Kate Plus 8 went out with a whimper on Monday night. Or rather, Kate Gosselin went out whimpering. After all the years of showcasing her children, her husband, and her ever-changing hair and moods, Gosselin said proudly that “ours has always been the realest reality show that’s out there.”
In her overblown way, she was probably correct; certainly as a portrait of a disintegrating marriage, a case study in how to raise children in a manner that is both over-controlling and maddeningly cavalier, and an unwitting chronicle of a woman who’s come to see fame as the savior of her life, Jon & Kate Plus Eight, which morphed into Kate Plus Eight, was really real.
As I wrote about the series’ initial, genuine charm when Jon & Kate Plus Eight ended after five seasons:
“I started watching the show during its first season. I was just a casual viewer; the series didn’t have a season pass on my DVR. But if I was home or in a hotel room and an episode came on, I’d find that I’d always end up watching the entire thing, because the series was (hard as this is to believe now) completely charming. I remember most of the episodes they showed this last night in a quick montage, whether it was family movie-night, or the clan’s once-annual walk to the local Fourth of July parade, the little ones waddling along behind Jon and Kate like ducklings. The kids were adorable and funny, and the interactions between Jon and Kate seemed unguarded, fresh, often amusing, and sometimes provocative. Provocative because Kate’s strict rules about order, discipline, cleanliness, and healthy nutrition sometimes smacked into Jon’s more laid-back, what-did-I-get-myself-into attitude. But the yelling and the bickering was always the exception, not the rule.”
Eventually, the yelling and the bickering engulfed the show, even after Jon had left the scene. On this week’s finale, Kate’s friend Jamie said she could remember the “softer,” earlier Kate, but “now I see her, but [she's] more TV, more how-thin-can-I-be” — in short, more media-obsessed.
Given that Kate is by now so deluded she told Matt Lauer on The Today Show Monday morning that the cancellation of her show was “the end of an era,” it’s no surprise that she spent the final hour of her show insisting we haven’t seen the last of her: “This land of TV media all makes sense to me now,” she said. Getting teary, Kate added that a lot of the viewing public wants to know “how each of my kids turns out.”
She concluded, “You’ll see my kids grow up, and they’ll do great things.”
I hope the second part of that sentence comes true; I hope the first part does not.