Kate Gosselin’s been having a hard time; every Tuesday she comes on Dancing With the Stars only to be held up for mass ridicule. And even though every underdog tale ever has trained American viewers to expect a miraculous blossoming on the dance floor, she stubbornly refuses to follow that predictable path, and that kind of dedication to non-improvement is wearying. During her rehearsal this week, Gosselin seemed exhausted and not a little out of it. “Are we swimming or are we dancing?” she slightly slurred to her aggrieved partner, Tony. You’re dancing, Kate. Well, sort of.
After another stiff performance, we got down to the real reason behind Gosselin’s inertia: “I had a nice visit from eight little friends,” she says, and from her annoyed tone, it sounded more like she’d had eight menstrual cycles rather than an actual visit from her eight children. She went on to say that she spent her energy on her kids instead of dance practice, adding that they “live and breathe” to see their mom on the show. It’s a strange defense to take, because she’s using her children as both an excuse for her underwhelming performance and the reason she’s still on the show and not, well, taking care of them. She’s clearly going for the “I’m a mom” sympathy vote, but the whole act just serves to reinforce how little she sees her children, and her vaguely passive-aggressive tone seems to imply that she’s blaming their demands for her failure. But we’re not that worried for Gosselin; the audience has saved her from elimination before, and they’ll probably save her again — because even more than good parenting, America truly values a good train wreck.