Sarah Palin & Kate Gosselin: Parenting Battle Royale

Jeanne Sager

Sarah Palin Gosselin childKate Gosselin has done the impossible for Sarah Palin. On Sunday night's episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska, she made one of the most hated moms in America look like the mom you'd most likely want to hang out with. Is it bragging to say we totally called this one?

TLC packed plenty of fireworks into an hour-long episode that kicked off on the premise that Palin and Gosselin -- though strangers -- should be bosom buddies because A. Piper Palin likes watching Gosselin's show Kate Plus 8 and B. They're both famous.

Considering most of us meet our mom friends because our kids happen to go to the same school, it's not that implausible. Besides, Sarah has to build a fence to keep out the prying eyes of the neighbor doing research for a book! And Kate has to keep the kids out of the front yard because that's where the paparazzi take their photos! It's a match made in heaven. Until it comes to parenting their kids.

Although it's reality television, two words we take with a grain of salt, TLC's edits split its two major stars right down the middle on the Palin and Gosselin family camping trip to Chelatna Lake in Alaska's Talkeetna Mountains. It's the middle of nowhere, and it's raining, and Palin is in her element.

Gosselin is in hell because she apparently never read up on the lifestyle of the Palin family before she agreed to go camping with them. Note to Kate: if you don't like camping (we lost count of how many times she said so last night), you don't go out in the wilderness with a Mama Grizzly. And that's just the start of what the episode revealed about these famous moms:

Sarah Palin loves the outdoors -- surprise, surprise -- and so do her kids. Before the Gosselin brood shows up, she takes four generations, including new grandson Tripp, out for a hike up a mountain called "The Beaut." And no one complains.

Kate Gosselin hates the outdoors -- she calls it "cruel and unusual punishment." Her kids, on the other hand, love it. When she asks them if they want to leave the camping trip, they all say no. She answers them by announcing, "OK, bye. You're now a Palin; you're not a Gosselin." The littlest kids' faces fall, and she decides to make them all leave anyway.

Sarah Palin gets kids involved ... in everything. She trots the Gosselin gang out to find firewood, sends them out fishing with her family, encourages them to find sticks to roast marshmallows. Her kids have jobs too. As she says, "Kids will always have fun if they're being helpful and productive and pitching in."

Kate Gosselin is happy to farm out the parenting work. During the camping trip, she stands under the tent the entire time and announces, "The kids are having fun, so I'm tolerating it." When the Palin family offers to teach the kids about being safe in the wilderness, she tells them, "Go head, hear what they have to say," and stays under the tent.

Sarah Palin has a sense of humor about her family. When a plane flies over, she announces, "It's the National Enquirer! Where's Bristol?"

Kate Gosselin is freaked out about everything. When they arrive at the camping site, she can't believe no one sprayed the kids with bug spray. And by the end of the episode, she's disturbed that there is no way to sanitize the kids' hands before they eat.

By the end of the episode, Kate and her crew had run back to the lodge, and the Palin family was playing games around a campfire with a sky that had cleared up. Tally it all up, and who would YOU want to go camping with?


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