Hello guys! Welcome to the second half of the season of the Duggars (or their formal name: 19 Kids and Counting) ! As we concluded last May, Jill and her front hugging boyfriend Derick were engaged, Jessa continues to have nothing but contempt for her now-fiance Ben Seewald, Michelle Duggar practices parenting her other children and Josh continues to practice new ways of being terrible.
A fun side note is that Jill admits what America knows—the reason she married Derick quickly is so she doesn't just front-hump him:
"You may not wanna push the wedding date out too far, as those natural God-given desires with too much time between engagement and marriage can make it harder to remain pure," the 23-year-old said. "If you are financially ready, and things are in place (which should be at the time the question is popped), we believe an engagement should only be long enough to plan a wedding!"
That's why I suspect my mom married when she was 18, though my family wasn't religious, but it was 1965 and you know, things.
Anyway, let's get started guys!
It predictably starts out the same way that all this shit starts out. Exposition. Endless fucking exposition. Well, Michelle chirpily says that "there are major changes" and then Jill and her hug buddy talking about their engagement and how they got to meet each other through Jim-Bob. Derick is a smart Duggar lover and knows the way to a Duggar girl's heart is through Jim Bob and his Ken Doll hair (or is it Little People?). Derick was a prayer partner with Jim-Bob and they spent hours and hours over skype talking about their feelings and when they reached maximum Duggarness, he was passed off to Jill.
Now Jill and Derick only had to talk about 3 1/2 months before meeting in Nepal because most of the romancing was done and I think Jill might have humped a plank of wood. They courted briefly in the wackiest way! After 4 1/2 months, Derick got a singer songwriter (with that CCM asymmetrical sensitive boy haircut) to romance her and now they are OFF TO THE RACES!
Now Michelle's eyes go huge because OMG! A wedding! It's so much more work than having another Duggar baby. It requires a caterer and some streamers and planning. Endless planning. Now Jessa starts talking about how certain sisters are much more willing to dream about their weddings than others and know what they want. Jessa probably dreamed of a man with a personality, but that is not possible in the Duggar Industrial Complex and she's stuck with Ben. RUN JANA RUN. They have a wedding planner who is Jill's boss, the improbably multi-talented Venessa.
So they anticipate how many people will come and it'll be like a little over 1000. Like seriously. Maybe even 1500. Derick looks scared. His side will have 40 people. Then they think about all of these logistics and become fearful. They play wacky scared movie music and Michelle's eyes get bigger and bigger, like she would to find out if her wedding planner voted Democrat. Everyone seems so confused. So confused. Like they've never planned anything despite having like fucking 21 people in their immediate family. Like never, like we've never seen any past seasons, including their son's wedding. This is just part of the narrative plot thing. Isn't that a venal sin? Like when you fake drama for the sake of your reality show? Where's my Bible? I need to write a letter to them.
Jason, a Duggar son, said that like Derick really shouldn't have much to say. And they all laugh. Welcome to Duggartown, Derick. Now you play by Jim Bob's rules.
Ok, now Michelle is inviting the Seewalds and the Dillards over, as Michelle reminds us that Jessa is not engaged. She doesn't have to worry about sinning with Ben. Fucking him is probably the furthest thing from her mind. Ben talks about "all these harsh rules" and then laughs about purity. Jessa explains shit about her and Ben's relationship restrictions and seems to increasingly shorten her gerunds. It is annoying me. It's all courtin' and huggin' and shit which is different than her sisters so I don't know what's going on there. Mini-rebellion.
But JILL AND DERICK CAN HOLD HANDS LIKE MOTHERFUCKERS.
Anyway, Jim Bob found an abandoned house and thought it was great! And then restored it and it's really beautiful. Once Jill and Derick decided to get married, Jim Bob thought "This is a
great way to maintain control over their lives great way to celebrate their new life together." So they are going to allow them to live there until Jim Bob sells it. "Have a happy time in your house until we sell it and then you are just shit out of luck. "
But Derick is happy because he knows what side his bread is buttered and that's Jim Bob's side.
Jana is like "Most married couples don't get mansions" and most Duggars don't get autonomy and most of Jana's soul slowly withers under the Duggar gaze. Le sigh. Josiah throws a little shade about the big house, thinking it's "awfully big" but probably squelches down negative feelings since his paramilitary Gothard training at the Alert Academy.
And now they have a whole montage of Duggar's cleaning and such things. Josh shows up with Anna to help. Anna is wearing hot pink. Too much. Did you rob Wham's 1984 musical tour wardrobe department? They seem a little envious. Everyone notes how they didn't get what Jill got. It's probably because Anna's sister in law has the hair of early Delta Burke and an attitude to match and therefore are not really Duggar ready. Just a good stop along the way until they get to some really pure Christian marriages.
James got a splinter and Jim Bob tries to play doctor. Jessa got it out. She's got the nails and the pent-up rage. Blah blah blah. Why do they ever focus on the younger Duggar boys?
Now there is something really sad that explains some of Derick's mom's absence. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and she's very sick. They visit her in the hospital and apparently she's doing well, responding to her chemotherapy (good luck, Derick's mom). She looks well and Cathy Bythum (his mom) talks about finding some bumps a few months ago and found it it was something serious more recently. Let me say this—it makes me worry a little about Derick, who is a vulnerable guy in some ways, being embraced, maybe strangled, by the whole overwhelming Duggar machine, at a time when he might feel uncertain. I mean, he lost his dad suddenly and then moved abroad, which from my own experience, can be great but a little jarring. And then he returns and his mom is sick, all the while that he is on this television show with this huge culty family. It's just a lot for him to have to deal with at once, I think.
Btw, Jessa is along as a chaperone. In the fucking hospital, with Derick's sick mother.
Ok, now more wackiness with Jessa and Jill cooking. They have the upbeat music. She's going to make lasagna, green beans, rolls and strawberry shortcake. Jessa says it's exciting because she "usually always burn something" (cut to her talking about rolls burning, screams and runs, like how she screams inside at the thought of marrying Ben, I know it. I JUST DO.) She burned the rolls. Ha. She's going to butter them up and hope no one notices. (I do that too).
Jinger is judging Jessa's lackadaisical cooking style and lack of measuring and such things. Well, Jinger you will never have Jessa's awesome eyeliner game, so step off. Jessa talks about copying Jill. Desperately, while crying that she's probably the Erin Bates of the family.
Jessa seems nervous about the Dillards and the Seewalds meeting and then we see old meaty beefhands, Ben Seewald, make awkward banter with Jessa. She sidehugs him unconvincingly. Jessa talks about trying to impress Ben's mother with her cooking skills... but they are limited. OOPS. Girl, you are a Duggar and you have a pulse, that's like 99.9% of what they are looking for in a spouse.
Derick's brother brings his girlfriend. I bet they tongue kiss. They should talk to the Duggars about the joys of premarital handholding and front-hugging and going out to the malt shop or the hospital without the watchful eye of a chaperone. Dan, Dericks's brother said that the Duggars are "growing" on him, like a wart, apparently, though Jill is like "they are having a good time!" and "they adapted fine!"
Then Jim Bob talks about how great moms are, including his mom, for pointing him towards the Lord. Then John David talks about how great his mom is, in this whole monotone robot voice of his that sounds convincing as if he has human feelings. But Jackson and Johannah got the band back together and are ready to rock. They say that their mother does things like "buys us Christmas presents" and "then takes us out to eat" and all sorts of bullshit. Deep. She also schedules you in on occasional Tuesdays when all the older kids are busy.
The rest of the kids happily chime in about how much they love Michelle Duggar.One of the random boys even jokes (is it Jebediah? Jeremiah?) that maybe she'll have another 20?
Jana just stares into the middle distance.
Jim Bob asks about how their relationship is going and such. And they are courting on the weekends and Jim Bob wants to push this along and perhaps have a little more control. Just a tad. I think his sisters might show their ankles a little too much. Now Jana is all like "I'm not sure it is normal, but some guys move to a new area where their girlfriends are, just to get to know them."
HAHA! Jana's throwing shade at all of you. ALL OF YOU. RUN JANA RUN.
Ben's dad seems to be into it. I mean, he's probably thinking, "SPIN-OFF?!?! Seeing with the Seewald or One if by land or two if by Seewald??" But everyone is rationalizing it and Jim-Bob talks about all the work he needs Ben to do and how great it would be to have him there, closer to the family. It's like a little cult leader just rubbing his hands together for his latest acquisition. Ben's mom just looked resigned. Jim Bob was all like "it'll speed up the timeline of the courtship for y'all." (Please note your Duggar conspiracy theories below). Jackson is still unsure they'll be engaged. That was a happy time. I remember not being sure either, Jackson.
So now they have Josh and Anna, who are likely mourning the loss of their television time. Anna's sad, Josh is sad, Mackenzie and Michael and the other M-named kid is sad and leaving. And Anna realized that she committed to a Duggar naming scheme without fully realizing that in fact, Jill and Jessa's marriage to their strapping beaus will eclipse their romance. And she is sad. She looks off, imaging the time that Josiah pretended to beat Josh on that Christmas film of the Prodigal Son and looks determined. "No, I will not name my next child Michelle. It will be Brittany or Heddie or Roger or all the letters of the rainbow. And I shall fly free! And determine my own fate. I WILL. I WILL. I WILL."
Now everyone is getting ready for Ben's arrival in Duggartown. They are putting him the storage shed, where he belongs, like an attic troll. They are coming up with a plan to clean. They are enlisting the little girls to help welcome Ben, even Josie, the world's tiniest wolverine. She is likely going to tear some paper apart and bring him a dead rabbit to show him that she's willing to provide for him. Welcome to the family Ben. Jessa, say good bye to your precious smirk. You are stuck with Ben all the time and resistance will just make it more painful.
Now Michelle and all of them are talking about Jill leaving. WE KNOW. SHE'S THE FUN BUDDY AND NOW THERE IS NO ONE BETWEEN YOU AND PARENTING YOUR CHILDREN.
Oh, Jana's all like "They found a dead mouse" in Ben's future apartment (heh, Josie). Now Jana reflects about how good it is that Ben will move up so they can get to know him but then she looks sad and says "but it will take our sister away too."
Now it's a cleaning montage. God, I forgot how long it takes to write these recaps. Josie is rubbing red all over a plate. She says it says "Welcome home Ben" but it's really smeared blood. She wants to mark her territory. And Ben, you need to know that Josie is the alpha of this Duggar pack.
The Duggar heirarchy goes like this: 1. Jim-Bob 2. Josie 3. Michelle 4-20 Other Duggars 21. Grandma Duggar doing the laundry. 22. Jana.
Now Ben is talking about moving out on his own, into the Duggar's stifling attic, where there will be no air conditioning and just weird salmon walls and a deer's head to keep him warm. And he also needs boundaries. Lots of boundaries. Josie would like to teach him about knowing his place but it's likely that it'll be jerky old Jim Bob.
So Jessa is "very excited" that Ben is moving in and I just want to know, "HOW DOES IT FEEL TO SIT ON A THRONE OF LIES, JESSA?" Will your smirk save you now?
Ben talks about moving closer to Jessa, managing to be both preternaturally awkward and totally creepy, at the same time. So he arrives to the Duggar house, where Jessa tries to be nice to him, while they cut to Michelle talking about how much they are in love. Then they talk about chaperones and the film cuts to Jill and Derick's front hug heard around the world. Everyone talks about how they will have to watch them a lot more closely! Unless their relationship fizzles out (right Joy Anna?).
They take Ben to his shed and he seems like all aflutter about Jessa's decorating skills, as they show him his room with the deer heads in the tiny stifling room and he likely tries to repress his screams. So does Jessa. Then they show Ben where he's gonna work.
SOUNDS LIKE FUN. OH BOY BEN, IT'S FULL THROTTLE DUGGAR FOR YOU!
Joy Anna jokes that she has another guy that she can order around, which is hilarious because it implies that women in the family has free will.
And Jana continues to stare into the middle distance.
They end with a family barbecue and everyone acts like it's thrilling to have them together all the time. And that tiny sliver of light that symbolizes freedom is extinguished. Ben says something about a rock and a piece of metal and Jessa is all like "I like this." You can't fool me! YOU CAN'T!
Alright, that's enough. I can't take anymore Ben. Enjoy! And goddamnit, Michelle talks more about seasons in life.