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It’s Impossible To Hate-Watch Bringing Up Bates, And I Know Because I Tried

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Guys, I owe you all an apology. I know I said that I would be recapping Bringing Up Bates when it started and I was so excited at the prospect of Duggars Part Deux. However, after watching the premiere episode, I discovered that I just could not do it. These people may be deeply Christian. They may have 19 children and they may share the same core beliefs as the Duggars but they are definitely nothing like the Duggars beyond those initial similarities. They seem like a genuinely wonderful family and are very “real” in a way that the Duggars have never come across.

The first episode introduced us to the family and honestly, they felt like my family. The mother, Kelly Jo, had real, non-robotic emotions. The way she spoke to her husband sounded like the way I speak to my husband. She is not in starry-eyed, unquestioning reverence, a la Michelle to Jim Bob. I got a real sense that Kelly Jo is an absolute equal in their marriage and that she calls shots of her own whenever she needs to. Yes, she wears skirts and her hair is curly but otherwise, she is nothing like Michelle Duggar. Also, they only mentioned God and his wants for their family size once. It was by no means the main focus, as it seems to be over in Duggarland. These people simply seem to enjoy their large family, end of story.

As far as the kids, I found myself putting my hand to chest and “awwwing” out loud more than once. They are so sweet to each other. Nothing about their interactions felt put on or for the camera as I have often felt to be the case with the Duggars. The main story line of this episode dealt with the miscarriage of Bates daughter Erin’s first baby. She and her husband broke my damn heart discussing it and then, we find that Erin insisted on helping to plan her sister-in-law Whitney’s baby shower, despite her own grief. They were to be due at the same time and it was clearly difficult for Erin but she pressed on, supporting her brother and his wife. I was truly touched and could only think how “real” this family was. I got a vibe from them that I have never gotten from the Duggars.

I guess the main point I want to drive across is that my making fun of the Duggars is not because they are deeply religious or even because they have a lot of kids. I make fun of them because they are like caricatures of themselves at this point. Their views on courtship and marriage are juvenile and silly. Their obsession with kissing and sex (and the kissing and sex their adult children are participating in) is strange. They are making themselves look goofy. The Bates family is clear about the fact that they allow their kids freedom in choosing how to handle their romantic relationships yet, the Bates kids seem every bit as moral and pious as the Duggars. These parents trust their kids and it’s a refreshing change from the chaperoned dates the Duggars are relegated to.

The Bates are proving that having those beliefs does not mean you have to act morally superior or hate on anyone else– it is simply how they feel and they are living it in an authentic way that does not make me feel like they are judging anyone. If you want to learn about a Duggar-like family that is actually nothing like the Duggars, I highly recommend this show. I will be tuning in again tomorrow night, for my own entertainment only.

(Image: UPtv)