“We can let them flood your country with disaster and therefore impair your interests. In our country we have too many women, and they have a way of doing things. They give birth to children, and our children are too many.” ― Mao Zedong
The Duggar flock — 19 children (and counting!), their parents and a gaggle of grandchildren — recently traveled to Beijing, Tokyo and Kyoto to film the three-part special installment “19 Kids and Counting: Duggers Do Asia.”
The Arkansas-based brood, all of whom have a name that starts with the letter J, have achieved a degree of notoriety on their native turf for their fundamentalist Christian beliefs and baby-making lifestyle, which have come under attack for being environmentally irresponsible and what some argue is an archaic ideology that has unnecessarily contributed to global overpopulation.
The Duggars, bless their hearts, have dismissed the claims as nonsense. “One of the greatest myths in today’s society is that the world is overpopulated,” said patriarch Jim Bob on the brood’s website. “By raising these children to love the Lord and to serve and love others… that hopefully is going to make a difference for good in our world,” added family matriarch Michelle, who recently stated her desire to grow the flock despite serious health repercussions.
Domestic controversy aside, Team Duggar can be seen in the episode’s teaser nailing all of the Middle Kingdom clichés, including asking locals if they speak English (“We couldn’t communicate at all!” sighs the incredulous matriarch), shirking away from the must-have Wangfujing Scorpions on Sticks™, mangling the obligatory “Ni hao” (clad in pointy hats, natch) and of course, commenting on the toilets.
A photo gallery on their personal blog displays select shots of the cornpone yokels peeking out of capsule hotels, riding in rickshaws and visiting an orphanage (presumably scouting out a new member to their flock, perhaps a Jing or a Ji or little Jia) and egregiously displaying their best samurai moves.
While it remains to be seen if their attitudes towards family size have changed after navigating some of the world’s most crowded metropolises, Elder Son Josh and his wife have just announced the imminent arrival of their third child. We’ll have more on this story after we catch the primetime special.
“19 Kids and Counting: Duggars Do Asia, Part One” airs tonight on TLC, 9 pm (ET/PT). Pete DeMola is a writer and creative consultant in Hong Kong. He tweets @pmdemola.