Religious fundamentalism in pop culture & politics
My take on the Bateses, post-reality show debut

Unfortunately I missed the first episode, for the most part, because I thought it was going to be a repeat.  I must have read the TV Guide wrong. 

I…okay, I’m not proud of myself.  But I really, really like them.  Kelly (I will not be referring to her as “Kelly Jo”) is nice, even though she breaks out the adoring gaze way too often.  Gil is hilarious.  He and JimBob are similar in that they both act like big kids, but since Gil, unlike JimBob, is not totally useless and is a competent worker and and doting father to ALL OF HIS CHILDREN, it’s endearing, not annoying.

I love these kids.  They’re SO well-spoken compared to the Duggars.  And they actually enjoy each other!  I know the Duggars are all “best friends” with each other, but except for Hannie and Jackson, none of them genuinely seem to enjoy the company of the other siblings.  The Bateses are allowed to tease and joke, but there’s no malice or cruelty behind it, either.  They love each other.  They have fun together.  It’s so nice to see.  The Duggars just never seem to enjoy themselves or each other. 

And holy shit, individual personalities!  Girls getting dirty!  Smart, well-spoken kids!  Which I really wasn’t expecting, I’m embarrassed to say.  (In my defense I still think that Kelly comes off as sweet, but perhaps not especially bright.)  Genuine generosity, kindness and gratitude towards each other!  Gil and Kelly are really succeeding in areas the Duggars have failed.

I was watching with my mother, who loathes the Duggars (well, she loathes Michelle; she just thinks the rest of them are boring as hell), and she kept commenting on how nice it was to see a mother holding and playing with more than the new baby.  And that’s really my favorite thing about the Bates parents.  I have to admit, I’m sold on the notion that while they’re chasing number 20, they really do love and enjoy each of their children just as much as the one that came after it. 

Maybe my mind will change as they become more TV-savvy, maybe my mind will change once they start bleating their political ideals (which will never not bug me - not that they express themselves; I just find some of their views offensive.)  But for now I actually LIKE them, in ways I’ve never really liked most of the Duggars.

Also, the kids are getting much less homely as they age.  Just putting that out there.  Not that I like them any more or less because of it; just saying, most of the truly unfortunate-looking kids are really very cute now.  (Uh, please note that the above is just a randomly-chosen picture…I’m not calling those particular kids ugly.)

Nathan is totally gay.  Just saying.  That boy pings my gaydar harder than Josiah Duggar.

I still can’t tell the middle boys apart…also still having trouble with Josie and Katie…but I’ll get there.  I only have occasional problem telling the Duggars apart these days!

My favorite kid so far is Tori.  I love a kid who can tease their siblings, but then crack up laughing just as hard when they start teasing her.  She’s so bubbly and seems to love life. 

Even Gil’s parents are adorable!  I get the feeling that Alyssa takes after Mama Jane; I wish we had seen an older photo of the grandparents to compare. 

Can’t help it; I like them.   For now, I’m going to be having a hard time leveling vicious sarcasm at this family. 

(Also, if anyone knows where I can find this show to download, let me know.   iTunes never has what I want…)

(as always, most Bates family photos from Gil’s website.  You can usually tell by the telltale labels he puts on them.)

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