When I first started watching 19 Kids and Counting, I felt like the show was inaccurately painting the reality of having nearly two dozen children as a cake walk — and according to the clips that don't end up on the cutting room floor, it might as well be. Very rarely are tantrums thrown, Michelle Duggar has infinite patience for her children (and her husband, the other half of her perfect marriage), and every child is filled with love and respect for their siblings at all times. Oh, and traveling across the country? No big, they have a foolproof system for that. But, of course, that can't be how their lives work all the time, right? Nope, because their film crew isn't with them 24 hours a day. In fact, the Duggars don't even film 19 Kids and Counting 50 percent of the time.
The film crew has, however, been with them enough over the past nine seasons (plus the preceding documentaries — and if you haven't seen them, you have to. They're hilarious). They're practically honorary Duggars, and they've shown up on film more than a few times. If you consider yourself even a casual 19 Kids and Counting watcher, you know exactly who Mr. Jim is, and that he's brought his kids over to play with the Duggar kids on multiple occasions.
So how does the whole filming thing work anyway? If I had to take a guess, I'd say it's way more laid back than those poor people who have to work with the Kardashians.
They're only there two or three days a week
The Duggars have talked extensively about their film crew in the books they've written, and in Growing Up Duggar, the older girls explained how their taping schedule works when the show's being filmed. When filming a season for TLC, the crew spends two or three days at the giant aluminum Duggar compound, and they only hang around for a few hours at a time. Fortunately, this means that the kids have plenty of time to run around, being regular kids. Unfortunately, it also means that there's probably a lot of stuff we'd be interested in seeing that doesn't happen when the crew's around.
They're often invited in for important family events
If the crew's not scheduled to film on a day when something big's about to happen, Jim Bob and Michelle will often call them in to make sure they capture the event on camera. The crew had permission to film all three weddings when Josh, Jill, and Jessa each got married, and on a much sadder occasion, the crew was even invited to Jim Bob's father's funeral.
In Michelle and Jim Bob's words in their book, A Love That Multiplies:
For the same reason that Josh and Anna had allowed the TV crew to film their wedding four months earlier, we invited the crew to film Dad's funeral. Both events showed the importance of our family's foundation of faith as we commemorated two emotional milestones, one joyful and one sad.
They've basically become family members
Having spent a lot of time with the Duggars — and knowing how welcoming the family seems to be — it's not surprising that the camera crew is pretty much part of the family. Some might worry that having camera people all up in your business on a regular basis would be annoying, but the kids love it.
"To our children, the best thing about having a television series is 'playing' with the film crew guys," they wrote in A Love That Multiplies. "The little kids love it when they get to carry one of the cameras or ride on sound technician Jim Goodwin's shoulders while he follows someone around with the microphone boom."
They have nothing but good things to say about the Duggars
The Duggar/film crew love story is definitely a mutual one. "They are truly some of the most genuinely caring people I have ever met," crew member Bill told TLC. "They all have big hearts and their sincerity is inspirational."
See? Warm fuzzies all around.
Images: TLC (2)