Tonight’s episode of “Jon & Kate Plus Eight” was another look at the couple’s life when they had begun to live separate lives but hadn’t yet announced they were divorcing. With the two parents dividing up the kids, it was probably the most peaceful episode ever.
It actually went back in time from last week’s show, which ended with Kate and the little kids returning from their vacation in North Carolina. This episode took place during the last week of the vacation.
The two 8-year-old girls had already returned to Pennsylvania so they could finish the school year, although they didn’t really need to, according to Kate: “They’re at the top of their class,” she said, “so they don’t suffer academically.” They spent the episode visiting a game emporium with Jon. Kate, meanwhile, took the three 5-year-old boys to visit the battleship North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C. (The three little girls were presumably being watched by Ashley, the family friend who had accompanied Kate and the children on their vacation.)
Just like last week’s trip to the serpentarium, the battleship visit entailed a ferry-boat ride to the mainland, and like most episodes, it relied heavily on the little kids’ cuteness. The boys put on sailor hats upon arrival. They spent much of the time looking for bad guys, because there were guns on the ship. “When I grow up,” Joel told Kate, “I’m going to be a bad guy, and I’m not going to shoot you.”
The boys also argued over what to call the artillery shells: Cannonballs? Bullets? Finally, one of them decided that “you can’t call them anything because nobody knows what they are.”
Kate told the camera that she always tries to build some kind of education into the family’s outings, but she also recommended battleship tours to parents who want to tire their children out.
When she and the boys arrived at the battleship’s guns, which they were allowed to aim, the real world intruded. There was a line, said Kate, so “people who were there to see the battleship were suddenly there to see us.” Worse, some photographers were standing nearby taking pictures as the boys turned the gun cranks.
“We had a real good target,” said Kate. “I told them, ‘Aim at the paparazzi!’ ”
The rest of the day—in which the boys got haircuts and ate ice cream—was so mundane that it would probably get edited out of most families’ video collection.
Jon’s day with Mady and Cara wasn’t exactly a barn burner either. “It’s nice to have quality time again with my two 8-year-olds,” he said. At the game place, Cara was more adventurous, climbing a rock wall and walking a ropes course.
When it was time to ride go-karts, a production assistant had to get in one of the cars because the girls were too young to ride alone. It was the one time in the episode that another parent would have come in handy.
Describing the go-karts, Jon told the camera, “I wish they were faster.” This was the one time that his voice or demeanor betrayed any enthusiasm at all. Contrast that with Kate, who’s always mugging for the camera and trying to be witty.
Jon’s TV highlights have always been his reactions to his overbearing spouse’s demands; his presence helped take her down a peg. If viewers won’t ever see the soon-to-be-ex-spouses interacting, the show will have lost much of its appeal.
Right now, Kate seems to be the only real star of the show. Jon, Mady and Cara managed to enter and leave the games emporium without being bothered by the paparazzi. Evidently, no one wants a photo of Jon unless he’s with much older girls.
In the second viewer-scored week of “America’s Got Talent,” the two acts that were given a second chance after being eliminated by the judges were sent home. Both were dance groups: the acrobatic Beale Street Flippers and the breaking SQ Entertainment. Also eliminated were Carol Loo, the 63-year-old dancing cashier; the 8-year-old singer and little trouper Eleisha Miller; the singing impressionist Pete Peterkin; and the Polish-American-triplet singing, violin-playing and stripper-moving act Alizma, who had been buzzed off by all three judges. The acts going on to the next round are the three Texas Tenors; the tap-dancing sisters in the Fab Five; the acrobatic duo Paradizo Dance; and Voices of Glory, a young brothers-and-sister gospel act. Coming in fifth and sixth in the voting—and thus having their fates decided by the judges—were the soul singer Charles DeWayne and the Frisbee-catching-dog act Tony Hoard and Rory. Although Piers Morgan said that it would be a scandal if DeWayne was eliminated, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff chose Tony and Rory.
The big news on “Big Brother” this week happened off-screen. (Spoiler alert!) Last Tuesday, with Lydia and Russell nominated for elimination, Kevin had his first victory of the season, winning the power of veto in a contest to lift eggs through chicken wire. Russell continued his battle with Chima, who consoled herself by thinking he would soon be gone. Kevin decided not to make waves and left his friend Lydia on the block. On Thursday, Jeff decided to exercise his coup d’état power and replace Lydia and Russell with Jessie and Natalie. Jessie was sent packing, but not before he seized the opportunity to take off his shirt and reveal a T-shirt with his own photo and the words “The Man, the Myth, the Legend…” Michele won the head-of-household competition, a quiz about past competitions. On Sunday, Chima, Lydia and Natalie drank and commiserated with each other about losing Jessie, while Kevin rolled his eyes, later talking to the camera about what a jerk Jessie had been. After a reward challenge (involving casseroles with disgusting ingredients), Michele nominated Chima and Natalie for eviction. The final voice-over said that on Tuesday, “One houseguest self-destructs and is removed from the game.” Here’s the spoiler: It has already been reported that on Saturday, Chima either quit (according to her) or was thrown out (according to CBS). No word yet on whether Michele will nominate a replacement on Tuesday.
On “The Real World: Cancun,” the remaining suitemates (Joey was fired last week) visited a state-run children’s home called DIF, where they seem to have gotten some perspective on what spoiled brats they are. They not only promised to work harder but also held a fund-raiser for the kids. Meanwhile, Jasmine had either been using alcohol to get over her unrequited crush on Pat or using her heartbreak as an excuse to get drunk. After Emilee told her to go sleep it off, Jasmine called her a pill popper. (Emilee had just received a giant box of Adderall to treat her attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.) Jasmine angered the others by getting up early and not waking them in time for work. Jonna returned the favor by going on a romantic date with Pat. (She claimed she wanted to talk to him about Jasmine.) Later, after the suitemates delivered their toys to the children’s home, Jonna sat next to Pat at dinner and monopolized his attention, setting off another drunken tantrum by Jasmine in the hotel. The next morning, she called her hometown friends and said that she was going to try to cut down, and the next time we saw her out, she actually turned down a drink from a cute guy. In case that seemed too easy, we saw Jasmine say to the camera, “Everyone pray for me, please.”