Jon & Kate Recap - American Chopper Comes to the Gosselins' House

Filed under: Celeb Parents

Ok, let's get this over with right now: It is impossible these days to watch an episode of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" where Jon gets a custom motorcycle and not think to yourself, "He's having a midlife crisis!"

Although you were probably thinking that anyway.

Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus 8

    Rumors are swirling about Jon and Kate Gosselin's marriage. Is it over? Or is this just the stuff of reality TV? It's hard to know what's true, but it's even harder to look away.

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    Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you had one more child? How about two more? How about SIX more?

    Four years ago, Jon and Kate Gosselin went from being parents of two to parents of eight, and their lives have never been the same.

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    Today we all have a window into that life on TLC's Jon and Kate Plus 8. And of course, part of peeking into someone else's life is hypothesizing how we might do things differently or better, because it's always easy to imagine what you would do in someone else's shoes.

    What is harder to imagine is what it would really be like to walk in those other shoes -- what's it like to wake up every morning and be Kate Gosselin? ParentDish had a chance to ask her just that recently.

    In a normal week, the Gosselins have a television crew in their house about half the time, which is a lot, if you think about it. And while they will occasionally opt out of filming specific moments with their kids, the Gosselins have no editorial control over the show -- what you see is what you get, packaged by a team of folks at Discovery and TLC. But, Kate says, this is reality TV, and it accurately reflects life at the Gosselin house; nothing is pre-planned or made up. "We don't have time to memorize scripts," she jokes.

    I believe that.

    "We set out to show the truth," Kate says, "I couldn't watch it if it weren't true." What you see, in every televised moment, is precisely what is happening -- no stage directions or do-overs. This is life at the Gosselin house.

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    Kate Gosselin has gotten quite a bit of flak, both from the media and from viewers, for the way she treats her husband; the two are often shown bickering during the show. Kate says the criticisms don't bother her; she doesn't Google herself or make a practice of reading about herself on or off line. "Everyone has an opinion," she says, "and I'm only paying attention to my own." But she does admit that the way the show is edited affects how people see her family and her marriage. "If Jon and I have three spats over a two day period, they're going to edit it to make it look like those happened in the 22 minute period." The show is just a small slice of her family's life, after all.

    Kate is clearly focused not on what goes on outside her family but on her children. Her goal, she says, is to treat each child like an only child -- a hard thing to do when you're the mom of eight. "I hold myself to a very high standard," she says. At the same time, though, she's not trying to be perfect, or even to appear perfect to viewers of the show. She's just living her life.

    And yes, she's living it with television cameras in her house, but it's still her real life. Kate says that while the experience of being on television has changed her life, it hasn't changed who she is. She says the same about having eight children -- "It's hard to live through what we have lived through and not change. We are the same -- it's how people treat us" that is different.

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    One of the hardest things about her family, Kate says, is the noise; there are days when the older girls, Cara and Mady, come home from school and their reports about what they have done are drowned out by the noise of the sextuplets. More than anything, she says, she longs for peace and quiet -- otherwise, she would not change a thing about her life.

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    Kate finds the humor in her life -- recently, she partnered with P&G to help promote some of their brands, including Bounty paper towels, which she refers to as "my weapon of choice." She also laughs about the end of nap time at the Gosselin house; the sextuplets are four now and no one, Kate says, naps any more. But it's a rare night that the family gets through dinner without someone dozing off at the table. Recently, Jon said, "I think we can kiss goodbye ever having a family dinner again." A good night, Kate said, is when the kids push their plates out of the way before they fall asleep.

    You have to laugh about that, and Kate Gosselin does.

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    The Gosselins have a strong faith in God; they are often seen on the show wearing t-shirts with scripture on them and attending church. But despite the fact that the show doesn't highlight their faith, the Gosselins see it as an opportunity to share what they believe. Their website, The Gosselin 10, includes prayers and devotionals, and Jon and Kate travel around speaking to various churches and groups about their life and faith. The show, Kate says, has given them this opportunity to share what they believe.

    And for the Gosselins, being on television is about opportunity, not fame. The show has opened a variety of doors for them; Kate and Jon both work from home, which makes their life as parnents of eight more manageable. But it's not easy by any means -- there are days, Kate says, when she and Jon work until midnight.

    Kate has three pieces of advice for other parents. "Every morning, before my feet hit the floor," she says, "I pray for strength, just enough to get through that day." She reminds parents that a sense of humor can get you through nearly everything -- laugh, she says, don't cry. And finally, the most important lesson of all: "Always remember that bedtime comes, every single day."

So this week's installment of Famous People Hang With the Gosslins featured the cast of American Chopper, which is a show about motorcycles and guys who build them, for those of you who don't know. These burly bikers -- Paul Teutul Senior and sons Paul Junior and Mikey -- show up at the Gosselin's and spend the day with the family. This episode offered a chance for Kate to sit with her legs up on the interview sofa, displaying the tattoo on her ankle, showing what a cool mom she really is.

Or something like that.

The Teutuls come to the Gosselin's house because that's what happens this season -- famous people just show up at the door to play with the kids and do whatever it is that they're famous for. Of course, these guys aren't going to take five-year-olds out riding on a chopper (although Kate gets to ride), so instead they do a craft with the kids.

I'll say that again: The hulking men did a craft with the kids. "They brought an art project that looked more like something they had recovered out of a trash can," Kate said, and she was right; the "craft" was a gigantic trash bag full of scraps and half a dozen bottles of glue. It was a disorganized mess and the kids loved it. "It was the messiest, junkiest project ever," Kate laughed. "I guess when you make chopper guys do a project, that's what you get."

TLC, listen to the woman -- she has a point. Why are the American Chopper dudes doing crafts with preschoolers? Let's get to the bikes!

The Teutuls don't build Jon a bike in his backyard; instead, continuing what is now apparently a theme on this season of "Jon & Kate Plus 8," Jon goes off to the guys' New York workshop by himself to work on his custom chopper. But if Jon thought he was going to get a break he was wrong; Paul Senior spends most of the episode harassing him. "Jon, if you're going to build a bike," he says, "you need to act manly." Jon's first job is greasing the bearings for the forks. "They didn't have the grease gun, so I had to do it by hand," he tells the camera, "but I think they were just messing with me. They just wanted to see if I would do it I guess."

Kind of like last week, when Emeril had him chop 50 pounds of garlic for no reason at all.

Of course, it's not all misery for Jon. "I haven't had time to do stuff that I enjoyed," he tells the camera. "This was the first opportunity that I got that I actually got to enjoy something on my own...and do guy things. I mean, I've been doing guy things but kid things, you know, baby things."

I think we call that parenting, Jon.

When Jon's bike is delivered, it comes with a custom pink scooter thing for Kate, and there's a great moment where, in dueling voice-overs, Jon talks about how much he loves his bike, while Kate announces that she's donating hers to charity. Hmm.

And then Kate rides her scooter in high heeled espadrilles and there is lots of screaming. From Kate and the American Chopper guys. Fun!

Oh but it's not over yet. As a thank you for the scooter, Kate takes Mikey Teutul to the spa for pedicures and hair styling. When Mikey is offered a drink and a magazine, he says, "I'll take US Weekly." To her credit, Kate laughs at the joke. "I thought it was hysterical," she tells the camera.

It's good to see Kate Gosselin able to laugh at her tabloid notoriety, but there was a moment on the interview chair where she was talking about how much she liked the American Chopper guys and how she would like to work with them on a charity event, and she was pulling at her wedding ring and looking wistful, and it was hard not to wonder what will come next for her, and for her family.

Meanwhile, we're just waiting to see what famous people will show up at the Gosselin house next week.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.