Last night's episodes of 19 Kids and Counting were illuminating, to say the least. We learned the true extent of Ben Seewald's stupidity and also, just how bitchy Jessa's Resting Bitch Face can be. We also found out that John David is just as boring as we always thought and that Josh is looking older and sadder by the day. Get ready to hear the play-by-play of the most character-driven episodes of this sorry show I've ever seen.
It seems that a running theme in these episodes was boys doing "girl" things and girls doing "boy" things. I'm guessing TLC is trying to make them seem less rigid and focused on gender roles, but when I saw Michelle operating an excavator in a long denim skirt I decided that was a TLC fail. She was spending time with John David, who occasionally does construction work as one of his many talents. Guys, John David has zippo personality. I'm sure he is a super nice person but there is a reason that last night's episode was the first one where he was a featured player and that's because he is not interesting at all. Like, watching fly paper collect flies is more exhilarating than listening to him speak.
So, this episode heavily featured Boring John David for some reason. I'm wondering if he will be a'courtin soon so TLC thought they should endear the audience to him so we will all be invested in his wedding like we were with Jill and Jessa's? It's never going to happen. They will never make John David happen. We go through a series of family interviews with all of them singing his praises and Jim Bob saying he will make a "great catch" for some lucky young lady one day and I say yes, if she wants to be bored to tears for the rest of her life. He is basically a model Duggar from his family's descriptors-helpful, tender-hearted, able to fix things, steady personality. Sounds fascinating!
He helps Michelle operate the excavator and it's so obviously just for the cameras and not at all entertaining. She says she enjoyed spending time with him and blah, blah schmaltzy Duggar bullshit. Let's move on to something more fun, shall we?
Ben and Jessa. Jessa and Ben. The prom king and queen are getting married and I just cannot stop laughing. They are looking through photos from last week's engagement session trying to pick one for their wedding invitation. Ben is struggling hard to put together some fancy sentences for the teevee cameras and Jessa is only barely containing her eye-rolling. It is glorious to witness. Josh is going to be designing their invitation and Ben asks how many he's done before, to which Jessa replies, just one. Suddenly, Ben has quite the discriminating eye for graphic design, apparently. In the end, the decision is too hard for them so they decide to let Josh take the wheel (along with Jesus, of course) and pick the photo to use himself.
Ben goes on a weird tangent about how he's been inviting random strangers to the wedding and I honestly cannot tell whether he's kidding but Jessa answered it with "well, we will have to buy an extra box of hot dogs." I truly can't even make this shit up.
Jill and Derick (Derick who recently tried to maim a cat with his sled, by the way-he's earned a spot on my shit list) head over to visit Derick's mom, Cathy. And just so you all know, I am now officially done ever saying anything nice about Derick. He thinks it's funny to hurt innocent animals so he is now a piece of garbage to me. Shitty Derick tells the camera about how his mom is undergoing new treatments to prevent her cancer from returning and she has to travel to Nebraska to do it. Jill makes some cheesecakes and assembles a big care package with her favorite snacks, which was nice. But let's not forget that Jill is in love with a horrible man who thinks it's funny to terrorize innocent animals so I guess she's garbage too by association. She blabbers a little about her morning sickness, and sorry, I don't give a shit now. Moving on.
(Related: 19 Kids And Counting: Jessa’s Dress And Planning The World’s Most No-Fun Wedding)
Josh is working on his design for Ben and Jessa's ugly wedding invitations and Anna (aka, TLC's production crew) thought it would be nice for the kids to make their own crafty little wedding invites as a project to keep them busy. Once again, the absolute only thing I can give Josh credit for as a human being is how sweet he is with his kids. Knowing he's going to be raising at least two daughters is kind of terrifying but at least he's more involved than Jim Boob ever seemed to be. It's all we can expect, I suppose. He also looks totally awful-worse every week. He appears much older than his 26 years, and very tired. Hey, hopefully, that means Anna isn't the only one losing sleep at night with three small children to care for. Good for you, Anna.
Speaking of The Boob, we loop back around to more John David (again, he will never happen, stop trying) because Jim Bob is going on a real honest-to-goodness police ride-along with John David! I don't know why this makes me laugh so hard, but it does, so just go with it. Boob gets in the police cruiser and John David immediately slaps a "Junior Officer" sticker badge on Boob's boob and tells him he's "official" now. I feel like even John David is in on the joke and knows his dad is a completely derpy asshole. For that, he gets a few Jingersnaps from me. A self-aware Duggar is a Duggar I can get behind.
They set off on their Tontitown, AR adventures and it's obviously boring. Jim Bob got to use the speed gun for a few minutes until John David got a call that another officer had pulled someone over so he decided to head that way for back-up. The officer happened to be at a convenience store and when John David told Boob to stay in the car, we all knew what was coming next. First of all, Boob listens to no man (except Jesus.) Second of all, he loves snacks and doughnuts. Obviously, he creeps out of the car and heads inside to buy some junk food. John David looks mildly annoyed upon his return and rejects Boob's offering of a powdered doughnut. We also see the aforementioned cop John David was "backing up" and he is totally sneaking into the shot hoping for his 15 seconds of fame. I see you, nameless Tontitown cop. John David decides that's enough excitement for one day and they head home.
Jason and James are in the kitchen now (see? trying to thwart the gender roles...well-played, TLC) practicing making some savory pies they think Jessa and Ben might like at their rehearsal dinner. Michelle talks about how the boys just cook for survival and don't really care how it looks, and why would they? They will have a barefoot Duggar woman doing it all one day, so this is just a lark for them. Or a TLC-sanctioned activity designed to make the Duggars more relatable? Either way, it's kinda cute, I have to admit.
We get back to Josh and Anna. They are planning a trip for their two older kids to the music store so they can try out some instruments. More Duggar privilege at work here as they arrive in a store empty of customers with several sales associates ready to do their bidding. Josh blathers about how kids can develop an appreciation for music at an early age and we see Mackynzie playing a teeny violin. She totally looks like her aunts and the whole thing is pretty adorable. Until Josh starts to talk and I want to stab my ears with pencils. The kids want a drum set and obviously, that won't go over well with Anna so that's the end of that Duggar field trip.
It's lunchtime at the Duggar compound and Michelle announces it over the intercom. An intercom, you guys. There is a serving line and they have an intercom. Whatever. Everyone heads in to get their food and Michelle tells Jessa and Ben there is something special for them to eat and low and behold, it's the savory meat pies the boys were making earlier. They used dough to make the initials "BJ" on top and of course, I died laughing. I'm guessing a cameraman totally noticed and let it slide, for which I am eternally grateful. Ben and Jessa dug into their BJ meat pie and of course, loved it.
Time for another staged Duggar outing! Ben is going to the jewelry store to surprise Jessa with a custom-designed wedding band that I'm guessing Jim Bob is paying for since Ben is an unemployed teenager living in his future father-in-law's barn. Ben is greeted by the employees and he tells them what he wants to do-design a wrap-style wedding band to go with Jessa's engagement ring. There is a long silence and then...there it is. Ben realizes he should have brought the fucking ring. His brains are made of oatmeal. Or tator tot casserole. The jewelry store employees look amazed by his stupidity so obviously, they've never seen the show before. Ben calls Jinger and she rescues him by bringing the ring. When she asked Jessa for it, we saw what might be the best Resting Bitch Face pulled by any person ever in the history of Resting Bitch Face. This girl. She is just annoyed by the whole world at this point.
Jinger arrives and my God, she is just the sweetest. She calls Ben "Benji" and presents the ring. They sit together looking over designs (without a chaperone! I'm amazed they didn't have The Sex right there in the store) and Jinger says she is thrilled to help him. Ben natters away about wanting the "best value" which, duh, it's not his money so he better be frugal. At the end of the visit, he says Jessa will love whatever he picks out and I wonder if he's actually met his bitchy fiance because I'm sure she has very specific ideas of what she wants.
The final scene is some of the girls at the flower shop where they will get the flowers for Jessa's wedding. Jessa says she has no idea what flowers she wants and can only identify a rose and I figure that's because ornamental horticulture is not part of the Bible. Jana talks about how finding flowers is turning out to be harder than Jessa thought. The flower shop ladies stage a little educational session showing the girls how to make their own floral arrangements. Jessa notes that with another 16 Duggars to be married, that it could be a handy skill to have in the family. A little more blabber from Jana about making these precious memories before Jessa runs off and gets married and that's all for these episodes.
Join us next week when we have Michelle's 30th high school reunion. In preview, she talks about her struggle with bulimia and also, what a heathen she used to be. This ought to get interesting-the heathen part, not the eating disorder. See you next week!
(Related: 19 Kids And Counting: In Which Jessa And Ben Full-Frontal Hug And Enter The Fiery Gates Of Hell)
(Image: Defy Media)