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.