Photo Credit: Randy Brooke/WireImage
No doubt Kate Gosselin knew what she was getting into when she signed on to ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap (Tuesdays, 8 p.m. ET). Producers chose her for her rigid, controlling reputation, and they arranged for her to switch places with Kendra Wilkinson, a fun-loving Playboy Playmate with a dreamy marriage to former NFL star Hank Baskett. The control freak versus the party girl. Oh my! What will happen?
Aside from the obvious, usual takeaway -- each woman had something to learn from the other -- Kate's tightly wound persona was sadly magnified. If you didn't like her before this show, this episode would definitely inspire you to join the ranks of Kate haters.
Since the show's dramatic arc depended on it, there's no doubt that producers directed Kate to tap into her inner drill sergeant when interacting with Kendra's husband and preschool-aged son, Hank IV. But even so, Kate seemed to relish the chance to expose Kendra as a ditzy loafer. "In life there's responsibility and chores," she said, while tisk-tisking about Kendra's pitiful work ethic. "Why is Hank doing practically 100 percent when there are two parents?"
The show took great pains to show that Kate was somewhat right about Kendra, who sends little Hank to school five days a week despite having a full-time nanny to care for him. "If I had all that free time, I'd be spending it with little Hank," Kate scoffed. When Kendra loosened the leash over at Kate's house, allowing the eight kids to eat tacos "picnic-style," Kate's daughter Maddie sneered, "We're gonna be picking up lettuce for a week." Yep.
But the last thing Kate's image needed was yet another reality TV role as an uptight mom. (And judging by the episode's record ratings, a lot of people saw it.) "I'm very type-A," she said. "I'm very schedule-oriented." Yeah, Kate, we know. But we also felt for your temporary husband, Hank, when he resisted your totalitarian approach to running the household. At one point, little Hank learned to pick up his toys, but no one could celebrate the moment. "[Hank] knows that I'm right, and he knows that my points are good," snapped Kate. "He's just not gonna admit it." Because he doesn't want to encourage your dismissive eye rolls, honey!
"I am aware that I do need to relax," she concluded in the "what we learned" segment of the episode. "I am aware that I possibly have forgotten how to relax. But the thing is, to continue on and to do this day after day after day, I think you can see that my safety net is my schedule." In other words, she's not changing.
The bright side? We'll always have Kate if ABC's Supernanny, Jo Frost, decides to retire. Someone needs to whip America's children into shape!