After a long (but never long enough) break, Counting On is back with a new season!
While the Duggar family is usually up to the same old Rated-G shenanigans, this season they’re mixing things up a bit as Jana has escaped The Compound and moved into her own home, Jessa has started her own line of flashy tank tops, and Michelle is rocking a chic bob and starring in the local theater’s rendition of Chicago.
Just kidding—it’s babies and boring date nights as usual for the Duggar crew, but we can dream, right?
After a handful of “the married kids,” as Michelle insists on calling them, arrive at Duggar Headquarters, Michelle and Jim Bob explain that they’re going to actually babysit their grandchildren for the afternoon while “the married kids” enjoy some alone time—aka work on pounding out more blessings.
Jessa and Ben (who has grown out his facial hair like he’s in some sort of Amish witness protection program or something) arrive at The Compound, with The Spruge revealing his plan to snag “mollypops” from his cousin Meredith. (Hopefully he gives the mollypops to his parents; these people could use some pharmaceutically enhanced story lines!)
Jessa tells us that she is, once again, sperminated and, after spending some time yakking up tator tot casserole due to morning sickness, she’s now “feeling great!”
Joe and Kendra walk in next, and tell us that their blessing, Garrett, is now eight months old. We all know what that means, of course: it’s time for them to fire up the ol’ baby making machine and get Kendra ready to squirt out another Duggar spawn.
Next in are Josiah and his breathless wife Lauren. They remind us of their recent “hard times,” which included the miscarriage of their first child.
Abbie and John-David are also there, putting in their required time on the show in order to cash those TLC paychecks. They both look like they want to get in and out (which, honestly, probably describes their sex life pretty accurately too.)
Michelle, who is once again wearing her trusty pilgrim shoes and black nylon combo (#SexyDuggar), soon finds herself surrounded by GrandBlessings. She decides to turn the babysitting “adventure” into a competition to see which couple can come up with the most romantic date idea. We low-key think this was her and Jim Bob’s way of getting some new ideas for themselves. After all, a couple can only hump on the mini-golf course so many times!
Jim Bob says that he wishes “all of the couples could have made it.” But, sadly, we know that Jill is busy cooking up assorted canned innards and whatnot, while her hubby Derick is hate-watching I Am Jazz. And, of course, Anna is not able to participate in this s**tshow of a date because no one wants to see her hubby Josh getting his romance on.
(Naturally poor single Jana is not included in this scene. She’s probably out back, scrubbing the exterior of the house while holding some of the kids, while also using her feet to dig holes in the dirt to plant vegetables.)
Joy and Austin are mysteriously absent. Later, Austin says that they didn’t want to blow Joy’s siblings out of the water. (Yes, Austin, because we know what a pillar of romance you are, making your ultra-pregnant wife carry your damn canoe into a frozen lake so you could go fishing before she heaved your kid out. What a dreamboat!)
Anyway, as if having your parents judge the level of romance on you and your spouse’s date isn’t creepy enough, Jim Bob and Michelle have set some ground rules and are really pushing the last one, which requires video and photo proof of the date.
Next, they get assorted Dug randos to explain what they think constitutes a romantic date. They even let Jana explain what she would want in a romantic date. (But, then again, they also asked some of the kids who are under the age of 12, so that’s not saying much…by the way, Tyler and Jackson think slabs of meat and hunting are all you need for a romantic evening.)
With that, the kids grab the fundie who’s been given to them, and are off!
First out of the gate (literally) are Joe and Kendra who decide to do a “penny date” which involves flipping a penny at 20 major intersections (aka each time they come across a large herd of cows). Whether they get heads or tails will determine if they’ll turn left or right until they’ve reached some sort of date-destination.
Their date quickly goes awry when they come across a dead end, with signs that prevent them from trespassing…or hunting.
Joe and Kendra end their penny-flipping fun at a random gazebo, where they have a picnic. They snarf down their assorted Kroger processed meats as a giggling Kendra muses that their penny-flipping date is much like life itself!
“You can’t really, like, plan your future,” she tells us.
Um…you can’t? Kendra, honey, your future has been planned out since the day you were born. I can sum it up to you in one word: BABIES!
Next we check in with Jessa and Ben, who have opted to learn how to make various chocolate candy on their date, partly because they needed something to do and partly because Ben finished up all of his chores for the week and Jessa promised him a reward.
While Ben and Jessa are busy filling holes to make bon bons—-that joke kind of writes itself, doesn’t it?—we cut away so that the producers can ask some of the couples what flavor bon bon their spouse would be. Hands down, Michelle and Jim Bob are the standouts here… for all the wrong reasons.
“I put cream because you’re creamy and sweet,” JB tells Michelle.
Jesus God, Jim Bob! WTF?!
Abbie says that John-David is “very fruity,” which I’m sure he appreciated. That should go over well in DuggarLand. We know how they love “the gays.”
Ben and Jessa describe how romantic chocolate is, causing us to have mental flashes of Ben pulling up Jessa’s knee-length stretchy skirt and squirting some Hershey’s syrup down her leg in an attempt to have sexy time.
BRB gonna go vomit my lunch.
Adding to the romance is the fact that Jessa and Ben have to wear hairnets (and for Ben, a beardnet to contain all that Amish-level face fuzz). Nothing says romance quite like a hairnet, am I right!?
“I’m a chocolate surgeon!” Ben proudly proclaims.
Nope…not touching that joke…
Next we check in with Lauren and Josiah who have decided to spend their date riding horses—-for free, courtesy of Austin’s family’s camp. Josiah greets the “boys” (aka the girl horses). The fact that he can’t tell the difference between a girl horse and boy horse doesn’t bode well for Lauren.
We then jump over to Los Angeles, where Jeremy and Jinger are in the process of relocating, probably to avoid obligatory Duggar outings such as the ones we’ve been subjected to on this episode.
While most of Jinger’s siblings voice their personal preference of life in the county, Jinger says she excited about living in a big city.
Back in said country, “the married kids” are still out on their dates and it’s time to find out what romantic excursion Abbie and John have planned. To the surprise of not a single damn person, the couple reveals their date involves an airplane.
“I think we can win this romantic date night competition,” John confidently says. “All ya gotta do is think outside the box.”
This is literally not thinking outside the box one bit. Everything this dude has ever done has involved an airplane.
Oh, by the way, in case you hadn’t heard– John David is A PILOT!
We then get to hear John’s sisters and brother-in-law talk about how romantic he is, before Abbie throws in her own two cents. (And no, they weren’t playing the penny game.)
“Romance has been in a bottle in my life for years,” John says, to which Abbie proudly adds, “and I cracked it open!”
“You don’t have to hold it in anymore,” she continues. “You can just slather it on.”
“And the more you do it, the more you have in you that’s got to come out,” John says.
We get it guys, you’ve had sex.
Back at the Duggar Compound, Jim Bob and Michelle are doing more child-rearing this night than they ever have in their entire lives. Michelle is inside tending to diapers and older (skirted) children while Jim Bob plays football out front with assorted kids.
While Jim Bob does his best impression of a real athlete—in his dad jeans, of course—Meredith bites Spurgeon and then he bites her back.
We then check back in with Jessa and Ben, just in time to hear Ben tells us that chocolate “is the language of romance.”
Oh, Ben…I’ve missed you, bro….
Abbie and John tells us about the rule they have in their house: they’re never allowed to do a “peck” kiss. Apparently it’s tongue or nothing in Casa de JD, y’all!
The couples finish their dates and then head back to the house and surrender their video/photo proof to Michelle and Jim Bob and wait for the awards to be given out.
No really, they had certificates made and everything.
Naturally, they have enough categories so that every couple can be a winner.
In the end, Josiah and Lauren are awarded “Thriftiest Date” and Jessa and Ben win “Date We’d Go On.” (Their certificate is signed “Michelle Mom” for some reason…)
…Romance-slathers Abbie and John David are given “Most Original” (much to their dismay), and Joe and Kendra take home the grand prize of “Most Romantic.”
Next week, the producers will once again be peppering poor Jana with questions about when she will get married so she can join in on these “married kids” dates. Josiah and Lauren will do their gender reveal, while the other “married kids” do a couples retreat at a lakehouse.
That’s it for this week! To read The Ashley’s other recaps, click here!