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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Jon and Kate Gosselin reveal their separation hours after People magazine reports their divorce filing

22

June

Jonkate8_s12 (UPDATE: TLC has apparently decided to give the show a production break, resuming new episodes Aug. 3. At least one blogger suggested a Bachelor-style dating show for perfectionist harpy Kate.)

It was supposed to be a climactic moment -- the instant when all the rumors and speculation about Jon and Kate Gosselin were finally resolved.

Instead, viewers who slogged through the interminably bloated display that was Monday's Jon & Kate Plus Eight episode heard news that had been invalidated by tabloid reports hours earlier.

"Jon and I have decided to separate," Kate Gosselin said solemnly, revealing that the pair, whose stormy marriage has filled tabloid newspapers for months, will separate -- each filming the moments for their popular unscripted TLC show apart from the other.

Of course, People magazine had already reported hours ago that the couple had filed for divorce in Pennsylvania, finally admitting publicly what fans had known in their bones for months: That the Gosselins' 10-year marriage was over.

Worst of all for viewers, this was news that could have been delivered in about 15 minutes. But because TLC had to milk a full episode from this highly hyped episode, first we had to sit through the couple arguing over the placement of custom-built playhouses given to their children, spiced with clips of both parents wallowing in the kind of self pity only two seriously self-involved people can indulge.

Jonandkate-usmagazine Both Gosselins swore their actions were motivated mostly for their kids so often you could build a drinking game around the phrase. But that may be the most ironic part of all; it was obvious Monday the last thing on either parents' mind was their children. That is, unless Jon Gosselin really thinks busting up his marriage for a 23-year-old schoolteacher under the watchful eye of the paparazzi will make them better people.

Monday's episode revealed a bitter, boring pair whose growing estrangement has turned an occasionally tart, mostly celebratory series into a pungent vehicle for Kate Gosselin's ambition and Jon Gosselin's resentment. The result for viewers was a repetitive hour that took forever to tell us what we already knew, punctuated by bouts of self-deception even the couple barely believed.

No wonder ratings have dipped 70 percent from this season's blockbuster first episode back in May. Once the immediate impact of the car wreck has faded, it isn't long before the rubberneckers fade away.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:59pm]

    

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