Sister Wives Season 3: My Doubts, My Thoughts
On September 25, 2011, Sister Wives began its third season. Though I’d been writing about it each Sunday last year in the Blogcritics section “TV Open Thread: For All Your Rants and Raves,” I still wasn’t certain I wanted to do the same this year.
Along with the issues of staying up late (my husband commutes 120 miles a day, and needs his sleep), of having other topics I’d like to write about, and so on, I had, and still have, a certain feeling of uncertainty about the show in general.
Last year many people responded to my Blogcritics articles on Sister Wives– some with tolerance and positive support for the Brown family, some with disdain and even disgust for a life that encompasses four wives, sixteen children, and one husband and father.
I have no problem with the issue of poly-marriage, but I do tend to feel that if the man is going to have more than one wife, the woman (or women) should be able to do the same. I also felt a good deal of concern for the Brown children as they fled Utah for Las Vegas at the end of last season, and wondered what, exactly, was the point of my publicizing and supporting this way of life?
It is not the multiplicity that bothers me. It’s the conservatism, the certainty on the part of Kody Brown that he should be, that God wants him to be, the head of the family; and the lack of concern for the feelings of other family members in doing what he wants to do. He expressed concern for Meri, Janelle, and Christine, his other three wives, when he married attractive young Robyn last year, but I never got the sense that he would agree NOT to marry a fourth wife if they asked him not to. I also get the same feeling with his children– he probably feels he cares about them, but there is not really a great deal of interaction with them on the level of their wishes.
In the first episode of this season, the daughter of Meri and Kody refuses to come to church with them, because she feels it’s wrong to bring cameras into a religious situation. In this case, I felt Kody handled it better (probably because he worries that she will just run off back to Utah if he tries to force her). They try attending a local church, but the wives quickly feel that they can never be at home in a church that does not support polygamy. It’s interesting because they suffer a good deal from the sharing of a husband– yet they defend it in a way that might surprise those who have never lived in a multiple relationship. I think it isn’t so much Kody they defend and want to be involved in as the relationship with one another (despite their early distrust of and discomfort with Robyn, with whom Meri, the oldest and legally married wife has now created a sisterly, confiding relationship). They like being with and helping one another, and they like to have their kids be a part of one another’s lives. This is something I can understand, and I am sure there are many out there who do as well– even if it’s only from the perspective of a big, extended family with many cousins and aunts and uncles.
The Brown family is also dealing with Robyn’s announcement that she will be having a baby in early October (sometime around now, or within a few days). I hope that it works out well for her. Meri seems welcoming about it; Kristine hugs her; Janelle seems focused on her own problems but claims that her feelings and her lack of response to Robyn comes from other sources– her problems with not working and other issues involved in moving to Vegas. The women are each living in a different house, rather than one house with three apartments (and an extra house for Robyn) as things were in Utah. I imagine this does bring up all sorts of feelings, though you’d think that at least some of the women would prefer having their own house.
Another issue is that they are concerned about the older teenagers getting involved with members of the opposite sex. They have pools, they want to have pool parties; but, calling themselves “conservative,” they become disturbed by co-ed hanging out in the pool– something that probably seems entirely normal to most “outside world” teenagers.
I still am not sure whether I want to write for TV Open Thread each week about the Brown family, but I’m interested enough to watch it and write a column every few episodes (with the blessing of Blogcritics, of course). Let me know what you think of this arrangement, and feel free to post your thoughts and feelings about the show and the Brown family here. I’ll be glad to discuss it all with you.
Article first appeared at Blogcritics.com, 9/29/2011