By Ken Tucker
August 30, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT

Fresh from her triumphant appearance on last night’s Emmys, Kate Gosselin — wait, let me start over.

Fresh from her incredibly lucky phone call from Jimmy Fallon, tapping her to use her notoriety for some fleeting good, Kate Gosselin returned to TV last night with another Kate Plus 8 “special.” It was a trip to Manhattan, where Kate complained in front of her eight children for most of a full hour about the heat and the “smells.”

Since home life in Pennsylvania has become so fraught following Kate’s divorce from Jon, she and TLC use these specials to do various activities. On Monday, that meant an Amtrak ride into New York (“Is this how they save money, by turning off the air conditioning?” Kate complained in the train waiting room), and then taking an open-air tour bus ride (Kate complained it was “at least 102 degrees” as they zipped past St. Patrick’s Cathedral).

On to Chinatown, where Kate duly noted “the smell and the heat… related to ocean-ish items there.” This was shortly before the group piled in to a restaurant for the family’s first experience eating Dim Sum. It was rather charming when Kate admitted she thought they were going to a restaurant called “Dim Sum”; it was less charming when she started snapping at the kids because she had her by-now-standard, since-she-became-famous all-purpose excuse for losing her temper: “I have low blood sugar.” Trust me: Kate Gosselin never said she had low blood sugar in the early, happy seasons of Jon + Kate Plus 8.

Kate also used to understand the concept of “sensible shoes.” Now, no matter that she was engaged in activities that required her to walk all over New York City with her family, she teetered along in high heels and shorts as gawping citizens stopped to snap pictures. The result? During their Central Park visit, Kate said, “In the heat, I feel like I’m going to vomit.”

Before boarding a boat for the Statue of Liberty, one of the twins, Cara, had a bit of a meltdown herself, and said she didn’t want to pose for a family photo.

“I’m not standing in a picture,” Cara said. Kate snapped, “You are, or I’m leaving you here with people you don’t know.”

Oh well, what parent hasn’t lost his or her temper, right? It’s just that most parents aren’t given their own train cars to ride in, or the opportunity to “drive the boat,” as Kate did, capitalizing on her fame to invite herself up the ladder to man the controls, all the while complaining that her high heels made the ladder climb difficult.

At this point, it’s best to view the Kate Plus 8 shows as reality sitcoms. It’s the only way to process Kate’s moans about how, everywhere they go as tourists, “We become the tourist attraction.” In the Statue of Liberty gift shop: “Crowds inhibited us from doing what normal families do.”

As the clan disembarked, a smiling New Yorker asked Kate, “How you doin’?”

“Not good,” she said curtly.

Then back at home in Pennsylvania, safely in front of the show’s confessional-camera and presumably well air-conditioned, Kate proclaimed it all a “great life experience.”

I think I heard the sound of a spoon scraping gravel; I suspect it was nine-going-on-10 Cara, digging a tunnel beneath the foundation of the Gosselin home, making her escape.

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