By Holly Rasmussen
Move over Duggars, a new family is coming to reality TV! If you’re a fan of 19 Kids and Counting, you may be familiar with the Bates Family. The Bates’ are a family out of Tennessee who have been (trying to get their own show) friends with the Duggars for years. Like the Duggars, the Bates have 19 children and follow a strict Christian faith. So, of course they’re friends with the Duggars; when your family is that kind of a circus, you need to seek out other circuses to understand you. We last saw the Bates family on their own TLC special called United Bates of America.
The family is set to star in their own reality show! The show, aptly titled Bringing up Bates, is scheduled to premiere on New Year’s Day 2015. What better cure for your New Year’s Eve party hangover than watching a man with 19 kids talk about side hugs?
Yes that’s right, the Bates family follows the same strict rules of courtship as the Duggars do. This means no hand-holding until they’re engaged (side hugs only) and no kissing until they’re at the altar. A press release announcing the new show does say the Bates’ allow for “front hugs on special occasions,” so I guess father Gil Bates is a little more relaxed than Jim Bob Duggar.
Remember how mad Jim Bob got when his daughter front- hugged her boyfriend at the airport after not seeing him for months? Scandalous! I wonder what they consider a special occasion. Dad impregnates mom for the 20th time? We don’t lose a sibling at the local Goodwill?
Gil and Kelly Jo, 49 and 47 respectively, have 19 children that range in age from 2 to 25. While ‘Bringing up Bates’ will probably mirror ‘19 Kids and Counting’ a lot, there are some differences in the family. Gill seems a little more relaxed on the strictness as opposed to Jim Bob Duggar. Also, three of the oldest Bates children are married and one of them just welcomed their first child. (This was the first grandchild for Gil and Kelly Jo.)
Some of the Bates children have also attended college. This is something viewers complain a lot about with the Duggars, that none of the Duggar children have ever attended college. (I’m sure Jim Bob doesn’t want them to get too much book learnin’ or a full frontal hug from someone).
It’s very disappointing that all of these kids don’t all have names that start with the same letter, but I guess Kelly Jo Bates isn’t as creative as Michelle Duggar.
Let’s stroll the Bates family album shall we?
Zach Bates, married to Whitney (who graduated from college!! Whoa! I’m sure Michelle had to get the smelling salts out to revive Jim Bob when he heard his friend let his son marry an educated woman.) They recently had their first child; Michael Bates (yes, Michael is a girl name in this instance), will marry fiancé Brandon Kelien early next year.
Erin “Bates” Pain is married to Chad Pain. Get this– Erin has a Bachelor’s degree! (Jim Bob- Did you know about this? And you still let your family hang out these people?) Granted it’s from a Bible college-is there any other kind to these people? But still, that’s a huge improvement from the Duggars who make their daughters tend to babies and apprentice midwives as their only form of higher education.
Lawson Bates is the family’s very own aspiring singer! (He yodels, yes-yodels! We couldn’t make this up if we tried). Nathan Bates, a preacher to be, is also attending Bible College. Alyssa “Bates” Webster is married to John Webster.
The younger siblings are: Tori, Trace, Carlin, Josie, Katie, Jackson, Warden, Isaiah, Ellie, Callie, Judson, Jeb (because every family from Tennessee needs a Jeb in it) and Addallee. (This one sounds like something Teen Mom 2 star Leah Calvert would name her kid. The Bates family better watch out; Leah may go after them for copyright infringement!)
This show seems like it is going to be a little bit more interesting than ‘19 Kids.’ We will have to tune in January 1 to find out what kind of trouble these front-hugging Bates kids get into! The show will air on the UP Network.