19 Kids and Counting: The One Interesting Moment in Jessa's Life
On 19 Kids & Counting, we continue our stroll down Jessa’s memory lane while Jim Bob kicks his future son-in-law’s butt up and down the flag football field. And for once, Jessa does something genuinely impressive.
We’re midway through the joint bachelor/bachelorette party for Jessa and Ben (part 1 here), where the boys are playing flag football and the girls are watching passively. We’re also in the middle of a tour of Jessa’s life, although it’s a lot like a tour of Kansas—endless, featureless, and only vaguely interesting because of all the crazy Christian extremists everywhere.
Ma Duggar tells us Jessa really stepped up when youngest daughter Josie was born 15 weeks early at less than one and a half pounds. “You name it, she can do it,” says Pa. Okay, blowjobs.
Apparently, Jessa stepped up by organizing the family’s temporary move to Little Rock while Josie was in neonatal intensive care. Quite an undertaking, right? Eh. “Organizing,” in this context, refers to packing, and “packing,” in this context, refers to making lists while others do the work, which we’ve learned is Jessa’s specialty.
Packing supervisor is Jessa’s usual role when the family rolls out in the RV, and “It’s very rare if Jessa might forget something,” although one time she forgot socks and underwear for the eight younger boys.
It’s Josie’s turn in the interview chair to tell the camera how awesome Jessa is, when, out of the blue, she goes tumbling to the floor. “I fell off again,” she says. The “again” kills me.
Still in flashback land, the Duggars are preparing for a yard sale by rummaging through the family warehouse, and holy shit, they’ve got an entire warehouse on the Duggar Compound. It’s bigger than a barn and jam-packed with garbage/Macklemorean treasures.
Can you guess what Jessa’s doing? Okay, “not much” is an acceptable answer, but I was going for organizing. Specifically, she’s making lists and pointing out things for other people to do. (Maybe she is ready to be a wife. ZING!) “I’m don’t really have a problem stepping up and being the ‘bad guy,’” she says, with finger quotes and everything. Hey, it’s not like she could just roll up her sleeves, because that would be immodest.
Whatever will the family do when Jessa brings her talents to the Seewald household? “Thankfully, Jessa and passed on her gift to Jinger and Joy Anna,” assures Ma. I’m sure all the boys are thrilled to hear it. It must’ve taken hours of rigorous training for Jinger and Joy Anna to pick up all tricks of the trade: “Whenever you see something that needs doing, don’t. In a pinch, stand back and assign it to someone else.”
Jinger gets a chance to talk to the camera. “She’s changing from Duggar to Seewald. Jessa Seewald. Whoa, this is totally different.” She speaks with wide-eyed wonder as if Jessa were transitioning into an alpaca.
At last we reach the one real highlight of Jessa’s life, and no, it has nothing to do with Ben. It’s her birthday, and she’s decided to go skydiving. And she wants Ma Duggar to do it with her. “You will? That’s awesome!” she says. “I mean, whose mom goes skydiving. I have the greatest mom.”
Ma Duggar says skydiving is the perfect metaphor for Jessa’s life because she “jumps completely into things.” And for once, Ma is kind of right. As it turns out, Jessa is jumping tandem, strapped to a man who has full control and makes all the decisions, and Jessa is just baggage along for the ride. What could be a better metaphor?
And when we say “strapped to a man,” we mean attached right to his dick. Ah, so this is why Jessa is so excited to skydive. It’s the first time she’s had an excuse to back dat ass up into a dude’s crotch. No room for the Holy Ghost here. “This is awesome,” she screams repeatedly.
Ma Duggar is also sky-bondage-spooning a man who is not her lawful wedded husband. She hits ground first and they roll around together. Seconds later, Jessa hits feet first—and totally sticks the landing. She just walks away. All sarcasm aside, that was really fucking impressive.
Back at the bachelor/ette party, Team Ben is getting crushed 22 to 6. And that’s our cue to switch over to a quick Ben retrospective.
Whoa, have you ever seen Poppa Seewald? He’s quite a handsome fellow. With hair chiseled from onyx. He’s like the central casting version of a 1950s sitcom dad. I’m pretty sure he’s Steve Carell’s lovechild with Anderson Cooper.
Poppa Seewald tells us that Ben “responded well to our training,” which makes him sound like a loyal dog or a cult member, both of which, I suppose, are reasonably accurate.
Momma Seewald, on the other hand, knows what teenage boys do late at night. “Teens have their moments, at night, when everybody else is in bed, and they want to… talk,” she says. Euphemism? Nope. She says Ben was always very close to his sisters and would stay up late chatting and counseling them and giving them encouragement. And now Ben’s grown up into a sensitive, artistic man, who takes great care of his body, wears T-shirts two sizes too tight, and is obsessed with a reality TV starlet. Hmm. Must be the Anderson Cooper genes peeking through.
Ben tells us he had a laid-back childhood, but no one cares about that, so we skip straight to the part where he starts showing up at the Duggar Compound, seemingly uninvited, all the damn time. Ben admits to his mom that he’s interested in Jessa, saying he just loves her hair, and she’s so spunky, and he just wishes he could be her, is that strange?
Ben’s mom—the encouraging, loving soul that she is—proceeds to shit all over his chances of getting a girl like Jessa. “I didn’t want him to get his hopes up,” she says. After all, Jessa’s on TV and she’s super hot for Arkansas. “Think of all the guys she must have pounding on her door,” says Ma Seewald. Be realistic, she warns. You’re not even close to her league.
John-David says he gave Ben the cold-shoulder at first because it was clear he wanted in Jessa’s pants, as if Jessa would ever be allowed to wear pants. But Ben was reasonably good at clearing brush, so John-David figured he’d “probably be okay” for his little sis. I suppose there’s some Biblical tradition behind earning a bride through farm labor, although if they really wanted to do it right, this season’s big shocker should have been Ben discovering he accidentally married Jana. Now THAT would have been some reality TV worth watching.
Finally, Ben is ready to ask Jessa if she’ll go steady with him, but first he asks Pa Duggar’s permission, of course. When they finally drag Jessa into the conversation, Ma and Pa hover awkwardly over her, grinning like idiots, and Pa is even filming the whole thing on his iPhone as if there’s not an entire camera crew in the room. “I was just wondering if you wanted to court me?” says Ben.
“Yes,” says Jessa, and when they rejoin the family, there is boisterous applause. The show even adds triumphant swelling music in case you’re not clear this is the point where you should be on your feet shouting “YOU GO, GIRL!” at your TV screen.
“Ben is kind of nice, non-mean,” says six-year-old Jordyn. Damn, and you thought John-David’s endorsement was tepid. No wonder they had to add the swelling music.
The courtship is reduced to a handful of mushy texts from Ben, bemused replies from Jessa, and one afternoon where Jessa gives Ben shit about not being able to make a decent pie crust.
Ma Duggar says Ben is sensitive and sweet, and notes that opposites attract. Then we get a quick flashback to the scavenger hunt wedding proposal, and Jessa once again tries to assure the viewing audience that she enjoyed the whole day, which is bullshit.
The flag football game is over, and 22-6 is the final score. Go ahead and try to figure out how someone scores 22 points in flag football. Two two-point conversations is the best I can come up with. Either that, or one of the homeschoolers was in charge of the scoreboard.
Jessa gets the pink football and tells us, “It was a really special keepsake. It was a way to remember that special evening.” Thanks, but we know what a keepsake is.
As everyone heads out, Ben gives Jessa a patented 19 Kids & Counting side hug and says, “You’re my big one,” which is exactly what every woman wants to hear. “You’re my Super Bowl,” he clarifies before she beats him to death with a little pink football.
There’s a cutaway scene of the Duggar women in the kitchen, and I have no idea where this is supposed to fit into the chronology of the episode. Another Jessa flashback? Lunch the next day? Anyway, Ma Duggar tells Grandma, “Jessa’s the one heading this up.”
Naturally, Jessa replies, “Uh, I didn’t know I was heading it up.” Don’t worry, Jessa, it doesn’t count as actual responsibility. Just make a list and tell everybody what to do.
Ma tells the audience that Jessa wants to be a stay-at-home mom, which is not quite a total shocker. Jessa says she’s gotta work on some of her homemaker skills, especially cooking. Jinger assures us that Jessa’s cooking has “improved over the last couple of months” since she, you know, started trying.
We see the Seewald sisters teaching Jessa to make an apple pie and assuring Jessa that Ben won’t expect one more than once a month or so. And if my wife is reading this, I gotta say that sounds pretty reasonable, sweetheart.
“It’s hard to believe in just a few days I’ll be married,” says Jessie.
And now we’re back to the aftermath of the flag football game, and the various married couples are sharing advice.
“Take one moment at a time,” says Momma Seewald.
And what do you think Pa Duggar’s advice is? “Be fruitful and multiple.” Just when you think he can’t get any more creepy.