Aug 6, 2017
19 Kids and Counting: You Dirty Dog, You!
If you think watching 19 Kids & Counting is a chore, just wait until you’re stuck watching them do chores. It’s like chore-ception in here. Plus, Jill and Derick go to a natural childbirth class, and somebody’s a dirty, dirty dog.
We kick things off at the end of a homeschooling assignment with assorted boys scrawling in notebooks with pens. Ma Duggar compliments their penmanship and assures them “your dad would be very happy about that.” Like they say, legibility is next to godliness.
We don’t get to hear what the boys have been learning, but through the miracle of the pause button, here’s what I could read in James’s handwriting:
In 1453 the Turks conquered Constantinople. The city became the capital of their empire, and they renamed the city Istanbul. Under Ottoman rule, the city flourished as a center of political, commercial, and cultural importance.
Okay, maybe They Might Be Giants said it better, but otherwise it’s hard to find fault with any of that (and believe me, I’m really trying—it’s my job). I know you were all hoping for some nice “And then the Great Flood created the Grand Canyon” or “Bringing Christianity to the American Indians was totally a fair exchange for their land and most of their lives,” but no such luck.
Now school’s out, and it’s time to take the family dog to the dog wash. “We have Bubba, our dog, and a number of kitty cats,” says Ma. Bubba used to be James’s responsibility, but now he’s been handed down to ten-year-old Jackson, the youngest of the boys.
Is Bubba fun to play with, the producer asks five-year-old Josie. “He’s not a toy!” she answers indignantly. “He’s a real dog. He’s like arf, arf!” Her adorable seriousness makes it clear she’s been given the “he’s not a toy” warning many times in her life.
Bubba seems like a happy dog, thrilled by attention, happy to follow the kiddos around and jump into the car with them. It looks like Jackson, Josie, and six-year-old Jordyn are on the dog-washing team, and off they go to the dog wash at the strip mall. “Bark ‘n’ Paws,” it’s called—repeatedly—getting its full product placement value.
Bubba does not know what kind of weird ass place they’ve dragged him to, but he’s sure he doesn’t want any part of it. He plants himself outside the door and will not move. It’s a fairly small wiener dog mix, but it takes both Jackson and Jordyn to lift him up and carry him inside.
Once he makes it through the door, Bubba is quickly back to his happy self, even as three children simultaneously (and clumsily) scrub him with shampoo. That dog is a fucking saint. He’s my new favorite Duggar, replacing Jim Bob’s tape worm. Give that dog his own spinoff, or at least his own apartment.
All three kids simultaneously towel him off, and then all three simultaneously jab into his ears with ear wipes. At this point if he bit one of the kids, the judge would have to put the blame squarely on Ma (and hopefully order her fixed). But Bubba handles it all like a champ. He’s a good boy! YES HE IS! YES HE IS!
“Bubba doesn’t stink anymore,” says Josie.
“That makes one of us,” Bubba thinks.
Next we join Jill and Derick at “A Mommy’s Butterfly Midwifery” for a natural childbirth class. They’re 25 weeks into their pregnancy, which is the same point at which Josie was born extremely prematurely, weighing only one pound, six ounces.
“I can picture the size of our little boy is by picturing Josie in that incubator,” says Jill.
An extremely rare interesting Duggar Fact pops up on the screen (one of only two I’ve ever seen), telling us that Ma Duggar has spent 150 hours in labor total, or a week of her life. (Actually, that’d only be 6.25 days, but whatever.) That’s an average of just under eight hours per kid, although I hear Justin through Jordyn pretty much crawled out on their own while Ma was doing laundry.
There are three other couples in the class, all in their 20s, white, and redneck as can be. Sadly, none of them are allowed to talk. Jill tells us this particularly style of natural childbirth appealed to her because it’s husband-coached. Submissive to the end, that’s our Jill. Because if there’s anything you want to follow a man’s lead on, it’s definitely pushing a baby out of a vagina.
“The husband got the wife pregnant, and it’s important for the husband to help deliver the baby,” explains Pa Duggar. With all the various ways the Duggar clan is stuck in the (imaginary) 1950s, you may wonder why they’re so with-the-times about the father being in the delivery room. Rest assured, it’s because the man should be in charge of the woman at all times.
This particular class session is on various pain-relieving poses you can strike between and during contractions. Jill says they’re planning to deliver at home without drugs, so moving to different positions is the best/only form of pain relief she’ll have.
Since we’re in the future, we know that Jill will need to be rushed to the hospital to deliver baby Israel. Details about what went wrong just came out today in People magazine. First, Jill tested positive for Strep B, a common vaginal bacteria that can be dangerous to newborns passing through. Fortunately, they had an IV of antibiotics at the house, so things were still fairly normal at that point. But when the contractions reached one minute apart and stayed that way for 20 FRICKING HOURS, it was clear things were not going to go smoothly. Then there were signs of pre-natal poop (called meconium), which is very dangerous for fetuses. Jill made the decision to go to the hospital—where she continued to labor for ANOTHER 50 FRICKING HOURS. Holy crap, Jill—that is so fucking dangerous for that baby. She (he?) FINALLY consented to a C-section, and baby Israel is now doing great.
Back to the childbirth class. “Relax. Relax that pelvic floor,” says Derick. Yep, he’s definitely the one you want in charge. He keeps trying to be cute and silly, and she keeps giving him mock reproachful glances. “No joking!” she whispers with a wag of her finger.
“Derick, you’re gonna have to conquer that drive to make her laugh,” says the instructor.
(I feel ya, Derick. Believe it or not, I got the exact same warning, repeatedly, during our childbirth classes. Women in labor lose their sense of humor, I was told. And I can confirm that yes—yes, they do.)
Then we’re treated to a yicky montage of slimy babies slithering out of Ma Duggar’s va-jay-jay because they couldn’t think of any grosser way to end this segment.
Next, we’re off to Washington, D.C., home of Josh and Anna. Since Josh is a big, important muckety-muck handing out PAC money to the most notoriously crazy politicians, he’s obviously too busy to appear in this scene. Fortunately, Anna is a stay-at-home mom with all the time in the world to make filler segments to round out the half hour. Today, she’s sewing a curtain for Jessa and Ben, who are currently honeymooning in the communist hellscape of Europe.
When they get back, Jessa and Ben will be moving into a house owned by Grandma Duggar and previously occupied by Josh and Anna. In fact, Anna gave birth to all three of her children in the home, so we’re treated to a quick flashback of slimy Mackynzie as a slimy just-born baby because apparently that’s our motif for today.
The home’s front door has a large oval window, which, I shit you not, Josh and Anna simply hung an old bath robe over for the several years they lived there. Jessa deserves better, so Anna has enlisted her children in helping her sew a real curtain.
“Can we please just get through this without going to the emergency room?” says Anna. She then hands five-year-old Mackynzie a pair of scissors because she doesn’t really like the brat any more than I do.
Anna reminisces about sitting in her mother’s lap while her mother used the sewing machine, so she lets MacKynzie and three-year-old Michael take turns sitting her lap. Michael can’t help but constantly stick his fingers in front of the needle, but Anna is diligent so no one gets mutilated.
And that’s all there is to it. Anna has successfully sewn a piece of solid off-white fabric into a rectangle for Jessa to hang on the front door. Scene.
Back at the Duggar Compound, 17-year-old Joy Anna has taken over Jessa’s job as designated middle manager, a.k.a. list-maker, a.k.a. nothing-doer. Today, she’s in charge of re-assigning all of the household choirs to compensate for the absence of Jill and Jessa.
“Jill did a lot of the cooking… and Jessa was our organizer,” says Joy Anna. Apparently 25-year-old spinster Jana has taken over kitchen duties, and Joy Anna—who knows a sweet gig when she sees one—quickly nominated herself to fill Jessa’s shoes.
Chores in the Duggar household are called “jurisdictions,” with the youngest being put in charge of the easiest ones. Bathrooms are generally agreed upon to be the hardest. Here’s the new list, as decided by Joy Anna:
- Jenny: Girl’s room
- Jed: Boy’s room
- James: Pantry
- Josie: Laundry
- Jeremiah: Bathrooms (no word what he did to piss Joy Anna off)
- Hanny: Goodbye room (whatever that is) and dining room
- Justin: Playroom and upstairs trash
- Jordyn: Clothes closet
- Jason: Living room and porch
Gosh, Joy Anna, I can’t help but notice you left your name off the list. I also can’t help but notice the written list in your hand has Jeremiah listed as “parents room, prayer closet” instead of the home’s nine bathrooms. Better burn that list before Jeremiah catches on.
“I don’t like having the girls room because it takes three thousand hours. Three. Thousand. Hours,” bitches seven-year-old Jenny.
Now that everyone has their assignments, it’s orientation time. Each kid is responsible for training the person taking over their old jurisdiction. The TV crew follows Josie because she’s the youngest/cutest of the bunch. Her job is to go room to room with a rolling cart and gather up any dirty clothes she finds. And she finds lots. On the floor, under beds, in the bathrooms, etc. We know from previous episodes that it’s Grandma Duggar who actually does the laundry—70 loads per week—in exchange for a roof over her head and an occasional bottle of budget hair dye.
“I don’t like doing laundry,” says Josie. “I like pushing people.”
And that’s why the camera crew follows you around, cutie. Sadly, we don’t get to see her shove anyone down the stairs. Instead, Josie is actually pretty enthusiastic about zooming through the halls and gathering up dirty duds.
“I can already tell you’re going to be awesome at this job,” says Ma.
And on that positive note, credits.