Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post

Lately with Layne: “Shiny Happy People” is a must-watch

Amazon Prime’s latest docuseries, “Shiny Happy People,” takes a closer look at what actually happened behind the scenes of the reality show that followed the Duggar family for years. “19 Kids and Counting” (formerly “17 Kids and Counting” and “18 Kids and Counting”) was a popular pick on TLC. I remember watching it on cable when I was younger and being in awe of how such a large family could function so seamlessly. After watching the four-episode docuseries I have come to terms with how easily the media can falsify reality and how toxic the roots of this family truly are. 

In order to better understand this series, I wish I had known more beforehand. Without giving too much away, the Duggar family was part of a nondenominational Christian organization known as the Institute in Basic Life Principles, or IBLP. From my understanding after watching, IBLP is an extreme and conservative interpretation of the Bible, including rules such as homeschooling, having as many children as possible, and a strict responsibility for women to obey their fathers and husbands. The founder, Bill Gothard, has a deep history of sexual harassment and abuse of those that were a part of the religion. The details of his grooming are vivid and haunting in the docuseries, but it helps to capture the toxicity of IBLP.

The parents of the 19 children, Michelle and Jim Bob have a strong history with the religion and raised their kids to not date, kiss or be sexual in any way. However, in 2015, their oldest child, Joshua Duggar, was exposed for molesting multiple young children, including four of his siblings, when he was between 14 and 15 years old. This came out over social media and was a shock to everyone; however, I will let the docuseries tell you the rest of the story. 

This is one of the most informative and well put-together docuseries that I have seen in a while. I keep up with a good amount of celebrities and pop culture, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to find out about this family. Again, without spoiling, the manipulative and harmful nature of the actions and beliefs of this family is something that you wouldn’t be able to even believe after a seemingly harmless episode of “19 Kids and Counting.” 

The directors, Julia Willoughby Nason and Olivia Crist chose to include many sources of evidence through interviews. There are multiple perspectives of how Josh’s situation affected others, other firsthand experiences of people who grew up in a large family following IBLP, and even a YouTube expert who knew a lot about the religion and its roots as that was a major source of the familial problems. While I would have liked to hear from more of the siblings, I can respect that they are still young and how hard of a situation this must be to go through. Jill Dillard (previously Duggar) is the star of the show and moved viewers through her reflections and recollections on her life thus far. You can tell she is emotional throughout the interviews, but also knows how important it is to spread awareness and reveal the truth.

I view this series as one of a kind. Everyone knows that something on the internet stays there forever, so TLC can’t ever fully remove their history with this family. However, Amazon Prime Video flawlessly corrected any popularization or fascination with the Duggars as their secrets and toxic behaviors have been revealed. I highly recommend this series as it is short yet packed with shocking details of TLC’s “perfect” family. 

Layne Rey is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Layne know by tweeting her @laynerey12.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2023 The Post, Athens OH