‘Counting On’ Season 8 Episode 1: Breaking (and Licking) Plates in Greece

When you’re finally getting some…

Counting On has returned and we couldn’t be more excited! OK, maybe not first-full-frontal-hug excited, but nevertheless, still pretty excited for all the upcoming fundie fun!

Since we last checked in with the elder Duggar spawn (the ones still permitted to appear on TLC, that is), there’s been…wait for it…more weddings, babies and courtships!

I mean, this is ‘Counting On.’ If Duggar kids aren’t getting hitched or sperminated, what else are they really going to show us?

(We are still trying to calm ourselves from that riveting episode last season in which we watched Joe and Kendra play frisbee golf..or that time when Joy went to the eye doctor! That was breath-taking TV right there, folks!)

After a quick recap of who’s side-hugging who, Jessa mentions that Jana is “busy doing her own thing” (i.e. being single and basically taking care of everything and everybody). We are even treated to a collage of all the manual labor Jana does on a regular basis.

“No, Jessa, I don’t have time to breastfeed your kids! Stop asking me!”

Next, we head to the Duggar Compound where we see Josiah slicking back what’s left of his hair in the bunk-bed filled room he shares with his fellow unmarried bros.

Jedidiah, Jeremiah and Jason (who, until this point, was rarely put on camera because he was one of the “background kids” we always forget about) chat about Lauren, the new lady in Josiah’s life. They lament on Josiah’s increased use of deodorant since he started getting close enough to a girl that she could smell his pits.

(The fact that they’re implying that Josiah didn’t wear deodorant before meeting Lauren is disturbing. Can you imagine how bad the boys’ prison-esque bunk room must smell!?)

“Find I’ll wear deodorant, but I refuse to be hosed off more than twice a week!”

We “learn” that Josiah is planning to ask his special side-hug friend, Lauren, to officially begin courting him (and his newly freshened armpits.) He enlists the help of some of his sisters to help him pull off his courtship proposal.

Jessa, Joy and Kendra (who has giggled her way right into Jill’s old spot on this show) agree to take Lauren out for a night on the town. (In Duggar Land, this means dinner at a chain restaurant. They do, however, get wild and get dessert!) Jessa tells us that Lauren comes from a family a lot like hers. She literally says “they have a boatload of kids” which makes our work here pretty easy…

Jana also attends the festivities. She has somehow managed to find time between cleaning the bathrooms, fumigating the house and wrangling all her younger siblings to have a night out. It’s nice when moms get a chance to have a break…

(Meanwhile, somewhere nearby Jill is probably crying into a pan of one of her horrifying recipes, trying to pretend she’s not angry at her husband Derick for getting them kicked off the show. She would be snarfing down a “chocolate mess” dessert on-camera right now if it weren’t for that ding-dang Derick!)

“‘Member us?!”

Despite the camera crew hovering around them, Jessa doesn’t think Lauren has any idea that Josiah is planning to surprise her at dinner. She continues to play it cool by telling Lauren how excited Josiah was to hear that the Swanson family was moving to town and how much Josiah thinks of her.

(Wait—did the Swanson clan move to town in hopes of Lauren snaggin’ a Duggar boy?! They don’t actually say that, but it sure seems to be convenient timing. Dating a Duggar is probably the most lucrative job in town, thanks to this crappy show!)

Josiah tells viewers he was attracted to Lauren because “she had a head on her shoulders.”

Damn those men and their unrealistic standards!

“I like girls with heads!”

While the girls dig into their desserts—except Lauren, who chooses to abstain from both pre-marital physical contact AND sugar—Josiah makes his way inside to pull off the “big surprise.” In true Duggar fashion, Josiah throws the question out there while his siblings/soon-to-be chaperones sit awkwardly nearby.

“Si” asks Lauren to court, and she breathlessly agrees. (Is she trying to be the Fundie Marilyn Monroe or something? If she wants to stay on this show, she’s going to have to bring her voice up a few octaves!)

“Don’t worry, I’ll give you all the sugar you need… in approximately a month or so.”

The sisters all cheer and Jana somehow manages to not flip the table over at the thought of having to crank out yet another round of bridesmaids’ dresses. (We’re not even going to mention that poor Jana will be subjected to more “So when is it your turn?” questions thanks to this soon-to-be-happening wedding.)

Jessa proposes a toast of celebratory cheesecake, though we’re pretty sure she meant to say celibacy.

“Guess who’s one step closer to front hugs!? THIS GUY!”

No longer partaking in that celibacy cheesecake are Joe and Kendra, who are recently married and heading to Greece for their honeymoon. Joe says this trip will be different than his previous international trips because he won’t have an entourage of siblings in tow—just his barely legal bride and a TLC camera crew. You know, the usual…

The newlyweds are pumped to no longer require chaperones. Kendra says their first time alone was kind of strange (TMI).

“We enjoy the lying-down front hugging.”

The couple admits that they really didn’t know how to kiss after they got married. After being forced to stay an arms’ length apart (except during properly chaperoned side hugs, of course), Kendra and Joe had to take some time to figure out “what” goes “where” in order to create a blessing.

They tell us, though, that they have since “gotten the hang of things” and are ready to parade their rated-PG PDA all over Greece.

“We enjoy being married,” Joe says pointedly, as Kendra giggles.

(They’re talking about “The Sex,” in case you didn’t pick that up…)

Apparently Joe figured out how to work his blessing-maker to Kendra’s liking?

On their first day in Athens, Joe and Kendra do some sightseeing and Joe serves up the first of many “it’s all Greek to me” lines. Thank God this show doesn’t have a laugh track.

After struggling to snap a selfie and nearly plummeting to their death in the process (#DoItForTheGram), Joe and Kendra head off to get high… which, of course in Duggar World, means getting strapped into a seat, rollercoaster-style, and eating lunch while lifted 160 feet in the air by a crane.

Now it’s time for the producers’ favorite segment of the show, where they ask the Duggar kids and spouses random questions to remind viewers why fundie homeschooling isn’t always a good option. In this round, everyone is asked to name characters from Greek mythology.

Jeremy, Josiah and Ben (yes, Ben!) are the only ones able to rattle off some correct answers.

“Oh Duggars, you KNOW it’s bad when I’M answering the questions and you’re not!”

Some of the Duggar kids try to name some (and fail miserably), while others know that they are going to look like fools if they rattle off random crap, so they just admit from the beginning that Greek mythology wasn’t exactly covered in their homeschooling curriculum.

Go figure.

Back in the States, Jinger and Jeremy grow tired of brewing coffee and moving bookcases so they decide to take an art class. (This may be why the Duggar kids have kids so fast after getting married. If you don’t procreate, your ‘Counting On’ storylines turn into this.)

“I can draw…”
“No one cares, Derick!”

Before they get down to sketching oddly small portraits of each other, the producers ask the Duggar couples to draw their significant others à la Jack and Rose in “Titanic”—without the nudity and sexual tension, of course.

As for the unmarried bunch, they’re stuck doodling each other’s mugs, so Jeremiah and Jedidiah are paired together, while Josiah is tasked with drawing his brother Jason “like one of your French girls.”

It’s a pointless exercise, much like the show itself, and the only highlight is Jessa calling herself a cougar for marrying Ben, who is several years younger than she is. Oh, and Jason calling out Josiah for his receding hairline.

You say potato, we say Josiah…

Back at the airborne lunch, Kendra makes friends with some random lady that keeps leaning into the camera’s shot and asking questions. She’s really grilling Kendra. (Meanwhile, Joe is busy shoveling all the stuffed grape leaves his stomach will allow. Hey, give him a break. He’s been eating crap like this his whole life, so fancy Greek food is probably like heaven on Earth to this kid!)

The random lady keeps pumping Kendra for info. After finding out that Kendra and Joe are on their honeymoon and not on a high school class trip as they appear to be, the woman asks Kendra if they plan to have kids.

Almost on command, Kendra replies with the obligatory “as many as the Lord will give us.”

That’s a good Fundie!

Kendra tells the lady that Joe is one of 19 kids. The woman is stunned by this revelation and immediately asks about the health of the mother after having produced so many blessings. She also asks if the father ran away, earning herself the title of our new favorite person to appear on this show.

Her comments about Kendra’s lack of job are the cherry on top of this scene, immediately promoting her to our favorite person ever.

Not all heroes wear capes…

When the lady asks Kendra what she does in the United States (i.e. for a job), Kendra says she “stayed with my parents” and that she is planning to “stay home” and possibly help Joe hawk cars.

After they are let out of their restraints (for now…perhaps Joe and Kendra plan to use them in the honeymoon suite tonight, wink wink), they wander through a subway station and wonder why there’s no English writing anywhere.

“It’s all Greek to me,” Joe says…again.

Jesus God Jim Bob, make it stop.

After getting tickets, Kendra is super-excited about riding her first subway. (It, of course, can’t compare to that other “first ride” she had on her wedding night.) She’s giggling up a storm as she tells us she’s excited because this is a new experience for her.

“Most things are, I haven’t experienced a whole lot,” she adds.

Um….too easy…

“Any closer and we’ll be making a blessing right here!”

We head back to the States, where Jessa tells us things have been super busy for her and Ben, between wrangling The Spurge and Henry and Ben finishing school. We sure hope Ben meets his “coloring-in-the-lines” requirements and is able to knock out that degree before he knocks up Jessa again! Babies need to eat!

To celebrate their third wedding anniversary, Ben is watching the boys and cooking dinner while Jessa goes to get her nails done with her sisters. Everyone is making a huge deal over the fact that Ben is “babysitting” his own kids and cooking a meal for his wife. This tells us everything we need to know about the Duggar family marriages.

On top of babysitting and getting his chef on in the kitchen, Ben says he designed a necklace for Jessa as an anniversary gift. It’s becoming clearer than ever that Jessa wears the pants in this relationship. Figuratively speaking, of course.

“Was there ever any doubt?”

(Raise your hand if you were hoping that Ben was preparing a special rap as an anniversary gift for Jessa? Just us? OK….)

Back in Greece, Joe and Kendra are going on a Greek Food Tour. Joe is thrilled, as there doesn’t appear to be a Tater Tot Casserole for thousands of miles.

They arrive at a market and meet up with the tour guide who sits and stares at Kendra and Joe as they try various Greek foods. Later, the tour guide parades Joe and Kendra through the meat market, making sure to point out the testicles along the way. Touché.

Kendra giggles and tries to hide her face at the sight of the animal balls. Ol’ Joe’s gonna have a lot to live up to tonight!

“NIKE! NIKE! Just keep walking, Kendra…and don’t look!”

Joe and Kendra then shop for ingredients to make a Greek salad, sans olives (and testicles). After a riveting day of salad-making, they get on a boat and head to their next destination, the Greek island of Santorini.

On the way over, they indulge in a cup of coffee and get a little caffeine-wasted. Man, these two are wild! What’s next, a trip to a gift shop?!

While on the boat, Kendra and Joe talk about what they’ve learned about their new spouse while on the honeymoon. Joe tells us he learned that Kendra gets giggly when she gets tired. (She must be really, really tired…)

Kendra tells us that she learned that Joe really, really likes food. She also learned that whenever a decent meal is put in front of Joe, he will literally LICK THE PLATE CLEAN!

What in the actual hell!?

Joe defends his food-lapping habit, stating that he’s not the only Duggar kid that licks his plate clean. (Dear God…)

“What in the hell did I marry into?!”

Kendra tells her new husband that maybe it’s time to eat like a regular human being and save the plate-licking for the family dog. She says “we don’t want to pass those habits to our kids.” Joe is just sitting there, looking confused, and wondering why it’s weird to lick your plate.

The next day, Kendra and Joe stop at a beach to do some paddle boarding and naturally, Kendra prepared for the water activity by wearing her trusty knee-length swim skirt. She is, of course, also wearing leggings under her skirt but…she has pushed them up ABOVE HER KNEES(!) One small step for Fundies, one giant leap for Duggarkind.

I can see a kneecap! I repeat I CAN SEE A KNEECAP!

Back in Arkansas, Jessa is off enjoying “her” anniversary at the nail salon with an extra-quiet Jana and an extra-pregnant Joy. Jessa brags to her sisters that Ben is watching “her” kids so she can get her claws and hooves done.

“AND he’s making supper too!?” Joy says incredulously.

(Judging by that reaction, we can guess Austin isn’t doing too much cooking for his pregnant wife these days in the RV of Love…)

Jessa keeps talking about how quickly time has passed since her wedding. Joy (who is wearing a sweatshirt that literally says “Austin”) agrees, stating that, after you get married and make a blessing, time flies. Jana, meanwhile, just sits there quietly. (She’s either mentally writing the family’s grocery list and/or plotting her escape from this nonsense.)

“And the best part of this whole anniversary is that I barely have to spend any of it with Ben!”

Once the girls’ hooves are properly painted, Jessa heads home to see if her house is still standing. She’s delighted to see that Ben (and both kids) are still alive, and there’s a steak dinner on the table. She plops Henry down into his high chair at the table, while The Spurge is banished to the couch where he’s watching cartoons via a cell phone.

Ben says going into marriage you think it’s going to be all “butterflies and romance,” but it’s actually a lot more challenging. Jessa agrees with him, saying that you have to “walk through hard times” together, hinting that the Josh Duggar scandal was a real low point for her family.

After dinner, Ben tells Jessa to look away while he “prepares dessert.” Thankfully, “dessert” is not Ben wearing nothing but a bow and a goofy smile. Instead, he presents the necklace he had custom-made for Jessa in honor of their third anniversary. Despite the sweet gift, Jessa seems to be underwhelmed. She tells him she’ll “cherish it always” but her face says otherwise.

“I tried, Jessa…please don’t hurt me!”

Finally, we head to Greece one more time to check in on Joe and Kendra.

While walking around the town, the two encounter a group of performers singing and dancing in the street.  When the performers find out Joe and Kendra are honeymooners, one of them decides to give Joe a celebratory double cheek kiss, which he fumbles his way through, nearly locking lips with the random woman in the process. He seems horrified that his lips came that close to anyone other than his “helpmeet.”

“Did I just commit adultery? No…seriously…did I?”

The performers give Joe and Kendra a few plates to smash to celebrate their time in Greece. Luckily, Joe refrains from licking the plates before throwing them on the ground.

The producers then ask the newlyweds the obligatory Duggar question: “Do you think you guys will have a baby soon?” Kendra giggles (again), stating that she’s not pregnant right now…at least not to her knowledge. She giggles again, as she seems to realize that she just confirmed that she and her husband have actually had sex.

She then blurts out, “Well we haven’t taken a test yet!” Joseph, meanwhile, looks scared (and kind of like he is hoping to find some more of those stuffed grape leaves before he has to go back to the Land of Tater Tot Casserole).

That’s all for this episode of ‘Counting On!’

To read our previous ‘Counting On’ recaps, click here!

RELATED STORY: 10 of the Hardest Duggar-Themed “Would You Rather?” Questions Ever: Play Now! 

(Photos: TLC)


    1. I don’t want to say the wrong thing and invoke rancor from the other fundie fans that read this with #goals in mind, but I feel like not having experienced relationships throughout their teens and 20s/30s, they get stuck in the childish puppy-love phase and don’t know how to act around their spouse, or plan dates or romantic gifts…it’s awkward for US to watch. And knowing it’s their FIRST TIME…I know, different strokes for different folks. No one is better than anyone else, etc etc.

  1. Who in the world goes out for their wedding anniversary without their spouse? Doesn’t that defeat the whole point? Y’all, am I crazy for asking that question, or what?

  2. Okay, I’m just going to say it. I have never heard of anyone actually licking a plate! That’s disgusting! I guess these kids were never taught manners at any point. My parents would have NEVER allowed that! Anyone else?

  3. I’ve heard people say that something was so good they could lick the plate, but I’ve never heard of anyone actually doing it. That is so gross! And I really think Jana should run away. I’m so glad Jeremy and Jinger are normal.

  4. The rap line made me think of, “Little People Big World,” and Matt’s horribly thoughtless 25th anniversary gift to Amy. It was still a funny line though.

  5. Ok, two things.

    1. WHY are they making such a big deal about a man cooking dinner and “babysitting” his own kids?! I’m sure Ben is a more hands down dad but they make it look like it’s a miracle. A FATHER TAKING CARE OF HIS KIDS IS NOT A CHORE!

    2. Who licks his plate clean at 22?! Ok, we all did as kids but Joe is an adult, this just proves to me this family never had enough food for all kids to eat.

    1. I’m sorry, but I don’t get the going out w/o your spouse on your wedding anniversary. The whole point is to celebrate the fact that you married this person. That’s really weird.

  6. I will take Giggly Kendra and Plate-lickin’ Joe over Soup-can Jill and her apartment of Dillard sadness any.day.of.the.week.

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