The Duggars are returning to TV, and the family’s numerous critics are voicing their strong disapproval of TLC’s decision to bring them back in a new reality series.
The Duggars’ new show isn’t a revival of 19 Kids and Counting—it’s an extension of the three-part Jill & Jessa: Counting On specials that aired late last year. The new series will bear the same title, but it won’t just focus on Jill and Jessa Duggar. Judging from the show’s promo, all of the adult Duggar children will appear on the series except for Josh Duggar (for now, at least).
People broke the news of the Duggars’ new series by comparing Jessa Duggar to Kate Middleton.
“In the promo, Jessa, 23, sports bangs reminiscent of Princess Kate’s new mum fringe while caring for Spurgeon and reflecting on the Duggars’ past struggles,” People writes.
The Duggar’s “past struggles” include Josh Duggar’s admission that he cheated on his wife and sexually molested five girls as a teenager. Four of Josh’s victims were his younger sisters.
Many People readers weren’t happy about the news that Jill & Jessa: Counting On is being turned into a full-fledged TV series.
“I really do not understand their faith– they feel TV is temptation, but their pay comes from TV; girls don’t wear pants because it’s wrong, but have no issues with a pound of makeup; they don’t believe in birth control but don’t believe in abortion,” one commenter wrote. “They believe women should submit no matter what, but the Bible (Paul) clearly states that the husband needs to honour the wife.”
Multiple commenters pointed out that it seems hypocritical for the Duggars to make money off of appearing on a TV series when they don’t allow their kids to watch TV. In 2011, Jim Bob Duggar told the Huffington Post that he decided to ban television from his household because he believed that it was having a negative effect on his marriage.
“We prayed about it and felt we had to pull it out of our house, which we did. And I would say that is one of the best things we have done for our family.”
Unfortunately for the Duggars, the television wasn’t what they needed to remove from their home to protect their children—they put their young daughters in harm’s way by allowing Josh Duggar to live under their roof. According to police reports obtained by In Touch Weekly, Josh Duggar confessed to molesting his younger sisters on multiple different occasions, but the Duggars didn’t remove Josh from their home until he groped his then-five-year-old sister while he was reading to her. Josh was 15-years-old at the time this incident took place.
Many critics of the Duggars point to the way Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar handled their son’s behavior as evidence of why their family shouldn’t be on TV, and it’s been suggested that the family’s religious views played a part in how the parents responded to the molestation going on in their household. As the Daily Beast points out, the Duggars are part of a Christian patriarchy movement that values men over women. Wives and daughters are expected to submit to male authorities and dress modestly, and they are discouraged from pursuing higher education or careers.
According to the Duggar Family Blog, the Duggars try to justify starring in their own TV series by saying that they see it as a “family ministry.” In other words, the Duggars believe that appearing on television is okay as long as they promote their controversial religious views while doing so. This is one of the reasons why so many critics of the Duggars have a problem with any members of the family appearing on TV—they don’t think the Duggars should be given a platform to push a belief system that has proven to be harmful.
On their family website, the Duggars responded to the announcement that Jill & Jessa: Counting On is becoming a full series by letting their viewers know that they’re praying for them.
“Dear Friends, We are excited to share the news below with you regarding a new series on TLC. We love being on this journey of life with each of you and look forward to the unfolding future together. We continue to pray for all of you and are excited about this new opportunity!”
A description of the new series doesn’t mention Jim Bob, Michelle, or Josh Duggar. However, it does say that Josh’s wife, Anna Duggar, will be shown taking a “girls’ trip” with her sisters-in-law. Anna temporarily moved in with her in-laws after Josh admitted to cheating on her and checked himself into a faith-based treatment center. He’s been there for the last six months.
“Jessa and Ben are adjusting to life with baby Spurgeon, while Jill and Derick continue their mission work in Central America,” the show’s description reads. “Jana, Jinger, Joy Anna, John David, Josiah and Joseph continue to explore their own talents and passions, and the sisters take a much needed girls’ trip with sister-in-law Anna.”
Jill & Jessa: Counting On will premiere March 15 at 9 p.m. E.T. on TLC. Do you think TLC is making a mistake by bringing the Duggars back to TV?
[Image via TLC]