TV Time: 19 Kids and Counting Season Seven

The Duggars and the Bates families

The Duggars and the Bates families

She Said:

I’ve been a fan of 19 kids and Counting since they were only 17 kids and Counting. I’ve followed this family since Jennifer was a baby and Josh & Anna were courting. But, I’m starting to wonder how many more seasons of this show are going to be interesting. Have they become so famous, so wealthy and so scripted that they aren’t really entertaining?

Maybe. I have a few big problems with this the show this season.

 I hate how TLC runs their shows. I don’t want two mini-seasons a year. It’s annoying. I would much rather get one episode at a time and have longer seasons. It’s really weird to watch them all bunched up, two episodes a week for 6 weeks and then nothing, twice a year. Maybe next season they should run an episode of 19 kids and Counting and either bring back United Bates of America (seriously!) or spin off Josh and Anna. At least then they could fill an hour it would stretch the episodes a little longer. Earlier in the year we saw the very monotonous episodes about the Duggar Weight Loss Challenge and the episodes leading to the birth of Marcus. I understand that they might need a break what with having a baby and moving, but they filmed it! We saw it all.  Now since the middle of September (barely over a month), they only showed 9 episodes and now we’re on a break again!

Josh and Anna Duggar with their children after tearful goodbye to the family.

Josh and Anna Duggar with their children after tearful goodbye to the family.

This season just felt so fast. We saw Josh and Anna move and get settled in Washington DC. That was neat. I always love to see the big family aspects of the show and how they get things accomplished. It was also a lot of fun to see Josh and Anna transition to being their own family. Sometimes it’s hard to pick out their kids from the sea of other Duggar children. It was nice to see Anna gain independence and make friends. It’s also a nice way to have a family that’s more relatable. Josh and Anna are younger, more modern and have a family and life that are more relatable to the average viewer. I love getting to see them! But the season also had some weird things. We saw the Duggars at a farm and an absolutely disgusting moment with Jim Bob and a cow.  The best moments of the season featured the Bates. I love the Bates family and was so happy to see them and especially to get to see Erin’s engagement! I miss United Bates of America and I’ll always wish that TLC would bring their show back!

The Duggar and Bates girls campfire chatting

The Duggar and Bates girls campfire chatting

I appreciate that the Duggars wanted to help raise money for the hospital that helped save Josie’s life. But, the suspense of the success of the flea market was really contrived. The Duggar family has massive resources from friends to help, the ability to get donations and celebrity to get publicity. Of course this event would be a success. I believe that any sale or event for charity is a good thing no matter what the size of the monetary goal is. I just didn’t like how they acted like they wouldn’t know the event would be successful. Was there ever a doubt that they would reach their goal? Not in my mind. I don’t like the show becoming contrived. I always loved seeing the everyday life of a big family and how much they shared from Scripture. If those things were gone, why would I keep watching?

I decided that I was so dissatisfied with the show that I would post on TLC’s Facebook page for the Duggars. I know the Duggars don’t read or monitor the page, but I know TLC does.  I hoped that maybe it would have a positive effect on the show if fans said how the felt about the direction of the show.  Here’s my comment:

 I don’t really get it. I can’t believe the season is already over and it feels like we haven’t seen anything that interesting except for the stuff with the Bates. The show feels really forced with so many episodes about the flea market. I’ve been a fan of this show since the beginning but the season feels too short and it feels contrived.

Now my comment got a lot of likes, so clearly some people agree. I should have been prepared for the comments that followed from angry fans. Some of them really bewildered me.

 

“They are filming the Bates’ weddings for Zach and Whitney and Chad and Erin”

Okay, that’s great. (Actually I’ve only seen confirmation of filming Chad and Erin’s wedding.)  It’s proof to bring back United Bates of America if people are this excited about seeing the weddings. But, what does that have to do with how boring and short this was?

 

No one is entitled to see into this family’s life beyond what they want to share. I hadn’t noticed that the seasons are “short,” but good for them if they are a bit reserved about how much they allow people to see.

 

This comment really irritates me. First of all, I don’t demand what they share. I only ask that what they show be interesting or edifying. It’s been boring and poorly aired on TLC’s part. Second, I don’t think if you go on television to announce that you are trying to conceive that we can have much pretense that this family is reserved in what they are letting people see. Third, I’ve always just liked seeing whatever they are up to; clearly they still want to show people their lives. I just wish that weren’t trying so hard.

She’s expecting baby #20 so next season will be better”

No, first of all it would be baby #22. (Remember Caleb the miscarriage between Josh and the twins and also Jubilee her most recent pregnancy.) Jim Bob and Michelle did recently take to the media (People magazine and the Today show among others) to announce that they are actively trying.

Probably why there isn’t much exciting going on with the program is because these people have normal lives. Most of the things they do are probably pretty mundane, meals, laundry, shopping, and house cleaning and working at normal jobs. I think that is one reason why people like them so much, because they are normal.

 

This is why I started like the show! I like the laundry, meals and hearing from their hearts. I don’t like them as much because they aren’t normal anymore.  A normal single family could not raise 18,000 dollars and get radio coverage from a yard sale.  Some of their unique experiences are neat to see. But, it bothers me that they pretend they are still normal and don’t acknowledge their fame and how it’s changed what they are able to do

“Quit Duggar bashing! Why are you on this page if you hate them?”

Who said I hate them? Read my comment. I do critique the show. If you are reading this blog then you know that I’m an entertainment critic. I don’t bash the family, but if a show is moving away from the focus that made it good, then I will say so.

I was also really disappointed that we didn’t get to see more about Jessa and her courtship with Ben. To be clear, I don’t demand details. But, I learned much more from an article in People magazine a month ago (from an interview that they gave) then I did from watching the show. I would have liked to see them interact or talk about some things that they have in common or something!

Jessa Duggar with suitor Ben Seewald

Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald- image from people.com

I’m anxious to see what the next season and coming months have in store for the Duggars. Will they end their long running show or will the children growing up and moving away have a positive impact on the show? I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Kari’s Rating- 4

The Duggar family visiting DC

The Duggar family visiting DC

He Said:

Is this season of 19 Kids and Counting really over so soon?  It was only a few weeks ago that we were watching the season premiere!  It doesn’t seem like much has happened or much time has passed.  I did like seeing Josh and Anna get settled in here in DC, but it seems like the fish out of water issues of moving to a big city have now resolved themselves, so I’m not sure how much more we’ll see of that.  The political nature of Josh’s new job probably precludes some interesting storytelling about how he’s doing in his new job.

Anna learning to navigate the DC area

Anna learning to navigate the DC area

I am glad they did the flea market/auction/fair for the benefit of the NICU unit that housed Josie.  I don’t however think it is worth the heavy focus it received this season.  The biggest piece of news this season was that Jessa has entered a courtship.  That was teased in the season teaser in the first episode, and we learn in the final moments of the last episode that Jessa has entered into a courtship.  That was it.  We don’t even get to meet her suitor. We’ve also heard a lot about babies. Michelle also talks about trying to adopt a baby, and also announced recently they are trying to conceive again.

I am not a Duggar hater.  I have learned a lot from them over the years, and do find a lot of the things they do interesting. But maybe they should have waited a little while to have a fuller season.

 

RJ’s Rating-4

(All images unless otherwise noted are from tlc.com)

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