Boy, when the Gosselins promise sweeping life changes, they don't mess around.
Near the end of last night's hour-long episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8, the screen was filled with a graphic: "On Monday, June 22, 2009, legal proceedings were initiated in Pennsylvania to dissolve the ten-year marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin."
The announcement confirmed seven months of persistent rumors that the union between the titular couple on TLC's popular reality show was irretrievably strained.
According to their statements to the camera last night, they have reached a preliminary custody arrangement, splitting time in the house with the children.
"Kate and I have not been communicating very well," said Jon, in a monumental understatement.
Kate confirmed that in a separate on-camera interview. "Jon has a lot of anger towards me and I would love to discuss it with him," she said, "and he won't talk to me."
The split means a significantly altered show for the more than 30 episodes remaining in the season.
You can almost hear the production meeting at the cable channel that has documented their situation: "We're going to need twice the number of camera crews and twice the support staffs. OK, people, let's hustle."
For most of the episode, the parents referred obliquely to a split, dancing on the edge of the precipice.
Then Jon pronounced: "Kate and I have decided to separate. It's just not good for our kids for us to be arguing in front of our kids."
He seemed energized and relieved by the decision.
Kate was clearly more upset. In a rare moment of emotional honesty, she admitted: "I don't really want to be alone."
How much of that was sadness at the dissolution of her marriage and how much was her disappointment at not being able to maintain her fairy-tale façade is difficult to say.
She quickly moved on to resolving that ceremonial occasions like holidays and birthdays would still be elaborately observed.
"I can shelve my anger and upsetness," she vowed, intent on preserving the vestiges of a looking-good family.
The kids seemed oblivious to the storm clouds gathering, as they played happily with the toy houses built for them in the first half-hour of the show. It was another example of a gimme promotion for the Gosselins.
Maybe it's best the eight children did have their own houses constructed, because the family mansion is being split asunder.
"It's going to be different," Jon said at one point.
That is certain.
Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.