The Jon and Kate Plus 8 Season 4 Volume 1 DVD continues the trend of episodes on DVD. For anyone who has never seen the television show, basically the show is a reality/documentary show that follows Jon, Kate, their twins (Cara and Madelyn), and the sextuplets (Alexis, Hannah, Aaden, Collin, Leah and Joel) as they try living normal life. Episodes usually follow a format: one or two events occur and usually Jon and Kate narrate how everyone reacted to it. The events could be as simple as going to the supermarket or as grand as going to amusement parks.
The episodes in the set represent the first half of Season Four. For an unknown reason the third episode of the season, “Gosselin Family Movie Night,” was not added to the DVD. One positive of the DVD was that the episodes were edited so the “coming up next” snippets before the commercials were taken out, reducing the redundancy. The only negative to that is that the children normally say “Coming up next on Jon & Kate Plus 8” and it’s really cute to watch.
In general, the episodes were more adventurous than previous seasons. With the children growing up, each child has developed their own personalities and made the episodes more interesting to watch. It’s questionable whether or not Kate has gotten grumpier or that the stress has gotten higher, but everyone is endearing in their own way. This DVD includes the family’s adventures to North Carolina, California, and Hawaii; seeing the adventure in the children’s eyes is magical. The core episodes of the DVD are the final four that follow the family with the renewal of Jon and Kate’s wedding vows. The episodes are wonderful to watch, seeing Jon connect with his family in Hawaii and Kate being emotional about renewing her vows.
One thing that I’m really disturbed by was the cover art. It’s blatantly obvious that the family was photoshopped together. The other season’s cover art feels normal; not every child was staring at the camera. Also, the episode “Picture Perfect” shows that the family can pull off a good picture. By photoshopping the children, some look off proportion (Alexis, who is in Kate’s arms, is tiny compared to her sextuplet siblings), while others suffer from different lighting (Colin, the second boy to the left has sunlight on the back of his head, while Cara has none). The back of the DVD cover also makes the children look like the size of the guests, but also the chairs are twice the size they needed to be. The cover looks like it was made in haste and doesn’t flatter the Gosselins.
As for extras, the DVD has slim pickings. Although the box suggests “Embarrassing & Favorite Moments” and the “Viewer FAQ” as bonus features, both were aired as episodes during the fourth season run. There is basic fanfare for subtitles, but the show tends to use a lot of subtitles for the children anyway; there aren’t any other language options. There is one bonus: Jon & Kate’s wedding photo slideshow. The photos are set to music, but can be skipped ahead. The only problem is that the photos cannot be enlarged and they do not take up the whole screen.
I love Jon & Kate Plus 8 and this DVD is good, but lacks any bells and whistles. Any fan would appreciate the volume, but anyone new to the show should probably get season one first to learn about Jon, Kate, and the children. The menus are very easy to navigate so children can easily hit the “play all” option. It would have been nice to put in a few of the commercials (Especially “It’s A Beautiful Life”) that were used during the season as bonuses, especially on disk two which has no bonus features at all.