As the tabloid debacle of her on-camera divorce dragged on, Kate Gosselin’s everymom likability took a beating. With her giant Jackie O. glasses and constant moaning about the intrusive press, she became wildly unsympathetic; to many, she was no longer a frazzled mom, she was a bossy diva who only had herself to blame for her complaints. Dancing With the Stars was her opportunity to rehabilitate her image. Yes, the very word “Stars” in the show’s title implies a distance from the quotidian problems of everyday moms, but still, by laughing as she struggled to learn a glamorous talent (klutziness = relatability!), she could have proved that she’s just a regular gal, albeit one in too many sequins. But it was not to be. Instead, on last night’s Dancing With the Stars, America was re-treated to the sight of Kate Gosselin pushing a man to the point of near-madness.
After an embarrassingly weak first performance, Kate and her dance partner, Tony, got in a heated argument about his style of teaching versus her method of learning (we didn’t see specifics; just that he tried to instruct her and she felt “STRESS!”). Out of all the DWTS contestants this season, Kate is the least adept dancer — yes, even worse than 80-year-old Buzz Aldrin — and so her intense nervousness is understandable, and potentially a little endearing. If we’d seen her, say, confessing her insecurities to Tony, we’d all be on Team Kate. After all, who hasn’t had the nightmare of having to perform without knowing the steps? Instead, we got this classic Gosselin line: “He feels like I undermined him as a teacher. I’m not qualified to teach, but I’m qualified to know how it is I want something to be shown to me.”
“You’re not hearing what I’m saying: I’m done, I’m done today,” said Kate. In the face of such divalike behavior, Tony quits. And even though he returned soon after, citing a “weak moment” and blaming himself, we were reminded of the Kate of Jon & Kate Plus 8, nagging and criticizing and beating Jon down (before he became an Ed Hardy–wearing joke, he was the object of our sympathy, remember?). Fame hasn’t actually changed Kate Gosselin; her method of argument — that regardless of what’s happening, she’s the one being attacked (making her the procreative version of Celebrity Rehab’s Kari Ann Peniche) — has been in place since way before the tabloid covers and Pilates body. Assuming that Gosselin went on DWTS in order to win back America’s heart, it’s interesting that she can’t even feign a little sweetness in her video clips. “A lot of people quit on me in life … I know I can be frustrating at times,” Kate offered up after the ordeal. Self-pity disguised as introspection? That won’t win her many votes.