Sunday, May 16, 2010

TLC Courts the Duggars: A Marriage Made Back in 2004

I stumbled across a conversation on another blog that made me laugh so hard I almost did spit take. "Do the Duggars have a TV show because they are so good looking?" Seriously? Who on earth was asking this question? It had to be someone that had just stumbled upon the show.

You all know me. I love the Duggars and think they're great. Have you all watched "14 Children and Pregnant Again?" Anyone who has seen that first 1 hour special would not be asking that question--do they have a TV show because they are so good looking? Michelle's bangs are out of control while the rest of her hair is a bit frizzy and hanging down her back. Her skin is incredibly pale. And for some reason she is in love with bright red lipstick--the only make-up she uses. The girls are all wearing their matching pinafore dresses (mistakenly referred to often as prairie dresses, but they aren't) and the girls are all also in their awkward stage pre-teen years--all gangly arms and legs and teeth. Even poor Josh had to be filmed with his crew cut during one of the specials when he came home from ATI ALERT camp--and a huge zit.

This was Discovery Health's top-rated show regardless. So they kept coming back for more 1 hour specials. Interestingly, the boys all looked better in the 1 hour specials than they do in the current TV show. They were always in the tan trousers and polo shirts. And of course Jim Bob's hair hasn't moved--ever!

TLC/Discovery came to the Duggars because the audience loved the Duggars--not because of their looks--but because the Duggars are fascinating. They were a family of 14, 15, then 16 children and we got to watch the family grow in front of our very eyes. They let us into their home, watch them build their home, see how they managed their money, handle their food budget, teach their children, organize their household, and when the time came move in and decorate their new home. We also got to see them take a trip across the country and all the excitement that entailed. We got to see how the organized a camper, traveled with all those kids, met new people, homeschooled along the way, and we even got to see that they were human (they had parts of a vacation they liked and didn't like just like everyone else!)

Now that we get to see them on a more regular basis and we've seen them grow, yes, the girls have grown up and they are beautiful. Michelle is more attractive--that is something that happens with pregnancy hormones and some women, your skin changes and your hair changes (she also has teenage daughters that have learned to do hair and have done hair for her!) The girls aren't as awkward as they were when we first met them and now the new viewers just coming to the program don't realize that--all they see are 4 older girls that are attractive and assume *bingo!* TLC gave them a show!

Well I'm sorry to disappoint those of you that think that physical beauty is what brought TLC a callin', but TLC has been courting the Duggars for 6 years now, and those girls were much younger then and there weren't nearly that many Duggars. TLC came a courtin' for the same reason the rest of us serious Duggar watchers did--we want to see a family that lives what they believe, yet is honest enough to admit that they aren't perfect, they do make mistakes--even after 19 kids. A family who knows what is most important and instills that in their children. That is why we watch and why TLC's first special was the most watched on their line-up way back when.


  1. Hehehe I love how the looked in the fist show...they were so cute and raw looking. Michelle was so 1982 with her hair and make up, a typical mom lost is caring for her kids in a house way to small for them all and unable to care for herself.

  2. lol that is very silly. Yeah I remember the first shows and I laugh at the big hair and perms, but I still loved the show and admire their faith and values.

  3. i LOVE watching the first few shows...those are my favourites...the actual documentaries about how they live and going shopping and seeing them move into the "interim" rental house...watching the girls sew and going to the thrift store...Michelle's skin was white as a ghost, I don't think she spent any time outside! I think the new house means she gets outside time!

  4. TLC has showcased many large families who are regular people who just happen to have many children. Not saying the Duggars aren't regular folks who don't do regular things.

    The Duggars are extremely "conservative" and that's what is so fascinating. Sure there are thousands of families like them, but they don't have a show or would not even consider being on TV.

    I DID NOT know Christians like the Duggars even existed until TLC started airing their shows. I do recall "1" church back home where the women wore dresses all the time. But they did work outside the home and did not home school their kids. I was aware of the Amish, Muslims, Buddhists, and Orthodox Jews...but the "Duggar & Bates" form of Christianity is still very new to me. Please understand that I have no problems with how they choose to honor G-d. I'm just saying they have opened me up to a whole world of Christianity I never knew existed. :)

  5. That's one thing I never understood about the backlash about the Duggars...there was a huge wave of shows about families with huge amounts of kids on the Discovery channel a few years ago, 1 show each about each one seemed to care, but the Duggars seemed to be the family that got the attention and the show all to themselves. The other families weren't particularly religious, just 'wanted big families' kind of people. I say, Catholics, Mormons, Chassidics have been doing this for ages and are they mocked on blogs and message boards? NO! But I suppose if they had a TV show it would be ok....

  6. It's only recently that birth control has got to a point where you can use it for as many years as you want and that it is reliable.
    Even in the 80s women were told that you could only take the pill for 10 years, and you could only have a coil fitted after childbirth.
    My much beloved children books from 1920s frequently features families of 6, 8 even 12 or 15 (with a few adopted children thrown in) and this wasn't abnormal.
    When I first saw the 14 and pregnant again show I was fasinated because it reminded me of those books.
    I hate to say it but I scoffed at the religion at first but it grows on me to the point that I use many of their systems and hold many of the same aspirations.
    I wonder if the backlash was to do with peaple feeling that fascination and either being drawn to it or revolting away from it.

  7. Chris, I have to say, I've been drawn to it! :) There are a few things I'm still scratching my head about, but I don't find them revolting at all.

    I have aunts with more than 12 or 15 kids, so that was not at all fascinating. For them it had nothing to do with religion. It just happened and they were afraid to take a "BC" pill, because it was still very new at the time.

    MaryBeth, you have to remember, there are actually people out there who have not been able to explore the world. Remember where I came from? I was just lucky to have relatives who live in NY. Every summer was my only chance to see ALL kinds of races and religions. Some people don't get that chance, so I'm willing to bet if a large Jewish, Mormon, or Catholic family on TV...people would be talking about them as well. Remember how everyone unfairly looked down on Muslims after the 9/11 attacks? People put them all in the same box as the hijackers without question or even researching their religion.

    The Duggars are letting people know there are many families out there like them. Some people already knew it because they grew up with it or know others up the street. For me...I honestly didn't know their type existed until a few years ago. :)

  8. I think people are fascinated by this family because they are different. I think they get criticized so much because they are sincere and very conservative Christians. As a Christian who tries to live by God's word I can say that people watch you like a hawk to see if you'll mess up. I think this is the same thing happening to the Duggars.

    The other thing I have seen the last year and I think it has been going on much longer is that some people get "addicted" to internet blogs and chat rooms. They get together, find a common cause - usually someone to hate and spend much time on a daily basis going after their victim. I see this phenomena very clearly on the TLC and Discovery blogs, especially the Duggar ones. If someone comes on this blog who takes the positive approach they will try to hound them right of the site. They will limit test to the max until a moderator squelches them. Also, it is a common theme to say that anyone who puts themselves in the public eye should expect this kind of nit picking and criticism.

    This is my opinion based on my own observations over the past year or so. I became involved in internet chat as a relief from boredom as I was more or less tied to my house with a chronic disease, rheumatoid arthritis. I wonder if many of the negative posters aren't in a similar position. How else could they find so much time to be online?

  9. Angie, I agree that I too never knew families of that kind of religious zeal existed in such depth--especially when I saw them all at the ATI convention in the 1 hour specials. So I'm with you, they were my first glimpse into this lifestyle in every way. I'd dated a Southern Baptist, but none of the women were "skirts girls" so it was very progressive as far as that went--we lived in the Pacific Northwest hahaha. Other than being conservative, they were a normal family and it wasn't anything Duggar-like and there were no families at his church that were Duggar-like--in fact they had a rock band at their church. (To answer any questions, yes he'd go to temple with me from time to time.)

    Anyway, my point about the other religions were that the anti-Duggars seem to focus solely on their extreme relgion as if it's a cult--as if it's even extreme. I think if the show was about a Catholic family with 19 kids the backlash of negativity wouldn't be nearly as large. Of course I could be wrong. Most people have at least heard of Catholics and Mormons...Chassidic Jews, not so much, but Jews, probably. It just bothers me that they pick on their religion when that's something first and foremost in our constitution that is supposed to make this country so great--the freedom to express your religion. As much as their religion differs from mine, I would never begrudge them the right to practice it, but obviously a lot of people want to.

  10. make EXCELLENT points, thank you...on the 19 kids facebook site we seem to try to gather together for good and squelch the evil that seeps in to try to stir the pot just to tick us off on purpose, for no other reason than they know it will....and the sad thing is most people fall for the bait and get into the debates and arguments but it's pointless...onlt on the 19 kids site the interloper is always outnumbered, but it's still painful to watch happen...just because of the language the nice people refuse to use :)

  11. yes good point about spending too much time on the internet/facebook fan pages etc, and yes one of the reasons I am on so much is a chronic pain condition means that I need to do things and keep taking a break - and guess what the break is :(

  12. Another great post. :)
    Actually we watched the Duggars from the beginning because they were friends with the Bates. And we are friends with the Bates.

  13. Guilty.... I live on the internet... but it's my JOB as well, and between orders I live on blog sites and chat rooms (hence the reason I can usually answer the Duggar questions)