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Reviews and Commentary: TLC’s Sister Wives

It’s clear from the Sunday night premiere of the seven-part Sister Wives that what’s in it for Kody, who is a charming, youthful man with much energy and rock star hair, is that life is a smorgasbord of interesting if compliant women, with Kody as some kind of working-class American gigolo representing the main course. Edmonton Journal: New Reality Show Spotlights Polygamy

Really it’s the domestic minutiae that makes “Sister Wives” worth watching: the food supply, the house floor plan, the division of labor, the minor spats. Details jump out at you; small subtextual clues that the show doesn’t stop to explore. For example, the wives drive hulking SUVs or minivans, but what does Kody drive? A sporty, two-door Lexus coupe, with no room for a child’s car seat. In a way, that’s all you really need to know about this family. Washington Post: Frank, entertaining TV about polygamist Browns in Utah

But back to actual life, in which I am a critically thinking person who realizes that reality shows are not real and that sharing one’s husband is not tenable or desirable. … The editors go out of their way to show that the decision to be in this union was a conscious, thought-out, even empowered choice by all the wives—they were not forced into it. However, one has to wonder how much of a “choice” it was for the women raised in polyg families, who have never known any other sort of relationship. Slate blogs: TLC show makes polygamy seem appealing

What about the fact that before they got their own TV show, several of the “Sister Wives” filed for bankruptcy and one was on food stamps? Is it common for these families to expect the government to support their illegal lifestyles? New York Post:Wives” could be dangerous

Kody is less poetic. “I like marriage,” he says affably to the camera — “and I’m a repeat offender.” … Though Kody is legally hitched only to first wife Meri, his spouse of 20 years, he could still be found guilty of bigamy for living with his other common-law wives in a giant house built by a plig architect to resemble a rabbit warren with connecting rooms. Cleveland.com: Sister Wives gives us a truth stranger than fiction

So there you have it. The Browns are putting a better face on their lifestyle, in hopes of “opening up” this closed society of ours. Problem is, watching a few episodes of this show leaves you feeling… still creepy. iVillage Entertainment: Can TLC Make Polygamy Seem Normal?

Despite his cheery claims to the camera that he’s just a man who falls in love a lot, he’s a lawbreaker who is risking himself and the family he claims is so precious just to star in his own TV show. He’s practically begging someone to arrest him. Here’s hoping someone in the state of Utah has the courage to take him up on the offer. Boston Herald: It’s all four one, one four all

Sister Wives is at once compelling and repellent, and as the family works its way through their on-air exhortations, we await the discussion on how receptive Kody might be to his wives taking on a few brother-husbands. Vancouver Sun: I do, I do, I do: When one wife is not enough

Do Kody Brown, his three wives, and 13 children offer us legitimate justification for “rethinking” traditional marriage, as TLC claims, or is the network prettifying something that ought to disturb us? TheWeek.com: Polygamy as family entertainment?

The series offers little to recommend in its opening moments because patriarch Kody Brown comes off as a spotlight-loving camera hog, and the introduction of the family seems rehearsed, unnatural and a little weird (Kody kisses his young daughter on the lips but only hugs his wives). Once the focus shifts to spending more time with the individual wives — Meri, Janelle and Christine — “Sister Wives” turns into a more interesting psychological/sociological profile of an unusual American family. Pittsburg Post-Gazette.com: TV reviews

I wish I had the right to love and marry who I want. I think this should be left out of the hands of the state and left to churches based upon the tenants of their doctrines. Or individuals based on their choices. We deal with prejudice from family and friends on a daily basis. We are people who just want to be free to love each other the way we choose. Seattle PI: Meet the Real Big Love Bunch

Kody and Meri filed for bankruptcy in 2005 in Cheyenne, Wyo. In 2008, Kody added Meri’s name to the deed of the Lehi home he owned with second wife Janelle. … Now that they’ve gone Hollywood, TLC-style, father heads up Kody Brown Family Entertainment for their public persona-building purposes. But up until 2004, Kody was president of Das Hundhaus Firearms and Accessories, according to public records. Comcast.net: Five things to know about the Sister Wives clan

It’s too bad the Today show host didn’t ask Kody or his wives to discuss their beliefs. Because if you’re not familiar with what Kody vaguely calls “his faith” — that is, religious fundamentalism — then you might think, wow, these people are so edgy! So open-minded! It’s just a big happy family! You might not realize how the extreme, patriarchal belief system belittles and oppresses women. Jezebel.com: Sister Wives Talk Like Soul-Sucking Stepford Zombies

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