Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Love & Marriage (51-55 of 55)

'Big Love' death shocker!

This week’s Big Love saw the return of Ana, the “fourth wife” who I had hoped would not be returning to the Love-nest this season. I thought her subplot dragged down last season, as good as Branka Katic was at capturing the mixture of attraction she felt toward Bill and her dismayed outsider-perspective on the polygamist marriage into which she was invited. It turned out that [SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ FURTHER UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN THIS WEEK’S BIG LOVE] Ana READ FULL STORY

'The Marriage Ref,' with or without Madonna: Are you looking forward to this?

You can’t miss the promotion NBC is giving The Marriage Ref during the Olympics broadcast. This game show produced by Jerry Seinfeld — “Thursdays, after the Olympics!” — recently announced that one of its guest “referees” will be Madonna, making a rare non-music-related, non-talk-show TV appearance.

My guess is that Madonna is READ FULL STORY

'Jon & Kate Plus 8' 'Best Moments': Now THIS is the TV series we used to love...

This week’s Jon & Kate Plus Eight was an hour-long clip-job: “Viewers’ Top Moments,” as voted by long-time J&K-watchers on TLC’s website. This was a smart programming decision. After so many weeks of Kate and TLC trying to make entertainment out of the muck of tabloid controversy, simply letting us watch old footage, when the Gosselins were unusual only in having eight kids, was pretty pleasurable.

Those of us who’ve watched all five seasons remember sweet little scenes such as Alexis discovering she loved alligators (“aldergators,” she fan-famously called ‘em):

A Jon-less Kate set up the clips; the producers came up with the categories. You can’t say Kate wasn’t a good sport about this. She had to sit through her meltdown in a Toys R Us, during which she yelled at Jon to stay by her side and bellowed down an aisle, “Come!” — as though Jon was a wayward dog. Yes, this and a few other scenes (how about the time Jon went to a store and didn’t bring coupons, leading Kate to mutter furiously, “You let that man out of the house and this is what happens”?) were among the ones that launched the Kate-as-oppressor, Jon-as-whipped images. These roles eventually became the pair’s on-screen personalities.

The kid footage was terrific, whether they were visiting the dentist for the first time, bopping each other on the head with toy blocks, or hearing Joel discover his manhood:

Speaking of wieners, there was some new interview footage with Kate Gosselin near the end of the hour that reaffirmed the couple’s fundamental differences.

“I was me all along,” Kate asserted after watching the old clips. Then she added, “Jon discovered he was somebody different than we had known him to be.”

Jon, of course, was nowhere to be seen on-camera. But in one old clip, he reacted sharply when Kate was fussing and yelling at him as they tried to dress the kids for some outdoor activity.

“When are you going to pull the stick out?” Jon snapped at his wife.

Kate, in a new interview, said with a sigh, “Perhaps [that] was a sign of things to come.”


New 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' episode: 'It's not fun, at all!'


Turns out even when Jon & Kate Plus Eight is taped weeks in advance, the Gosselins still catch the pop-culture zeitgeist: What were Kate and three of the girls doing this week? Riding in a balloon, just (sorta) like Balloon Boy! And just like that poor Falcon Heene, the girls gave away the hoax of the adventure: “It’s not fun, at all!” one Gosselin girl yelled as the hot air and the swooping balloon made her cranky and woozy.

Meanwhile, back at home, Jon was hyping his segment as, “We’re gonna do destructive man-stuff!” Which just turned out to be Jon standing in the family’s Pennsylvania yard, inflating a six-foot plastic rocket, pumping it with air and water. It shot into the sky while the three boy Gosselins stood around and watched. Then Jon did it all over again. And the boys watched. Did not look like fun for them.

Or for the paparazzi standing behind a fence snapping pictures of this tedious activity. Yes, Jon allowed that to happen, adding, “Even the paparazzi were like, ‘What the heck is he doing?'” So asks America, Jon, so asks America…

Kate had taken the three youngest girls to Florida for that balloon ride, a visit to a butterfly museum where butterflies and parrots landed on their arms (lots of shrieking, mostly from Kate), and then a trip to a “bug zoo” (more shrieking, all of it by Kate).

It was a dismayingly Kate-centric episode. Even the balloon ride became less about the hot-air ride than about whether Kate, in high heels and a short skirt, could get into the balloon basket without giving the girls and the balloon men an accidental anatomy lesson. To her credit, she did refer to herself as an “idiot” for dressing this way in the marshes of Florida, but even that was a bit disingenuous: In the old days of Jon & Kate (we old fans remember, don’t we?), Kate wore sweatpants and baggy slacks. These days, Kate always has to appear on-camera in body-hugging garb, no matter how inconvenient it is for everyone.

Next week: what TLC is billing a “can’t-miss event: ‘You Ask, Kate Answers'” — Kate will read questions sent in by you, the audience. How much new stuff do you think we’ll learn?

While you wait for that, let me know if you watched and what you thought.

(And whether you’re a Jon & Kate-lover or -hater, you can follow me on Twitter.)

Jon Gosselin lawsuit: A way to save the eight kids' souls, or just more selfishness?


The lawsuit filed by Jon Gosselin to halt any taping of Kate Plus Eight in the Pennsylvania house he shares with his estranged wife is one of those good/bad puzzlers. Namely:

1. Good: If production is halted and the cameras removed from the home, will this (as so many of you readers have commented here) help the mental welfare of the couple’s eight children?

2. Bad: The timing of this, like everything Jon has done in recent months, just seems all wrong. It was okay to be filming as long as Jon had financial gain from TLC, but now all of a sudden it’s “not in the best interest of the children’s welfare,” in the words of the lawsuit? Come off it, Jon…

Jon and Kate Gosselin: Their very lives have become a reality show that never goes off the air.

What do you think — is shutting down the filming of the show a boon to the children no matter what the motive, or will this just further the chaos the adult Gosselins bring upon themselves and their family?

More about Jon & Kate Plus Eight:

Jon Gosselin tries to stop ‘Kate Plus Eight’

Kate Gosselin takes over: Bye, bye, Jon!

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