19 Kids and Counting RECAP: Why do all these black people keep forcing us to eat vegetables? (S19:E4-5)
Another week of back-to-back episodes is making me think that maybe the rightwing evangelical view of a spiteful, petty, vengeful Heavenly Creator may be the correct one. He’s clearly punishing me for growing up in a remove-the-plank-from-your-own-eye-first denomination like a total pussy.
The first episode begins with a trip to White’s Jewelry where Momma Duggar got her wedding band all those many kids ago. Now she’s back again with second eldest daughter Jill and her fiancé Ben, played as always by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers.
As the lovebirds look through the White’s Jewelry display case at all the wedding bands White’s Jewelry has to offer, Momma Duggar reminisces with the owner of White’s Jewelry about how much smaller White’s Jewelry used to be 30 years ago but now White’s Jewelry is so much bigger and more successful and more wonderful than ever! Gee, do you think maybe there’s some free wedding bands in it for Jill and Derick if Momma mentions the name White’s Jewelry on the air enough times?
As far as rings go, Derick’s big concern is that Jill might go into midwifery (presumably to save all her fertile sisters a bundle on the, let’s see, 9 x 19 = 171 kids they’ll be popping out) if he decides she’s allowed to work outside the home. Jill can leave her engagement ring behind when it’s time to be birthin’ those babies, but, of course, the wedding band stays. Thus, no pokey stones (ouch!) or intricate filigree that might trap vagina goop (yuck!) during the whole messy procedure.
We briefly get a look at both bands, and DAMN—DERICK HAS BIG HANDS!! Good luck to his virgin bride on their wedding night.
Next we’re back at the Duggar homestead with this season’s featured couple #2: 21-year-old daughter Jessa and her boy toy Ben. Now that Ben is living in the family’s guest room and working as Daddy Duggar’s personal assistant, it’s up to 24-year-old son John David to show him the ropes.
Their first task is to fix part of a wooden privacy fence that’s fallen down. So they hop in Ben’s pickup truck to survey the damage. “You got a hammer in your truck?” John-David asks once they get there. (“Or are you queer?” is merely implied.) Ben doesn’t so they leave the fence as-is and go for donuts instead.
Meanwhile, Grandma Duggar is taking various little ones to one of those paint-your-own-pottery stores so they can hand decorate some crap for Jill’s wedding presents. One of the little girls, let’s call her Juniper, grabs a clay horse statue to paint because that’s fun, but Grandma talks one of the other girls, possibly Jujube, into decorating a platter because it’s practical. Thanks, Grandma—Jill and Derick could shove that crappily painted horse in any old corner of the house and forget about it, but now they’re going to be obligated to use that shit-tastic every-color-of-the-rainbow clay platter at every family gathering. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
Now Ben and John-David are installing a new window in Ben’s bedroom, except John-David has to go away for a while, possibly just to fuck with him. We immediately see why it’s a damn good thing no one gave Ben a hammer for the aborted fence-fixing project because good ol’ Benny boy can’t even handle a tape measure on his own. We get 36 shots of the tape measure getting away from him. I’m surprised this guy’s allowed to eat with anything more dangerous than a spoon.
“I think it’s very nice to have a husband who can work with his hands,” says Jessa in a confession booth cutaway.
“It’s not a… necessity?” Ben half-asks/half-pleads. He’s barely fit to handle his own penis, and I’m sure he spends the next half-hour crying about it when he does.
Finally, John-David returns to discover nothing has been cut to the proper length. (That’s not even CLOSE to eight inches, Ben, you’re not fooling anybody.) We’re treated to a time-lapse of the job being redone correctly under John-David’s guidance, and Ben is ready to move on to his next Herculean labor—cleaning what appears to be a truck stop bathroom.
Lover boy is all on his own for this one. And if you’ve ever wondered why there’s not more shows on TV about scrubbing a dirty bathroom, you may think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Ben scrubs floors, he scrubs sinks, he scrubs mirror, he scrubs toilets. Sometimes timidly, sometimes vigorously. There’s even a kind of neat but obviously faked shot from inside the toilet looking up Ben’s disgusted face. Hmph. And I thought this was supposed to be a REALITY show. Lying is a sin, you know.
At the end of the day, Daddy Duggar tells the camera that he gave Ben a list of five things to do that day and only two got done. But hell, when you’ve got this many daughters to marry off, you can’t be too picky so Ben gets to stay.
The second episode begins with Momma Duggar complaining, “I’m really missing those newborn babies.” Her youngest is now four so there’s no eager little mouth tugging at her breast, except maybe Jim Bob’s. Momma wants to be nursing her babies again.
Fortunately, this isn’t the setup for some sort of Game of Thrones-type scene. Instead, she’s gathered Jill and Jessa to help her reupholster some stools. Ooooo, beige, how daring.
And off we go to Washington, DC, to check on eldest son Josh and his wife Anna. They’re making three fucking cans of Pillsbury biscuits for two adults and three toddlers, along with bacon and eggs. Maybe they’re feeding the camera crew, too?
For newbies like me, Josh helpfully reminds us that he completed some sort of intensive 90-day weight loss program on a previous season. Just when everybody is sitting down to breakfast, the door bell rings. Josh gets up to answer it and we go to commercial, wait, no! WHO COULD IT BE?!?
We already know exactly who it is because they’ve shown “coming up” clips of Josh with his former personal trainer twice already this episode. Too bad. That doorbell thing could have been some killer fucking suspense.
Josh and Anna both assure us 97 times that they’re surprised to see former NFL player-turned-personal fitness coach Steve Conley at their door. When they arranged for this to be the day that all the camera crews show up at their house, they had absolutely no idea anything interesting might take place. (In fairness, it is pretty antithetical to this show. I almost believe them.)
Steve starts rummaging through their kitchen to see if there’s any healthy food to be found. Hey, they eat the same brand of salsa as me! We’re not so different after all! The few vegetables Steve discovers are long expired so he tosses them out.
This is easily the longest we’ve gone all season between scenes with Jill and/or Jessa, and it’s time to rectify that. Back in Arkansas, Jill and Derick are getting their official engagement photos taken by 20-year-old Jinger because having someone in the family do it is a good way to save money.
BULLSHIT. We’ve all seen forty metric tons of professional publicity photos of Jill and Derick since their engagement so screw you if you want to pretend this trumped up, artificial scene is all just part of your folksy, stretch-every-penny lifestyle. Hell, there’s a professional camera crew standing BEHIND JINGER RIGHT FUCKING NOW shooting this scene.
Anyway, they pick a pretty pasture fence and barn to stand in front of. Jessa is there, too, because otherwise she wouldn’t be in this episode at all. Jinger starts snapping away, but so do all sorts of nibbling bugs. Also, Jinger pretty much has to stand in the middle of the road to get an angle that doesn’t have power lines in it. So much minor adversity! But they handle it like champs because that’s what Duggars do.
And so we return to DC. Steve is dragging Josh, Anna, and the kids to the local farmers market like they’re no better than damn hippies. As they drive along in the mini-van, Steve checks the glove box and finds two chocolate bars. Tsk, tsk, he says. Sure, I’ll believe people in DC keep chocolate in their glove box in the spring without it turning into soup, why not.
At last we get to the farmers market. “It was almost like an outdoor grocery store,” exclaims Josh. Gold star there, buddy! Steve turns searching for vegetables into a game for the kiddos and pretty much demonstrates himself to be the best example of parenting this show has ever seen.
It’s a good thing these nice conservatives don’t have any problem with a tall African-American person insisting they feed their children vegetables and other healthy foods. I mean, who could possible object to that?! You’d have to be an absolutely SHAMELESS, TRANSPARENT, TWO-FACED, DERANGED—okay, you get it, I’ll move on.
Great, we’re back to the damn soapbox derby cars. And they still don’t have wheels. But that doesn’t matter because Daddy Duggar says today we’re going to paint! Which they do. And a good time was had by all. Not as good as if they could actually race the things, but whatever. It’s only been two weeks since the derby car kits arrived without wheels so what do you expect. Maybe Daddy Duggar put it on Ben’s list and it’ll get done sometime around Christmas.
One more time, we return to the photo shoot with Jill and Derick. It’s not entirely clear if this is the same location or even the same day as before. In fact, my best guess is that it’s actually earlier in the day than we last saw them. But it doesn’t fucking matter. They repeat the same things they said previously, and then we get to see the photos Jinger’s been taking. They’re pretty good.
Almost as good as the gazillion publicity photos the couple has already had professional taken.
As we wrap up for the night, Daddy Duggar notes that there’s plenty of photos out there of him smooching on Momma Duggar before they were married. Presumably this is what turned them both into such sluts and condemned them to an eternity of hellfire. Otherwise why wouldn’t they figure their children could handle it and still turn out to be at least as good of Christians as they are?