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Review: TLC's 'Sister Wives' - Can America Accept Plural Marriages?

I have a whole new view of polygamous marriages and the idea of men having more than one wife after watching the first episode of TLC's new show, 'Sister Wives'.

image of 'Sister Wives' parents via TLC

I like the Browns...all, what 21 of them? Kody and his first three wives were all married BEFORE any children were born - a fact that surprised me. They seem to be people just like you and me. Well, maybe not you over there - I mean, talk about dysfunction.

Plural Families Bigger in Size and Maturity

So let's talk about dysfunction. If you are expecting to find that with the Browns, it has either been edited out, or this really is a lifestyle that just fits some personalities. Sure, all the wives admit to jealousy at some point. They are human. It's a real feeling. They acknowledge it. Then they move on. Could these “plygs” (a term they use amongst themselves) have found a way to rise above all of us single marriage folks when it comes to jealousy?

What about the kids? One might think having more than one mom would be confusing. How can one man engage with all those kids and offer guidance and love? I know my when my own dad got angry he’d have to go through the list of family members (just my mom and my brother) before finally getting mine right to yell at me. Can this one guy keep it straight? Surprisingly, Kody seems to be a very involved father, taking the time to hang with each mom and family on a rotating schedule. Kody is not at happy hour, on the golf course all day, or holed up in front of TVs on Sunday watching football. He can’t! He’s got 4 families to juggle! Could having more than one wife make polygamists better parents?

Benefits of Having More than One Wife

After an hour spent with the Browns it wasn’t difficult to see the benefits. For Meri who lost a sister to cancer, she’s comforted knowing that should anything happen to her, her only child will be taken care of and will never be alone. For Janelle who prefers a full-time job to housework, she revels in the fact that when she comes home from a long day at the office, her kids have done their homework, and dinner is waiting on the table. And for Christine, the “mom”, she`has an army of at her disposal when it comes to keeping up with the house, the yard, and the chores.

Three is Enough

In this first episode Kody announces his plans to propose to a fourth wife. This woman and her three children will be walking into a family that has been together for 26 years. Will she be welcomed? Will that ugly beast called jealousy arise again? Will the kids welcome their new siblings? Will Kody’s job be safe or will word get out? These are the things that will keep me watching ‘Sister Wives’.

‘Sister Wives’ premieres Sunday, September 26 on TLC at 10:00 pm.

Thanks to my friends at Discovery who gave me the opportunity to screen ‘Sister Wives’ so I look like the cool kid at school pick-up.

Reader Comments (8)

Plural marriages are the norm in many societies, I say bravo to the Browns. Perhaps many single marriage families could take a few pointers in genuine care and concern for one another. Plural marriages appear to be marriages in service of one another and their children.

America wake up, an old social structure is being reintroduced to a society that really needs help. Perhaps the structure of the American family isn't lost after all.

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina Smith

"Plural marriages are the norm in many societies"??? Many societies? Really? I realize that some Muslim sects approve of this, but what other religions/societies currently support this lifestyle? And are any in technologically advanced countries?

Having said that, personally, I find the entertainment factor of this show to be stunnigly intriguing. My husband and I watch Big Love with gusto. I am a confirmed, devout Catholic, but for entertainment value, I may just tune in to see what this has to offer. And that's really saying something, considering I never watch reality television!

Rock on, Twofer! Good for you for screening! :-)

Balanced Babe (Molly Wendland)
Mother's Balancing Act [url][/url]

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMolly Wendland

I don't know if plural marriage is 'common' but I can tell you this particular family for me, makes it acceptable. I mean, if they are happy, and the kids seem normal, why do I care? It works for them.

It also doesn't hurt that the moms are all in agreement that their kids have a CHOICE to continue that lifestyle or not. And the plyg jokes...plyglets, plyg-talk, plyg-food - I loved that part. The fact that they can laugh at themselves about it means they aren't trying to convert people - just stating this is who we are and it works for us.

September 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterJanine Nickel

Ummm... Isn't plural marriage illegal??

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill Notkin

Were we watching the same show? Involved father? He works long days and sees his kids in shifts, yet he still has time to bump uglies with the single mom who lives a four-hour drive away? I'm sorry, there is nothing cute about this arrangement to me. You've got the first wife who is obviously clinically depressed because of her infertility issues. Wife No. 2 is using wife no. 3 and her firstborn son as her nanny/babysitter and does her best to be out of the house as often as possible. Wife No. 3 has really overdosed on the Kool-Aid. I will say, though, they seem to be raising smart, well-mannered kids. However, did you see the looks on the kids' faces when Daddy announced he would be bringing home a new wife and 3 new kids? Yeah, those didn't seem like looks of joy to me.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElita @ Blacktating

Produce a show about one woman with four husbands and I'll tune in.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuanne

This is one strange show and a sad lifestyle. The man has got some ego to keep procreating. Really how much quality time does he spend with his kids and wives? Why do these women buy into this? It is so pathetic. is illegal too. Glad the law is going after him.

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA Ochs

We have gay couples, 60+% divorce rates, broken families and homes and don't forget, SERIAL MONOGAMY or re booting families. So, why is this so horrible, maybe because we are selfish people that think we own our men. Even in many monogamy couples it's their selfishness that is destroying them. True monogamy is where people mate for life, not a few years, come on.. how many couples like that do you see? We are hypocrites, who are we to tell others how they should live their personal lives?

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersirena

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