The Duggar clan is unlike just about any other family on television.
Obviously, with 19 siblings, they’re much larger than any other famous brood, and while that may be what attracted viewers in the first place, it’s not what keeps them tuning in.
No, to understand why Jim Bob, Michelle, and their children have become such subjects of fascination (and, in some cases, derision), one must examine their unique family dynamic.
On television, we generally only see the sunny side of life on the Duggar compound, and viewers might be left with the impression that the siblings get along with one another and their parents at all times.
Of course, that’s simply not the case.
Jim Bob clashes with his daughter’s husbands to the point that he’s been unable to keep the conflicts out of tabloid headlines.
As for the siblings that keep fans tuning into Counting On … well, they may do a better job of hiding it, but it seems they butt heads just as hard.
In fact, fans have gone so far as to dub one Duggar girl the “fundie Regina George,” in reference to the famous Mean Girls villain.
Due to a take-charge attitude that some viewers interpret as domineering or manipulative, Jessa Duggar has been dubbed “the mean Duggar.”
Most fans don’t point to any one incident in particular as evidence, but instead claim that Jessa is simply ruder and less sympathetic than her sisters.
“Sorry not sorry I really have no tolerance for Jessa,” an anonymous commenter wrote on the Duggars Facebook page this week.
“She’s a mean girl and on the show she tries to hog up most of the conversation and likes everything centered around her. More Jana and less Jessa please.”
But if specifics are what you’re after, there have been plenty of incidents over the years that have led fans to the conclusion that Jessa isn’t the kindest soul on the compound.
For starters, we’ve seen Jessa exploit Jana Duggar on multiple occasions, often corralling her older sister into performing childcare and duties and household repairs.
Jessa has admitted to Counting On cameras that it’s a pattern of behavior that dates back to her early childhood.
“I think as I started to get a little bit older, I also had a very strong personality so I would sometimes protest the ideas that [Jana] had,” she said on one episode.
“She’d be like, ‘We’re going to do this,’ and I’d be like, ‘No we’re not.'”
Some fans believe that Jessa’s vanity is her greatest sin, and they point to incidents such as the time she attempted to steal the spotlight following Amy Duggar’s wedding as proof.
Just one day after the ceremony, a collection of never-before-seen photos from Jessa’s wedding appeared online.
“We all had such a wonderful time at Amy’s wedding,” the official Duggar facebook page stated.
“All of this excitement has caused Jessa to pull out her pictures from her wedding and post 100 of them on her website.”
Many fans thought it was a transparently passive-aggressive move.
There are several more incidents, such as the time that Jessa bragged on Instagram that a stranger paid for her order at Starbucks as part of the “pay it forward” movement that was taking place at the time.
Asked if she returned the favor by paying for the next customer’s order, Jessa did not reply, and she eventually just deleted the post.
But the worst allegations have to do with the fiery rhetoric Mrs. Seewald uses on social media.
Jessa has compared abortion to the Holocaust and gleefully informed her followers that they’ll soon be burning in hell.
Of course, in cases like that, she’s just vocalizing what all of her siblings believe.
Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.