A Dose of Reality for Reality TV

Four Wives and a Husband (Credit: TLC)

Anyone catch the series premiere of “Sister Wives” last Sunday?  I had it set to record from the moment I heard about it.  I’m absolutely fascinated with the mindset of those who live this way – especially the women. There are many who believe they are living with a severe detachment of reality, I’m not so sure though.

It comes as no surprise, then, when I learned that the TLC program has now prompted a bigamy investigation by Utah authorities.  I wasn’t sure what kind of charges could be brought against the family, led by Kody Brown, who, when the show begins, has three wives but will marry another during the progression of the season.  I use the terms “wives” and “marry”, but the fact is, he is only legally married to his first wife and has not attempted to obtain a legal marriage certificate with the other women.  This of course begs the question, “where’s the crime?”  Turns out, Utah makes it illegal to cohabitate with anyone other than your legal spouse who serves in the same role as that spouse.  Read: plural wives, same household, children with all of them.  It’s being compared to the 2001 bigamy case against Tom Green, also of Utah and also married to five women.  The difference, however, is he was charged with child rape and spent six years in prison.  There’s been no reason, even a miniscule one, to believe Brown is a child molester. Not only does he work, but his  wives do as well.  One is a psychologist.

This is interesting for me, much as I’m fascinated by the mindset of women who become a part of biker gangs with the knowledge they lose their “human” status and instead become property of the biker club.  And no, I’m not suggesting it’s that way in every biker club, but there are those violent groups who do live life by different rules.

Sister Wives

So what is it about these women that their minds and souls can make such sacrifices? Is it a case of being raised in polygamous households and then choosing the evil they’re most familiar with?  That has to play a significant role since the cycle continues and the mothers, though they might not encourage it the way they did in years past, don’t discourage it either.  For them, it’s as natural as the traditional marriages many of us know.

For now, the show is still airing on Sundays at 9 p.m. central time on TLC.  See a clip of the now four wives and their shared husband here.


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