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19 Kids and Counting S5 Ep.11: Duggars in Stitches

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Duggars in Stitches

In which:

Josie meets the media; Johannah meets the plastic surgeon; and Josh terrifies his wife and meets the sun (but not in the True Blood way).

The Duggars are doing a media tour to promote the start of their fifth season, and they're kicking it off with an interview on the Today Show. As usual, the night owl Duggars are having a hard time dealing with the fact that the Today crew is getting there at about 4 a.m. Anna, who is up and dressed and perky while her husband and daughter doze, remarks that it's exciting for the Duggars to see the sun come up. The last time that happened, she muses, was . . . the last time the Today Show was in town. Mackenzie sits up, groggily, but then flops back down on her dad. It's pretty sweet.

Meanwhile, the Sister-moms are getting the kids up and dressed. The ungodly hour they do these things probably explains why the kids, who are not overly familiar with sitting quietly, are always so well behaved; they're still half asleep and using all their energy to stay upright. Michelle demonstrates that she is also perhaps not awake by talking at length about what "live" TV means.

So the ostensible reason for this premature wakefulness is that Josie is home and healthy. She is also, incidentally, wearing a flower headband which appears to be fashioned from an ace bandage. It is, unfortunately, not the ugliest thing she'll have on her poor little head in the course of this media tour. Anyway, Meredeth Vierra asks what Michelle categorizes as "hard" questions, like, "What do you say to the critics who think it's irresponsible to keep having baby after baby, all things considered?" As media questions go, that's about as curveball and tricky as "So what magazines do you read?"; it's not like the parents Duggar haven't been answering this question for years now. And it's not like they've really updated the answer since things went so wrong with Josie, so . . . Michelle gives the same old answer: "God made me to use my uterus, not my brain. Also, I have no identity outside of perpetual pregnancy and am likely to have a severe crisis when I no longer have a baby in arms."

(The above quote may have been paraphrased and/or interpretive in nature.)

Afterwards, they have an interview with Mike Huckabee, with whom they can feel safe from those hard questions. For one thing, they've known him forever, and he's in their corner. He lobs softballs like "How do you do it?!" Michelle and Jim Bob explain that it's all thanks to God (no need to give credit to Grandma or the Sister-moms, of course; that might take some glory away from the parents).

And then, an unfortunate interlude. Johannah, whose dare devil exploits have had more than one viewer watching through their fingers, crashed her bike spectacularly enough that she ended up with a gash through one cheek. She and Jackson talk over each other, trying to explain what happened. It seems like she went hurtling down a hill, and hit a bump or rock, and went flying. The cameras weren't on hand, so the crew puts together a funny little dramatization. By the time the cameras do show up, Hannie has been freshly bathed and had a bow afixed to her hair, because when you're a little girl with a hole all the way through your cheek it's important you look your very best. The Gothard rules about always looking good are just so . . . misguided.

Anyway, Michelle has enough experience with wounds that she thinks a plastic surgeon in order, so Jim Bob finds one and off they go. Jim Bob remarks that if it was one of the boys, they'd let it rip and scar, like, ha ha, JB, you're such a card. And then we're treated to Johannah crying in pain and fear while she's sewn up; she's clearly made of pretty stern stuff, but she's also only four years old, and upset, and perhaps doesn't need a camera up in her face. Well, whatever -- she gets a cool stuffed iguana out of the deal, and as soon as she gets home she runs up to Jackson (who is very relieved and glad to see her in one piece; their relationship is so sweet) to show off her stitches. Then the two of them have an adorable little discussion about whether or not iguanas have poisonous skin in real life, and what would happen if the stuffed lizard were real and poisonous.

Later (that same night?) the Duggars go to a carnival, which you'd think they wouldn't be allowed to do, but whatever. They eat stuff, and throw stuff, and then Josh insists that Anna go on the Farris wheel. They take Mackenzie into the open car as well, which seems like a terrible idea. Anna is completely terrified, and has a near panic attack; Josh laughs and laughs at her fear, and threatens to rock the car. When they get off, Josh prods Anna to say that she'll do scary things if he asks it of her. Michelle narrates, in her non-threatening-to-the-male-head voice, that early marriage is about learning. Learning that your husband likes it when you're afraid? Yeah, that's a pretty steep learning curve right there.

The next day, photographers show up to take pictures for a spread in People. I wonder: do they send specialized make-up artists in little kid situations? The artist working with the Duggars handles the kids really nicely, assuring Josiah that of course the colored substance she's putting on his lips isn't lipstick, becasue he's a boy, and otherwise handling the boys being weirded out with grace (although, have they never worn make-up for pictures and TV before?). Also, Johannah's face is enormously swollen now, and the make-up artist carefully and skillfully puts some powder and other color over it, with the idea that photoshop will do the rest.

Finally, they move outside for pictures and it's revealed that Josie has some sort of dead animal on her head! Oh, wait . . . it's that horrible head band that the used to inflict on poor little Jordyn before she grew hair, with two fake pony tails on top. Only it looks even more freaky and terrible on Josie. Good grief. Fortunately, it disappears after a bit and is replaced with the ace bandage, which looks positively pretty in comparason. Michelle muses about how the family is, of course, not allowed to read magazines, and how wierd it would be to go shopping and see her own face on the cover of People. Wonder how she felt about the final result?

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