As Duggar fans wonder if the Duggar girls are prepping for another baby boom, others are looking at the past.
In light of everything that we now know about Josh, about the family, and about the cult, some moments from their shows have not aged well.
Some moments were a little painful to watch even at the time, without that context.
One throwback click is making former fans sick to their stomach as they watch Jim Bob instruct Jessa on how to kiss.
Recently, Without A Crystal Ball shared a series of throwback clips, but this one stood out.
There, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar stand with Jessa and her then-fiance, Ben Seewald.
“Let me show y’all the best way to kiss here,” Jim Bob says in the 19 Kids And Counting clip.
“If you kiss straight on, your noses hit each other,” Jim Bob warns.
“So you have to turn one way,” he tells Ben.
“And,” Jim Bob continues, “she turns the other.”
To make matters worse, he demonstrates.
Jim Bob kisses Michelle, performing the kiss that he just described.
“Y’all are so cute,” Jessa praises, holding hands with Ben — the most intimate contact that they are permitted.
Viewers, however, find all of this less than cute.
Part of it is simply that Jim Bob is well known to be a bad person — something that more people understand now than they did when this clip aired.
When you dislike someone for morally righteous reasons, it’s hard to see anything that they do as “cute.”
But reactions to Jim Bob’s lesson to Jessa were over more than that.
“Disturbing,” one commenter labeled the clip.
Another wrote: “I seriously can’t stomach Jim Bob!”
“Even years ago when I loved them I cringed every second of their show,” a commenter admitted.
Another asked: “WHO kisses in front of their kids to teach them how??!!”
The same continued: “It’s not that difficult to figure out naturally, and it also gives off such a creepy ‘asserting dominance’ vibe. So gross.”
“Jim Boo and Shelly were/are waaaay too invested in their kids intimate moments, such as kissing, and wedding night,” another observed.
The follower admitted: “It definitely gave me pause back when I watched the show.”
“I stopped watching after the parents were featured more and more on the show,” the commenter concluded.
“Michelle’s laugh and the uncomfortable perv vibe JB sets off…. Cringe,” another remarked.
It is only natural to recoil from uncomfortable on-screen moments.
But even as we do that, we can look at the underlying significance of this scene — why it really makes us uncomfortable.
Most parents — parents who are not in a cult — do not have to do anything of the sort of their children.
A parent of a much younger child might normally answer some simple questions about kissing, from mechanics to why people do it.
(I mean, plenty of kids go “eww, why would someone do that?” and get honest answers from their parents)
But Jessa was an engaged woman at this point and an adult.
Normal human milestones — not universal ones, but normal ones — like having a first kiss were denied to her by her parents and their toxic cult.
Jessa did not grow up being treated as a person, but as Jim Bob’s property, so she was not permitted to develop as a person — only as a future wife.
This is not unique to the Duggars. Other extreme fundamentalist factions also deny their children normal lives and healthy development.
With other, better parents, Jessa could have had first kisses, first loves, heartbreaks, and made her own choices. Maybe she would not, at 29, be a mom.
Instead, her whole life was laid out before her, and she needed to be coached on kissing so that she and Ben didn’t humiliate themselves at the altar on their wedding day.