A new season Counting On is usually the sort of thing that generates major excitement and endless conversation among Duggar fans on social media.
But for reasons that are not immediately evident, that hasn’t been the case with the show’s most recent episodes.
Perhaps it’s the fact that interest in the series had already waned to the degree that it was widely assumed Counting On had been canceled in the weeks before TLC announced its surprise return.
Or maybe it’s the fact that after more than a dozen years (17 Kids and Counting debuted way back in 2008) of courting, coupling, and rampant procreation, viewers simply feel as though they’ve seen it all.
Whatever the case, recent episodes have resulted in widespread apathy, even among the Duggar faithful.
And the same content has generated full-blown contempt among those who were already critical of the show (in other words, most of the people who watch it).
Complaints like the one above have become commonplace in the corners of the internet devoted to the discussion of all things Duggar.
Fans have speculated that producers have been forced to repackage old footage and spend more time than they normally would on uninteresting storylines, as the coronavirus lockdown has forced them to try and craft coherent episodes out of very little footage.
That may be the case, but the excuse doesn’t make those episodes any more entertaining.
And it’s not as if fans are thrilled with what little the show is offering up in terms of original content, either.
Take the recent installment that focused on the birth of Josiah Duggar and Lauren Swanson’s first child.
“Walking the stairs” in order to speed up the process, 40-plus hours of painful labor, an unexpected voice-only cameo from the family’s resident midwife, Jill Duggar …
This is normally the sort of thing that gets Duggar fans going.
But that wasn’t the case this time.
For starters, many felt that Lauren was implicitly shamed for giving birth in a hospital and undergoing an epidural.
Jill and Josiah seemed to be the only ones in the family who were truly supportive of Lauren, while her other in-laws seemed mostly interested in the end product.
Making matters worse was the fact that the graphic labor footage was inter-cut with scenes of Jim Bob and Michelle offering parenting tips.
Not only were most of these tips not the slightest bit useful to modern parents, they’re things that the elder Duggars barely incorporated into their own child-rearing, having mostly relied on their older kids to raise the younger ones.
Perhaps producers intended to poke fun at the Duggars’ cluelessness in the parenting department by contrasting Jim Bob and Michelle’s advice with scenes in which Ben and Jessa’s son smashes watermelons in a supermarket.
Maybe the show’s editors were trying to send the message that they’re in on the joke, and they, too, find these people ridiculous.
It’s possible … but unlikely.
After all, the producers were right back to trying to drum up excitement in the conclusion to the episode, which focused on the big reveal that Jinger is pregnant with her second child.
Or at least that would be a big reveal if we hadn’t already known all about the news (and the gingerbread cookie reveal) from the family’s social media pages.
Perhaps the Duggars are giving too much of their lives away on social media (which would explain the recent demands from TLC execs that Jim Bob’s daughters “clean up” their Instagram pages).
Or perhaps they’ve simply been on the air for too long, and the events of their lives are bound to feel stale at this point.
What seems most likely, however, is that the family’s ludicrously old school ways are aging like old milk, and all those years of scandals have left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans.
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