Why I’m Glad To Take A Break From The Duggars

Jinger Duggar gifs thumbs up 19 Kids and Counting season 11 TLC

Last night’s 19 Kids and Counting ended on a cliffhanger of sorts: The Duggars celebrated Michelle‘s birthday with a makeover and the news that the whole clan was going to China and Japan for… well, I don’t remember why, but let’s say so they could have more material for season 11.

Because it seems pretty clear that this show is continuing on strong. TLC‘s tweet seemed like the network is expecting more years to come with the Duggars:

the Duggars 19 Kids and Counting new season 11 TLC tweet

There’s been no official announcement yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Especially since TLC seems to air two seasons each calendar year, which means we should expect season 11 around February, if not sooner. Am I the only one really surprised by this? Because reading the Free Jinger forums, all of the posters seem to unanimously agree that season 10 of 19 Kids has been especially tedious. As I’ve pointed out every week in my recaps, each episode seems to be cobbled-together footage with one interesting development in the last four minutes.

In the lead-up to the season finale, TLC hinted that Michelle had “a big surprise” to share with the family. I was sure she was gonna be pregnant with child #21 — or would it be #20 since she miscarried Jubilee Shalom? I truly don’t know — but yet again, expectation trumped reality. For Michelle’s birthday, the kids treated her to a salon day, where her BFF Cindy popped up to cut Michelle’s hair.

Michelle Duggar makeover new hair photo 19 Kids and Counting season finale the Duggars TLC Freshair Salon birthday

While I agree with the Free Jinger posters that Michelle’s new hairdo did bring to mind Grandma Duggar, for the most part I thought it was an incredible improvement over her crunchy curls and teased bangs. What made it even more fun was how uncomfortable Michelle was: When asked if she liked it, she responded, “I could learn to like it.” And when she shows off her “big surprise” to the family, Jim Bob declares, “I liked it longer.”

Then Michelle has to guess her big surprise (the Asia trip) through a trivia game. Did anyone else laugh when she couldn’t remember how old Josh was when he married Anna? But eventually Michelle guesses the surprise, and everyone celebrates.

…And then we cut to all of the younger kids throwing up? Sometime after the party, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn, Josie, Mackynzie, and Michael all get the flu. My stomach turned a bit when I saw the kids throwing up into styrofoam cups, but I guess that’s what you have to do when you have that many sick kids. Whether the Asia trip would be cancelled wasn’t even a question since, as we’ve learned, this show isn’t very good with the dramatic plotting.

Personally, I thought the best part of last night’s episode was early on, when the kids set up a romantic night for Jim Bob and Michelle at a hotel and made a bunch of sex jokes, including putting a note on the wall that said Be fruitful and multiply! 1×1 = 19

These cringeworthy moments are too few on 19 Kids. Like, remember when Jim Bob gave poor Jinger the sex talk while they were turkey hunting? Amazing! And the awkward moment where a Duggar fan asked Kirk Cameron to take a photo of them, completely not recognizing him? So great. But I often wonder if these funny moments are worth wading through the mundanities of the Duggars’ lives. Or, worse, playing into the Duggar cult of celebrity.

My problems with them aren’t even really about their religious beliefs, though I certainly don’t agree with the “be fruitful and multiply” mentality. I don’t like the way they’re congratulated for not doing anything of note, and I’m really not a fan of Michelle making all of her older children care for the younger ones.

A comment from one of the Free Jinger posters about the season finael really stuck out to me, about how the family was aware of their criticism and seemed to be subtly responding to it in the episode:

There was quite a bit of STFU internet tonight: sick kids sleeping with JimBob and Michelle, Michelle carrying a child, Michelle going to change a diaper on Josie, boys helping to clean the house, JimBob tkaing his own children to the dentist without a buddy…

19 Kids is at its most entertaining when the Duggars at least acknowledge how ridiculous it is that they’re famous. I would have more patience with this family in season 11 if they continued to address their critics. It probably wouldn’t tempt me away from those ranks, but at least I’d respect them a little more.

GIF: the-duggars on Tumblr

Photo: Freshair Salon

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    • http://twitter.com/PageandPalate Julie

      Um, you could say that about anyone on reality TV. Why the hell are the people on Jersey Shore famous? For being fat, slutty and drunk? Give me a break – your bias is showing.

      • Jenni

        Is “a showing bias” the nip slip of the blogging world?

      • nataliecrush

        Everyone keeps saying this to me! What bias am I showing? Because don’t worry, The Situation and Courtney Stodden have a spot in The Special Hell right next to the Duggars.

    • nat

      Lol. I love how when you comment on someone being a bad mother like drinking, smoking, partying, etc your being judgemental, but when you comment on that person because they have too many kids or are too strict its just an opinion. LOL.

      Gotta love it that our society hates people more because they are wholesome and successful than degrading and successful. Welcome to the USA.

    • Mia003

      I totally agree with you. It is disgusting how they exploit and use their kids to make money. If can’t stand that she uses the older one to help take care of the younger one all the time. The parents had those kids themselves and if they can’t take care of themselves and are going to treat the older ones like they are the parents too then maybe they shouldn’t of had so many. Can’t she take some form of birth control like pills, tube tied, condoms, the husband get fixed. The older kids shouldn’t have to suffer and be permanent live in nannies, maids and so on just because the mother refuses to use some form of birth control or just keep her damn legs closed. This kind of selfish behavior is disgusting and if you really care about your kids you wouldn’t have so many. They couldn’t take care of all those damn kids on their own that’s why they are exploiting them on tv and they are using them to be extra parents, maids, slave, servants. Can you image growing up having your whole life on tv? Puberty and everything else. If they didn’t do this show can you image how much government assistance they would have to get. That, why they do the shoe because they can’t afford to take care of all those kids on your own. I can’t stand this family and I have only seen a couple of episodes. I will never watch it again this family disgust me. Why do they put this crap on and let them get away with this. I think we need a rule like china except two kid rule.

      • Lauren Borrero

        I don’t think the large number of kids means they don’t care however when most people have a lot of kids they do it because they love them. The Duggars on the other hand….I have yo agree with you on everything else I don’t like how she is doing this to her kids.
        The Duggars are part of a cult called Quiverfull and birth control is out of the question in that cult. She was on birth control at one time but had a miscarriage while she was on it. They actually do afford to take care of those kids because Jim Bob is a former politician and the reality show they have on TV.
        Lastly I disagree on the one child rule by doing that you take away the woman’s right on how many children she wants. Most people don’t have that many kids anyway. I will tell you this though if the really loved their kids no matter how many they have they would never have had that reality show in the first place.But that is my take on it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donald-Davidson/692300302 Donald Davidson

      Personally, I find the Duggers to be totally obscene, whoring out their children for fame and fortune, not to mention how they use up so many resources to further their cult. They remind me a lot of the Phelps clan in Topeka. They may not picket funerals, but they do something just as bad…they show their cult all smiling and happy, when in reality they are just trolling for more people to join them.

    • Liz

      I definitely could have done without the puking scenes. What made it worse was the time slot. We sometimes eat dinner while watching TV, and it put me off my meal. Even after changing the channel and putting on a comedy, I couldn’t eat.

    • boosey

      speaking of whoring out your children.how about when Kim Kardasians mom took her to pose nude for playboy so she could get her cut of the money.and why are they famous.

    • Lucy

      The world is overpopulated she needs to stop having children. And I don’t like how she gives the older children a child to look after if u choose to have kids as a parent it is your responsibility to care for them not your children’s. also this is the 21st century the kids she be able to wear what they want and have there hair short or long and going to school to socilise with others it’s just plan stupid

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maureen-Rose-Tagliaferro/1103471666 Maureen Rose Tagliaferro

      I certainly don’t recommend having 19 children, as the thought is inconceivable if not outright crazy. Even if you are blessed with patience and can afford them, the strain on the environment should be reason enough to stop at, the very most, number 5 or 6, if not 3 or 4. But if there was ever a family that can handle 19 children and deserves these “gifts from God,” as they choose to label children, it’s the Duggars.

      I don’t agree with everything they believe, but I find them to be extremely likeable. Michelle actually calms my nerves while so many other people on TV make me want to head to my liquor cabinet. I know some things about their show must be staged, but I believe they are genuine. I don’t view them as a cult because my impression is that they are respectful of other peoples’ lifestyles; therefore, I have respect for them. And while 19 children is more than enough, I was sincerely saddened by their loss of Jubilee Shalom. I was rooting for baby # 20, and I’m still rooting for her family.

    • Winsome One

      Sadly I see a number of negative comments. If you don’t care for this family or the show watch something else. There are many more of us who enjoy a glimpse into the lives good this wholesome family. There is so much broken in this world. Maybe we can see a good model here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jessica.romanoff.7 Jessica Romanoff

      If this is all it takes to be on ANY reality tv show for no matter what I should have been a celebrity years ago. For that matter my poor, hard working, waitress, taking shot from people everyday and still having to smile while she served them their meals, SINGLE, mother should have had her own show

    • http://www.facebook.com/jessica.romanoff.7 Jessica Romanoff


    • Guest

      why i europe we thik yhat the americans are stupid? It’s not because of duggar, but because people like you writing stupids things about great people! if you want to loose your time correctly , why don’t you wright about the “church” of scientology? hich is a criminal organization!!!!!!

    • Michele Chancey

      Due-Date? 8

    • Bridget

      I read one of Michelle Duggar’s tips on how she tries to deal with strong-willed children. She doesn’t give them a lot of leeway and they must obey her and Jim-Bob at all times! Strong-willed people know when to say yes and no and that ability should be admired, not put down! Michelle and Jim-Bob’s stance would be a lot more chilling if they sexually abused their children. Sexually abusive parents tell their kids that they must obey and engage in the abuse with no question.

    • Pat

      What a weird bunch the Duggar’s are. I never seen a man like the Jim-Bob to be so controlling and selfish of his children’s freedom. I do hope that at least one of them, will escape this nonsense of his, and find out that the outside world from their family is not that corrupt at all. TLC needs to give it a break to a civilized world here, from all of the indoctrination, or at least save him for some early time on a Sunday where he can do his preaching then.