The Duggars and the Gosselins are two of the largest names in reality TV. Both families have shows that air on TLC, and over the years both programs have developed a rabid following.
When the fundamental Christian Duggar family first began filming in 2008, the show was entitled 17 Kids and Counting. Since that time, Jim Bob and Michelle added two more children to their own family. The viewing public watched as several of the older Duggar children married and had their own children. The family replicates quickly; if you miss a few episodes, you might miss a birth!
Jon and Kate Gosselin's reality TV fame exploded in 2008, with a Discovery Channel program that highlighted the sextuplets birth. After the success of that show, TLC began Jon and Kate Plus 8, which showed the daily happenings of a couple struggling to raise twins and sextuplets.
While the families grew, so did their problems. We watched as The Duggars spouted their conservative "values", and grimaced when it became public knowledge that son Josh had sexually molested four of his sisters.
After years of appearing as a gentle, if not downtrodden figure, Jon Gosselin left the family home, leaving Kate alone to rear all eight kids. Shortly after, Jon and Kate divorced. Recently, Collin, one of the sextuplets, was removed from Kate Gosselin's home and is reportedly undergoing treatment for behavioral issues.
We have watched both families grow, change, fight, and struggle. Reality TV is a madly obtrusive devil; cameras film your daily doings, and when you step outside paparazzi get the moments the TV crew missed. It's no wonder that neither group looks like the "perfect American family". But we continue to watch the show and look at the pictures if only because for a moment, it makes our own families look a little bit better.
15 Pick Your Family
Based on the photos above, pick your family.
Here's what I see. I can't wear the muted tones the Duggars favor. They simply wash me out and make me look as if I've been toiling in the laundry room all day. WHICH THEY HAVE. News flash- The Duggars are going to make you work. As a matter of fact, I think Jinger just pulled her hands out of the sink, after scraping shards of meatloaf off last night's dinner plates. Dishwashing builds character, but I worry the "expiration date" for housework (which happened to me after twenty years of marriage) might possibly occur during the infancy of their marriages. Oh Dear.
If you live with the Duggars, you will learn a musical instrument, so if that's important to you, add one point.
The Gosselins look happy here. Or tired. Jon's so submissive that he agreed to wear an oversized pink polo and poop-brown sweater (more on that later). The sextuplets look darling and joyous, all dangly short legs sitting in their little chairs, and Mady and Cara are hamming it up for the camera, begging someone, anyone, to pay attention. No one is sick of anyone yet.
With significantly fewer family members, I am confident there will be more meatloaf in the pan if I live with this family. So for that reason, I'm picking the Gosselins.
14 If Looks Could Kill
In the Land of Duggar, Jim Bob and Michelle rarely let anger cross their faces. Believe me, I searched for pictures. The couple has perfected an outward appearance that gives no indication of trouble in paradise. But many say that’s simply not the case, and that like any couple, Jim Bob and Michelle fight.
But many say that’s simply not the case, and that like any couple, Jim Bob and Michelle fight.
In the past few years, there has been speculation that the Christian couple has differed in their approach to handling son Josh, amid his sexual misconduct scandal, and his recent stay in a rehabilitation center for sex addiction. While Michelle has been firm in her stand to keep her daughters away from Josh, Jim Bob has insisted Michelle move on and put the past behind her.
Jon and Kate Gosselin were once cozy on the loveseat, or when they sat on the floor tending to their babies. But a few years before their 2009 split, loyal viewers might have witnessed a growing “couch divide” between the couple. Kate picked silly fights with her husband and seemed to freak out if the sextuplets spilled lunch on their shirts while Jon supervised. Slowly but surely, Jon detached and faded into the distance.
13 Fun With Guns
The family that slays together, stays together. I'm joking! But, let it be known that the Duggars are big gun advocates.
A few years back, Jim Bob was taken to task for leaving a .22 shotgun lying on the ground while on vacation in Texas, mere feet from young daughter, Josie. Other online pictures show Jessa holding an automatic rifle, and John David displaying three guns across his body.
The most recent gun story stems from Jim Bob asking attendees of the Christian retreat Courageous Men of the Word to show up armed. He also promised to supply hand guns to those who left them at home. I’m not sure I should say that Jim Bob's request is “wacko” or “Waco”.
Jon Gosselin's "gun story" (doesn't everyone have one?- I say that with sarcasm) happened a few years back. While returning to the rural cabin where he lives in Pennsylvania, Jon noticed paparazzi following him. When the journalist continued down the driveway, Jon pulled a gun out of his back pocket and issued a warning shot into the air.
12 Cover Models - Scandal, Part I
With no less than a dozen covers each between them (Yup, folks, that’s over twenty-four covers), the Duggar and Gosselin dramas have eaten quite a bit of ink. So, whose cover stories are worse?
Whether it be the Duggars early TV days, where Jim Bob and Michelle were still spitting out there own children, or to today, where Jessa and Jill’s glossy hair spills across the front covers, new babies of their own in their hands, the Duggars sell magazines.
While most covers celebrated good things, the Duggars have had a smattering of negative titles. One cover of Michelle and Jim Bob asked, “How Many Kids Are Too Many?” while Josh’s incest scandal dug into “The Duggars Dark Secrets”.
John and Kate Gosselin's People Magazin “career” explores the more sordid, single side of the family’s relationship. Numerous covers show Kate alone on the front of the magazine, declaring, “I’m Starting Over” or showcasing her “new body” in a white bikini. Only one cover featured Jon on the cover, saying,”Enough is Enough!”
11 Scandal, Part II
When you have a family with a ton of children, odds are that one of these kids is not going to be like the others. Both the Duggars and the Gosselin family have that one child that doesn’t necessarily comply with the rules of family, or society.
For a few years, Kate Plus 8 viewers noticed Collin wasn't around, and in July 2015, Kate Gosselin finally spoke about her son. She said his social and educational needs were “a work in progress”. Since then the thirteen-year-old has been living outside the family home, and as Kate remarked, learning “certain strategies to help him deal with things.”
The Dugar family sent one of their sons away for a while as well, albeit it for a much more serious problem. Back in 2002, then fifteen-year-old Josh confessed to his parents that he had inappropriately touched four of his sisters and a family friend. Multiple times! Josh was disciplined at home and was sent to live with an acquaintance of Jim Bob’s where he spent three months doing home construction. Only after Josh returned home did Jim Bob take him to the Arkansas State Police, and the authority in charge, Jim Hutchins, was a friend of Jim Bob’s! Hutchins never reported the abuse, and only much later did the Duggars contact the proper authorities.
10 It’s Michelle Duggar By A Hair
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairer of them all? The women in the “After” shots, that’s who.
Exhibit A is Michelle Duggar, who on the left show sports an orange juice-can barrel roll bang, and tightly permed hair. Why so uptight, Michelle?
On the right is what happens when Michelle hangs out with outsiders for the day. Apparently, Michelle’s stylist friend Cindy sedated her long enough to break out a blow dryer and softened her long layers and bangs. Michelle looks amazeballs; like a hip mom, dropping Justin off at jujitsu while rocking out to Adele in her Audi.
Ah, but it would not last. Michelle claims that while she liked the look, Jim Bob didn't. Hmm..why does Jim Bob get a say?
Exhibit B, left photo, is Kate Gosselin. No, really. Trust me on this. The photo was taken when she had six babies in her belly, so we all need to let it go.
The picture of the right is what’s possible when you have access to scads of money, hair extensions, and plastic surgery. This is reassuring proof to me that I do have the potential to resemble Natalie Portman, and perhaps just maybe, my best days are ahead of me.
9 Pick Your Wedding
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were married on July 21, 1984. The wedding took place in a gymnasium, with Michelle wearing Jim Bob's mother's dress. She carried artificial flowers and after the reception, guests were treated to cake, punch, and nuts. Nuts. Okay...I guess nuts are a convenient food to toss into your mouth while holding a glass of champagne. Only this wasn't the case. Due to the couple's strict religious belief, no alcohol was served. Maybe they ate the nuts in a bowl with a spoon. I'm struggling with this. Anyway...
A low-key, affordable ceremony is fine and dandy. The real question here is if Michelle even wanted to get married. The fear in the poor woman's eyes. It was a distress call, and we all ignored it. Yikes.
Jon and Kate Gosselin tied the know in July 1999. Kate was 24, and Jon, a man-child of 22. Kate wore a big gown and a poofy veil, and in several photos, Jon gives the camera a thumbs-up. A few years back Jon called the marriage a "business transaction" and complained that having so many children left no time for the couple to work on their relationship.
8 Cue Wholesome Promo Images
Both pictures kill me because the costuming could perform double duty and allow all four "stars" to film a laundry detergent commercial. Did you ever notice how every "Mom" in an ad wears a button-down Oxford, capri pants, and boat shoes? They do. But have you ever once seen a mom at school pick-up wearing that type of get-up? NO! Because real people don’t wear clothes like that. It’s all part of an effort to make TV characters appear likable and relatable.
Except for Michelle Duggar; she really does wear that shirt. And if I had to hazard a guess, I bet she’s rocking a knee-length, denim skirt. Jim Bob is looking natty in his button-down shirt and V-neck sweater, issued hot off the TLC costuming rack. I’m not sure whose idea it was to bring in the milkshake, but the creepy look of intimacy passing between Jim Bob and Michelle while they share a frozen treat has permanently burned my retinas.
I’ll also give Kate Gosselin a break. Chances are the pink T-shirt is hers. These were the early days of TV for her, right after she incubated six children and before she scored a free tummy tuck. I bet she wanted a shirt to skim over her belly.
Let’s move on to Jon. Jon is an example of what happens when you show up to a photo session wearing your Ed Hardy shirt, or whatever douchebaggery brand Jon was sporting in 2007, and the network isn't having it. “Throw this on!” the director yelled as he handed Jon an oversized, salmon-colored polo and brown sweater. "We want people to like you...to watch you...to feel sorry for you!"
7 50 Shades Of Red
The Duggars and the Gosselins both released pictures which show a little PDA going on. Kinky.
To be fair, The Gosselins shot is sweet. Jon and Kate both wear light-colored shirts and are holding hands. While Kate looks at the camera, Jon nuzzles Kate’s cheek, and looks to be murmuring something kind, or cute, such as, “Let’s ditch the kids and hit Papa Johns.” Kate, who by this point has reached the end of her marital rope, smiles, grateful that all her husband is tapping her for is a hot piece of pizza.
Where do we start with the picture of Jessa Duggar Seewald and husband Ben? Holy cow, Jessa, you did realize Daddy Duggar might see the shot, right? Released after the couple’s November 2014 wedding, Jessa is depicted locking lips with her scruffed up "boy Groom" (Ben was 19 at the time). The black-and-white photo is a tight shot, and Jessa has her hand wrapped around her husband’s head, pulling him in closer. Rawr. But there’s just something too private, and icky here. The whole thing is like an announcement or a testimonial of the newly-married couple’s missing virginity.
Yeah, we know what goes on when your type gets married, Jessa. We get it. But by sharing the intimacy of your passionate kiss, it feels like you’ve given it away to everyone.
6 You Had A Bad Day
In the battle of what mom looks more haggard, I present to you these two pictures of Michelle Duggar and Kate Gosselin.
Michelle has had it. And can you blame her? I imagine this is the face she makes when Jim Bob pops in a CD sermon by Pastor Rick Warren and pushes her onto the bed for a little “Jim Bob time.” Ick. Honestly, this poor woman has had the touch put on her for so many years, it’s a wonder she doesn’t have a permanent resting crank face.
Kate Gosselin is diving into a car in this photo, and I believe her flat, stringy hair is making a break for it as well. Kate looks tired, haggard, too-thin. When you’re a single mom to eight kids, there will be days like this.
5 Vacation Is All I Ever Wanted
The famous TLC families don’t treat time away from home quite the same.
While the Duggars have traveled to exotic Japan, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., they more regularly favor "working vacations". There was the 11-city tour promoting their book, the mission trip to Honduras, and several trips by van or bus, which sound like work, so therefore I deem them so. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the trip to New York City, where the family temporarily lost Jackson in the airport. Priceless.
Recently, Kate took the kids (minus Collin) to Killington, Vermont for a week skiing. But, it should come as no surprise that Kate Gosselin, famous for her golden tan and tight body, favors beach vacations. In the last ten years, Kate has towed the kids to the beach in North Carolina, Mexico, Australia, and Hawaii. Pack my bags- I think I’ll take poor Collin’s spot.
4 Would You Rather...
Husbands have been known to gain weight when their wives are pregnant. Imagine the spouse weight gain when your wife has had a bazillion babies! There are plenty of online pictures of both Jim Bob Duggar and Jon Gosselin that demonstrate their yo-yoing waistlines.
There are plenty of online pictures of both Jim Bob Duggar and Jon Gosselin that demonstrate their yo-yo-ing waistlines.
Early pictures of Jim Bob Duggar show a trim, young man with a rather long face. But with age and each of wife Michelle’s pregnancies, Jim Bob’s face seems to spread like jam on toast.
When Jon Gosselin gains weight, it seems to go right to his cheeks. Many photos of the 42-year-old man make him resemble a pubescent schoolboy.
I’m not sure who wears the pounds better. But in a strickly hypothetical game of “would you rather?” between Jim Bob Duggar and Jon Gosselin, I would demand more choices.
3 Would You Rather, Part II
Quick- you have two choices. You can get in the van with Josh and Jim Bob Duggar or climb in with Kate Gosselin and her eight kids.
To allow you to make a better choice, I will slow down for a moment and let you know where the "people movers" are going, and what's involved.
Jim Bob, Josh and the hair spray gang are headed out for a group date in rollicking Tontitown, Arkansas. Chances are good they are headed to a movie, or if they are feeling especially active, perhaps a round of two of bowling, complete with pizza and iced tea. No, wine will not be available. Alcohol could unleash Josh's dark side, and the Duggars hate for famiy gatherings to get any more awkward than they already are.
Kate is picking up the kids from school. Everyone had a good day and spirits are high. The only yelling might be coming from Kate, telling everyone they need to get their homework done quickly when they get home because she's ordering Domino's Pizza for dinner. Baggies of Cheez-its will be dispersed, and the worst that can happen is a possible backpack strike to the head when Kate slams on the brakes after failing to see a STOP sign in time.
Who you riding with?
2 Pretty In Pink
Who wore it better?
In the Duggar photo, Jinger, Jana, Jill, Jessa, Joy-Anna, and some unknown interlopers hold sister-in-law Anna in the air. The girls pose in pink polos and the family’s famous demin skirts. The date of the photo is 2009, and I can’t help but wonder if Anna was being showered for the birth of her first daughter, Mackynzie.
The Gosselin girls were snapped while returning home from a pediatrician's visit in 2009. The girls' parents had just split, and five-year-old sextuplets Hannah, Alexis and Leah don bandaids and suck on lollipops. They hold "lovies" and appear pensive.
In this Congregation of Duggars and Gaggle of Gosselins, my vote goes to the Gosselins.
America loves a good scandal, especially when their favorite reality TV characters are involved. As I mentioned earlier, one truly disgusting event was when Josh Duggar admitted to inappropriately touching his sisters. With the Gosselins, we have "missing" son, Collin, as a good story. Both topics were legitimately concerning, and rightly garnered the nation’s attention.
The above photos depict two other TLC family “scandals”. I say that because both stories were marketed that way, but I believe only one of the pictures is in any way inflammatory.
On the left is Joy-Anna Duggar, smiling and relaxing on her husband’s lap. I repeat, her husband’s lap. In reading the text surrounding the photo for this picture, you’d have thought she was caught pounding PBR while French kissing her yoga instructor.
Why is there outrage over this? Was this "story" fabricated and blown up by people who darn socks and wash out paper towels for fun? Seriously? All I have to say is, THERE IS NO SCANDAL HERE PEOPLE, MOVE ALONG.
The picture on the right is a magazine cover of Jon Gosselin and the nanny that swears the two were embroiled in an affair while Jon was still married to Kate. Oh, really? Wow. Okay, my friends. That has all the makings for a scandal.