The Duggars Are Taking Their Media Empire In a More Modern Direction (And Jim Bob Hates It!)

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Usually, a new season of Counting On means more pregnancies, more babies, and more insanely strict rules dreamed up by Jim Bob, but enforced with such fervor that you'd think JC came down from heaven for the express purpose of forbidding front-hugs.

In other words, all the stuff that Duggar fans eat up like tater-tot casserole.

Jinger v Michelle

But this season, fans have noticed a slightly different tone to the proceedings.

We're only two episodes in, but thus far, the show feels less like an infommercial for the Duggars' unique brand of evangelicalism and more like a regular old reality show, created for purposes of old-fashioned secular entertainment.

Some fans noticed this in week one, when the family competed in a contest to come up with the best date ideas -- and much innuendo-ing ensued.

(Try as we might, we'll never be able to purge our minds of the scene in which Jim Bob repeatedly refers to Michelle as "creamy.")

Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle on Instagram

But the Duggars have always been obsessed with sex in the same way as pubescent teens -- and for much the same reason.

The more something is off-limits to you, the more you tend to fixate on it.

But the gradual changing of the guard was really on display during this week's episode of Counting On.

For starters, viewers got to tag along on John David and Abbie's honeymoon in Finland.

John David and Abbie In Finland

This was surprising for a number of reasons.

1. The Duggars generally try to film as much of each season in their native Arkansas as possible.'

2. There was no honeymoon footage in the season premiere, despite the fact that John David and Abbie got married at the end of last season.

3. Honeymoons are for the sinful business of baby-makin'. (The babies themselves are a blessin', but the act, as we all know, was invented by Satan the first time he tried marijuana.) 

John David and Abbie Duggar on Their Gram

As such, they're usually no-camera occasions.

Jim Bob is rumored to have decided on this policy after Joy-Anna's "shotgun wedding" fiasco, but it seems whoever is in charge of the show these days (read: the kids) decided to overrule him on that one.

From Finland, it was off to LA, where Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo are hanging with American Idol contestants and checking out the Walk of Fame.

Was that a conversation about the Backstreet Boys we just heard?

Jeremy Vuolo in LA

What sort of devilry is afoot here?

From LA it's off to Philadelphia, because apparently, the Duggars skip all over the map like freakin' Carmen San Diego these days.

In the City of Brotherly Love, five Duggar brothers hatch a wacky scheme to sell drive some limos home and sell them.

That's surprising, because -- well, who the hell does that?

But what's more surprising is what happens next, as Jed hints that he may be soon to enter a courtship.

Jedediah Duggar

“Think about it. This may be the last time we’re all together,” he tells his brothers at one point.

“Jed, do you have a big announcement here?” Jason responds.

Later in a confessional segment, he adds, “You never know when Jed’s gonna go off and just marry somebody, you know?”

Mind you, this wouldn't be just any Duggar courtship.

Big Duggar News

Jed is rumored to be dating Kendra Caldwell's sister, and some fans think this was his sly way of confirming those reports.

Televised honeymoons? World travel? Gossip? Limousines?!

Surely, this is not what Jim Bob envisioned when he created this media empire!

Some fans think you could pick up on JB's irritation during his brief on-camera appearances this week.

We're not sure about that, but it seems certain that the torch is being passed -- whether Jim Bob likes it or not.

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Duggar Family Quotes

When you've missed [sex] for seven days, you look forward to it even more! - Michelle Duggar

Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls. - Michelle Duggar on saying yes (yes, and more yes) to sex