When was 'Shiny Happy People' filmed? A look at the Duggar family controversies

'You go deeper down the rabbit hole, and you get to the darker elements,' the documentary's director said in an interview

When was Shiny Happy People filmed? Pictured: Jill Duggar in Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets
(Image credit: Prime Video)

Everyone's tuning into the Duggar documentary, but when was Shiny Happy People filmed exactly? 

In the TLC reality series 19 Kids and Counting, which ran from 2008 to 2015, we get an inside look at the very large Duggar family and their very conservative beliefs. But that wholesome narrative got turned on its head with the scandals chronicled in the Prime Video documentary series Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, which premiered on the streaming platform on Friday, June 2. 

The multi-episode project dives into the controversial teachings of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, which the family devoutly follows, as well as parents Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar's alleged financial motives and the numerous crimes of eldest son, Josh Duggar. According to an interview with the doc's directors Julia Willoughby Nason and Olivia Crist on The List, their research and interviews unearthed a lot of unsettling details about the reality-show family. 

"You go deeper down the rabbit hole, and you get to the darker elements like corporal punishment ... and this repressed sexuality and the strict modesty standards that all these women had to follow," Crist told the outlet. "The deeper you dive, the more rotten it gets. Like Julia [Willougby Nason] said, it all circles back to this theme of authoritarianism and the men having absolute control."

When was 'Shiny Happy People' filmed?

Although a specific production timeframe is unclear, Shiny Happy People was likely filmed between 2021 and 2022, after news of Josh Duggar's sentencing broke, as his criminal punishment is referenced in the series, specifically in episode four, "Arrows Activated." 

In April 2021, Josh Duggar was arrested and charged with receiving and possessing child pornography on his computer. In late 2021, he was sentenced to over 12 years in prison, and he's currently serving his time at the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Seagoville in Dallas, Texas.

Another timeframe indicator is Jill Duggar Dillard's involvement with the project. Jill does not speak to her parents, something she and her husband noted in the documentary, and her estrangement is evidenced by the couple's lack of involvement on the Duggar Family website and her own social media pages. 

Despite this, Jim Bob and Michelle put out a statement on June 1, 2023, condemning the "derogatory and sensationalized" project and said: "We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one."

How many episodes is 'Shiny Happy People'?

The Prime Video docuseries consists of four episodes, all of which were released on Friday, June 2. See the titles and runtimes for each of the four parts below: 

  • "Meet The Duggars" (45 minutes)
  • "Growing up Gothard" (51 minutes)
  • "Under Authority" (47 minutes)
  • "Arrows Activated" (36 minutes)

Watch the 'Shiny Happy People' trailer: 

Catch interviews with Jill Duggar Dillard, former members of IBLP and more figures in the Duggar clan's orbit in Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets

Tune in for yourself! Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets is now streaming on Prime Video. Here is a list of other true crime documentaries and TV shows about cults available for streaming.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.