In recent weeks, present and former Duggar fans have been looking upon once-overlooked moments in the family history in a new light.
From seeing the way that the Duggar daughters’ upbringing impacted them for life to foreboding scenes with the Duggar parents, there’s a lot to digest.
One of the latest points of interest is an old clip of Jill Duggar with her husband, Derick Dillard.
Fans find Derick’s rant off-putting, and think that Jill was weirded out … but what they’re seeing may just be the result of a lifetime of conditioning.
In this throwback clip, which is under discussion by social media users, Jill and Derick were at a restaurant.
For whatever reason, Derick decided to wax philosophical about what it means to be married.
"Marriage is like lifelong learning," he announced, comparing the relationship to scholastic pursuits.
Already married and already parents, Derick continued the analogy.
"So right now I have my high school diploma in Jill Dillard," he characterized.
"But I want to study you more," Derick continued, "and get my Bachelor’s and Master’s."
"Eventually I’d like a PhD in Jill Dillard," Derick went on.
"So," he continued, "I can think what you’re thinking before you even think it."
That’s a goofy analogy, and the last line could be a little off-putting even if it was well-intentioned.
What really struck people who are revisiting the clip is Jill’s demeanor during it.
Jill seems to smile awkwardly while Derick is speaking.
Some fans think that she may have been as uncomfortable listening to her husband speak as they were.
Discussions took place in Reddit comments as people mused over Jill’s thoughts at the time.
One wrote: "I can just hear Jill internal dialogue, ‘Okay smile and pretend he’s being sweet and amusing even though he’s making zero sense.’"
"I’m not sure I want my husband to think what I’m thinking before I think it," another commented. "Seems like that could be a major problem."
It is certainly possible that Jill, despite not having any work experience due to the cult’s beliefs, was doing the wifely version of a "customer service face."
Countless cashiers and waiters have had to stand and smile and listen while customers spout absolute nonsense at them.
We don’t mean toxic customers yelling — well, not only that. Sometimes a person will stop by a deli counter and spend 20 minutes talking about being guided by angels.
As we said, Jill has not had those exact experiences.
From birth, she was groomed to be a wife and a mother and a Christian, nothing more.
But hearing someone ramble nonsense in your face may be a universal experience. Even — perhaps especially — for cultists.
One cannot help but wonder if the apparent discomfort that viewers are perceiving is due to projection, however.
Jill’s expression could be explained by the cult’s teachings, demanding that women radiantly smile at and adore their husbands in visible ways at all times.
Instead of simply listening to Derick, Jill may have felt that she had to overact herself paying rapt attention to his every word. She may have missed the mark a little, though.