The Duggars have returned to TV after the cancellation of 19 Kids And Counting by TLC. The network removed the original Duggars show from the air after it was revealed that the oldest son, Josh Duggar, had molested five underage girls, four of whom were his sisters. The Ashley Madison website hacking subsequently revealed that Josh had paid for two accounts to arrange extramarital affairs. Duggar, 27, then admitted to cheating on wife Anna and an addiction to porn, and entered rehab for sex addiction. And, although it is two of those sisters he molested in the title of the new Duggars specials, it is Josh and his sex scandals who took center stage in the first episode of the reboot, pointed out Cosmopolitan.
Jill and Jessa: Counting On debuted December 13, and eight of the Duggars were featured in the first episode discussing the impact that Josh had on them. Next week will feature Anna and the Duggars’ matriarch and patriarch, Michelle and Jim Bob, and additional members of the original 19 Kids may also appear.
A sneak peek of how Anna reacted reveals her heartbreak, shown below.
The Duggars obliquely reference the Ashley Madison account discovery and pornography addiction as “the second thing,” with the first assumed to be the reports that Josh had molested the underage girls. Although tears are shown, Cosmopolitan questions whether the producers are exploiting the Duggars in order to attract viewers.
Duggars React To Sex Scandals
Part of the Duggars‘ new show, such as updating the pregnancy of Jessa Seewald (who already had her baby), seemed redundant for viewers, noted Us Weekly.
But the primary feature seemed to be tears and a theme of forgiveness among the Duggars, particularly with regard to the child molestation reports. For the rebranded Duggars show, in contrast to their 19 Kids show, the siblings reveal their reactions when they learned what their oldest brother had done, ranging from the child molestation reports to the Ashley Madison website revelations.
“When the police report was released to the world, that wasn’t right,” argued Jill. “We really had to work through it because, as a victim, you’ve already worked through it. You’ve already dealt with it and moved on, and you don’t want it rubbed in your face.”
Although Jessa initially was shocked by the publicity, she then came to comprehend that the Duggars were seen as perfect, an assumption she wants clarified.
“Because of who my family is, the Christian values that we hold to, people are like, ‘Y’all aren’t perfect?’ and I’m like, ‘We never claimed to be perfect.’ “
“One of the toughest times,” said Jinger.
“A lot of stuff to work through,” added Jana.
Summing up the past four months as the most difficult, Joy emphasized that they were surviving.
Ashley Madison Website Anger
But the discovery that their brother had used the Ashley website to cheat on Anna while admitting to a porn addiction was devastating, and not so easy to forgive for some of the Duggars.
No Longer A Role Model For Duggars Brothers
As for Josh’s brothers, they reacted even more strongly to what he had done.
“After everything kind of started to settle down… we got word of a second thing that we had no clue about,” John David remembered.”That was a little bit more of a shock probably than the first stuff coming out… One of the toughest things I ever had to tell my older brother was, ‘I don’t want to be like you anymore.’ ”
Joseph agreed, revealing that he never imagined that Duggar was cheating on Anna, and also obliquely referring to the child molestation reports as the “first thing” and the Ashley Madison as “the next situation” in his discussion of how the Duggars reacted.
“Even after the first thing came out about him when he was younger, I never had quite as close a relationship as I did whenever I was really young… This next situation came up [and] it blew my mind. I had no idea,” said Joseph. “I don’t think there’s any way any of us would have known that my brother’s living such a secret life.”
As for Anna Duggar, more is set to be revealed in the next episodes, which will be broadcast December 20 and 27 at 9 p.m. on TLC. Will you watch, and what do you think of the Duggars new show? Post your comments below.
[Image via Counting On/Facebook]