Friday, November 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This segment goes on and on.

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

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

"If only," Elizabeth replies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A bunch of creepy footage of paparazzi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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