Apr 16, 2017
19 Kids and Counting: Jill's Got A Penis Inside Her... And It's Not Her Husband's
This week on 19 Kids & Counting, we finally learn the sex of Jill’s baby, except that the baby’s already been born and everybody already knows. There’s also an indestructible piñata, a strip mall ultrasound, and a lengthy aside about Long Island Medium.
We’re back to back-to-back half hour episodes! Episode #1 starts now!
Jessa and Ben are finally married, which means Ben now has what he wanted most in the world—his name in the opening credits. Next week, they’ll be adding the web address for eldest daughter Jana’s Christian Mingle profile as well.
We start out in the kitchen of Jill and Derick’s McMansion, where they’re cooking bacon and waffles for breakfast. In Arkansas, that’s all four food groups: salt, sugar, carbs, and fat. And it looks delicious.
“Today’s the big day,” says Derick, referring to the ultrasound that will reveal the genetic sex of the baby and thus give a strong statistical indication of its likely gender identity post puberty. (Wow, being a good liberal sure is a mouthful sometimes.)
If it’s a boy, they plan to name him Israel, which Derick says means “God will prevail,” which it almost certainly doesn’t. The “I” (originally “Yi”) means “he,” so “He who struggles with God” is the usual interpretation, or “He who rules through God” is possible, or even “God rules him (or through him).” In fact, there’s probably some word play going on so that it means more than one of these things. But a future tense without a he or him? Nope.
If it’s a girl, they plan to name her Selah, which Derick says means “pause and reflect,” which is a modern reinterpretation of the word, which is a musical term and not a name, probably similar to a caesura or a period of silence. So, again, nope.
Jill is planning on dragging her entire Buddy Team along to the ultrasound. For those unfamiliar with Duggar terminology (lucky you), a Buddy Team is a random assortment of young siblings assigned to an older sister to look after because Ma Duggar can’t be expect to raise each and every child she gives birth to. Jill’s team has been largely neglected since she got married, which probably explains why 7-year-old Jenny has turned to meth and prostitution.
Along with Jenny, the Buddy Team also includes 13-year-old James and 17-year-old Joy Anna. Is there any concern that the kids will blab the fetus’s sex before that afternoon’s gender reveal party? Jill notes that Jenny doesn’t talk much anyway, James will probably be happy to gloat “I know something you don’t know,” and Joy Anna is good with secrets. (After all, no one’s found that drifter Joy Anna helped Jessa bury in the basement back in Season 6, right?)
Over at the Duggar Compound, Joy Anna is struggling to get Jenny out of bed, except that Jenny is already fully dressed so I’m not sure if this scene is being (clumsily) staged or if a wasted Jenny crashed with her clothes still on after last night’s meth bender.
Everybody gets a chance to guess what the baby’s sex will be. Ma says girl. Pa says boy. Six-year-old Josie says, “I think it’s going to be a boy and a girl,” because she’s pretty open-minded and progressive about intersex acceptance and awareness.
Of course, there’s no real suspense for the audience. Even if you don’t keep up with the Duggars in the tabloids, TLC has been running a Twitter crawl throughout the entire episode, with nothing but messages of congratulations for Jill and Derick on the birth of baby Israel, born just 18 hours before this episode aired. If you’re wondering, the consensus seems to be that Israel is “SOOOO CUTE!!!” and/or “ADORABLE!!!” Any and all “WE HOPE YOU ESCAPE SOMEDAY” messages didn’t make it into the crawl.
Jill has said they’re undecided on following suit by naming all their kids with the same first letter. If so, they’ve really painted themselves in a corner with “I.” There’s Isaac and Isiah on the boy’s side, but beyond that we’re diving straight into made-up pseudo-Biblical names like Ilizabeth, Immanuella, Istian-chray, and I’mabigfanofJesus.
Derick’s mom is still in Omaha receiving stem cell treatments (not the puréed zygote kind!) to hopefully prevent a recurrence of her cancer. To share with her the baby’s sex, Derick’s brother Dan has secretly flown into Omaha to ambush her with either pink or blue flowers. Pretty cool.
The Buddy Team arrives at Casa Jill y Derick, and everybody loads into the car to go to the party supply store. They grab a bunch of blue and pink crap to scatter around the McMansion, along with a giant question mark-shaped piñata that will be filled with either blue or pink candy.
Next stop is the ultrasound clinic—if “clinic” is the right word for a shop in a strip mall. Either way, the place is called Babyface & More, because classy.
We cut away to Pa Duggar, who tells the camera, “I’m sure Derick and Jill are having a lot of emotions,” which is just so illuminating, thank you very much. I think the perfect Duggar sentence is, “I can’t believe I feel so many emotions about God providing us with more babies.” Just repeat that for 22 minutes, slap in some commercials for car seats and Long Island Medium, and you’re done.
(I wonder why there’s not more whining about Long Island Medium being advertised during this nice Christian program? Shouldn’t the rightwing crazies be infuriated? The Old Testament is pretty clear that anyone who contacts the dead is an “abomination” and “detestable to the Lord.” Where are the online petitions? Where’s the “share this on Facebook” outrage? Maybe we should start some…)
Derick has never been to an ultrasound before, but for the others it’s old hat. The pregnancy baton has been passed around constantly pretty much their entire lives. For his part, Derick predicts a girl because he doesn’t want to get his hopes up too much and be disappointed.
“Pregnancy has always been something I’ve dreamed of,” says Jill. That’d be kind of sweet if it wasn’t the only thing you ever dreamed of.
In cutaway, Ma and Pa Duggar try to remember whether or not they had an ultrasound for their firstborn or if they found out Josh was a boy in the delivery room. In the end, they both just shrug. That was waaaaaaaaaaay too many kids ago to possibly remember the details. What a beautiful story.
Back to the ultrasound—a powerful and meaningful moment in the lives of Jill and Derick, at least for now, until it’s completely forgotten in a deluge of other children. First, they hear the heartbeat. “Sounds like a girl,” says Jill.
There is a common myth that a faster heartbeat indicates a girl, but science says no. Good to see Jill’s midwife training is as grounded in science as the rest of her education.
“I can’t believe there’s a baby inside me!” says Jill, which is not really something you want to hear a midwife say. That should really be day one material in any midwifery program.
Okay, it’s showtime. The cold, slimy ultrasound thingamabobber is sliding around Jilly’s tummy, hunting for a wee-wee or a hoo-ha. “We’ve got leg, leg… this is cord right here… and this is right in between!” says the nurse.
Everyone stares dumbly at the screen. Yeah, I’ve been to an ultrasound. You’re really just going to have to tell us what we’re looking at.
But, of course, we go to commercial because the producers aren’t stupid enough to spoil the suspense this early in the episode. They’ll leave that to TLC and its Twitter crawl.
When we come back from the break, the gang has left the strip mall ultrasound shop to head home and decorate for the party. We’re reminded that Derick’s mom—Miss Cathy—is expecting a video call from the gender reveal party but she’ll actually get a surprise visit from other-son Dan. (That’s as close as we get to a B-plot in this episode.)
While the grown-ups hang streamers and a banner that says “Man or Miss” (because anything less than a boy would be a swing-and-a-miss), Jenny and James head upstairs to stuff the piñata with the appropriate color of candy. “No eating them, Jenny,” says James.
“One?” asks Jenny plaintively.
Ma Duggar pops up to tell us, “The excitement never goes away, not even with 19 babies.” Sure, she can’t remember anything about those early ones, but whatever, that just makes this one all the more exciting, right? A pregnancy she can actually remember! For now! Until it too is lost in the crowd.
It’s 12-year-old Justin’s turn to guess, and he predicts the baby will be an “it.” Okay, I guess we’ve found which child is going to be a serial killer. Grandma Duggar, on the other hand, is absolutely convinced it’ll be a boy.
Over in Omaha, Cathy is sitting in her hospital bed with her cell phone in hand, camera crew in her face. “Come on, guys…” she says to herself. Why Derick had to wait until the piñata breaks to tell his mom is something that really bugs me. Couldn’t they trust her not to post anything on Facebook yet? But there she is, continuing to wait, alone in her hospital room, phone in hand.
It’s party time! The family has arrived, small talk has been made, and it’s time to smash open the piñata. Five-year-old Josie goes first. She whacks the hell out of it, but no dice. Six-year-old Jordyn gets in a few good licks, but nothing happens. Jenny, Hanny, Jacky, Justy, Jamesy, Jasony, Jerry, Jeddy, and Joy likewise fail to do any visible damage.
“I thought they had duct taped it. It was crazy,” says Jackson.
Finally, Josiah splits the damn thing. Blue candy comes raining down.
“There’s just something about a father-son connection. Being a firstborn son myself and having that connection with my dad, it’ll be really neat to be a dad, to pass on that legacy to my firstborn son,” says Derick. I’ll let you drown that word salad in ranch dressing and try to digest it. I don’t have a fucking clue, and I’m even a firstborn son. And a dad with a firstborn son.
Derick calls his brother and gives the signal. Don barges into the room, and Miss Cathy is delightfully surprised. In fact, she’s so taken off guard she doesn’t immediately notice the significance of the flowers. “I got these for you,” says Don.
“Oh, it’s a boy!!!” says Miss Cathy. It’s a genuinely lovely moment.
Out of petty meanness or possibly boredom, the producers prod Derick to babble at the camera some more. “I think some of the things I’m looking forward to the most in having a son are teaching him how to be a man of God, a diligent worker, to care for others,” he says.
Jill keeps things simple: “I’m excited to meet our son.”
That’s episode 1! Episode 2 is here!