Controversial TLC Reality Show about a family with eight kids. The series focused on the lives of Jon and Kate Gosselin, who have a pair of twins and a group of sextuplets (and 2+6=8). It chronicled their day-to-day lives.
It ran for four seasons before hell broke loose with the disintegrating marriage of the Gosselins, with accusations of adultery on both sides being tossed around. The scandal paid off for the show, leading to the fifth-season having record ratings as Americans turned in to see the trainwreck up close as Jon and Kate separated. The series was put on a hiatus, undergoing retooling as TLC wished to jettison the soon-to-be-divorced Jon from the show and rename it "Kate Plus Eight". Needless to say, Jon fired back with a cease and desist order towards production of the show, saying that it "has damaged the children's lives." Due to the controversy surrounding the show and Jon and Kate's divorce, it was canceled.
Then the series was Un-Canceled... sort of. TLC went through with their plans of kicking Jon off the show by airing a new series entitled Kate Plus Eight, showing how the family was doing post-divorce. This show did poorly in the ratings, running for only two seasons before it was cancelled in 2011. The cancellation put the kibosh on a second spin-off entitled Twist of Kate (which would have featured Kate sans kids travelling across the U.S. and visiting single mothers), and ultimately ended the collaboration between Jon, Kate and TLC.
The series has been recently revived again as a regular series during the start of 2015 after two successful specials in the middle of 2014. Jon is also not involved with this iteration of the series.
- Censor Box: When the sextuplets when potty training, Kate would show off pictures of the kids' results. where pictures of the kids' stool were featured, the production team censored them with black blobs labeled "Poop!" in white letters.
- Control Freak: Kate.
- Crossover: Jon, the boys, and one of the twins attended a Phillies game; Kate+Eight went to Ace Of Cakes' bakery as a birthday surprise for Kate; Jon visited the Monster Garage dudes (TLC wouldn't let him keep the chopper); Emeril Lagasse visited the house to cook dinner during/after the divorce announcement episode.
- Kate also appeared on Sarah Palin's Alaska, when the Palin family went camping and invited the Gosselins along. It wasn't a very long appearance, since she left before they were supposed to go home (despite the children having a blast).
- Day in the Life
- Design Student's Orgasm: Jon's Ed Hardy T-shirts.
- Domestic Abuser: Kate persistently yelled at her husband Jon, belittled him, and repeatedly hit him. On camera. In addition, people who knew the Gosselin family said she kept him on a $5 a week budget, had invaded his office to scream at him in front of colleagues at work, and prevented him from attending his own family's funeral. Make of this what you will. According to Jon, she even pulled a Wounded Gazelle Gambit on the cops when she was having a tantrum and he wouldn't let her in the house.
- Double Standard: People sympathized with Jon's situation under the abusive Kate... Until he manned up and got a divorce. Then the media turned him into a douchebag manbastard (admittedly, some of his behavior was suspect and didn't help) and the formerly demonized Kate was made sympathetic.
- Downer Ending: The show was canceled amid Jon and Kate's divorce proceedings. When Kate told the twins about the divorce, one broke down and cried while the other was all "Yeah, I kinda figured." Ouch. The sextuplets' reaction was "Okay, when's lunch?", but they were five at that point.
- Friendship Denial: The episode "It's A Book" has the young Leah Gosselin saying this:"Don't call me buddy. Call me Leah."
- Genki Girl: A few of the children, but Alexis in particular was one of the loudest.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Kate refused a selective reduction.
- Granola Girl: Kate insisted on an all-organic diet for the kids.
- Hula and Luaus: Jon and Kate went to Hawaii to renew their vows (coincidentally the same place as The Little Couple). That was also a chance for Jon's Hawaiian relatives who couldn't attend the original wedding to celebrate.
- Important Hair Cut: Inverted — After the show finished Kate got hair extensions that made her look a lot like Sharon Stone.
- Improbable Hairstyle: And yet, there it is. You know you've got it when there's a Halloween wig of your hairstyle and at least two pairs of television personalities (including Regis and Kelly) dress as you for Halloween.
- Jerkass: Let's face it, Kate was a huge bitch to Jon.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Jon didn't want any more kids after the twins. When he agreed to try for one more, he got six. A Good Housekeeping article mentions that Kate wants to adopt another boy from Korea.
- Massive Numbered Siblings
- My Beloved Smother
- The Prima Donna: One of the reasons that TLC was so quick to cancel Kate Plus Eight was that by 2011 Kate Gosselin had become "impossible" to work with.
- Product Displacement: TLC has started blurring Jon's Ed Hardy shirts in newer episodes.
- The Professor: Aaden.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Jon's self-imposed exile from public life is all thanks to the show. Kate, by contrast, seems to thrive on it.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: The girls and the boys (the somewhat bossy girls took after their mother while the more laid-back boys took after their father).
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: It started out as fairly ideal, but like all on-screen marriages, it couldn't last. An article in the LA Times pointed out that after the stress of "An American Family"'s filming added to the couple divorcing, you'd think people would know better about letting cameras into their homes.
- Spin-Off: The never-made Twist of Kate where she travels the country giving advice to single mothers with children.
- Team Mom:Hannah: Iw'll take care of da kids!
- Too Many Babies: The premise.
- The Unfair Sex: Despite being the victim of emotional and (sometimes) physical abuse in the relationship, Jon was invariably cast as the bad guy for "doing her wrong", and basically was forced out of the limelight because of this. Kate, on the other hand, still continued to get magazine covers and guest appearances on other shows.
- And, as noted above, almost got her own spin-off show where she would have given other people relationship advice... despite arguably being the one to cause her marriage to destruct so spectacularly.
- Vacation Episode: Jon and Kate renewed their wedding vows with a trip to Hawaii.
- Your Cheating Heart: Both Jon and Kate. With Jon, at least, he had some justification for wanting to find someone who wouldn't consistently abuse him.