sister wives

6 posts

Should ‘Big Love’ Be Legalized?

Notice the wives keep getting skinnier
Last week in Utah, the family starring in TLC’s “Sister Wives” program filed a challenge to that state’s criminal law against bigamy.

The Mormon Church famously renounced polygamy in 1890 in exchange for Utah’s statehood. Ever since then, polygamists have tiptoed around the laws with what Kody Brown, the husband on “Sister Wives” calls their “spiritual marriage.” Continue reading

An Open Letter to the Brown Family

Dear Brown Family,

Artist's rendition

I was commuting to work today and I noticed there were suddenly four houses for sale on a street in my neighborhood. I couldn’t help but think of you and the children. I understand that Texas is a little further from Utah than your current new home in Nevada, but I wanted to plead my case to you on this issue since I believe it is in everyone’s best interest that you have more options than what you’ve been presented in the Season 2 finale of Sister Wives.
Continue reading

Sister Wives Recap: Polygamists in the Mist

In this episode of Sister Wives, we travel deep into the Utah jungle to observe the habits of polygamists. TLC viewers have been fascinated with the history of these primates and the camera crew took pains to document their day-to-day life. From shopping, to camping, to bickering about money, we heard all the details.

For some reason I will never understand, I am fascinated by the logistics of large families. Perhaps it is because I have plenty of trouble managing the logistics of my small family. I am awed by the management and coordination that goes into managing a mega-family. Janelle and Christine talked about how they team up to manage the food costs in the household. I would’ve liked to hear more about that. I assume they do a ton of menu-planning and spend lots of time telling the children “No”.

Christine went shopping then loaded huge bags of flour and sugar into the family bunker. I was trying to figure out what all the tins in the pantry are for. Do you think it’s those survivalist food supplies that they sell at Costco? I’ve always wondered who buys those. I can’t imagine dealing with all that flour. They must have to constantly sift it for weevils. Ugh. That’s way too prairie for me.

The family seems to have lots of concerns about finances like almost every family on earth. Janelle seems to know how to run a budget like a champ. I could really use a sister wife like that. My husband and I both loathe dealing with the numbers. I did find out, through a bit of research, that Kody and Meri filed for bankruptcy back in 2005. Janelle mentioned that Kody is an impulsive spender. I wonder if she’s decided to take the reins financially to prevent another money crisis. So far, Janelle is my pick for sister wife if I had to choose among the four. I might consider Christine if she agrees to do all the shopping.

There was lots of noise about Robyn not working. It’s my understanding that she relocated to marry into the family and that’s why she doesn’t currently have a job. She’s looking but I can’t imagine that publicity from the show is going to help much. I feel bad for Robyn because she used to have a job and manage her own money. Now she’s dependent on a family that has not yet deemed her worthy.

Since this episode aired, the family has moved to Nevada. Does that mean Janelle had to give up her job? You have to wonder. Janelle doesn’t seem like the type to leave a job without some type of guarantee of financial stability. Kody is currently managing the Kody Brown Family Entertainment which probably coordinates all their interviews and appearances, but I’d like to think they actually moonlight as traveling minstrels.

Janelle and Kody went camping to celebrate their 17th anniversary. I’m “meh” on camping but I’ve heard there are people who actually enjoy pooping in the woods. Kody said the trip was relaxing and I’m sure that it was because Janelle, as usual, appeared to be doing all of the work. Janelle has perfectly arranged her place in this family. She is as useful as they come. I’d be willing to share a house with anyone who works that hard.

By the way, there has been a rumor floating around the internet that Aspyn, Kody and Christine’s daughter is pregnant. She’s not. Evidently, people started speculating based on what they perceive as a “baby bump”. Nope, it’s just the rapidly changing figure of the average adolescent. Next week, it looks like there is a little smidge of conflict between Christine and Robyn and, as usual, one of the wives is in tears. It sounds like there’s going to be more financial bickering since Meri loses her job. Whee.

Sister Wives Recap: Wild, Wonderful Wyoming

I’m shamefully late with this recap because I was emotionally distracted by the Big Love Finale. Unfortunately, the finale was on the same night as the Real Life Concubines. I have to say, after two episodes of this new season, I am really starting to root for Albie to take charge of this group of people.

This episode focused on a family caravan to pay homage to Kody’s ancestral home in Wyoming. I know I’m not alone in wishing these people would wear nametags. There are 21 of them and they resemble each other enough to cause lots of confusion. I found this very helpful family tree on Starcasm. I think I’m going to print it so I can follow the plot a little better.

Kody explained how his family drifted from the LDS/Mormon church to polygamist fundamentalism. Here’s an important note: The Mormon church forbids polygamy. They will excommunicate people who practice plural marriage. The Mormon church also tries hard to distance itself from polygamy even though it was an integral part of the church in the 1800s. I bet the Mormon church is so annoyed because of this show because people will start getting Mormons and fundamentalists mixed up all over again.

Back in the holler where I grew up, I knew a girl whose mom was also her cousin. She also had a brother and a sister that got married and, weird as that is, it is still more normal than the relationship between Kody, Janelle, and their mothers. Remember when we found out that Janelle used to be married to Meri’s brother? That was kind of weird but Janelle waved the issue off as a weird coincidence. Now we find out that Janelle’s mom married Kody’s father and is a sister wife to Kody’s mother who is also named Genelle. So, Janelle and Kody are step-siblings and Meri’s sister wife is her former sister-in-law. But, Janelle pointed out that nothing weird is going on. Nope, not at all.

We saw quite a bit of Kody and Janelle’s mom. They sort of puttered around like an old lesbian couple. It was sort of cute. They worked together seamlessly and seemed genuinely fond of each other. Kody’s dad appeared to be an afterthought. No one talked to him much. He just sort of drifted around the ranch aimlessly. The Grandmoms described their theories on plural marriage. I loved this. Evidently, all us women have strengths and flaws. The good news is that we, as women, can minimize our flaws by obtaining sister wives with the appropriate strengths. There is no talk whatsoever of male flaws.

I must admit that the idea of sister wives is sometimes appealing. I am the most unorganized person on earth and I’d love to have a sister wife that could do the filing and cleaning around here. She could also take on the potty training duties and help me manage boogers and goldfish crackers. This would free up lots of time. I could use the time to comment on every single Crasstalk post. The more I think about this, the better it sounds. I might be up for polygamy after all. If you’re interested in becoming my sister wife, drop me an email.

This episode was an hour long and honestly, not much happened. They drove to Wyoming, killed a car, painted a crappy house, herded some cattle and McKeilty fell off a horse. Now that the novelty of the family has worn out a little, I’m not sure they’re that interesting. Kody’s mother clearly adores him to the point of worship. The kids can be tricked into thinking they’re on vacation when they’re actually providing free labor.

Speaking of McKeilty, what the hell kind of name is that? I had to turn on the close-captioning to figure out what her name was. I looked at the family tree and I also take issue with the following names: Aspyn, Ysabel, Paedon, Gwendolyn, and Truely. These are all Christine’s children. Is she trying to be hip with these spellings? It makes me stabby. It also reminds me of Brian Reagan’s routine about Hooked on Phonix.

I hope something more interesting happens in the next episode. I have high hopes for Robyn, who has been a single mom for some time. She doesn’t seem to be thrilled to take orders from Christine. Janelle made a couple of flat-out bitchy comments to Robyn so that might also boil over. My only concern is that bickering will make it seem like they’re plagiarizing from Big Love.

Utah does something crazy… for once

I know what you’re thinking. It’s Utah. What craziness could ever happen there? It’s totally not an insane mix of hillbilly death cult and fly-by-night Xango pyramid scheme zombies.

Well apparently they took a break from telling their third sister-wife to “STFU MARGENE OR YOU’RE GOING BACK TO THE “BAD” COMPOUND” and finally got around to some important state business:

(CNN) — Until this week, Utah had 24 state symbols, from tree (the blue spruce) to insect (the honeybee) to even cooking pot (the Dutch oven).

Now it’s added an official state firearm — the John M. Browning-designed M1911 pistol, becoming the first state in the nation to have one, according to the state legislator who sponsored the law.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the new symbol into law this week.

Look out, Arizona. Utah just made you its BITCH. Apparently this initiative was the brainchild child of something called a “State Rep. Carl Wimmer, a Republican who was a police officer and SWAT team commander.”

“There was more controversy than I anticipated, but it really passed with bipartisan support,” Wimmer said. “One of the biggest comments from the critics was that we should not honor an implement of death. And my response to that has always been that this firearm does not represent an implement of death. It represents an implement of freedom.”

YEAH. Guns aren’t deadly weapons. They’re all about giving freedom. Such the freedom to defend America from your fourth sister-wife WHO JUST FUCKING CANNOT LEARN HOW TO WASH THE DISHES RIGHT AFTER DINNER.

Where’s my gun at?

(Hat Tip: Mr.Anansi)

Sister Wives Recap: Reality Television Results in Surprising Lack of Privacy

Sister Wives season 2 premiered and I for one was darned glad to catch up with Kody and his concubines. They’ve had a little exposure to the Planet Earth since we last saw them. Not only are they being stalked by the paparazzi, they ended up on the receiving end of a police investigation.

They seemed genuinely puzzled by some of the public’s reaction to polygamy. Most people in Utah are very familiar with plural marriage regardless of whether or not they support it. I think before Big Love aired, most Americans had given polygamy about 3-10 minutes in their entire lives. During the polygamy compound raids, the concept of plural marriage still needed a lot of explanation for most people. I’d bet money that most TLC viewers were stunned to see actual polygamists with stylish hair and normal clothing.

The first part of the show was devoted to the Today Show interview, the first season and the initial fallout. There was quite of bit of press stalking the house although the wives quickly learned the art of evading the press. There were many, many comments made online and on TV. Then, there was the law enforcement reaction. Some of the feedback was not positive and this caused some stress. Robyn cried; Meri made unhappy faces; Janelle was resigned and Christine had a red nose.

Honestly, though, if you offer yourself up to reality television, you have to be prepared for the beast to bite back. It can offer a measure of fame but it opens you up to lots and lots of judgment which can be unpleasant. The viewing public is everywhere and they don’t necessarily agree with or even like you. Many of them will make this quite clear if they meet you in real life. Then, of course, there’s the issue of internet buzz and bloggers who like to snark about people with more interesting lives.

The kids started public school for the first time. This seems like a lot to handle in combination with the media blitz, but what do I know? (No one has offered me a reality show). They only went to one day of school so it’s hard to tell yet how the year will play out. The other kids at school were on their best behavior. They didn’t throw rocks at the self-named Plyglets and no one had a “You have Shirley Temple hair” intervention with the daughter that spent 1.5 hours on her hair. There are lots of kids in the family and they may have some safety in numbers.

There was a controversy over the school’s emergency contact forms (this is who they call when your kids get caught huffing glue in art class). Christine sees the publicity as an opportunity finally to be honest and adds her sister wives as “Other Moms” on the form. Janelle labeled the sister wives as “Aunts” which betrayed six generations of polygamists.

I have a question about Christine and her red nose. Does anyone else think she’s taking a nip here and again? Is she a real life Barb Hendrickson? I will devote the last two paragraphs to a Big Love/Sister Wives narrative analysis for fans of both shows, but I definitely think Christine has a hot toddy once in a while.

I love it when the cameras move throughout the family’s house(s?). I’m obsessed with catching glimpses of their style and taste. Christine is a fan of decorating by hanging dried flowers upside down and taping them to the wall. Next to decorated hats on a wall, this is my least favorite form of décor. I also saw some borders adorned with geese and flowers. In the background, I caught a glimpse of the ice blocks that the family stocks up for some religious cult tomfoolery called ice-blocking.

There are just so, so many things to talk about. I’m going to wind it down, but here is a quick Big Love/Sister Wives analysis for fans of both shows:

There are several interesting parallels between this season’s Big Love (the fictional polygamists) and The Brown Family on Sister Wives. Both families opted for public exposure at the end of last season. Both have a narcissistic patriarch that I’d sort of like to punch. Both families also have a wide variety of children that I find difficult to keep track of (excepting Ben and Sarah on Big Love).

I got into some serious analysis on this and here’s my Big Love to Sister Wives conversion. Kody is obviously Bill. Janelle and Christine combine to equal Barb (We need both Jenelle’s common sense and Christine’s management skills to equal one fictional polygamy first wife). Meri is Nikki. I know she’s actually the first wife but I felt there was a better parallel between Meri’s chronic sourpuss and Nikki’s self-interested and judgmental approach to almost everything. Robyn is obviously Margene. No explanations needed there.