By Ken Tucker
Updated June 23, 2009 at 05:58 AM EDT

And so it finally was announced. In separate on-camera interviews tonight, Jon and Kate each said they were going to “separate.” (A screen message toward the end of the hour said that today they had filed for the “dissolution” of their marriage: divorce.)

“Jon has a lot of anger toward me… he won’t talk to me.”

“I don’t hate Kate, but, y’know…”

“Thank God we have the show, so we can tell what we want to tell,” said Jon.

These comments, scattered throughout a special one-hour edition of Jon & Kate Plus Eight, was wrenching and a relief — probably for Jon and Kate Gosselin, certainly for those of us watching. “I’m still on the show,” said Jon, confirming what we all pretty much assumed. The series will now be episodes of “me and the kids, her and the kids,” said Jon.

Kate remains Kate, blunt and articulate. “I’ve become very hard and very crass and very jaded,” she said. “I will not lie down and die… I will survive and [the kids] will survive.”

Jon remains Jon, somewhat inarticulate but stubborn and newly defiant. “I was too passive; I let her rule the roost.”

Whereas Kate’s eyes filled with tears and she said, “I don’t really want to be alone,” Jon said he was looking forward to “a new chapter in my life.”

The notoriety the show has brought the family seeped into the first half-hour, which was supposed to be a more typical, harmless Jon & Kate episode about the kids. They were getting some “crooked houses” — custom-made playhouses that were to be erected on the Gosselins’ property. Kate wanted the houses placed near their main house, but Jon wanted them further away, in the woods. “We have privacy issues,” he said, and noted that “the paparazzi” wouldn’t be able to take pictures if the houses were in a remote location. Kate was having none of it. “He wants them down there,” she said, asserting that the kids “would never play” from a location far from her sight in the Gosselin home.

As usual, Kate got her way. (For the record, I side with her on this one.) The kids, as always, were pretty much non-stop wonderful. They were totally in their own play-world that the houses inspired. Cara chose to have her house designed as a haunted house, complete with a “door shaped like a coffin.” (Uh-oh: future Goth Gosselin!) The tykes romped and giggled and dreamed up scenarios: “We’re having a wedding, ’cause this is my boy,” said one of the girls, playing “marriage” with her brother. As always, they provided the joy. Ironic joy, in this case, but joy.

And truth. “Daddy, be quiet, ’cause we’re doin’ the interviews!” one of the kids yelled as they sat for the cameras for the umpteenth time, with no end in sight.

Did you watch? What did you think? Will you keep watching after this?

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