I sat down to watch this week’s “Kate Plus 8” fully prepared to be annoyed and/or outraged. According to the commercial, the premise was pretty straight forward: a showdown over whether the lobsters caught on vacation should be cooked. Coming from a fishing community and fishing family and working for a commercial fishermen’s organization, clearly I’m pretty ok with lobster being cooked.
First, I should say that even though I watch “Kate Plus 8” I’m not completely sure I like it. I’ve watched since it was “Jon and Kate Plus” and the sextuplets were babies. Like many I was fascinated and frightened by the prospect of having that many small children. But as time went on I wasn’t really sure I liked either of the adults and I wondered what would happen with the children as they got older and realized their very normal awkwardness and tantrums were recorded to be watched over and over. But I kept watching, wondering after many episodes why.
Then this year, the family went on vacation in Maine. The beaches and scenery are so very similar to home it was fun to watch them scramble over rocky beaches covered with seaweed like I’ve done hundred of times as a kid (and quite a few as an adult).
This week’s episode had the opportunity to play out like many other “reality” shows: city folk go on a fishing boat and show just how unsophisticated and simple the country folk on the boat really is. (Hence my pending annoyance/outrage). What it actually was was quite different. The kids were fascinated with the lobster: measuring and releasing the small ones. (They did seem to skip over the re-baiting of the traps). The stand-off scene previewed all week did play out as a “let’s go release the lobster back to the ocean” moment, but it was soon followed by a trip to a local fish market to buy pre-cooked lobster so they could still have the “lobster dinner experience”. Kate didn’t eat the lobster, but she encouraged her kids to; some liked it, some didn’t. It actually felt a like a “real” moment during a vacation planned for its video-able* moments.
My feelings about the show are still mixed. I’ll probably still watch and wonder why. But for this week, my respect for Kate and the show increased several notches.
* (I’m not sure “video-able” is a word, but it should be)