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'Jon & Kate Plus Eight' recap: Life's a beach

Kate and the kids continue their beach vacation, while Jon tends to the kitchen renovation, and the kids innocently note some of the changes in their lives

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TLC

‘Jon & Kate Plus Eight’ recap: Life’s a beach

Welcome back, Jon and Kate watchers. I don’t know about you, but I found it a little tough to watch last night’s episode without thinking of Kate Gosselin’s latest appearance on The Today Show. My colleague Annie Barrett put it best when she pinpointed just how ironic Kate’s comments about her family were. But, putting that aside (if you could,) the episode picked up right where last week’s episodes left off, with a beach trip and a kitchen renovation. Don’t all get too excited at once!

With Jon at home helping with the installation of the cabinets (he claimed that it was “weird” waking up to an empty house and it was a “different change of pace), Kate and the eight were still down at the North Carolina shore. While last week focused on the obvious paparazzi presence, tonight’s episode (at the beginning, at least) went back to the kids just being kids. Kate treated her brood to bacon, saying they were “thrilled to death” for their once-a-year treat (well, yeah, it’s freakin’ bacon!)

Of course, it wouldn’t be an all-new episode of Jon and Kate Plus Eight without mention of the Gosselin’s marital woes. The kids argued at the breakfast table about which one missed their dear old dad more, while Kate acknowledged she “can never make up for” Jon’s absence from here on out. It certainly was a bittersweet moment when Hannah confided to her mother, “I’ll never stop loving you and Daddy.” Sigh.

Back on the beach Collin opted to bring a little levity back when he methodically scooped up ocean water to dump it on his head. The poor, wee lad had sand on his head that he just could not get off, much to his family’s amusement (and, okay, ours a little bit, too). As much as things have changed, and as iffy as I feel about the series these days, it’s cute little things like that that make the show still somewhat worthwhile.

Not to be upstaged by their younger siblings, Mady and Cara upped the ante with some impromptu plays. Mady claimed, “I wanna do commercials” and a little part of me died inside at the idea of seeing these kids thrust even further into the spotlight. Alas, Kate only implied that her girls’ desire for attention was only to be expected, exclaiming, “Are you surprised? Drama!”

Jon, who probably got about seven or eight minutes of screen time total in last night’s episode (it’s doubtful you’ll hear too many complaints about that these days), welcomed back Mady and Cara from the beach so they could finish out their last few days of school. While Mady is typically pretty grating, it was hard not to love the kid a little bit for her horrified reaction to seeing her dad’s pierced ears, shrieking, “What’s in your ears?!” You’re not the only one thinking it, sister.

NEXT: Kate gets down and dirty

Pa Gosselin went on to justify, among other things, the earrings, motorcycles, and tattoos, promising, “It’s not a midlife crisis!” Oh, do I ever fear what this man’s actual midlife crisis will be. Elsewhere, a beachy, and shockingly subdued Kate let her kids’ paint themselves again (an activity they participated in during last year’s beach trip) with pudding. You know it’s bad when you get more icked out by the kids’ dirty hands touching things than Kate does.

All was starting to feel reminiscent of last season, when the need to include any mention/shot of the paparazzi reared its ugly head again. As the slightly smaller gang took a ferry to visit a serpentarium, Kate showed us the photogs that hopped on board to snap some staged pictures of them. Ma Gosselin said of the paps, “[They’re] not always trustworthy, in this case they played fair.” I realize this is a very big part of the Gosselin’s current state of being, but the over saturation of them in the tabloids makes it that much more intolerable to watch during the show.

Once off the boat, she and the sextuplets checked out some snakes (“Oh, he’s cuuuute!” cried an excited Joel.) While the kids were more than willing to hold the pretty darn scary, snakes (“I can hold him, I’m strong” boasted Aaden), Kate was a little more apprehensive, though she finally buckled to pressure from the kids.

Before heading back to “the real world” the kids’ consensus was that making sandcastles reigned supreme on the trip (but what about the bacon?!), and Kate admitted she was dreading going back, if only for the fact that she had a lot of work waiting for her at home. And, c’mon, you know she didn’t really want to see Jon either. So while Kate took the high road and didn’t mention him, Jon, back in PA said he was glad his soon-to-be-ex wasn’t around during renovations, because she would be “annoying.” It was a little harsh and pains me a bit, but the guy has a point.

While Jon and Kate had no interaction onscreen, the obviously stressed mom looked a little underwhelmed by her incredibly gorgeous new kitchen. She chalked it up to being cranky and needing to feel out the space, reassuring us that “women know what I mean.” I must admit, Kate, like most things, I’m not on the same page with you on this. So, what did you think of this episode, Jon and Kate watchers? Did you feel under whelmed by this episode, too? Have you given up on taking a side? Are you hoping the paparazzi element of the show will disappear, or will you leave before they get the chance?