I am severely, sincerely, traumatized by my viewing of tonight's episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8. And, people? I don't have time for this. I need to have memorized--in less than 24 hrs--the locations of such places as Trashkent, the Strait of Hormuz, Asmara, and San'aa. Not to mention? My air conditioner hasn't been working so good (100 degree heat and all) and it finally occurred to me to check the HVAC filter.
Delicacy forbids me from posting a photo of the state of my air filter. Suffice it to say you could fashion a whole 'nother dog and possibly a kitten or two out of the (dusty gray) fur and fluff caught up in what was left of the tragically over-taxed, nearly unrecognizable filter I removed (after I located it). I was then forced to proceed to Walmart and spend well over a pedicure (it's summer; I consider all expenses in terms of the cost of a pedicure) on replacement filters. Home maintenance ain't for sissies, kids.
The good news? It's been two hours and my thermostat is registering a full three degrees cooler than it was before I dealt with the Filter-o-Filth. (Word to the wise: check your filter this minute if it's been a while. Trust me on this.)
My point is that I have had to deal with all this obscure geography and home maintenance both during and after my viewing of a Very Upsetting Jon & Kate Plus 8.
The episode began with half an hour chronicling the delivery and installation of a set of "crooked" play houses for the Gosselin kids. It became evident early on in the episode that the marital discord had reached a fever pitch when Jon and Kate had a disagreement over where exactly on the property to situate the play houses. Jon had cleared a spot in the woods hundreds of yards from the house for all four play houses. Kate, meanwhile, had realized the impracticality of locating a play area so far from the house. Such an arrangement would make it nearly impossible for one adult to supervise the children if they weren't absolutely all playing in the houses at the same time. What if some children want to ride bikes while others want to go the play houses, Kate asked? Jon, meanwhile, was having none of it, telling Kate when she called on his cell phone that he had decided where the play houses were going and that that was all there was to it.
It took Kate enlisting the help of the playhouse installers to convince Jon that a location more proximate to the main house was in order.
The last half-hour of the hour-long episode was the most painful. Jon and Kate were interviewed separately. Again, as in episode one, I was completely taken aback by their candor as well as the knowledge of how difficult speaking about a break-up, as it happens, to millions of strange viewers, must be. Both admitted the marriage is at an impasse and that a separation is in order.
The difference in their demeanor's spoke volumes. Kate was resigned, barely composed, sorry, regretful, full of dread and frankly admitting, "I don't want to do this alone." Jon, sporting a new set of some sort of stud earrings (in both ears), was all but jumping off the interview love seat and into the arms of all the (sorry) p---y his notoriety (and new sports car) will buy him . "Recalcitrant" is the word that comes to mind if I have to sum up Jon's demeanor. At one point he stated, "I'm thirty-two years old," in tone barely below a whine. The unspoken implication: I'm too young for this sh!t.
The agreement the Gosselins have, for now, is that the children will continue to live in the house at all times while Jon and Kate take turns manning the helm separately. I don't expect this to last long, however, as Jon intimated that he might "get a job offer". Again, it seems to me, the unspoken subtext is that it would require him to relocate. Clearly, he feels free to do that, despite the unimaginable amount of work and responsibility involved in the rearing of eight children.
It was, perhaps, the most painful TV I've ever watched, certainly the most painful prime time show. It was, literally, impossible for me not to hearken back to my own failure(s) [ouch] in this regard and relive the incredible sense of loss and brokenness one is left with in these situations. Not to mention the incalculable negative impact that such a decision has on the children of a broken union. It is a horror, frankly, and I've never seen it quite so starkly and honestly documented as it was tonight on JK8.
While both Jon and Kate spoke of their situation as a "separation", the episode ended with a black screen and typed words advising the audience that the Gosselins filed for a divorce in Pennsylvania on Monday.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: divorce is like death without the coffin. And that's pretty much how the ending of tonight's episode felt, too.