Memo to all current and future reality stars: do not sue the network before the final episode of your show airs. The last episode of ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8′ began with a shot of Jon’s now notorious misspelled sign ordering the TLC crew off his property. Next, the screen went black except for a tagline: “These are our last moments with the Gosselins.” One would be forgiven for thinking the family had died tragically.
The rest of the episode hammered home two points: Jon is Satan, Kate is a saint who was cruelly forced to give up her reality show. The two stars dutifully played their roles in the their final confessional interviews. Jon looked like a slob in his printed T-shirt and jeans, while Kate’s attire was smart Mom couture complete with angelic white pants. Their soundbites were spliced together for maximum contrast.
Kate: “This is a very bittersweet goodbye for me because the kids are already missing it.”
Yes, Kate. I am sure the children are the ones who loved having the camera crews around.
Jon: “Our marriage fell apart and I felt like I was free.”
I suppose the guy gets a couple points for honesty. If there is any lesson to be learned from the entire Gosselin debacle it is not to marry too young. Kate claims that the children have no idea Jon is dating other women. That seems highly unlikely, given all of the publicity.
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The show interspliced the talking head interviews with two separate family trips edited according to the good and evil narrative. Goofus Jon sets up a lemonade stand with the kids to raise money for the local volunteer fire department. It looks like he bars the twins from participating over a brief dispute about felt tip pens. Who knows, maybe they were little terrors all day. In any case, he comes off like someone deserving of a World’s Worst Dad coffee mug. At the fire station, he brags about letting the firemen “babysit” and complains that the paparazzi are scaring away potential customers.
In contrast, Gallant Kate takes the kids on a wholesome trip to an organic farm where the kids learn to milk cows and play with kittens. Wow, she is the best Mom ever! Never mind that Kate has scheduled the trip for a school day so the twins are once again left out. (I cannot wait for them to get a couple years older and start blogging. They could become the bitter, snarky anti-Olsen twins.) Or that Kate was silly enough to decide to take six five year old’s on a mile long walk. That’s a marathon when you’re three feet tall. The farmers add Hershey’s syrup to the glasses of what Kate keeps emphasizing is organic milk, rendering them considerably less healthy. Kate adds that organic milk is expensive. I would be more sympathetic if Jon’s lawsuit had not revealed that the family was paid at least $22,500 an episode, in addition to their book residuals, speaking tour fees, and their product placed swag. I think the family can afford milk. But Kate is worried this could be the end of her gravy train, so she has cause for concern.
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The most striking thing about the finale was the way both Jon and Kate spoke of the show as their job. Said Kate, “I was always able to see that every job has its pluses and minuses. This one to me had a huge plus because… I could go to work and my kids could go with me… I could be at home working and provide for them…”
Jon, for his part talked about how happy he was that he now has a separate home and work life. He said of his life in New York, “It’s three hours from my house where my kids are… It’s like I have work again…”
‘Jon & Kate’ is real work for the crew. But being filmed living what is purportedly your day to day life is not a job. Being a “personality” is not a legitimate profession like acting or broadcast journalism. Both of them came across as scared that they will have to actually start working for a living. I doubt anyone is buying their talking point about doing the show for the children’s sake anymore.
This finale seemed like an hourlong attempt to prime the TLC audience for Kate’s inevitable new series. The question is whether anyone will care about the Gosselin’s six months from now.