Here’s yet another reason that the Duggar clan will always be more entertaining to watch than the Bates family: They have famous friends who occasionally pop onto their show and then make things awkward. Case in point, last night’s 19 Kids and Counting where Jim Bob and Michelle called up their old buddy Kirk Cameron while they were in Washington, D.C. for a speaking engagement. The last time Kirk was on-camera with TLC’s favorite gigantic family was four years ago, when they were still 18 Kids and Counting, so they had some catching up to do.
Kirk Cameron is not our favorite person at the moment, what with him appearing on morning shows to talk about how if his son came out to him, he wouldn’t accept him. In the episode, he brings his kid Jack with him to listen to him and the Duggars chatter about ensuring this world is properly moral for their kids, and other bullshit… and Jack also gets to be witness to a wonderfully awkward moment between Kirk and some Duggar fans. Like, if Kirk’s birthday picture with the Subway sandwiches made you cringe, then you’ll especially enjoy this.
See, while hanging out at D.C. establishment Ben’s Chili Bowl — a love for which is the one thing Jim Bob and Barack Obama have in common — an excited fan asks to take a photo with the Duggars. She’s so psyched that she hands off her camera to the nearest person without thinking… and yes, that person is Kirk. It’s not even that she plans to get a photo with him after; she simply has no idea who he is.
Jim Bob of course makes things even more awkward by asking the woman, “Don’t you want your photo with him?” and “Don’t you know who he is?” She stumbles through an answer about how she couldn’t put the face to the name, but Kirk’s strained smile and silence shows that he knows the truth.
But lest you feel badly for Kirk, he uses up the rest of his screen time being a douche. First he jokingly hands over a $100 bill — or maybe even something larger and therefore fake — to the poor cashier at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Later, someone who does recognize him jokes about singing the Growing Pains theme song, and Kirk almost seems to challenge him to do so instead of just nicely taking the compliment.
“It’s just a great opportunity to meet someone,” he tells the camera. “Listen, if you have a job where something you did 20 years ago still makes people smile, what a great job that is. If it weren’t for Growing Pains, I wouldn’t be talking with you today.” And if it weren’t for Growing Pains, we wouldn’t have to listen to his bigoted views on homosexuality. So, boo for us.
He and Jim Bob have a heart-to-heart over chili, where Kirk keeps pushing for Dad of the Year. “I want to get to the heart of the solution, how we have a bright future for our kids,” he says, but this whole time I’m thinking, Just stop while you’re ahead, buddy. You are so out of your league here.