Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sister Wives: Real Plural Housewives of Somewhere in Utah

The exciting race to be the first network to hit the airwaves with a reality show about polygamy is over, and TLC won!

Patriarch Kody Brown describes the family's faith tradition affiliation as "Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints," but don't expect Warren Jeffs Little House on the Prairie dresses or 19th century pompadour and braid hairstyles.

The family wears modest, mostly unremarkable "modern" clothing, though they sometimes put their own "twist" on it (In some scenes, Christine rocks a fuchsia spaghetti strap top over a long black sleeved crewneck) and when they're not discussing religion or polygamy, have more or less normal speech patterns and vocabulary.

Number One Wife Meri has one daughter, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Number Three Wife Chirstine.

Meri has received the Gift of pain-free baby tooth extraction.

Twice in the first segment of the show, Meri tells us that having someone ready to step up and raise your kids in case you die is is "definitely a plus to this lifestyle."

Um, Meri, next time you're on line, try googling "godparents." Those stultifyingly monogamous Catholics have had the contingency parent thing in place for a while.

Janelle, Wife 2, works outside the home. 6 kids. Only wife who wasn't raised in a polygamous home.

Christine, Wife 3, has 5 kids, and pregnant with what we may assume is another one. (Though don't try to tell me that the TLC execs are not praying for quintuplets, at least)

She always knew she'd be a plural wife. As a teen, she turned down single men who "asked my dad about me" because she "just didn't want them."

"I honestly wanted sister wives more than a husband for a good time in my life," she says.

She specifically wanted to be a third wife, because it "sounded the easiest." She didn't want to be a first wife, because she "didn't want to be married to a guy by myself," and she didn't want to be a second wife, because she "felt like (2nd wives) were a little wedge in the relationship."

She informs us that it is said that if there are problems with a 2 wife family, the conventional wisdom is that the solution is to obtain a third, to "even things out."

The kids were home-schooled until 5 years ago. Since then, they've attended a private "polygamist school" school "for our people."

Christine seems to be the principal homemaker for the family. She does not have a toaster, and makes toast in the oven, because
"More people die from toasters than sharks every year."

Her preferred interjection is "Darn it" or "Gosh Darn it."

Throughout the show, references are made to a "big announcement" Kody plans to make to the family that night.

Turns out that he is "courting" a potential 4th wife, a 30 year old woman named Robin, who "grew up in the lifestyle."

The wives acknowledge that they had a feeling that there was someone else, but the "big announcement" is the first time that the children are told about it.

Robin has children from a previous marriage, and apparently there has been some kind of joint play-date at some point, because dad presents the idea by asking the kids if they remember Robin and had fun playing with her kids. How would they like to have Robin's family join theirs?

The response is enthusiastic. One of the younger children doesn't quite get it, so Kody tries again, but it is Christine who gets the message across that Kody hasn't proposed yet, so the whole Robin thing must be kept on the DL for now.

A couple of the older kids acknowledge that it might be "weird" or "different" at first, as they've all grown up with three moms, but no one has any objections.

Meri doesn't deny that "jealousy issues" exist, but hopes she can get over it.

Janelle says that when Kody first told her about it, she had a "spiritual witness" that Robin was special.

This is the "first courtship" in 16 years, says Kody. Adding a foruth will be a "big deal."

Christine cops to being "kind of hesitant," because she "likes 3 wives a lot." She doesn't want to be a boat rocker, she says, and she doesn't want her boat rocked. "If it hapens," she adds, "she just has to be absolutely amazing, otherwise it might be a little difficult."

Robin, who lives four miles away from the family, has been courted by Kody for about 4 months. The number 4 seems to crop up a lot in this story arc. They are shown going on a date. Robin says he's her soul-mate.

Wives in this lifestyle, Kody points out, are comfortable with another wife, but not another girlfriend.

The day after the premiere episode airs, it is reported that the family is being investigated for bigamy. Coincidence? I think not.

Let's just hope this doesn't mean there won't be a Season 2.

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