If TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting insists on exploiting Michelle Duggar‘s miscarriage for this season’s ratings, then we’re going to track its dramatic arc from episode to episode.
I braced myself to watch the two new episodes of 19 Kids and Counting last night, ready for enough dramatic irony to make me cringe through every scene featuring Michelle Duggar, swollen with 20th child Jubilee Shalom Duggar and just so happy.
What’s odd, however, is that the episode focused on the Duggar clan (“40 Kids, Oh My!”) had hardly any mention of Michelle’s condition and the miscarriage that we’re just waiting to happen. Even when she goes to visit her childhood friend, there’s more reminiscence than talk of the Duggars’ 20th child.
It turns out that the episode “Josh & Anna Check-In” — where we see how oldest son Josh, his wife Anna, and their two children Michael and Mackynzie are doing — was actually the second one of the season, but I watched these two backwards.
Everything about the pacing of this episode threw me for a loop. It all begins when Anna comes to pick up some of Michelle’s younger kids (all under the age of 6) for babysitting. She enters the Duggars’ home while Michelle is working out on the elliptical. As she said in the premiere, Michelle emphasizes how much she’s trying to make this pregnancy healthier than the one that caused baby Josie to be born premature. At first I was sure that it was the exact same footage from the premiere, which we were seeing from a different perspective. (You know, like a sequence out of Memento.)
But whereas Michelle was at 12 weeks in the premiere, she tells us in the confessional that she’s now at 18 weeks. Why is this such an important number? Why, it’s because she miscarried at 18 weeks. That means that on the show, it’s going to happen any day now! It’s like the ending of that movie Remember Me, when the teacher writes “September 11, 2001″ on the chalkboard like it ain’t no thang and then we discover that Robert Pattinson is standing in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. (Warning: Clip may be disturbing and represents cheap screenwriting.)
We know what’s going to happen. The suspense is already too much to bear, and we’re only three episodes in. God help us with getting through this season.