The Duggars, stars of TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting, were superficially presented as an eccentric real-life version of the characters from Cheaper by the Dozen. Yet beneath that façade, they were always religious zealots who adhered to an extreme brand of patriarchal Christianity that opposed abortion, disapproved of LGBTQ+ rights, and manipulated women through scripture that encouraged them to be incessantly pregnant. Prime Video’s four-part Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets is a brutal takedown of the Arkansas clan, led by testimony from two of its own.
It’s also, however, an exposé about the Duggars’ role as chief promoters of a sexist evangelical crusade designed to denigrate, dominate, and disempower its female members, as well as to spread its message all the way to the corridors of U.S. political power. As such, it’s additionally a damning indictment of TLC and its parent company, Warner Discovery, which helped spotlight a regressive and deeply misogynistic movement.