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For nearly a decade now, the Duggars have served as TV’s most high-profile representatives of a certain segment of the US population.
Television execs rarely seek out arch-conservative, evangelical middle Americans when they’re casting reality shows, but the Duggars found a way to secure a massive platform for their highly controversial views.
In a sense, they snuck their beliefs in through the backdoor.
At first, it wasn’t the Duggars extremist views that TLC was interested in, but rather their proclivity for breeding.
After a one-off documentary special generated controversy and attracted higher ratings than expected, the Duggars were contracted for a full series.
Originally entitled 17 Kids and Counting (the Duggar brood would eventually balloon to an astonishing 19 children), the show proved to be a surprise hit for the network, and it ran for 10 seasons before being canceled as a result of public outrage over the Josh Duggar sex scandals.
It’s a testament to the popularity of the show that TLC proved reluctant to cancel it amidst a child molestation scandal, and then gave the Duggars another shot with a spinoff series entitled Counting On.
Of course, from Octomom to the Bates family of Up TV’s Bringing Up Bates, large families are not in short supply, but none has captured viewers’ imaginations quite like the Duggars.
The reason for this seems to be that their shows are less about the size of the family, and more about the devoutly religious–some would say cult-like–way in which Jim Bob and Michelle raise their children.
It’s safe to assume that were it not for their ultra-conservative views, fans likely would have lost interest in the Duggars long ago.
Some “hate-watch” to gawk at bizarre dress codes and “courtship rules,” while others take copious notes in hopes of pursuing more godly lives.
But the head honchos at TLC likely aren’t interested in the reasons that viewers keep tuning in, so long as the ratings hold steady.
Of course, these days, most Americans are savvy enough to know that “reality TV” is a misnomer, and the events depicted in shows like Counting On are frequently scripted and staged.
It’s impossible to determine just how inaccurate our impression of the Duggars is, but it’s a certainty that not everything we’ve seen on their various series is true to life.
We at THG have conducted interviews with former associates of the Duggars who spoke of behind-the-scenes conflicts, compulsive spending, and other aspects of life on the Duggar conduct that are carefully hidden from public view.
With a few notable exceptions–the Josh scandals being the most obvious–the Duggars have done an impressive job of sweeping the more unsavory aspects of their lives under the carpet.
As their children grow up and leave the nest to start families of their own, however, new cracks seem to appear in the family’s carefully-constructed facade every day.
And the situation has left some fans wondering if the Duggars are really as conservative as they seem.
The questions began around the time that Jinger Duggar started wearing pants in photos posted to social media.
As fans of the family know, Duggar women are required to wear long skirts at all times, even when playing sports or engaged in other outdoor activities.
Jinger’s public act of defiance was seen by many as a brazen rejection of the values with which she was raised.
Seemingly inspired by her younger sister’s example, Jessa Duggar began wearing pants shortly thereafter.
Just last week, Jill Duggar mounted a minor rebellion of her own, sporting a small facial piercing on Instagram.
Obviously, these are all very tame and innocuous acts of disobedience, but coupled with other indications that the younger generation is more liberal than expected–Ben Seewald’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement being a prime example–the sisters’ public rejection of their well-known dress code raises a lot of questions about just what the Duggars believe.
Jim Bob Duggar has worn many hats over the years, but for the past decade, he’s been first and foremost a media mogul.
He has a keen sense of what sells and what viewers want from him.
He also knows that it’s his family’s extremist belief system that keeps viewers coming back, not the astonishing size of the Duggar clan.
To be clear, the Duggars are almost certainly far more conservative in their religious and political views than just about any other family on television.
But it seems more and more as though they’re concealing their more moderate views for the sake of preserving their public image.
Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most famous family.
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About a year after Duck Dynasty went off the air, Phil Robertson is set to make his return to the small screen.
But he isn’t plotting his comeback by himself.
He’s bringing his firestorm of controversial opinions with him!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the reality star some have dubbed Redneck Dumbledore has landed his own show on CRTV.
This is a $ 99-a-year digital network whose most popular programs are hosted by conservative commentators Mark Levin, Steven Crowder and Michelle Malkin.
Robertson’s series will be titled In the Woods With Phil and he explains why in a sneak peek from one of the installments.
“What does a man do when they try to run him out of town for quoting a Bible verse?” Robertson asks. “I tell you what he does; he goes deep in the woods.
Robertson, of course, has quite a history of speaking his mind.
The ex-Duck Dynasty patriarch was suspended by A&E in 2013 for making rather strong anti-gay comments.
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there,” he told GQ a few years ago, adding at the time:
“Beastiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
He then paraphrased a Bible passage and also said the following:
“It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus, that’s just me.
“I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying?
“But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
Regarding his upcoming show, Robertson says that he plans on rejecting “political correctness,” explaining:
“For far too long we have been told to shut up. No more. Here’s the deal, America. These are my woods. Out here, I call the shots.
“Out here, we reject political correctness, or as I like to say, ‘pontificated crap’.”
When we last heard from Robertson, he was slamming Miley Cyrus and The Discovery Channel.
“America is floundering in sin,” he said in May of last year, citing Miley as someone who promotes “decadence” and who is ruining this country.
Robertson will provide a preview of his show on Friday at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, where speakers include President Donald Trump and his former White House adviser, Steve Bannon.
“Our culture and values are being overrun and progressives are hell bent on purging traditional values from media,” says CRTV senior vp Gaston Mooney. “Phil is a Christian and CRTV is proud to have him proclaim from our platform.”
If you follow the many members of the Duggar family on social media, then you’re probably aware that they’re not shy about sharing their political and religious beliefs, controversial as they may be.
It seems not a week goes by without an uproar over something one of the grown Duggar children said online.
The most recent furor came as a result of Derick Dillard’s comments about Jazz Jennings.
The husband of Jill Duggar slammed his fellow TLC star, a transgender teen, tweeting that “transgender is a myth” and criticizing his own network for airing a “reality show that follows a non-reality.”
This week, it’s Joy-Anna Duggar’s turn in the spotlight, as fans of the newly-married 19 year old have had mixed reactions about Joy swearing her allegiance to the Republican Party in the midst of one of the most divisive political climates in recent memory.
Joy and husband Austin Forsyth recently attended the Arkansas Young Republican State Convention in Little Rock.
The couple posted a photo from the event on their joint Instagram page.
“Great turnout today at the Arkansas State Capital for the Arkansas Young Republican State Convention!” Joy-Anna commented on the pic below.
Some fans praised the couple for having the courage to stand up for their beliefs in contentious times.
Others, of course, argued that the current occupant of the White House is pursuing an agenda that flies in the face of beliefs espoused by Joy-Anna, Austin, and all Christians.
“Not everyone who is republican is racist,” wrote one commenter, adding that she applauds Joy and Austin for “spread[ing] the truth to young people.”
“This is a sensitive subject, especially in these tough days in our country,” wrote a more critical follower.
“Your families would obviously be Republican (I mean who would think otherwise). I would just be careful because these post will cause and stir emotions with people. I was going to write something else, but realize you both are young and not exposed to much.”
The comment highlights that no one is surprised Joy and Austin are Republicans.
After all, Joy’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, ran for the U.S. Senate as a Republican and her family has long favored a conservative ideology.
Interestingly, Joy-Anna and Austin have yet to comment on the situation.
It seems the couple feels they made their statement with their decision to attend at the convention.
But despite Joy’s silence, you can be sure that the debate amongst her Instagram followers will continue to rage.
Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.
Courtney Stodden’s not exactly shy about her looks or her politics.
And now she’s stunning followers with a makeup-free photo … and some very pleasant glimpses at her spectacular body.
And her caption has something of a political twist.
So, remember that Baywatch movie?
Everybody watched the Baywatch trailer, at least, for obvious thirst reasons.
Well, thirst alone wasn’t enough to keep the film from flopping at the box office.
Courtney’s smoldering hot red swimsuit photo isn’t just visually reminiscent of Baywatch — she mentions the series by name.
Her caption, “Make Baywatch Great Again,” is an obvious nod both to the film’s unenthusiastic reception and to the campaign slogan of a certain orange politician.
Some people might be surprised to see a political reference in Courtney’s caption, but they shouldn’t be.
Remember, she was a supporter of Bernie Sanders and then Hillary Clinton in 2016.
And Courtney Stodden got political again just recently.
Trump’s campaign slogan is as easy to parody as it is perplexing — since, you know, America was already pretty great.
In fact, you tended to kind of get the impression that “great” was just a euphemism for “white.”
But we can be sure that Courtney truly means great. And sexy. And fun. And kind.
That’s kind of her brand.
What’s more is that posing without makeup is almost inherently political.
Women are constantly policed for their appearances.
Going without makeup can get women asked if they’re “sick” or “tired” by clueless men who are used to seeing their faces look different.
And who have no idea how much work so many women put into their looks, every single day.
It’s worth noting that society tends to find men plenty attractive without any makeup, yet has high standard’s for a woman’s appearance — that she should have a “natural look” but obviously hide any perceived imperfections.
In other words, women are expected to wear just enough makeup to be pleasing to the eye, but to not have fun with it.
Ultimately, personal makeup choices should always be personal — to benefit no one but the makeup wearer themselves.
But photos like this of Courtney’s send a powerful message that going without makeup can be wildly sexy.
But our biggest takeaway from all of this was just that we would 100% be down to watch a Courtney Stodden Baywatch movie.
There are plenty of sexy actors and actresses who can go play around in the ocean, but it’s pretty tough to find someone as endearing as Courtney.
What a doll.
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