now I'm the babysitter left alone with the kids?! What a hot mess. John Lennon, Kate. Jodi Foster. Rebecca Schaeffer. Wake the F up.

Also, another big fat clue that this whole "rained out birthday party oh noooes!" was all staged? How did Kate so quickly set up an art teacher to come stay with the sextuplets and arrange for a food truck to swing by? Gimme an ever loving break. I also find it to be an absolutely glaring omission that Kate doesn't mention, oh by the way, Brownie is just a fan I met on twitter. She paints a rosy picture like this is some art teacher perhaps from school or they met at scouts, and that's just nonsense, a lie. If you're going to be so unbelievably stupid as to allow your fans to have unfettered access to your children like this, at least be honest about it. Also, who thinks Brownie has been angling for a role on this show for years? I betchya a whole lot of DM's were exchanged before this finally happened. This really takes the cake brownie!

Creepy Brownie fan is in the bathroom with Aaden, washing off paint from his face. Good Lord. At least she's a teacher, allegedly, so at least we know someone, somewhere, has done some kind of background check on her at some point, one hopes.

I think this was the episode that got decent ratings out of the rest of the dismal season, and I kind of see why now. It's actually a tiny bit interesting in that it's so....unbelievably.....insane.

The twins lament that the younger kids can say very mean and nasty things. The twins are just as nasty, so I don't really think they should talk.

I can't stand when adults totally exaggerate a child's accomplishments. Brownie calls the actually somewhat messy paint job the kids did on picture frames for the twins "phenomenal." No, it was mostly just mediocre, not even close to phenomenal. And, a lot of the kids were goofing off, messing around during the project, which is not good behavior when one is trying to focus and paint something nice for their sisters. I daresay some of them didn't even try, and Brownie isn't about to be hard on them lest she mess up this once in a lifetime gig. Even some of the kids admit they stink at painting. In any case, a "good job" is sufficient and doesn't give kids an inflated sense of their own crappy skills. Next thing you know you've got some delusional kid setting his sights on majoring in the arts when at best all he can throw together is an ugly finger painting.

Swish back to the Pinterest party. Salmon burgers, and, pesto spaghetti? That's interesting. I'm all for kids getting to pick what they would like to eat on their birthday, but out of courtesy to their many guests, they should have offered something else too almost everyone will eat and enjoy, like your standard marinated chicken strips, or a pizza. Their combo is too weird to appeal to many people, and it's rude to only offer that. At the end of the day Kate is still as rude and inconsiderate as ever, unable to think and realize that their menu is bizarre and not appealing to many.

Oh I just LOVE when Kate gets caught in the lie. Remember how she insisted for years that she really needed to sign up for filming so that their memories could be video taped? Well now she says she filmed almost every moment of the twins when they were babies herself. This was long before the show, remember. So, if it was no problem to film it all yourself, every moment of it, why does one need a camera crew in the first place? What a liar.

Kate herself, she claims at the request of the twins, put together a bunch of clips of the girls from when they were babies to show at the party. It ended up being half an hour. Mady and Cara say on the couch that they actually asked Kate to make a video montage for them only, not to show at the party to everyone, but Kate twisted their request all around. And they said the video was an hour. Yikes. Wouldn't a much better idea be to have this video playing on a loop in the background throughout the party? I've seen that at birthday parties, weddings, and anniversaries, and it works well. That way no one feels obligated to sit down and hush up through a big long montage of boring home videos, but people can still watch and enjoy them throughout the party on their own terms. The way Kate structured it, this film brought the party to an awkward, screeching halt.

The guests are extraordinarily polite, sitting there acting engaged and interested in this very long drawn out boring home video. Oh, there's her stupid "The Gosselin Twins" sign she tacked to the twins' stroller, the very first flicker we ever had of what her ambitions really were. She says that patriotic decorated stroller was part of a competition and she won. She took the competition very seriously, so much so that she blackened the windows of their garage so no one could see her working on the project. Yes Kate, other competitors are going to illegally sneak onto your property peer through garage windows and try to get a peek at your lame decorations and then steal the idea. That's not psycho thinking at all. But yet another fascinating glimpse into how she is wired and how she sees the world.

Kate seems embarrassed at how she looks in this videos. She looks a little dated, sure, with that stupid headband and the tucked in solid colored blouses, but it was 2001, what do you expect? (Hey, how crazy is it that how we all looked in 2001, the year of 9-11, seems so dated now?) Other than that I think she looks young, fresh, normal, and decidedly un-plastic, untouched by the downside of fame and fortune. In short, I think the woman looked good in 2001. Sad she doesn't see it.

I hate when Kate speaks for all mothers. No, not all mothers want their kids to go back to being babies. Some mothers actually enjoy the different stages of their children's lives as they happen, one to the next, and don't constantly long for them to be nine months old. Sheesh.

Kate is really putting huge emotional burdens on the twins about them turning 16. It's a big deal, sort of yes, but it's not that big of a deal. Graduation and going off to college are way worse, how on earth will she handle that?

As they light the candles on the cute cake, Kate proceeds to rattle off 16 things she loves about the twins, which she admits she didn't prepare. That's too many things not to prepare, what a lazy doofus. She ends up saying stupid stuff like I love that you didn't light yourself on fire lighting the candles. Dolt.

These guests are one in a million listening to all this so politely, but I can see a glimmer of impatience finally breaking their smiles. No doubt at some point, the 16-year-old guests would like to hang out and laugh and party with their 16-year-old friends and have this stop being all about Kate.

Thinking back to all the Sweet 16 parties I went to as a kid and I never remember the mothers being so front and center. I don't begrudge adults who have been in their lives wanting to be here for the party, but for goodness sake, have a separate area for the adults so the kids can have some space to enjoy the party just among themselves. As I recall for my 16th, I had a bunch of girlfriends spend the night undisturbed by the adults. Then later on that weekend I had a party for family--immediate family, grandparents from both sides, cousins local to the area, and close family friends. Separating it out like that gives a 16 year old a chance to really just be with their friends, which is so important at that age, while still making sure this event can be marked by family, too. There are so many quick and easy compromises like that Kate could take that she never does.

The party is finally over and Mady says now they're going to go make smores on the deck. Please tell me they will finally be able to do something without all the adults there. Wait, I thought it was raining and they couldn't do things outside?

The twins were very appreciative and sincere about creepy Brownie's art projects the younger kids made, so that was a relief. It's sad when every time someone in this family does something nice for someone else, I brace for impact waiting for the other person to say something rude or ungrateful or otherwise blow them off.

Mercifully, it looks like the girls are having their bonfire without any adults. What a massive relief, finally!

Kate claims the twins thanked her for days and days afterwards. And days. I don't find that representative of how truly grateful they are. Rather it's a red flag that children are fearful that their gratitude is not sinking in with their parent, or that they are otherwise on pins and needles with that parent, and so they do things like that over and over to ensure the parent is appeased. It's a sign of insecurity and dysfunction, Kate.

We close with some more old clips to fill up the rest of the time. Ha, the editors snuck in an old clip of Mady in an Em Tanner shirt. Hey-ya, Em!

Kate doesn't know if she really deserves to be their mother. Nope, she doesn't. See ya next time for the season finale.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "Beach Time!": Shoulda let her strings go, Ike

Coming up on Kate Plus 8, another baller vacation, this time in Alabama, where they pretty must do every expensive excursion you could possibly do at the ocean.  This is their "yearly" trip to the ocean, says Kate, and by yearly she means if they are filming she will finagle a trip to the ocean. They also finally train their almost six-month-old puppies, who should have been trained four months ago. Don't try to figure it out, one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. You know, why does one get puppies over the summer anyway if you know you're going to be out of town so much? Part of the reason they're so poorly behaved is because their owners are not providing them any consistency.

Kate again emphasizes they came in late last night. We were all shaking our heads to realize they filmed the space camp footage and traveled a six hour drive to the beach house all in the same day. What reason would she have to lie about that? Wouldn't she lie and say the opposite, that they filmed it over several days, so as not to give the appearance of over-working the kids? We had a discussion on the blog about this show's budget, and all signs are suggesting it's been slashed dramatically. From having to film everything in just a day or two, to hauling in their own food from grocery stores instead of eating out, to now, vacationing in the deep South in the dead of summer, when prices tend to hit rock bottom because it's so hot and muggy. God bless Alabama, but it's not so comfortable in August.

There's an aerial shot of the beach house, and it's huge. It's a mansion, with a big dock right along a beautiful inlet. In the background, you can see the city just a hop, skip and a jump away. And this after Kate claimed the house was in the middle of nowhere so they had to bring all their own food in. No they're not.

They're about to go parasailing, and Kate demands they all finish up lunch quickly or she "might ask the man to let the strings go." I'm all for having a sense of humor with your kids, but why is Kate constantly teasing about things that could either kill or cause great bodily harm to her children? It's truly creepy, no joke.

Those "girls" of Kate's, oy! Put them away, especially in the kitchen. Is this a brothel or summer vacation?

The parasailing instructor Ike introduces his crew but gets bored when Kate tries to introduce herself and instead he just keeps giving directions, cutting her off. Heh, I have a funny feeling he really doesn't care who she is or what this filming is all about, this is just another customer to keep safe and provide a good experience to and on to the next one. He will soon go the way to the river raft man, I feel this one coming.

Oddly, there is no discussion of seasickness this time. We have to have the conversation on every other boat ride, what gives? The three youngest girls whoosh up first, and love it. Everyone is shocked how high they go up when parasailing, including me. 450 feet?! Yowser. Okay, I'll give Kate a pass here on not liking this. This is way too much like skydiving, only even worse, there's no instructor with you and the harnesses look really flimsy. The boys and the twins take a crack at it, too. You guessed it, this was fun.

A long discussion from Kate about how she didn't want to be pressured into doing this. What dramatics. I didn't see anyone pressuring her. It's no skin off Ike's back whether she goes or not and the kids don't care. In fact most kids wouldn't care what mom does or doesn't do. It's all about them at this age. The kids were enjoying their own fun on this ride, and telling her all about it, and if she wants to do it fine, if she doesn't, it's not their problem. This actually is part of her narcissism, that she thinks anyone gives a damn what she wants to do with herself. Nobody does. Heh, I like the flashback to the New Zealand bungie jumping, where Brad pushes her off the ledge. One of the few flashbacks they should just keep playing over and over. Ike is finally like well are you going or not, decide now. That's right, it's really freaking annoying when someone is holding up the group with their indecisiveness. Oh good Lord, she's crying now. Ike is like, okay, nope abort. Seriously! I love that he's not putting up with her shenanigans. Either jump in the deep end or not, but if not, get off the damn diving board so everyone else can carry on with their fun.

Of course Kate refuses to abort because at the end of the day she knows good and damn well she will do this, that this is all for maximum show and attention and making sure this is all about her. She demands Ike only send her up a few feet.  Once again in an effort to make herself feel better, she's made the ride more precarious. Common sense suggests that's terribly unsafe. You wouldn't get as much wind in the sail that way, and if anything goes wrong, there's absolutely no room to correct it before you slam face first into the back of the boat. Idiot. Nope, that's not how it works, is essentially Ike's response.

Kate eventually gets on the ride, with the obligatory screaming and screeching and parentified Aaden and Cara going up with her to comfort her. Kate remarks once again that it was not being able to swim that was one of the things bothering her. Good God, then get some swimming lessons for the love of holy heck and then that fear will be solved. Holy moly. And by the way, from that height, not being able to swim is not going to be the problem if anything does malfunction. I mean, you're dead from 450 feet if it failed. Is she dumb, or just stupid? By the way, in some brief googling about parasailing accidents, I found that the Federal Aviation Administration has regulated parasailing to 400 feet maximum. So, was Ike exaggerating when he said they would go up 450, or breaking the law? Hm.

Let me be clear here, there's nothing wrong with not liking parasailing. I'll admit it, I would never do this and do not feel unfulfilled for not doing so. About on average one death every 1-2 years doing this is enough for me to say no thanks. But to cause all this drama is uncalled for.

You know, the kids were having fun. A blast. They loved seeing the sites from up high and no one was fighting or bickering, or feeling sick to their stomach, or upset. Doofus ruined a rare pleasant outing. And I think a huge part of her disturbing psychology is that she can't help but ruin it. One, because she's petrified it won't be good footage because calmness in her mind is boring to viewers. And two, she can't help but want the attention all on her. Quite the opposite, I enjoyed seeing the kids relaxed like this, it was good to see them have a moment where everything was working out. It only got obnoxious when the plot turned to her freak out.

Kate does a weird nervous slithering snake thing with her tongue on the ride. The twins make fun of it. It's almost like a tick, which may be just a tiny clue into the chemistry of her brain. That's something a six-year-old would do when they are stressed, not a mature adult woman who has control of herself. If you don't believe something is very wrong with her upstairs, I don't know what to tell you.

Heh, they do a private interview with Ike once back on shore, who calls Kate a basket case. He should have let her strings go, eh?! I expect about five years from now Kate will be trashing him just like she did the rafting instructor from five years ago, because that's how this woman rolls.

The next "day" (I'm keeping track of the days now, it's got my attention), they go on a segway tour.  Joel's segway won't go fast, to which Cara calls him "stupid." Um, no, he's not stupid. His segway wouldn't go fast because it was on "beginner" mode. It had nothing to do with Joel. These kids always jump to the most cutting, nasty remarks about each other, and often it's completely unjustified. One of the instructors fixes it for him and he starts going at normal speeds, no big deal and no cause for cutting him down, Cara.

They were "naturing along" on the segways and it started to rain. Naturing??

It's a little hard to tell what's going on next amid all the whining, but it certainly appears that Mady and Kate are ready to make the whole group call it quits because of the sprinkle that's messing up their hair. Many of the other kids are very distraught at the idea of cutting this short, as they should be. What the hell? It's not pouring nor do I see any lightning which would make this unsafe, and once again, it's hella rude to quit a group activity when so many other people would like to continue, not to mention the instructors who made great efforts to set this up nice for you. And probably, are doing so with the understanding built into this that filming will include some free promotion. Therefore, quitting early is even more not cool in this scenario. Same as what they did on the horseback ride in the Poconos! Just quit!

I'm well aware Mady is just a child, but she is extremely selfish and spoiled, and I have never once heard Kate tell her she is being selfish and spoiled, to knock it off, get back on her segway, and suck it the F up, as she should as the parent. In fact in this case, Kate backed her up! What?! The instructor wants to know if these kids always complain this much. I'll answer: yes. Kate doesn't seem at all embarrassed a perfect stranger has within minutes pegged her kids as massive bellyachers. She should be mortified they are behaving this way in public, or at all.

Kate gets mad when Lex stops in the middle of the path, and blames Lex for almost making her crash. No, Doofus, you need to pay attention to what's in front of you and be ready to stop if you need to. I wonder how many cars she's rear-ended in her lifetime. I'm guessing a lot. And it was their fault too they stopped you told the cops, right?

Kate refuses to turn the speed up on her machine, yet is complaining (after that guy just told them they complain too much) that kids are darting in front of her on the road. Cara explains that the reason everyone is darting in front of her is indeed because she's going too darn slow. Well, that makes sense.

"I'm so tired of getting picked on about everything I do, just leave me be!" says 12-year-old doofus here.

Sigh. You weren't being "picked on," Kate. You were being called out, correctly so, for being obnoxious on a fun activity. Same with the parasailing; if you can't keep up, sit it out. But don't insist on doing something you really aren't mentally prepared for, and then spoil everyone else's fun. It's refreshing to see the kids call her out now that they're older, yet at the same time, I'm really sorry that their lives have to involve calling out their raging lunatic of a mother so much. It looks stressful.

It's their last day. So, I clocked the beach portion of the trip at three full days, plus their one full day at space camp, for a grand total of four full days on the trip to make two episodes, not counting flying days. Wow. What is the point to travel this far for less than a week?! These kids must be absolutely beat.

Kate makes half full coffee cups of oatmeal with a few drops of liquid brown sugar, and a third of a small cup of orange juice, which is not nearly enough food for kids this age, period, especially those about to do a very physical activity. We watch her pour the oatmeal into the pot and can see how little she puts in for eight people. Thankfully there are a few big croissants floating around, but it's unclear how much they each got to eat of each of them. An airy croissant is not going to fill a kid up either unless they eat a lot of them. I never hear the kids complain they're hungry, I wonder if they've just accepted the dainty portion sizes. So many of them seem irritable all the time, one really has to wonder if it's because they're getting hungry within a few hours of eating. Once conditioned to under eat for so long, they might not recognize and connect their irritability to their hunger. I think I was one of the bloggers here in the past to ere on the side of concerns about their food intake are probably overblown, but I've been rethinking it lately. The undersized portions are much more noticeable now and much more concerning now that they are older and need to eat more. Almost all the kids are thin, and I daresay a lot of them have a dull look to their skin (or bad skin in general) and hair which can be a strong indication they're not filling up on all those yummy calories a 12-year-old craves or drinking enough. Another thing to note is that everyone got the same exact portions. With eight kids, there's going to be some kids who are eating more than others. It's unlikely they all need exactly the same amount. For instance, at this age the boys and the twins should be starting to have appetites that pull away from the younger sisters. In some cases, a 12-year-old boy will want to eat nearly double what the girls are eating. In any case, nothing starts a day off terribly than not getting enough to eat and drink.

The kids take over this big floating trampoline thing in the middle of the water. Huh, is that theirs to use? And who is lifeguarding this when Kate can't swim? Incredibly dangerous. Oh, and by the way, once again she won't let them dish up the amount of oatmeal and brown sugar they would like. She has to portion it out for them like they're in a nursing home. It would have been nice to just stay at a hotel with a breakfast buffet and let them fill up their own trays, full of as much waffles, yogurt, eggs and biscuits 'n' sausage gravy they want. And a tall glass of juice.

This is getting tedious. Next they go kayaking, where this instructor has to tell the group to relax and calm down, and that they're here to have fun. Again, isn't it embarrassing that a perfect stranger has to tell your family to relax and calm down? Is anyone in this family feeling chagrinned at all, or are they so used to making a scene it doesn't phase them anymore? Ha, I'm liking Alabamians. This instructor, Chris, flat out tells them, eh, I'm not gonna remember any of your names but whatever, sure, you're Kate. Lol. She must just hate this blasé attitude by the locals. No one seems at all impressed by them or seems to know who they even are.

At some point Mady loses phone privileges because she pushed Kate's kayak away. Huh, what? Kate has an absolute meltdown over who even knows what. Kate is convinced this was an intermediate kayaking trip. Not in the slightest! It was a flat little inlet. Baby to beginner at best. What is she even talking about? Not really relaxing though, right under a freeway overpass. Heh, drowns Kate out though.

The instructor finally gives up and tethers his kayak to Kate, towing her back. What a dolt.

Heh, the instructor jokes that they have four miles left. Well, he'll go the way of Brad and river man in short order.

The way Kate angrily grits her teeth and says "Hannah, stop paddling!" was flipping scary. It's the tone of voice nasty parents use right before they yank their child's ear two feet up. In all seriousness, there are a lot of red flags present that this woman still harbors a very, very serious anger management problem. If she can't even keep it together while on camera, it is frightening to imagine what her limits are off camera. (Here are some of the tell-tale signs of an anger issue and Kate pretty much displays all of them just in this one episode: Criticizing, belittling, putting down, lack of patience, irritability and short temper, blaming everyone and everything else, people avoid you, people feel like they're walking on eggshells around you, and so on.)

Well this is sad. The instructor in his private interview said he had intended to take the group out to collect some trash and do a mini environmental clean-up, but he had to scratch that plan. Good job ruining everything, Kate. Again.

The vacation comes to an abrupt end and now we start the completely unrelated storyline of training the puppies. Naturally they get private one-on-one training with professional dog trainers, which is exorbitantly expensive. Kate spends a long time explaining how much of a crazy dog lady Kate is, with little to no clips to really back that up. I mostly get the impression the dogs to her are, depending on the day, a mild inconvenience to up to a total nuisance. Meanwhile when the dog trainer lady comes in, I know instantly she's a sincere dog lover without her just talking about it, as she greets the dogs down at their level in that baby voice true dog lovers use to speak to their dogs: "Who's a booo-tiful girl, yes yoo are!"

Kate? That's a crazy dog lady. Not you.

The dog lady is using clicker training? That's going to be way too complicated for this family. You guessed it, right out of the gate Kate is arguing with the trainers. What a pest she is.

Cara's picking lint again as Mady is explaining what is at the end of the day pretty boring.

I do like the trainer's firm emphasis on positive training. She believes in never punishing the dog at all, which is what I believe, too, mostly because I believe it is the most humane, but also because it just works better. Kate desperately needs this kind of training in parenting teens, I'm serious. She would really benefit from some one-on-one parenting training, I really think it would make everyone all around happier if she used some other technique, any other technique, other than being such an obnoxious nag yelling at them all the time. Click, Kate. Click click!

Kate says she has to say "come" 500 times. That's what she said.

The kids are having fun during all this, wrestling a bit, and there's Kate yelling and hollering at them again and making snide, unfunny remarks. She doesn't see the irony in all this emphasis on positive reinforcement, as she's being nothing but negative to the kids.

She thinks her joke about how the kids need children training is so funny she says it twice to the trainer and yet another time on the couch. I get a kick out of it when she gets so proud of herself for coming up with the most minimally clever dumb lines. Heh. In any case, no, Kate. The children are fine. They are children. You are the one who needs intensive, one-on-one parenting instruction. It's you. 

Oh stop the presses, at age six months, someone is actually teaching these dogs how to walk on a leash. My God. Hint, put your dog on a leash and get them used to it the moment you bring them home and you won't have such an issue with a dog who looks nearly full grown looking at a leash like a confused child stumped by a math problem. That's pretty damning evidence these dogs have never been walked before in their lives. Another huge reason they are poorly behaved. It is not enough to just let a dog run around a big yard, they must be actually walked by an owner, on a leash. There are numerous articles all over the internet explaining why if you're interested in knowing more about that.

Next up, Sweet 16 for the twins. I kind of question whether a kid who picks lint on the couch the whole time during these episodes really wants her birthday party filmed. Sixteen, whew. Digest that for a second, the twins are sixteen and still being filmed. For the record, we first met them when they looked like this. That's them in between their parents:

Sixteen candles, Kate remarks. Heh, a poor man's Molly Ringwald.

See you next time.