Saturday, January 21, 2017

Recap: Kate Plus 8 "New Orleans, Here We Come!": 'Kate Making Excuses for Herself: But I'm an Exception to the Rules Because'

Coming up on Kate Plus 8, or as Mady has deemed it, "Kate Making Excuses for Herself: But I'm an Exception to the Rules Because." Baw! In later years, Mady will learn that is also known as narcissism. Kate has always wanted to..., and I'm already bored. I thought Kate didn't have help anymore. But there's Andrea, the nanny, front and center apparently drinking on the job with a big glass of wine.

Heir Kate is walking around with a clipboard and pen asking Andrea, as Andrea truly looks very busy and productive making lots of sandwiches, if she has done various tasks Kate could have done herself. Yes, Kate, I emptied the fridge. Yes, Kate, I ran the dishwasher. Oh, I should clarify, Kate phrases these tasks like did we empty the fridge? Well, if "we" emptied the fridge, then wouldn't Kate know it was done, and could check it off without consulting Andrea? What a piece of work she is, she can't even give Andrea full credit for doing the chores herself. I have never seen a nanny more checked out. Why is she still working for this woman?

This episode is structured like the fifty other episodes where they went on a trip, with about five minutes in the beginning about the chaos of packing. After all this time you would think packing would be pretty efficient and uneventful by now. Absolutely nothing remotely interesting happens. Kate is able to get in a dig at the boys though emphasizing how much they suck at packing. The biggest problem is they don't understand the difference between a play outfit and a go away outfit. Neither do I, so count me as a boy.

I get a kick out of this family always being demoted to the very back of the plane in some of the worst seats possible, right in front of the restrooms so it smells back there, it's busy all the time, and the seats won't recline. I have a feeling it's because unless you book way in advance, it's impossible to get so many seats together in any other part of the plane, but you know it chaps Kate's hide she's not where she should be in first class with the rest of the aristocracy worthy of life boats.

I'm glad some of the kids are able to make the best of the cameras. Several of them frequently make funny faces at the cameras and overall act silly when the red light is on. Good for them.

They start the next day at some cute outdoor seating and beignets. Oh god those are so good. The kids seemed to enjoy the experience and loved putting the powdered sugar on. I notice right away Cara and Mady are constantly whipping their phones out at this meal and showing each other things. For teens who don't have social media, they sure found a lot to look at. Heh. The producer asks what's with taking out the phones at the meal. Mady explains if this were a more formal meal of course she would put the phone away. I agree, this was really casual. It's just breakfast, and just beignets. And if Kate doesn't want the phones out she can tell them so. You have to pick your battles here, and if the phones are keeping the teens in good spirits, who cares? They can put them away at dinner. No one was really talking anyway, except Kate who threw out a few orders at the 12- and 15-year-olds, like don't wipe your hands on your clothes, instead use a napkin. Seriously? I somewhat feel for teens who are always under strict orders from parents over the stupid phones, if the parents don't make any effort to engage them in good conversation or otherwise make their time together interesting so they won't miss their phone so much.

And wouldn't you know it, they're using Snapchat, which is basically social media. Only, I guess they didn't get permission from the app to use the name, because Mady has to call it this app that does face filters. Heh. Snapchat makes this generation's teens giggle uncontrollably like my generation was giggling uncontrollably at the likes of that stupid game Mad Libs. Every generation has their thing.

Kate pretends she cares when the waiter comes over and announces the bill is "36 bucks". So that's how you pay? No check, they just announce the price at the end of the meal? Geez, this place is iPhone casual after all. Let's be honest, that's going on the company credit card. Kate strategically planned the sugar rush in the morning instead of the evening so they can get it out of their system early. Oh, I didn't realize the children were four years old.

You can tell there's not going to be much substance to this episode when they're already filling time by sticking in a bunch of unnecessary old clips about prior family photos. They go to some unnamed park and take a bunch of iPhone photos. A quick google on my part reveals this is probably New Orleans City Park, which houses the oldest tree in New Orleans at 800 years. That's a lot of botox. Why not share some of that interesting information instead of this dumb little side story about how it's hard to get a good family photo? Sigh. At least this time Kate isn't barefoot sucking a lollypop so hard you would think she was practicing how to get a promotion.

Commercials! That little tease of the Duggar show Counting On implying they might be having twins was so stupid. They're not having twins, are they? Yeah I didn't think so. Dumb.

Next up, etiquette class. Where would one begin with this doofus? Alexis is "sick" with the flu and isn't coming. I know kids can get sick suddenly, but is anyone not buying this? She was happy on the plane, scarfed down her beignets that morning, climbed all over the ancient trees. Now, seemingly a short time later, she has the flu? I'm going to speculate Alexis didn't want to film for some reason, had a tantrum, and that's why she's not here. Because I can.

Mark their instructor, who is wearing a beautiful fitted tweed jacket and maroon shirt, begins explaining etiquette. Heh, oh the irony, Kate is already finishing the guy's sentences, which in etiquette is more aptly called interrupting. 

The kids are so mean to Alexis, in particular the girls, who almost all claim, in two separate couch interviews no less, that Alexis is basically a slob. Poor kid. At least she laughs at all this teasing, but at a certain point the ganging up on has got to catch up to her psyche.  It's one thing when one or two sisters do it, but I think it's quite another when you have four sisters against you. The only person who needs etiquette wasn't there, says Mady. Huh? I see Kate there.

The girls seem rather offended when Mark teaches the boys to escort them to the table and pull their chairs out for them. We can do it ourselves, they insist! Ha, the little Gloria Stienums. Naturally, Kate attributes this sudden stroke of "women's libbers" to her, Kate, since they see her doing it all alone. Drink! Slapping hand to the forehead. Women's lib is not about doing things all by yourself and never letting a man, or anyone, help you. Not mainstream anyway.  Is that what she thinks it's about? She's confusing this movement with a praying mantis. No Kate, not the same thing.

Mm, no, I'm gonna go ahead and attribute the girls' feminism to the media. Everything is attributed to the media.

Speaking of all this, why not take your girls to the Women's March, Kate? There was a local one right in Philly, and 50,000 showed up. I didn't go to the one here, but when I was on the 101 freeway this afternoon I drove under several marchers hanging out on the overpasses, and gave them several honks and fist pumps. Lots of my girlfriends went to either this one in L.A. or the one in D.C., and many who have daughters brought them. Kate should have gone. She just might learn something, and she and the girls could be part of history. It's always interesting how unengaged she is with everything, which is fine for herself, but it's depriving her girls of a mother who teachers their daughters to be part of the world instead of just their world.

Mark kisses up to Kate complimenting her on how good the children's manners are already. Speaking of sexist, why is he assuming their manners are all attributable to their mother? Dads teach manners too, as do grandparents and teachers. Hey, Mark, it's not 1879, and the kids have decent manners despite Kate, not because of her.

Mark next lectures that cell phones are a cardinal sin at the table. Generally, at a nice sit down meal, yes. The twins don't care, and justify whipping out their phone in case something cute happens and they need a picture. Ha, Aaden and Joel are so funny. They make fun of the twins and Kate for going through withdrawal tremors not having their phones.

By the way, Collin's not on the couch with his brothers, but he's on this trip. Hm.

Of course Kate feels she needs her phone at the table because she is a mother, which is where Mady throws out her new show name: "Kate Making Excuses for Herself: But I'm an Exception to the Rules Because." Perfection, Mady.

They dig into some delicious bread pudding and for some reason Aaden has developed an uncontrollable fit of the giggles. I love me a good case of the giggles. He is so flipping cute. Of course Kate is right there scolding him and blaming it all on the sugar. I blame it on just a darn great kid.

More sucking up from Mark about how impressive the kids were, again implying this is all attributed to Kate. Eh, they're not all that impressive. They're mostly just average, with average manners. So is this Matt's full time job, teaching people how to cut meat like ladies and gentlemen and scolding teens for having their iPhones out? Or did they just bring this guy in specially for the Gosselins?

Coming up, looks like they're doing some Hurricane Katrina clean-up. I know it's been a decade since the hurricane but I believe it that there's still work to be done. I went down there for a week to do some clean-up about 18 months after the hurricane and there was still plenty to do. The experience was one I'll never forget, but I also came away with a deep sense of frustration. I found the clean-up efforts disorganized and inefficient. Even though our group was working directly with major organizations like the Red Cross, there were many times where we were sitting around while they tried to figure out where best to send us. We also had to spend time fixing other people's botched efforts, like a playground built by Extreme Makeover that had major drainage problems. The whole thing was just so inept and sad, and it's really sad, though frankly not all that surprising given what I experienced, that ten years later there is still all this work to do. This is unacceptable governmental crawl, at, in my view, state and federal levels, but mostly local.

Okay, fine, I'll recap this comment. Kate has always wanted to do a building project with the kids. Good grief, then just go do it! You don't have to go all the way to New Orleans to get your fix. Look at Habitat for Humanity's web site and find a local weekend project and just go. She's just so helpless.

Day two. They head out to the historic ninth ward, which still looks pretty run down. The reality is much of the population just never came back. I still remember going there and seeing spray paint on the doors of each of the flooded houses, markings from disaster workers indicating what's been cleared from inside. Descriptions like two bodies, three bodies, etc. Chilling, devastating, preventable.

Oh wouldn't you know it, Alexis is miraculously feeling better from her sudden-onset flu. Did it ever occur to Kate that because Alexis is so teased about her manners by her siblings, she was embarrassed to be at an etiquette class and potentially face more ridicule and so quickly worked up some "flu" to stay behind? Poor kid.

They meet up with a guy and girl from Youth Rebuilding, which rebuilds houses just for teachers. That's awesome. Their comments about what's going on here are somewhat vague, which I found typical when I volunteered there, but I think they're saying they still have 40,000 homes left to go through in the 9th ward.

It's rare I agree with Kate, but she too, correctly, thinks it's absurd that there is still so much cleaning up to do here after ten years. Will she delve into why that is, where the failing are, or have any curiosity about this problem at all? Of course not. I myself have a lot of political thoughts about this issue I suppose I should refrain from sharing, but I'm going to anyway. Suffice it to say I do put a huge amount of blame for the snail's pace clean-up efforts on the local government and local disorganization, based primarily on my own experience spending a week there doing clean-up among locals. In fact as far back as 2006 the mayor was under all kinds of fire for the slow efforts even then. You can pour all kinds of money and volunteers at a community, but if they refuse to get organized and implement some efficiency, of course it's going to take ten or more years to get cleaned up. For one, if my organization, which happened to be my school, was made to wait hours and hours while they sorted out something for us to do, how many hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours have been lost over the past ten years because New Orleans couldn't get organized? For another, if an organization is going about a project all wrong such that it will have to be redone from scratch, why didn't someone notice or say something before it was too late? These third-world country clean-up efforts are an outright disgrace and nearly as tragic as the hurricane itself.

Kate apparently doesn't see the irony in her comment that kids can get tunnel vision and only focus on what they need and want. What a two-faced dolt.

They begin painting some interiors. Then, they move to a demolition project. Oh, those are fun! Too much explanation, not enough demo. Finally they hammer into the plaster and have at it. I'm a big fan of introducing kids to volunteer work in a manner that ensures they are having a blast. It lays good foundations for understanding how volunteering can enrich you just as much as those you are helping.

I like Cara's shirt, which looks like a college t-shirt but instead says "Kale." Good one. You can get it at Urban Outfitters. 

Mady says all this volunteer work was fun. Cara picks lint.

Kate is such a freaking jerk. As they are wrapping up the work she thanks the guys from Youth Rebuilding, then says this is good in particular for her kids who forget how good they have it. Um, her kids are standing right there! I understand that's a major motivation behind engaging children in volunteer work, but it's mean to tell people, right in front of your kids no less, that your kids are ungrateful. Even if it were true, would you say that about your adult best friend if she were standing right next to you? Why people think it's okay to make rude and nasty comments about their kids simply because they are kids is beyond me. If you're concerned a child has a real problem with gratitude (one that goes beyond normal childhood development, too) one should speak to them privately about it, or involve a therapist if necessary. Oh, and I'll give Kate a hint. Due in large part to disrespectful comments like that, her kids have little motivation to be grateful. Why try to live up to the expectations of someone who has such little respect for you to begin with?

Also, the kids don't have it that good. They have tons of money and a comfortable upper middle class lifestyle and for that I have always said they should be grateful, but they have also lost their privacy for it, which many are probably going to grow up and resent if some don't already. But, it's important to Kate's daily propaganda the kids have it drilled into them their lives are amazing, mostly due to Kate.

The kids are at that age now where they can actually make a difference, Kate remarks. Yes, they were at that age seven years ago, too.

Kate claims they next ran into an "insectarium" that wasn't part of the plan because it rained that day. She, Kate, not production mind you, researched this all out on the internet. It's just absurd that Kate gives herself full credit for planning activities when there is an incredible amount of work that almost all productions large and small need to do to film in almost any place you can think of that Kate couldn't possibly know how or be capable of doing. Wait, so did they run into it randomly, or did she hunt it down browsing on the internet? Those two statements don't seem consistent. How does a production crew stumble upon something like this with all the permits and releases that are required to film? Why does this woman lie so badly? Why do I hurt my brain trying to make sense of her?

It's another bug place which I feel like they've done at least twice before. I have nothing against bugs but little about this is interesting or worth recapping. The whole time Kate's on the sidelines making this all....about...her, screaming and carrying on and threatening to faint. So just faint already and be done with it, at least then you would finally STFU.

Even Joel and Hannah admit they were really embarrassed by Kate's behavior. She's making a scene (and there's a whole camera crew there) of course they're embarrassed. The rest of the kids seem mortified too. Just ask other kids with mentally ill mothers, it's very embarrassing.

The bug that looks like a leaf is outright wild. It really looks exactly like a leaf. They head to the bug cafe where they are presented with a variety of dishes with bugs in them, like chocolate chip cookies with a cricket in there. More screaming and carrying on from Kate, meanwhile the kids are much more open minded and willing to try. Joel even liked the crickets. The kids call her overly dramatic and are even more embarrassed. Kate's skin is quite bad during this segment, obviously covered up by cakes of foundation. I don't know if that's stress or what.

Now they're holding a baby alligator? That's not a bug. I'm confused. They try to make it seem like this is the happiest day of Alexis's life, but you can tell she's 12 now and alligators don't do it for her quite the same way as they used to. Much like a twelve-year-old is not going to go ga-ga over a T-rex or firetrucks the same way when he was two. It's okay, Alexis.

The museum was a lot better than Kate expected, Kate remarks. Does Kate understand phrasing a comment like that is generally a rude thing to say? I really think her social skills at this point are about a two of 10. She doesn't seem to understand how rude and condescending some of her remarks are. Oh, sure, sometimes I think she's intentionally being an asshat. But other times I think she genuinely thinks she's giving the museum a compliment by saying they are better than expected. She just doesn't understand, and like Carry Ann Inaba, I'm fascinated.

Next up, a cooking class, which is also something they've done at least once before. I guess no one can say she doesn't do her part to reduce, reuse and recycle!

I like the canned New Orleans music they are playing. You know those moments where you have a flashback memory to something you haven't thought of in years? I just had one, to the obscure made-for-T.V. movie The Muppets of Bremen, which was a very clever play off the Grimm fairytale, only set in cajun country. I must have watched it a dozen times as a little kid. Jim Henson was so clever and such a master. Seven hells, I actually found it on Youtube! I love it.

They begin the cooking class by having a little crawfish pealing challenge. The kids enjoy it, and as per the usual Kate is freaking out and claims she has a stomach ache. You know, if you are going to be a cook, unless you're a vegetarian cook only, at least take some responsibility to have some awareness of how your animals get from the farm or wild to the table. Stop acting like Woody Allen and Diane Keaton trying to cook a lobster and be an adult. 


They divide into teams and make a rue, some shrimp jumbo, and a colorful salad. Yum. At last they dig in. Collin really isn't saying much throughout this segment and never cracks a smile, he just stands around watching his siblings cook. Something is very off there. 

Kate isn't exactly Giada De Laurentiis is she? "That had perfect spice and bite," she remarks. Lol, so descriptive. I'd love to know what she thinks bite means.

Finally they head to the fancy restaurant Galatoire's, which naturally Kate takes full credit for booking. Heh.

Aw, the kids look great all gussied up. The boys look like little Mormons in their white shirts and ties. Cute.

Way to suck all the fun out of a nice restaurant like this by making it a test of their etiquette class. Predictably, the kids immediately start ragging on Alexis, this time about how she eats the bread. Leave Alexis Alone!

The waitresses are being extraordinarily nice to the children, though I question if that's how they are to all children or if this is just because they're celebrities.

Mady and some of the other kids try snails and like them. Mmmm, I like them too. Or maybe I just like the butter and garlic they always drown them in and all the bread dipping I do afterward, heh. 

At the end of the day the kids' manners and even Kate's really aren't that impressive. They have to constantly be reminded to wait until everyone is served, which really should be basic for kids by this age. They also frequently touch their food with their fingers, boss each other around, make dramatic and disgusted faces when they eat something they don't like, and blurt out rude things like "I hate mushrooms!" Kate's had years to help them correct these poor manners, this shouldn't be this much of a struggle. 

They go around the table and talk about what they enjoyed the most. Collin very clearly says he enjoyed the cooking class and insectarium. He seems like a sweet, though frankly, sad little boy. It's hard to believe someone like him needs to be institutionalized. If he does, he sure hides his issues well.

Ha, there's Andrea at the other end of the table just downing wine and bread pudding and not really saying much. It's been a long trip, hasn't it?

Next time, it's so odd that they have never been to the Poconos! The problems of the one percent are often odd. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Discussion Thread: Game Night 1/10/2017

"Game Night"January 10, 2017
Kate and the younger kids have a family game show night, with Mady as their host, which involves them answering questions about past seasons and episodes of their show.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Discussion Thread: Sweet 16 1/3/2017

Sweet 16
It's the twins sweet 16! Kate allows Mady and Cara to plan their own party and tensions run high. Kate finds the moment bittersweet, while the twins are just happy to be with their friends.