Jinger Duggar and the other unmarried adult Duggar daughters, Jana and Joy-Anna, are using their new TLC platform to prove to viewers that their parents' patriarchal Christian beliefs aren't stopping them from pursuing their passions and earning paychecks. However, TLC faked the sale of an SUV to make Jinger look a bit more successful at flipping cars that she actually is.
In the latest episode of Jill & Jessa: Counting On, 26-year-old Jana and 22-year-old Jinger used two different setups to prove that they do more than babysit, cook, and clean for their parents: Jana came up with the idea of building a playhouse for her younger siblings, and Jinger decided that she wanted to flip a car. However, the girls' older brothers ended up taking control of both projects. John David turned Jana's playhouse into a tree fort, and he and the other Duggar boys used heavy machinery to start building the massive structure while Jana simply looked on.
Meanwhile, a posse of Jinger's brothers—John David, Joseph, Jedidiah, and Jeremiah—accompanied her to a car auction. They told Jinger which car to buy and when to bid, and after Joy-Anna helped Jinger "flip," the car by removing few perfectly-preserved French fries and a disgusting mass of something moldy and squishy, one of Jinger's brothers haggled with a potential buyer while she stood on the sidelines and watched.
"This show is really doing a bang-up job showing the independence of the Duggar ladies, isn't it?" the Wonkette wrote of the car-flipping scene.
To ensure that Jinger Duggar's car flip was not a bust, TLC allegedly staged the selling of the Honda Pilot. Commenters on the Jill & Jessa: Counting On Facebook page have discovered that the man who initially agreed to purchase Jinger's first flipped car was actually a friend of a TLC cast member, and they've been sharing evidence of their find in the visitor posts section of the page. In a Facebook conversation, the Counting On bit player, whose name is Eric, admits that he was asked to help stage the scene.
"A friend of mine works on the [Jill & Jessa: Counting On] crew and invited me to play the role of 'guy who wants to buy car," Eric wrote in response to Facebook friends who were asking him why he was on the show. "The Duggars live and their show is filmed in this area of Arkansas (Fayetteville/Bentonville)."
Numerous commenters on the Jill & Jessa: Counting On Facebook page criticized TLC and the Duggars for trying to fool fans.
"It is too late to revamp and redesign narrative to dispel rumours that all of the Duggar offspring are controlled and the females subjected to misogyny and a life without freedom of choice," one critic wrote. "These transparent and poorly executed attempts to show the adult aged Duggar females doing anything other than what they are destined for are excruciatingly lame... Girls can't choose anything other than to wait for Jim Bob to approve a man to take over control from him."
"You people make me sick! Fabrication on episodes to try to get this show off the ground but it's a futile effort! Stick a fork in the Duggars....they're done!!" another commented.
To her credit, Jinger Duggar did admit that she didn't actually sell the car for the $1,000 she stood to make if the negotiated deal was real. She said that the sale "fell through" and that she later sold it to someone else for a $500 profit.
This isn't the first time the Duggars have been accused of staging a scene for one of their reality shows. Last May, Radar Online reported that the Duggars pretended to give away boxes of junk food at a charity event. They were filmed placing a few of the boxes in a family's car, but they took the boxes back after the cameras stopped rolling. The scene was filmed for 19 Kids and Counting, but the show was cancelled before the footage could be aired.
It's possible that Jill & Jessa: Counting On may eventually go the way of 19 Kids and Counting, and the revelation about Jinger Duggar's car flipping scene certainly does the show no favors. As In Touch Weekly reports, Counting On is also hemorrhaging advertisers. Even if the advertiser exodus doesn't effect TLC's profits, it is damaging the network by keeping it the headlines for an unflattering reason.
During an interview with Fox News, TLC General Manager Nancy Daniels played down the show's advertising issues and defended the Duggars by saying that "millions and millions of viewers" tune in to watch Jill & Jessa: Counting On. She also explained that it's routine for the network to move advertisers where they want to be. However, Daniels also said that TLC currently doesn't have "any other plans" to work with the Duggars. It's unclear if this means that Jill & Jessa: Counting On won't be returning for a second season.
Do you think it was wrong for TLC to stage Jinger Duggar's car sale?
[Image via TLC]