We started with the wretched Joel Osteen fever dream that was the Duggar clan. Now meet the Willises. The Willis family showed up on America's Got Talent back in 2014. Mom and Dad oversaw 12 children in a family band -- words that should already make your insides clench in panic. Like the Duggars, they were a tight-knit, wholesome crew of family values Christians. Can you guess what else they had in common with the Duggars, armed as you are with the knowledge of how TLC is basically what you get when you attach a broadcast antenna to Satan's butthole and start sending signals into the ether?
Toby Willis, the family dad, who stood on stage in front of Howard Stern and laughed as Stern joked about how this was a rare appearance outside of their bedroom, received 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of child rape. They were his own kids, and it started when they were as young as three.
Willis was arrested for his crimes in 2016, and I keep mentioning dates for a reason. The Cake Boss brother was 2012. Mama June and Cheer Perfection were 2014. The Duggars and the puppy killer were 2015. Jon and Kate have been going steadily for a decade, with the most recent police involvement happening in 2017. And in 2018, we have guys making machine guns and some coupon felons. How does this keep happening?
The Willis Family premiered on May 5, 2015, while 19 Kids And Counting had its molestation story break May 21, 2015. You have to wonder if anyone at TLC even paused to think, "I hope this show we premiered just two weeks ago that has almost the exact same premise as this one now up to its armpits in horrible abuse is going to be cool." I mean, it's not like they had any precedent at that point to wonder about the sideshow families they were thrusting onto televisions or anything.
Or, you know, maybe they just consider all of this to be free publicity. If so, then ... congratulations?
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