On tonight’s episode of “Jon & Kate Plus Eight,” the troubled title couple actually spent a significant amount of time together in the same room.
For most of season 5, the series has helped confirm reports that the Gosselins’ marriage is on the rocks by mostly showing them apart. For example, Jon went snowboarding in Utah while Kate celebrated her birthday with the kids.
But for tonight’s episode, the series’ 100th, celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse managed to reunite Jon and Kate, who spent most of the half hour cooking together in the kitchen, looking no more dysfunctional than they had in the preceding four seasons. Kate acted like a control freak and needled Jon, who generally shrugged off her comments or responded with bits of mild passive-aggressive sarcasm.
Jon and Kate did, however, appear solo in the interview segments on the famous couch.
“At this point, whoever lands in the interview chair does the interview,” Kate said at the beginning of the show. “Don’t ask any questions—it’s just, it’s called rolling with life.”
All this raises a question: What did Emeril know, and when did he know it? Was his footage—in which he helped the family prepare a green-bean casserole, chili mac and granola—shot before the tabloids began printing speculation about Jon’s possible infidelity and Kate’s close relationship with her bodyguard?
If Emeril had known about the alleged marital problems, he probably wouldn’t have said to Jon, “I’m very impressed it’s your 100th show. I don’t know how you made it.” (To which Jon replied, “I don’t either.”)
Emeril may have sensed something was wrong, as he seemed a little more subdued than usual. At one point, Kate said to him, “Hey, you didn’t say ‘Bam!’ yet. I’m a little disappointed.” He gave her a perfunctory “Bam!” with the next dash of seasoning.
Jon, however, was pleased to see that Emeril had taken over the kitchen. “That’s Kate’s territory,” he said, “and he, like, went into her territory.” Kate was miffed when Emeril encouraged the cameraman to take a shot over the stove. “They’re not really allowed,” she said. As soon as the shot was finished, she shooed the cameraman away, saying, “Back, boy!”
Emeril even interfered in Kate’s usual effort to control Jon’s every move. As Jon was scraping out a bowl, she tried to hand him a spatula, which would supposedly facilitate the task. Emeril told her to let him continue, and in frustration, she hit Emeril on the hand with the spatula, saying (you guessed it), “Bam!”
Kate was pleased to see that Jon was mostly reduced to scut work. At one point, as he was grating cheese, she walked by him and asked archly, “How’s it going over here?”
“De-grating,” he replied.
The kids, as always, were adorable. Two of the boys, caught by the camera crew doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing, said, “Guys, don’t look. Close your eyes.” Later, grabbing a jar of Emeril’s Essence, one of the boys said, “Emeril, this stuff has you on it.”
A closing montage compiled touching moments from the previous 99 episodes. Except for the solo interview segments, this show could have fit right in. It will probably provide Gosselinologists with more questions than answers. Was it shot before the scandals broke? Or was it shot after, and did it prove that a married couple can fall back into settled patterns of behavior even after traumatic events? Did a little quality time together with the family help reconcile Jon and Kate, even a little? Or in next week’s episode, will they be back to living separate lives?