19 Kids And Counting Recap: Jessa Duggar Goes A-Courtin'

We’re not really sure what we did to the Editrix to have been stuck recapping Sister Wives, but now we’ve clearly done something worse, because she’s assigned us the Duggar family show, “19 Kids and Counting.” There have been seven previous seasons of this thing. Is America’s appetite for the stylings of this clown car vagina-driven family that great? Apparently! So let’s do this, even though we are doing it under protest.


SPOILER ALERT: There is literally no way on god’s green earth that we will learn the names of all these children. Hell, in “Sister Wives” we couldn’t even learn Nickelback’s name. (His name was “Nickelback.”)

It’s a very exciting time in the Duggar household! We know because Mama Michelle starts the episode by telling us that, in those exact words. Show, you might be setting people’s expectations a wee bit too high.

One of the children, Jessa, is courting with someone named Ben.


Let us take a moment to point out that Jessa is 20 and should be out at TGIFriday’s using her fake ID, going to a rave, listening to hippity-hop or doing cocaine or other things that normal 20-year-olds do, but instead she is stuck in this hell where she has to date this doofus who doesn’t know what knot to use on a tie.

This is the first Duggar lady child to pursue a courtship. The older Duggar dudes have courted ladies, but Daddy Jim Bob tells us that lady daughters have more emotions and that of course the boys that the daughters want to date must first go hang out with Jim Bob to see if they are acceptable enough and amenable enough to the idea of making their wife bear one trillion children, for Jesus.

Did you know the Duggars live in some sort of enormous gated community thing where potential boyfriends have to drive through a gate and talk into one of those little boxes that only the startlingly rich have, usually in movies? Now you do!

Also, did you know the show has helpful text overlays of fun facts about the Duggars?

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Now you do! Yes, the kids can’t text without looping Duggar Mom and Dad in as well. Good god.

When Ben gets to the house, he has to go beg Jim Bob and Michelle as to whether he can make it an official courtship, which he does BEFORE asking Jessa. Up until then they’ve only been texting. For five months. And Jessa feels like she knew the courtship ask was coming, but it is very soon. We don’t think we ever even had a relationship that lasted five months at that age, and we certainly didn’t have one that took more than about 10 minutes to set up.

He asks for her hand in courtship bliss while crammed into a utility room of some sort, or maybe Jim Bob’s home office. Tres romantic.

Oh god and they can only give side hugs, because they are Christian.

Jim Bob explains that the side hug is when you hug people from the side instead of the front. Jim Bob is one smart dude. After the side hug, everyone circles up to pray.

Now it is time for a montage of great Jessa moments over the years. This is when we’re going to do a couple shots to get us through the rest of this. Please note that it is 8 in the morning, and we DGAF. You do what you gotta do to get through.


Oh Jesus we did not know (or we blocked out) that all of the children’s names begin with “J,” which means there are tortured spellings like “Jinger.”

After the big courtship huddle in the laundry room or whatever, now Ben and Jessa have to go announce the courtship to the whole clan while all the other children look on in what is really an unwarranted level of excitement. We have never seen so many small blonde children in one room together. It’s like Children of the Corn.

Courting means no kissing, no handholding, and no hands on at all. Courting sounds terrible.

The privilege of courting means that instead of hanging out with Jessa, Ben gets to help with manly family projects like cleaning up a giant felled tree in the Duggar yard.

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Duggar dad, first of all you have a giant compound and we are sure you have servants for that shit. Next, you have like eleventy sons to help you do this, so this is just some bullshit character test for Ben.

The brothers are already taunting Ben about how he maybe won’t be able to support Jessa because his job is restoring auto glass and that’s not enough. The smug pig-faced older boys also explain that they are “good at their job” because another sister is 24 and is not yet married. We thought that Jim Bob would be the most repulsive man on this show, but pigboys bragging about cockblocking their sister from dating is up there for creepy and bad.

Mama Michelle is certain that now Jessa is courting, she will want to cook more, presumably so she can continue to keep Ben around, since she can’t do it via hot outfits or promises of a blow job if he watches a chick flick with her first.

Now it is time to go over the courtship rules AGAIN. No kissing, no handholding, no unchaperoned dates. You save your first kiss for marriage. Jesus. WE GET IT DUGGARS.

After Ben goes out and does manly tree-helping projects, he is rewarded with getting the opportunity to pray with the Duggars. Then he gets to eat food off of paper plates with plastic silverware and styrofoam cups. Man, if the Duggars do that for every meal, they are singlehandedly destroying the planet. Oh, Ben also has to name all the Duggar children in birth order, because this is a thing Jim Bob makes everyone who is trying to become a Duggar dater do. This is fucking ridiculous.

Now we have to interview all the younger children about what they think courting is and whether they knew the Ben-Jessa (Bessa?) courtship was imminent.

Field trip with Michelle and Jessa to go to Hot Springs to see Ben and his family, but first a montage of what Jessa will wear.

One of the million children has a pilot’s license, so he is going to fly the ladies down to see Ben. So we get to watch the plane take off and land and an interview with pilot boy, which, let us tell you, is RIVETING.

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Observational note: the girls in this family are MUCH more attractive than the boys.


Ben has a truck with just a front seat, so Michelle plants herself between Jessa and Ben so that they can’t accidentally touch.

Time for more interviews with the younger children. They like Ben! He is a good guy! You guys, this is just like watching “The Wire” or “The Sopranos.” Must see teevee.

Time to meet Ben’s family. They only have a mere seven children. Pikers. And now, of course, we have to montage interview all of Ben’s siblings to see what THEY think of Jessa. These people live 200 miles away from each other.

Meanwhile, Jim Bob is stuck with the other gazillion kids, and we get a taste of his really refined parenting skills vis-a-vis girls, such as his trying to comb his daughter’s hair by pawing at her head like a bear.

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He whines about how it is very difficult to get the children ready when Michelle is not there. Suck it, dude. You’re the one that wanted a million children.

Oh for fuck’s sake, Jim Bob takes all the kids to a “kids eat free” pizza joint, and since the policy is one kid/adult, they declare all the older siblings adults so that a whole bunch of them can grift their pizza for free.

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This is how rich people stay rich, dudes.

They clearly think this is a cool selling point. It takes a fucking village to raise the Duggars. We’re sure that the minimum wage person stuck working at the counter was happy to see these fucks come in WITH A CAMERA CREW and then nickel and dime the pizza place and make it complicated for the counter girl to sort out who pays what.

Now Jim Bob gets to quiz all the children directly about what they think about Ben. We’ve never had to listen to the romantic opinions of five-year-olds so much in our entire lives.

Ben’s parents take Ben and Jessa to an actual restaurant with cloth napkins. Go Ben’s parents. Now Ben’s dad can quiz Jessa about whether she knew Ben was THE ONE when they met at the homeschool conference. Courtship involves SO MUCH TALKING. Guess you need something to fill the time when you’re not allowed to fuck. They also have to discuss who is more blessed — Ben or Jessa — over this relationship. Fascinating.

Now let’s ask all the smaller children if they want to get married! Some do! Someday! Some do not! This show is impressive in its ability to stretch about 20 actual minutes of content into a 45 minute show by doing these little children quiz montages.

Time for Ben’s extended family to meet Jessa and Michelle. It’s enormous because all of these people are very fecund. Everyone has at least 6 children. We don’t even KNOW as many people as these people are related to.

Now Jim Bob is pressuring Jessa to decide where they would live if she and Ben got married. Jim Bob votes that Ben relocate to live near the Duggars, because there will probably be wedding bells in a few months! Wait, we thought this was a slow procedure? Or do you just hang out and side hug and then one day you get married?


Next week, a double date with Jim Bob and Michelle and Ben and Jessa. We can’t think of anything more awful, but we’re still going to have to watch it.

One Million Children and We Will Kill Ourselves airs on TLC Tuesdays 9/8 central.

TV Show: 19 Kids and Counting

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