Johnny Carson (watching Frank and Helen Breadsley and their 20 children leave the stage of
the Tonight Show): “"I have only three kids. I don't know how they do it."
Heckler in the audience: “Oh, yes you do!"
Your body is not an airplane and your children are not paratroopers on D-Day.
It was one thing to have a herd of children a century or more ago. Half of them were going
to die before adulthood, two or three were going to have major physical problems, one was
probably going to be locked in the basement and never mentioned again, and you needed
the rest for free labor on the farm. It was not about love of children. It was about having a
chain gang available to get the crops in.
Plus without television, radio or even electricity, what else were you going to do for
entertainment when it is snowing?
Today, if there is the real possibility that you are going to get your own postal code if you
have one more child, it is pretty much time to stop. I say this as someone that comes from a
large family. Not as large as some. One of my friends has thirteen older siblings and another
has seven, but large all the same.
Until a few weeks ago, the Duggar family was not on my radar. I have watched a few
episodes of Robertsons and the Osbornes, walked through the living room while a former
roommate of mine watched the Kardashians repeatedly, and caught a few YouTube clips of
Honey Boo Boo. If you don’t repeat this, I will even admit to watching an episode or two of
Hulk Hogan and Gene Simmons’ families.
The Duggars, no. I had no clue that there have been 227 episodes of their adventures. I
could maybe have answered a Trivia Pursuit question about them, knew that they had
some big wedding event where the bride and groom had not seen their own private parts,
let alone each others, before getting hitched or something like that. I am pretty sure the
girls had not even kissed their husbands prior to the ceremony.
Everyone loves a wedding, especially one where the bride could wear a dress so white it
would burn out the retinas of those in the audience and the words “I never saw that before”
are extremely likely to come up.
I knew the family was beloved by the Republican Party for some reason. So, they had to be
white. Yet, I could not have picked them out of a police lineup. Who knew a police lineup
should have been used to pick out a Duggar? Okay, just about everyone if they used half a
brain. (I am also betting one of the kids does porn as an adult, as well.)
For those of you who were as clueless of the Duggar clan as I was, here is a brief run down.
Jim Bob Duggar, yep, Jim Bob. The only way this guy’s name could have been more of a
southern stereotype is if he had a couple of brothers named Cleatus and Jimmy Joe. Jim Bob
married Michelle when he was nineteen and she was seventeen.
They live in Tontitown, Arkansas, right on the border of Texas and Arkansas. This means
they are getting the crazy from both states, producing a special kind of zany.
Previously an agricultural area inhabited by Italian immigrants, in recent years it has
become a bedroom community for those working in Fayetteville and Springdale.
Fayetteville is the headquarters of Walmart. You knew if there was a freak story about a
couple with nineteen kids and counting, Walmart had to be in their genepool of origins
Jim Bob and Michelle met through their church. Like normal functioning adults with a
marginal I.Q., they decided to put their careers first. You know, be responsible human
beings. Have a healthy bank account before the kids came rolling out. They opened a used
car dealership and real estate agency and when the time was right were going to have kids.
This is the part of the story where they lose any bit of common sense they had. Michelle
was taking birth control pills, but she somehow conceived Joshua, aka the molester. It
happens. Birth control is not 100 percent. She went back on contraceptives and amazingly
conceived again. This is where a person has to wonder if someone was replacing her pills
with Tic-Tacs or that Michelle might have been pretty bad about remembering to take them
She miscarried. From there on out, instead of talking to a doctor or nurse about what they
might have been doing wrong, they decided to let God decide how many children they
should have. It is kind of like putting a blindfold on, getting behind the wheel of your car,
and saying, “If I hit something, it is God’s will.”
Well, God saw the Duggars and made her a fertile Myrtle. I personally believe God might
have been saying, “Jim Bob, you know what causes this. Hint: snip, snip. Make a doctor’s
appointment.” God gave you this thing called common sense. Use it. But that is me.
Over the next twenty years, the Duggars kept having kids until she got that overwhelmed
expression in her face like she had been kicked in the head by a mule due to a lack of sleep
and privacy, let alone anytime for herself. Nineteen total, all whose first names begin with
the letter “J”, and if God wants them to have more, they will have them until they run out of
There is almost nothing I agree with the Duggars socially or politically.
The man should make all the decisions in the house… Women should keep their hair
long… Avoid swimming pools, because such places lead to sinful thoughts… Women should
not wear skirts that end above their knees… Homeschooling… Creationism… Killing those
that engage in incest… (Except if it is their child; then cover that stuff up.)
It is all things that makes me pound my head against a wall, but who cares? They became
famous. Why? I guess because her womb is like a magician’s scarf trick where you don’t
know where the conga line of children is going to end. They got a reality show. A lot of
sponsorship deals. Several books sold. America loved them.
Their oldest got a job at the Family Research Council, a hate group according to the
Southern Poverty Law Center. His qualifications for the job? He was the first Duggar child
down the waterslide. One little problem, the molester was touching his sisters. A teenager
with poor impulse control, sexually acting out in inappropriate ways is pretty common in a
sexually repressed household with too many children and no social outlets, like the
Duggars. They might have saved little Joshua from the evils of the public school system but
not from the evils of themselves. Most of these kids don’t repeat these activities as adults.
I even get the whole protecting Josh from criminal arrest. Most parents protect their child
even when their child is dead wrong, especially in a family where males are valued and
females are given back of the bus status and are seen as potential temptresses. I have
watched parents lie, cheat and steal for their kids for a lot less.
Do I believe they handled things wrong? Yep. All of their actions make sense out of the
economic, social, and political cesspool that created the family in the first place.
Most of the information regarding Joshua’s activities had been on the Internet since 2007.
How did it get out? Long before they had their own reality series, the family tried to get on
Oprah the previous year.
They might mistrust the world, but if Jim Bob and Michelle can shake a few shekels out of
it before getting to heaven all the better. It is what Jesus would want. You don’t screw with
Oprah. She did some investigating, learned the truth, and said no.
What I find interesting is no one is pointing a finger at Discovery Networks, the owners of
the TLC Channel. I am pretty sure they had computers when they were looking for cheap
programming and came across the Duggars. Either they did not do their due diligence or
decided to look the other way when they created their cheap version of Little House on the
Prairie meets Cheaper By The Dozen.
Wholesome entertainment, better yet, great TV!
It is like the Brady Bunch increased 3X, just without annoying Cousin Oliver showing up
and Mr. Brady secretly checking out Sam the Butcher’s rump roast.
Americans need this stuff. They want clean entertainment about families that might be a
little different, but ideal all the same. It gives them something to dream about and, more
importantly, believe could be possible in their lives.
Americans understand that behind the scenes Greg might be trying to get into Florence
Henderson’s pants, the other kids might be hooking up, but they are actors. Even Desi
Arnaz and Lucille Ball, married in real life, where just acting on a show. Ray Romano and
Patricia Heaton did not secretly have cameras in their house.
The Robertsons, the Kardashians, and even Duggars are just acting as well. They just do a
poorer job at it and are a little less believable. Reality television is not real. Even when it
comes to real life events, certain things are left on the cutting room floor. Certain things are
Jim Bob and Michelle are concerned about the Duggar brand. They are worried it is going to
go belly up. Like The Big Bang Theory or Friends, people invest in these people’s lives, even
if the reality they are being shown is less than truthful.
It is why even in the midst of the scandal the oldest two daughters have been talking about
spinoff shows. All the Duggar fun. Just without the Duggar touching.
I hate reality television.