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The Telefile
<I>Jon & Kate</I>: The Big Announcement

Surprise. Jon and Kate Gosselin are getting a divorce. What? This isn't a surprise to you because you've seen the war between them unfolding in the tabloids over the last few months? Yeah. Their much-hyped "big announcement" where they said they were officially separated wasn't really a big surprise. Personally, I would have been more surprised if they announced that they were ending the show to save their marriage, but after watching them bicker through this season, that probably wouldn't have worked anyway. Some people just aren't meant to be together forever, and these two have seemed to have some issues for a long time. But now the big question is what will happen with the TLC series Jon & Kate Plus 8, and what will happen with the kids?

I would hope that this means the show would be over, but now we apparently get to watch not only the dissolution of their marriage (and have to see their faces in every gossip column that stalks their future relationships) but we get to watch as the kids try and cope with this on TV. Those poor kids. I get that this is reality, but it's just not a fun show about the chaos of eight children anymore. It's uncomfortable to watch.

Speaking of uncomfortable, here's how this whole special episode fell out: They spent the first half of the episode dealing with the arrival of "crooked houses" for the kids and the adults fighting over where to put them. They basically needed the crooked house guys to mediate the situation and explain why a piece of land out of sight of the main house was a bad idea for active five-year-olds who need adult supervision. Kate claimed she didn't want to go against Jon's plan, because he doesn't deal well with flack. She also claimed that she had a "rough day behind-the-scenes" and that Jon has a lot of anger towards her, but won't discuss it with her. That seems pretty damned unfixable.

After the kid-centric portion, they switched over to Kate and Jon on their interview couches as they gave separate versions of what was happening. They talked in vague terms for a while. This quote from Kate is a perfect example: "It doesn't matter where Jon and I are in our relationship, my kids still matter the most to me. If I have to put on a happy face to have a picnic with them and put all those issues aside, I do. Do I always feel jovial and happy and wonderful? No. Am I thrilled with how things have turned out? No. Did I ever think I would be in this position? Absolutely not."

Then there was a big batch of time spent as they moaned about how miserable they are, and both of them discussing how they don't want to yell in front of the kids any more, Jon started to open up about the added frustration of having the paparazzi hound their every move. He thinks the situation is ridiculous. "It's been so stressful. Thank God we have the show so we can tell what we want to tell, but people just tell what they want to tell anyway." The producers prodded for him to clear the air about the tabloid rumors, but he never really did. Instead he talked more about how he doesn't hate Kate but admitted that he let her take charge too much, and now at 32, he's finally decided to stand up for himself.

It took a while longer before they finally announced that they were going to separate. Then they discussed how things would play out. The kids would live in the house with Kate on her days, while Jon would come on his days and she would be forced to go elsewhere. For whatever personal feelings I have about Kate, she looked genuinely miserable about the fact that she'd have to be separated from the kids for any given amount of time. Maybe because she has no life other than them, or more because she's concerned about not being able to control what Jon does with them or what they eat without her around. Either way, she looked unhappy about that, and seemed sad about the fact that the kids would be the product of a failed marriage, and another statistic. After talking about how they both think the show has been a good way to provide for their family, and how they'll both continue on with it, with separate activities and interviews, they recalled their favorite memories of the series. Which was pretty weird, though thankfully they didn't actually show them renewing their vows not all that long ago.

At no point in the hour did either of them actually say the word "divorce," but a helpful little note came up on the screen with the following message: On Monday June 22, 2009, legal proceedings were initiated in Pennsylvania to dissolve the ten-year marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin. That is about a month after this episode was filmed, as after the fallout, the entire family went out for an awkward Mother's Day brunch where Jon and Kate shuttled the kids into a fancy restaurant while barely uttering a word to each other, sat next to each other awkwardly without making eye contact or talking. Kate and Jon both (separately) reiterated how important it will be for them to make birthdays and holidays still be a family event. If they are going to be as icy and unnatural as this one, you can count me out. I'll be waiting for the note about how they decided to "dissolve" their contract with the show instead.

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