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Series / 19 Kids and Counting

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They've had at least one more kid since this picture was taken.

19 Kids and Counting (formerly 17 Kids and Counting and 18 Kids and Counting) is an American Reality TV show that aired on the cable channel TLC from 2008 until its cancellation in 2015, featuring the lives of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, an ultra-religious family from Arkansas, and their children, called Josh, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy Anna; twins Jedediah and Jeremiah; Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn, and Josie. (Sensing a theme here?)

Other family members include Grandma Duggar (Jim Bob's mother), Cousin Amy, Anna Duggar (nee Keller), Josh's wife, Jill's husband Derick Dillard, and Jessa's husband Ben Seewald.

The show follows the Duggars as they explain their unusual lifestyle raising 10 boys and 9 girls; the family is very religious, the children are homeschooled, do not dance, the girls wear long skirts rather than pants, and they don't even kiss before marriage (holding hands is okay)note .


The Duggars are very controversial. Edit with care...

In May 2015, the show was pulled off the air due to Josh Duggar's past child molestation accusations coming to light. On July 16, 2015 TLC announced that they would not be renewing the show for an 11th season or be reshowing any of the series' previous episodes. However, the show was effectively Un-Cancelled just 5 months later, with the premiere of Jill and Jessa: Counting On in December 2016. Ostensibly a Spin-Off created for Jill and Jessa to tell their stories relating to the revelation that older brother Josh had molested them, after the first couple episodes, the series turned right back to the original series's premise of focusing on the entire Duggar family.


This show provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Family: All but one of the kids have names starting with a J, as does father Jim Bob.
  • All Men Are Perverts: While it's never specifically stated, it's heavily implied that this is the reason why the women dress very modestly. They even have a code word, "Nike", which alerts the males in the family to avert their eyes whenever a women who they deem "immodest" walks by.
  • Artistic License – History: While traveling in the British Isles, Jim Bob pointed out the building where King James wrote the King James Bible. He didn't write that translation, he only authorized it.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • In the episode in which most of the children get chicken pox, Jim Bob tells them that they should be thankful because "getting the chicken pox now means you won't get shingles." In fact, the opposite is true, as shingles is a reactivation of the chicken pox virus.
    • Michelle and Jim Bob claim that their first miscarriage, the child that would have come after Josh, was lost because of her use of the birth control pill. There's no doubt from their tearful explanations of the situation that they believe this is true, but the pill doesn't really work that way.
  • Artistic License – Statistics: Jim Bob claims that A) Overpopulation is a myth, and B) The entire population can fit into Florida
    • While it's technically true that the world's population could fit into the state of Florida, it would be highly uncomfortable—the density would be about 130,000 people per square mile: about 20,000/sq. mi. denser than Manilanote , the densest city in the world. For reference, New York City has a density of about 27,000/sq. mi. Each person would have about 200 square feet to play with, which is smaller than some studio apartments—or more to the point, smaller than some rich people's kitchens. As for Jacksonville...
    • And with regard to the notion of overpopulation, the idea behind the theory was never that a too-large population would run out of room to live in, but that there wouldn't be enough food for them to eat. Exactly how large Earth's population would have to get in order to reach that point remains controversial.
    • Also, Jim Bob claims that he and Michelle spend more one on one time with their 19 children individually than a family with two children ever will.
  • As the Good Book Says...: More accurately, as Bill Gothard says what the Good Book says.
  • Birds of a Feather: Derick and Jill, who not only share a faith but are both very interested in doing missionary work in third-world countries. (Also, they're both completely adorkable.)
  • Black Sheep: Amy, in context. She wears jeans and listens to rock music.
  • Blatant Lies: The family says they use plastic and glass during meals. Actually, they only use paper plates, and claim that their carbon footprint is way lower than the average family's.
  • Bowdlerise: According to Anna's father, Jesus turned water into grape juice.
  • Bowling for Ratings: "Duggars Bowled Over" sees the family going bowling to celebrate James's eighth birthday.
  • Breaking Bad News Gently: After the events mentioned under Dumb Struck, an unusually-stern Jim Bob called a family meeting to announce miscarrying Jubilee, and he and Michelle expressed their gratitude and affection for each of their children.
  • California University: Real-life example. In an effort to keep the college-aged children at home, work around the show's shooting schedule, and respond to criticism that the parents weren't letting the kids pursue higher education, the Duggar children "attend" College Plus—a program that provides tutors and study guides so they can earn college credits through CLEP tests.
  • Catchphrase: "Totally!" appears to be Jill's.
  • Censor Box: Michelle asked for these to cover her knees in a clip of her water-skiing.
  • Cool Car: The Duggars travel in a giant bus, not unlike a campaign bus or touring bus for a band.
  • Cool House: They put a lot of effort into one.
  • Daddy's Girl: Jill and Jim Bob have a special bond; he was the one who was the most emotional on her wedding day and almost couldn't bring himself to give her away. He was also the parent who went with Jill to Nepal to meet Derick.
  • Delayed Reaction: The announcement that Michelle was pregnant with Jubilee Duggar, just before a family photo.
    Jim Bob: Everybody say, Mama'sgonnahaveanotherbaby!
    Michelle: Mama's gonna have another baby!
    Josh and Anna: Really?!?
  • Dumb Struck: After learning that Michelle had miscarried Jubilee, Michelle and Jim Bob had a somber ride home from the hospital.
  • Due to the Dead: Grandpa got a really nice funeral.
  • El Spanish "-o": During a mission trip to El Salvador, Jim Bob tried to get a group of children to move by saying, "Back-o out of the way-o."
  • Everyone Owns A Mac: For the parental controls.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The titles for each special.
  • Family Theme Naming
    • Josh and Anna have carried on the theme-naming tradition with Mackynzie, Michael, Marcus, Meredith, Mason, and Maryella.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Michelle miscarried their 20th child before the 9th season aired, however a lot of the 9th season shows them going to prenatal doctor visits.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The five eldest daughters. Jana (melancholic), Jill (leukine), Jessa (choleric), Jinger (sanguine), and Joy (phlegmatic).
    • For the younger four: Johannah is sanguine, Jennifer is phlegmatic, Jordyn is melancholic, and Josie is choleric
  • From Special To Series: It began as a special called 14 Children and Pregnant Again! and after at least a couple more specials, it was adapted into a show.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: As well as any form of birth control.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Oh, yeah. 19 children, none of whom are adopted.
  • Happily Married: All other considerations aside, Jim-Bob and Michelle seem quite happy together.
  • Hollywood Atlas: This family travels a lot.
  • Idiot Ball: The girls choosing to wear flip flops instead of hiking boots in South America. You know, that place with the dangerous snakes and spiders? They also wear them to hike up a mountain.
    • Another case occured in the second episode when Jim Bob and Michelle allowed Jackson (who was three at the time) to walk to the washroom in the airport by himself (and yes, he got lost).
  • Idol Singer: Amy. She's good, but not as fantastic as the family says.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: The boys are warned about this.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Many people refer to Jessa as the "pretty one" of the daughters. When the truth is, all of the Duggar daughters are absolutely beautiful.
  • Jerkass: Jackson, who constantly interrupts his sister during interviews.
    • Josh stands out to some viewers who also watch his Twitter and Instagram.
    • John-David, who thinks women can't drive buses.
    • The Duggar boys trashed the newlyweds car and took it much too far. It may be a cute tradition, but they put sardines and mothballs under the seats and left the car for hours under the hot sun!
    • Duggars also thew Cousin Amy a scary clown birthday party with terrifying performers. Amy is genuinely petrified of clowns since childhood and although she tried to laugh it off she definitely didn’t look like she was having fun.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Most of the Duggar daughters married men who are EXTREMELY like Jim Bob, except Jinger who married a man who doesn't seem to be as controlling as JB, and the other husbands.
  • Manly Tears: Jim Bob cries before he walks Jill down the aisle and doesn't seem to be at all ashamed.
  • Marital Rape License: They believe in something that is called "joyfully available", where the women must fulfill the men's "desires", even if they don't want to. This is incredibly jarring to know, since all of the Duggar females are all virgins and have limited sexual education before marriage.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings
  • Men Can't Keep House: John-David and Joseph stayed behind while the family was in Little Rock for several months to be closer to Josie in the Hospital. During that time, the older girls had to periodically go back to their home and clean the house for the boys, including throwing out moldy food.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: The reason for the modest dress code and the "no dancing" rule. YMMV on how well this actually works, especially in the very early specials.
  • My Nayme Is: "Jinger" is just "Ginger" spelled to match the starts-with-J naming theme.
  • New Media Are Evil: Except where schoolwork is concerned. Also, the kids need a chaperone to see anything that isn't on a pre-approved list.
  • New Season, New Name: The show started out as 17 Kids and Counting, then became 18, and then 19, with earnest efforts to get to 20 when it was canceled.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: The rules in the Duggar family for the kids prior to marriage: no kissing, no holding hands, and no frontal hugs; side hugs may be okay, with permission.
  • Odd Name Out: Michelle.
    • The name they say they would have given to their second child, who they lost to a miscarriage, would have been Caleb.
  • Official Couple: 'Courting' is basically this.
    • Josh and Anna
    • Jill and Derick
    • Jessa and Ben
    • Josiah and Marjorie, later on Josiah and Lauren
    • Jinger and Jeremy
    • Joy and Austin
  • Oh, Crap!: This happens to Josh and Anna when they find out that the big clan is coming over for a holiday dinner a day earlier than expected. It disrupts Josh's home renovation and Anna's cooking.
  • One of the Boys: Joy-Anna, who can rock climb while wearing a skirt.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Jim Bob's full name is James Robert, but he's gone by Jim Bob since he was young.
  • Opening Narration
  • Parental Substitute: Jim Bob and Michelle hardly seem to interact with their kids, and leave the parenting, and even home schooling their kids to the older daughters. See Promotion to Parent.
  • Parents as People: For how many kids they have, Jim Bob and Michelle do very little hands-on parenting and leave it more to their older daughters to do so. Averted with Anna and Jill who seem very invested in their children.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: How Michelle described Jedediah and Jeremiah in "20 years, 20 Duggars".
  • Promotion to Parent: The "buddy system", where each new child is assigned an older sibling to look after, especially true for the four oldest girls.
  • The Quiet One: Joseph doesn't talk very much.
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: Jana is three minutes older than John David.
  • Sibling Team: Invoked with the buddy system.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Jessa does a spot-on and rather hilarious imitation of a smitten Jill in season 8.
  • Similar Squad: The Bates family.
  • Snowed-In: "Duggars on Ice" and "Duggars' Big Thaw."
  • Spin-Off:
    • Jill and Jessa: Counting On premiered 5 months after the show was cancelled, and has effectively simply become the new name for the show.
    • Amy and Dillon focuses on Duggar cousin Amy (who was a frequent guest star on the original show) and her husband Dillon King, and their not-quite-as-conservative marriage and relationship.
  • Standard Snippet: Amazing Freaking Grace is an important song to this family.
  • Stay in the Kitchen
  • Switching P.O.V.: At various points in their books, Jim Bob and Michelle both refer to themselves as "I", adding their respective names in parentheses as needed.
  • The Talk: Jim Bob gave this to eldest son Josh on his wedding day. It involved Legos.
  • Thicker Than Water
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Johannah is active, brave and reckless, Jennifer is shy, gentle and likes to pick out her own outfits, the (former) tomboy Joy-Anna and her four older "ladylike" sisters.
  • Trademark Favorite Foods: Dill pickles, Tater Tot Casserole. Grandpa loved ketchup.
  • Two First Names: Jim Bob, John David, Joy Anna, and Jordyn-Grace.
  • Urban Legend: There's a rumor going around that they have declared their home to be a church so that they don't have to pay taxes, and also that they get free healthcare for life because of Jim Bob's terms in the Arkansas State House of Representatives. It's hard to tell if these are true or not, since they have been silent on the subject.
  • Wedding Day


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