UPDATE May 26, 2009:
A couple of notes after watching the sad trainwreck that was last night’s season 5 premiere: regarding Kate’s supposed affair with Steve Neild (who you’ll see pictured below), I’m skeptical. As you’ll read, I’m far from enamored of Kate. However, at least when I saw Kate, Neild was entirely professional and I saw nothing of any kind that would lead me to believe they were close personally.
Also, having read about Aunt Jodi and Kevin’s assertion that Kate presented Jon with a contract around last Dec. telling him that the marriage was over, some things I noticed when I saw Kate make sense. First, she hardly mentioned Jon’s name in her entire talk, and when she did she was extremely blase about it. In retrospect, if they were basically split then, that makes more sense. Also, I was surprised by Kate’s “glam” appearance, with the high heels, jewelry, etc. Now, I trace the beginning of her evolving look back to the end of 2008/beginning of 2009 when she apparently had decided to go her own way.
Today, I share with you a book in my house:
My main focus today is that I SAW KATE GOSSELIN, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL (probably 10′ away)!
As you know, my feelings about Jon and Kate Plus Eight are decided mixed. In short, I began by loving the show, and I still adore the sweet kids. However, as the show continued, I began to see Jon and Kate as greedy, opportunistic, and generally blase about the dream-come-true that their life has become.
When I learned that Kate would be appearing at a home show in my state (albeit a two-hour drive away), I decided I would attend if I could. Why? It’s a good question, given the previous paragraph. I guess it’s just the curiosity factor … although I see her weekly on TV, what would it be like to see her in person?
So. I won a contest to get front-row seats (See? I was on a mission!), invited my sister (another former fan of the show), and there we were.
The show was held in a large building at the state fairgrounds. The “stage” for Kate and the seating area appeared small to me; nowhere near the size of the building. News reports based the crowd for Kate at 1500, and I can tell you that all seats were taken early and there were people standing everywhere.
When it was time for Kate to appear, she came in through a side door from outside. Walking to the stage (really just a platform 2′ off the ground), I noted that she looked anything but happy to be here.
All the women (yep, I didn’t see a lot of men there) were oooh-ing and ahh-ing about how skinny she was, and yes, she did look thin. She looked good – as someone who has had a tummy tuck, professional teeth whitening, monthly spa visits and daily runs on the treadmill should.
A few people in the audience called out questions, and Kate said, “You don’t get to ask questions! I have a few … how can you live here in this cold?” (and it WAS cold – in the teens) “There ARE warmer places, you know!”
And with that, she began. She told how she and Jon met, and she went through the story of her pregnancies and the birth of the sextuplets, and told briefly about their first year.
At this point, I should introduce you to someone in the audience who was giving me almost as much entertainment as Kate: a woman on the other side of my sister. I’ll called her Enthusiastic Woman or EW for short.
EW sat on the front 2″ of her chair the entire time. While Kate was telling of the need to eat 4000 calories per day when she was pregnant, EW loudly called out, “You look great, Kate!” Kate smiled and said, “Thank you!”
When Kate told about how difficult it was to let a volunteer feed one of her newborns, EW would loudly call out, “AWWWW!” On and on.
One sore point among some J+K viewers is the fact that neither Jon nor Kate “work” in a traditional sense anymore. Kate seemed sensitive to this criticism; mentioning that she had needed to stop working as a nurse seven weeks after she became pregnant with the sextuplets. She said she hated that, because, “I like to work; I like to pay my bills.”
She also mentioned Jon losing two jobs because his employers did not want to take on the family due to insurance costs. She told us wryly that “this is still legal in Pennsylvania, basically to let someone go for any reason.” EW called out, “It’s legal here, too!”"
Kate said that, while she and Jon now work VERY hard on their reality show, including parts we don’t see like production meetings, “the kids don’t work; the kids just get to play and have fun and go places.”
Kate asked how many of us had read “her” book, Multiple Blessings. A roar went up from the crowd. She then asked who would like to read book two … and book three … and the roar continued. She told us to look for her new books soon. For the unitiated, this is another J+K controversy: Multiple Blessings was apparently lived by Jon and Kate, but written by their friend Beth Carson, who was not mentioned. No, there were not mentions either of Aunt Jodi, Nana Janet, or anyone else. In fact, I don’t believe she mentioned more than one or two of the kids by name. This talk was basically all about Kate.
The home show flier said she would give “tips for handling the household”, but there was none of that. This was a recap of Multiple Blessings, which was being sold at an adjoining table.
Here’s another interesting thing: see the gray-haired guy? He is apparently Kate’s body guard/handler, because he was taking everything in. I saw him stop two audience members from recording Kate, and when two local news stations showed up with cameras, he stopped them too. He could be seen talking on his cell phone at various times throughout the talk. Here you can see him, just to the left of the stage:
This security was reminding me of my visit to the Sarah Palin rally last October. Except – this isn’t a candidate for vice-president. This is just a mom who had six children at once. As my sister marvelled after the talk, “Can you imagine being paid thousands of dollars just to talk about being pregnant and giving birth?” No, I can’t – but Kate clearly can.
After 35 minutes Kate said, “Okay, have I talked long enough?” EW called out, “No! We love you, Kate!” And that was that. Somehow I had expected Kate to talk briefly about their new house, or answer some already-submitted questions (I would have loved, but knew better than to expect, her to answer audience questions). No, this was it.
Someone announced that Kate would be taking a five minute break and then signing books for an hour. She said that if you were not already in the book line, there was no point in lining up because it was already so long.
As you might expect, EW immediately jumped towards the stage and asked Kate to sign her book. Kate said, “I’m not allowed to.”
The other front row winners and I left our books because the sponsor thought she could get Kate to sign them and would then mail them to us – so that is why my book is currently out of my possession.
The fan-club atmosphere was somewhat expected I guess, but still rather odd to be part of. When I saw this handicapped child watching from a wheelchair with Multiple Blessings perched on his lap, I felt that this had all gone too far: