Chaos Multiplies in Second Season of "Jon & Kate Plus 8"
- Laura MacCorkle Crosswalk.com Senior Entertainment Editor
- 2007 10 Oct
When it comes right down to it, who isn't fascinated by the world of multiples?
There are oodles of mouths to feed, bottoms to wipe and loads of laundry to put away. Endless meals to prepare, squabbles to referee and multi-passenger vehicles to gas up. Teeth to brush, snotty noses to clean, toys to put away and … well, you get the picture. Whew.
Thankfully, we only have to watch. But Jon and Kate Gosselin live in this unconventional world each and every day. I got my first glimpse of their lives during the first season of Jon & Kate Plus 8 last year and am thrilled to see it return for a second go on Discovery Health this fall.
Jon and Kate are the loving (and possibly “superhuman”) parents of twin sisters Cara and Mady and sextuplets Alexis, Aaden, Collin, Leah, Hannah and Joel. The twins are now six, and the sextuplets celebrate their third birthdays in a lavish carnival party that kick-starts the season’s very first episode.
Emotionally-charged matriarch and extremely organized “Chief Family Officer” that she is, Kate has had the theme for this party in the works since the sextuplets’ second birthday a year ago. The Gosselin’s home in a suburban community of central Pennsylvania is the setting, with a makeshift corral for pony rides in the front yard and booths for games and an area for funnel cakes, hot dogs and streamers galore in the back.
Easygoing and likeable husband Jon has worked with his brother-in-law and neighbor (how convenient!) Kevin to build three separate booths for games. Kate has summoned the help of sister-in-law Jodi and other friends ahead of time to help create signs and other items needed for the carnival’s festivities.
As is true Jon & Kate Plus 8 fashion, it doesn’t take long for the cameras to zoom in on one of several “disagreements” between the busy parents of 8. Those who watched the first season will remember how the two reorganized their garage at one point, with Kate pretty much calling all of the shots and Jon obliging her every instruction. This time out, it’s Jon who saves the day when Kate wants him to hang a decorative banner one way in the backyard, but discovers that Jon’s way actually works best. Score one for Jon.
In between footage of the carnival preparation and the sextuplets’ actual birthday day, Jon and Kate are featured in short interview segments where they talk about each of their children individually. One of the twins, Mady, is starting to show signs of jealousy toward the sextuplets, as she thinks they’re vying—and getting—more of her attention from Mom and Dad. One of the sextuplets, Collin, is singled out for his stubbornness and “needling” abilities … especially with Kate. Meanwhile, Alexis would kiss you “29,000 times on the lips” if you let her. She’s just that tenderhearted and affectionate with everyone.
Perhaps the most hilarious moments happen when Kate goes to retrieve the sextuplets’ party outfits, which are already pressed and hanging at the ready in the laundry room. “What in heaven’s name????? Joooooooon!” she cries off camera. “Oh my! … we have a MAJOR problem! … OH … MYYYY!”
Turns out that about a half inch of water is covering the entire laundry room floor. But many hands make light work, and the water is soon mopped up while Mom hurriedly gets the sextuplets ready. In the scene’s accompanying interview segment, Jon points out that Kate had probably—and absentmindedly—put too much detergent in the washer. And thus the overflow.
I think what I appreciate most about this unvarnished look at life with multiples is just that: there’s no candy-coating. It’s real, it’s funny and it’s touching. The light bickering shown between Jon and Kate feels like a slice of normal married life. And when they raise their voices a bit at the children from time to time, it’s done out of love and discipline and not taken so far as to crush a child’s spirit.
It’s interesting that neither set of grandparents is visible, though. According to Jon and Kate, they’re not involved in the Gosselin’s day-to-day life. Not sure whether that means they live elsewhere or if they just choose not to be present. I would find it hard to believe the latter, given these precious children.
But there are plenty of friends who stand in as family, like pseudo-grandparent “Nana Janet,” who at 69 years young, is “really loud and fun.” During the carnival, word quickly spreads that Nana is going to ride a pony and everyone rushes to see her get hoisted up and take a spin arround the corral. There’s also “Mr. Bull” who apparently stands in as a grandfather figure for the kids.
“They love our kids, and our kids love them,” shares Kate. “I don’t think it matters if you’re blood related or not.”
Near the end of the party when the cake is being cut, Jon and Kate try something new and sing “Happy Birthday” six times, once to each sextuplet. Their little faces light up as they are singled out by name in song, and their lives are celebrated individually.
“Their lives to us are like miracles,” says Jon. “When that [birthday] rolls around again another year,” adds Kate, “we’re just reminded so much more of that day [when they were born] and how miraculous it is and was.”
Upcoming Jon & Kate Plus 8 episodes will include the sextuplets’ first trip to the dentist, a family outing at the zoo and some home renovation, as the attic is turned into a bedroom for the twins and the sextuplets are separated—boys from girls—and make the transition from cribs to big-kid beds.
Season 2 of Jon & Kate Plus 8 premieres Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Discovery Health. Click here for more information.
- Language/Profanity: None.
- Sexual Content/Nudity: None, except for perhaps a bare bottom or two during the changing of diapers. Kate talks wistfully about how Jon’s physique used to be “skinny” and “muscular” when they first met.
- Alcohol/Drug Content: None.
- Spirituality: While it is not explicitly stated, the Gosselins are nondenominational Christians. Every now and then, there is talk of "God or "miracles” or "blessings."