So here is the first of two long delayed Duggar recaps! The second will come tomorrow. I’ve been working and writing like mad! But I wanted to provide you all with at least one of the recaps like I promised. I like to call this the Agony and the Ecstasy. Ben vs. Derick. Reluctant side hugs and smirks vs. passionate front hugs with side tilt. So let’s go! Oh and FREE JANA! Btw, Jessa’s wedding registry is up and I say Jessa because among other things, she registered a hair straightener because she knows where her priorities lie.
You ever notice how 19 Kids and Counting starts out with the kind of rocking guitar that wouldn’t be out of place in a peppy Kenny Loggins’ song? I wonder if Jim-Bob covers the kids ears and says, “Beware of your loins kids, for this is the siren song of the devil. The kind that moves young people to sin, to engage in wacky montages during coming of age films, that encourages head-bobbing.” Not entirely relevant but an interesting little factoid.
But anyway, it’s time for the date and Jessa is putting her make-up on. I imagine it’s the closest thing to free thought she is allowed, as she thinks “Eyeliner makes me special and fulfilled and keeps me from murderous thoughts about Ben.” And she smiles. I know that because when I’m stressed, I tend to accessorize a lot, with bright colored jewelry. When I’m really a mess, you’ll see me, a vision in cloisonne. Anyway, Jessa’s make-up and hair is on-point as Ben comes from the attic in the shed, lurching in for a date with his lady.
And “BOY, they get to have a chaperone. It’s such a fun thing for the younger kids. Plus as Ben said, they like the smaller guys, not like John David. Did he just talk about John David’s weight? Did he? (Probably not but I just want to start a fight). So one of the boys, like Josh or Jebediah Springfield, is sitting on the catbirdseat between Jessa and Ben as the parents talk about the “protections” that the chaperone provides because they are “concerned” about the lustiness of their kids.
Now if you read the Duggar books, where they get SUPER-BIBLICAL, you’ll learn that in fact, as old fiery Christians, they are big believers that people are just one front-hug away from public sodomy and punk rock. They think everyone is a sinner. I know it’s a Christian thing but that’s usually about like a non-judgment thing for your average Methodist or Episcopalian or some other mainline Protestant type church-goer. But for the Duggars it means that without training—and I mean, training in obedience with constant monitoring and reinforcement— it is normal for anyone who has been raised according to strict Biblical guidelines to throw it all the way for a blowjob if their parents even relent just a bit. Because Duggars don’t believe you internalize anything or develop a moral code, you just need to be policed. Man, so Jana, take this as an indication, RUN and go be a democrat. Now.
So anyway, Jessa makes some jokes about how they’ll get married and “then we’ll have a nice spacious ride for the two of us” because they’ve decide to push the narrative that it’s Jessa whose really eager to marry and Ben is the reluctant one. You know, maybe because of focus groups and the girlish dreams of Jim Bob Duggar. And we as the television audience is supposed to eat this shit up because that’s what we are always taught—that women are just DYING to ensnare these poor reluctant schlubs into the bonds of matrimony. As if Jessa has never spent years working on her make-up and hair game for anything bigger (I remember, she has always wanted to be a beautician. I believe in you Jessa! Move away! WORK! You need to share your gifts with the world!)
Jessa mocked Ben’s truck, calling it cute like Ben. But Ben wanted it to be called the “Red Beast” to seem manly. Now, I don’t want to be all Dr. Freud or play connect-the-dots with you all but come on. This is obviously about his penis. She’s “marrying him not his car.”
So now we are told it is 11 weeks until Derick and Jill’s wedding (and barely 11 weeks since their mind-blowing front-hug). James is going with Jill and Derick. They are going on a “hiking date” for Jill’s birthday, which I suppose is budget friendly. Now Derick is a serious hiker from what I understand. Jill says she is but tends to wear flip-flops everywhere she goes. So we’ll see. We’ll see.
Derick talks about spending quiet time together—”a little less noise.” Ha. Only a few weeks in and he’s sick of the Duggars. I mean, who wouldn’t be? Everywhere you look, there is another fucking Duggar, talking and talking about tater tots and shit. James said he’s cool about being a chaperone because “I’m just here for the food” because that’s James’s character—he’s the Jughead of the group. Addicted to candy and shit. That’s how they are branding him. Hungry and lazy and obsessed. He is gluttony. Josie is wrath. Jana is avarice. (play along if you have more suggestions).
James spends a lot of time complaining about being motion sick in the car. Then they arrive at Derick’s favorite hiking place— Jill seems to be wearing Tevas or something like that, which I suppose is an improvement but man, can’t someone buy her an closed-toe shoe or is there some weird Gothard rule about covering the feet with a practical ladies’ shoe? They spend their whole time holding hands and talking about traveling to other countries together (I wonder if that’s part of the reason that Jill was so shocked at the pregnancy. Maybe she thought they’d travel first). They are being “intimate. But not too intimate,” according to Derick. I wonder if Derick dated other girls before Jill, where he kissed and did handsy shit. I mean, he went to regular college. Maybe there was at least one keg stand in his life. Who knows? Who knows? I mean his best friend on twitter seems to like Jesus a lot but he also talks about Sharknado and Forgetting Sarah Marshall and shit, so maybe there is a chance that the Dilliards learn to embrace Anchorman. We can only hope. I mean, I wonder what Josh and Anna do for fun? Can you imagine living with Josh without the sweet oblivion of wine and reality tv? I shudder to think.
Apparently, James has no idea what he’s supposed to do if they break their courtship rules. He says he needs to “call the police?”
They should ask Josie. One sign of a front hug or an errant hand and she’d be gnawing at their legs.
Now for a useless subplot. Michelle is taking Jennifer to the eye doctor so she can fully witness all the bullshit in her life. They want to show Michelle “parenting” so we can how committed she is. Not that she spends most of her time in a tater tot haze, worrying about what she’ll do if Jana learns to operate the front-door lock. Now when Jennifer “does school” she “strains.” Jennifer is just sort of like “fuck this, I need glasses” which is how she encounters everything. “Fuck this, I have to deal with this marriage bullshit” or “Fuck this, I have to interact with this ‘mother’ every few weeks” or “Fuck this, why is Josie gnawing my leg?”
Michelle talks about how she is the scheduler and the secretary of the family. Forced to bring kids to appointments all the time. Like you know, A PARENT DOES, especially if they decide to have 19. Jesus, Michelle. But I admit that I’m surprised how few Duggars wear glasses (Jill, Michelle and Jim Bob wear contacts).
Now Jennifer buys a snappy pair of purple glasses. Her mother says that she has a “serious personality” most of the time, rarely smiling or giggling. Jennifer, I’m with you, girl, I wouldn’t smile at any of this shit.
Michelle talks about how much she likes doing sweet mommy with the younger and the middle kids, while the oldest ones are off being courted. You know, except for Jana, Jinger, John David and Josiah. And Joy Anna and maybe Joseph. But sure, yeah, they are just a-courtin’ Michelle! She says she has “best friends” with her older daughters and then cuddles the younger ones. Quick, Michelle, can you identify Jordyn in a line-up?
So now Jessa and Ben arrive at the shooting range, perhaps to fulfill a dream of Jessa’s around murder. Also, a photo of this visit provoked a minor scandal! Please relive the memories. God, remember how open Jessa used to be about her contempt towards Ben? Those were good times. Good times.
Anyway, like good republicans, after they have their good clean Christian car ride in the red beast, they are now ready to clutch large rifles, who without their safety are likely to fire. Now Jessa and Ben put on their protective gear because they aren’t shooting blanks and Jessa isn’t a bad shot, but she doesn’t know how to handle a gun like Ben, who has had hours and hours of time to practice, often alone, when all he has is his thoughts.
Now what’s most noticeable about this scene is how fierce Jessa’s hair looks even with headphones and safety glasses. Thank God she registered that straightening iron.
So Jessa goes first because Ben wanted to know “what I’m up against.”
And they laugh and laugh and laugh.
Ben’s nervous because he’s like “it’s one thing to shoot by yourself or with your uncles but it’s another to shoot while your girl is watching” and he’s like all nervous and fumbling and shit. Jessa laughs at him and taunts him and his tiny awkward gun. Apparently he missed the target a few times and Jessa teases him, saying he’s trying to be humble by messing things up. She waggles her eyes and decides that if sullen resistance wasn’t possible, passive aggressiveness was at least something. I don’t blame you. Ben has a tiny gun with terrible aim. But on the plus side, he laughs a creepy laugh when he thinks how skilled she is. I need to go back and read Freud and then I’ll analyze all the phallic imagery going on here. I don’t know exactly what’s going on but I’m guessing that me and Jessa and America is finding Ben to be inadequate.
When she teases him, Ben just looks confused, like a dog that is trying to speak French.
Now, at the end of the hike, Derick has brought a delicious picnic treat. James is all like “FINALLY, A CHANCE FOR ME TO BE PART OF THE PLOT.” Derick brings out bread, cheese, some flowers, hummus and figs and some other shit. Jill is all starry eyed with his food choice, saying he’s all about romance. And let me say, he might be awkward at times but I’d totally much rather date Derick than Ben. Old lurchy Ben. God, fucking Ben. Anyway, I suspect that Jill doesn’t need much to be enchanted by Derick, as she dreams of front hugs, naked front hugs. That’ll come soon, Jill.
James is thinking that this meal is bullshit. Chickpeas? Figs? Goat cheese? WHAT IS THIS? Woodstock? The Rainbow Room? Or whatever James would imagine would be synonymous with weird fancy stuff. Jill says he “enjoyed being with us” but didn’t like the food. Yeah, come on Jill, he said he’s just here for the food and the food totally failed him (though he was okay with the hummus). His day is ruined.
Derick talks about how he likes being alone with Jill... “And James,” Jill chirpily adds, as Derick is reminded that being part of the Duggar Industrial Complex is full of bullshit rules. I’m guessing he’s used to something slightly more relaxed than this, given his tendency towards normal hugging and his secret dreams of a normal date with his fiancee. You know, the kind of decadence that might be found at Bob Jones University’s Snack Shop on any given Saturday night.
Jill was superhappy. Derick was reasonably pleased because he knew this Duggar dating deal would eventually end. James was disappointed with the food. As he would be because that’s his brand, man. He likes food! Those Duggars. Jim Bob will let you have a quirk! Just not your own personality!
Anyway, more tomorrow! Part II: Wedding Plans!