Mar 30, 2021
19 KIDS & COUNTING: Licking and Sticking Your Pickle Wear It Doesn't Belong
Jessa’s wedding is creeping up on us, so 19 Kids & Counting slows things down even further with a homemade pizza party, a trip to the county clerk’s office, and kissing lessons from Ma and Pa Duggar.
Jessa and Ben’s wedding is one week away, and gosh, they just can’t wait. Today they’re picking up the marriage license with 16-year-old Jeremiah as chaperone so they don’t get nekkid in the car. The kindly old guy behind the desk at the county clerk’s office checks their IDs to make sure one is marked “F” and one is marked “M,” then asks for $60. If you multiply that by 19, that’s $1,140 the Duggar Fact in the corner of the screen tells us.
Uh oh, drama! The nice bureaucrat wants to know if the minister performing the ceremony is certified in Arkansas. Jessa and Ben aren’t sure. The minister is a family friend from out of state. That’s okay, he just needs to bring in his ordination certificate and $5 to get certified. But oh no, he’s out of the country until right before the wedding! Whatever will they do?! FedEx the ordination certificate to Jessa and Ben so they can bring it down to the county clerk’s office with the five bucks, suggests the helpful bureaucrat. Whew. All that drama has left me lightheaded; I may have to go lie down for a little bit.
The old guy finally coughs up the marriage certificate, and holy crap, it’s the most gaudy blue and gold glittery monstrosity you’ve ever seen. Are they getting married or did they just win Most Colorful Lanyard at day camp?
With license in hand, Jessa says, “It’s becoming real to us. It’s official. It’s happening.” You can rest assured she says some variation of this after every scene tonight.
Back at the Duggar Compound, Ma Duggar admits she’s getting concerned about pulling all the wedding prep off in time. This is what’s known as “informed drama” because we never see any sign of it on screen, and in fact it’s never mentioned again. Right now, she’s making a special wedding gift for Jessa and Ben with the help of Grandma Duggar and some of the little girls.
Get out your ideas book, crafters, because this is actually pretty sweet. They’re cutting some of the tulle netting from the wedding dress worn by Grandma and Ma on their wedding days (yes, they wore the same dress) and making a little flower out of it to go in Jessa’s bouquet. After the ceremony, they’ll put it in a picture frame with a photo from the wedding.
Adorably, 7-year-old Jenny spends the entire time pretending to be an audio engineer, wearing an old 1970s set of headphones and holding her broomstick horsey over her mom’s head like a boom microphone.
Now, we’re off on a double date with Jill, Derick, Jessa, and Ben. Derick assures us he’s taking his chaperone duties seriously. “We know what they’re thinking because we were just there,” he says. “If I see Ben with that look, I just have to tackle him.” I prefer to interpret this statement homoerotically; feel free to follow suit.
Our lovebirds (plus Jill and Jessa) are at one of those cutesy painting studios that exist only for young couples who have run out of date ideas and groups of middle-aged women who are too lazy to form a book club. There’s a painting of a tree in the middle of the room, and each couple has one canvas on which to make a copy. But here’s the catch: the women are only allowed to paint on the left side of the canvas and the boys on the right.
What’s going on at the Duggar Compound right now, you (fail to) ask. It’s homemade pizza night! Pa Duggar is hamming it up, as usual, twirling the dough in the air. The dough, which starts out flat, somehow pulls itself into a tube and twists around on itself like a pretzel, which is a fairly impressive result, if unintentional. If you saw some dude at the Pretzel Annie in the middle of the mall toss up at flat pizza dough and catch at raw pretzel, you’d stop and watch.
Then everyone starts spreading their dough onto cookie sheets. Some keep theirs separate to make their own pies; others work theirs together to cover the entire cookie sheet. Sixteen-year-old Jedidiah grabs a giant pickle jar. Please tell me you’re using it as a rolling pin, please tell me you’re using it as a rolling pin. Nope, the Duggars freakin’ love pickles on their pizza. Everyone boasts about how yummy it is. I foresee thousands of evangelical families being extremely disappointed at their own homemade pizza nights in the near future. One can only hope this leads to disillusionment and division in the Quiverfull movement. The Great Pickle Schism of 2015.
Five-year-old Josie doesn’t need a knife to dice up the red peppers going on her pizza. She uses her teeth, biting off little bits, spitting them into her hand, and arranging them just so. “She likes to lick and stick,” says Ma Duggar. Yeah, that’s just what they said about you in high school, Michelle.
Thirteen-year-old James is the only one who makes a round pizza with a crust. Everyone else’s pizzas come out of the oven shaped like gingerbread men gone horribly wrong. But Josie assures it’s yummy, and we move along back to the double date.
Ben asks for first-month-of-marriage advice, and Derick answers, “Try to spend all of your extra time together.” I don’t know; that sounds like asking for trouble.
Jill admits that she and Derick haven’t had much of a chance to settle into married life because they got pregnant in less than a month. “It’s really cool having all this change at once,” she says. Who knows, maybe it’s a good thing for her not to have any time to herself without little ones running around. She might discover she likes it. Freedom and options… it’s a dangerous path for a young woman.
Jessa agrees. “I don’t think I’d be getting married if I wasn’t ready to start a family,” she says. Yeah, like there’s any other reason to get married other than squirting out a litter of kids.
The finished paintings look suspiciously identical—left side and right, and one to the other.
And we’re off to Washington, D.C. Oh fuck, it’s 5-year-old Mackynzie again. “I’m a little stupidhead, and sometimes I eat my own underwear,” she says. “Centipedes and cockroaches have prettier faces than me.” What, she totally said that!! Don’t believe me, then maybe you should just start watching the show yourself. Is that what you want? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Mackynzie’s mom Anna is weighing suitcases to make sure they’re not too big for the airplane. They’re flying to Arkansas today for Jessa’s wedding. Mackynzie and three-year-old Michael are “helping” by shoving toys and snacks into a couple of small carry-on bags. Anna says it helps keep them calm and focused while traveling to give them bags that they’re responsible for. It’s a decent parenting tip.
Daddy Josh is even smarter, though. He’s nowhere to be found. He claims work stuff has him tied up, so he’ll have to fly in alone on the morning of the wedding. Hopefully he remembers to clear his web browser before he leaves.
Back at the Duggar Compound, Ma and Pa Duggar are preparing for their final pre-marital counseling session with Jessa and Ben. Apparently these have been going on once a week for a while now, but we’ve been mercifully spared until now. “I cannot believe I’m getting ready to give away another daughter,” says Momma.
“It hasn’t really sunk in that I’m about to be Mrs. Seewald,” says Jessa, despite assuring us 65 times over the past few episode that picking a venue/registering for gifts/buying a dress/picking up a marriage license/calling it off with her favorite booty call/etc. makes it suddenly feel real to her.
What sort of things to Jessa and Ben need to know before committing to spend the rest of their lives together no matter what at risk of eternal hellfire? Nothing but the most hackneyed Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Won’t-Shut-Up-ville advice, apparently. “Both of y’all will like the physical relationship, but for the guy that will be like the main focus. But for a woman, communications like the most important thing, so taking time each to communication, that’ll mean the world to her,” says Pa Duggar. So just talk dirty to each other, and you’ll both be happy, right?
So a husband’s main focus is getting laid, huh? This ultra-depressing marriage advice is a pretty solid argument why young people should get to fuckin’ before they get to marryin’. As awesome as it is, it shouldn’t be anybody’s “main focus” in marriage. Go ahead and get past that stage so you can build your life together on something stronger.
Ben assures Pa Duggar that he always encourages Jessa to say anything that’s “on her heart” every day. Jessa says, “We’ve had our disagreements,” although we’ve never seen any evidence of it. Was Ben’s chopped breath mint sundae topping a bridge too far? Did she finally get to watch the episode where he tried to use a tape measure? Whatever it was, Jessa assures us they always settle it “before the sun goes down.”
That apparently wraps up everything they need to know before they get to lawfully wedded procreating, but Pa Duggar’s got one last impromptu lesson he throws in at the very end while everyone’s saying goodbye for the evening: He’s gonna show them how to kiss. It’s a tongue-in-cheek lesson—in both senses of the phrase. He’s being more silly than instructive.
“If you kiss straight on, your noses bump,” he says. “So you have to turn—she turns one way, I turn the other.” Yeah, just what every young couple wants: to watch their parents make out.
Ben tells the camera, “We’re saving our first kiss for our wedding day. We think that it could lead to some things we’re really trying to avoid before our wedding, and so, yeah, we just think it’s wise for us to hold off until our wedding day.”
Ben, if it helps you rest easy, let me assure you that I’ve kissed plenty of girls I didn’t sleep with, sometimes even by my own choice and not just because she wouldn’t let me. It can be done. Sex doesn’t have to be your main focus, no matter what your creepy-ass father-in-law says.
If this was a half-hour episode, this is clearly where we’d see the credits. Therefore—sorry, girls and boys—we’re dividing this hour-long special into two chucks. Click here for Part 2!