Sister Wives, TLC's look into Big Love-style "normal(ish)" polygamy premiered on Sunday, and it pretty much blew my mind. These people aren't as crazy as the polygamists we're used to seeing (they dress in clothes from this century and they cut their hair and everything), but like Big Love, the husband's a jerk-off and the women are accessible, but really difficult to understand and even more difficult not to feel sorry for. It's a fascinating, if shamelessly exploitative show, and I don't know about you, but it left me with a lot of questions. Here are the top 10.
1. The new wife, Robin, is divorced, with three biological children. If her previous marriage was a polygamous one, how does divorcing an entire family work? Aren't her sister wives' children "hers" too? And if that's not the case and she had a traditional marriage, is her ex-husband really going to let her take his kids (two of whom are girls) and raise them in polygamy? Wouldn't he try to take custody? Even though Kody's not legally married to his second and third wives (and thus not committing outright fraud), it still seems like inviting her into their family could expose them to uncomfortable legal inquiries. You know, other than the ones the nationally televised series could bring.
2. The health insurance equation is mind-bending. Most likely, if Kody is so afraid of being found out at his job, he doesn't have all 12 kids on his insurance there. So are half of them on Janelle's? And though Janelle said they all have to work, Christine clearly stays home all day, and there was no evidence of Meri having a job, so that leaves Meri on Kody's insurance as his legal wife and Christine on... I have no idea. Medicaid? Nothing? Either way, the premiums on having 12 dependents alone (not even counting the wives) has to be so expensive I can't imagine what they all do for a living. Which brings me to...
3. What is their income? They're feeding, housing and clothing 17 people and sending 12 kids to private school, not to mention gassing and maintaining the numerous giant SUVs they own, on what seems to be two salaries. Janelle's job looked to be government-y (she was walking around a courthouse or city hall-looking building), and Kody sells ads of some sort. She probably doesn't make a whole lot -- she can't be anything unionized, since her hours are so insane -- so Kody must just be selling the largest number of ads in history every single day to make whatever astronomical commission it takes to support his poliglet army.
4. What is Kody on? He not only has the energy to Donkey Kong ad sales, pay some sort of attention to 12 children, lead prayer circles, drive four hours each way to his side piece and do something sexual to one wife every day, but he also smiles and hugs off what looks like about 1200 calories a second. My guess is a lot of B12 and Viagra... and insane amounts of IV espresso.
5. There are polygamist architects? That's... genius, actually. I'm going back to school to become that.
6. It will probably be addressed later, but are they allowed to use birth control, or are they Duggar-style on the issue? Can't imagine 12 babies is the result of any kind of planning, but maybe it's just the result of really crappy planning?
7. Meri and Christine were raised in polygamy, so that explains them, but how did they talk Janelle into it? I feel like "You don't have to fix dinner!" and "If you die suddenly, someone takes care of your endless stream of babies!" and "You only have to have sex every third day -- really frees up your 'me' time!" is a pretty hard sell for a woman not brainwashed from birth. (And come to think of it, where is Janelle's family? Can't imagine they're thrilled.)
8. Why was Kody delivering Christine's baby in the season previews? Is he an ad sales doctor?
9. Why do they look down on threesomes? Kody says their religion teaches them "Love should be multiplied, not divided," yet the women responded with "We don't do weird" when addressing the issue of more than one wife getting it on with Kody at once. It really seems like the men in this religion would have twisted that little catchphrase to their kinky advantage by now. A rare miss, men of polygamy.
10. Exactly how sheltered are they? Meri is in college and Janelle works in the outside world, but the kids go to polygamy school and Christine's amusing toaster facts were things Kody made a point of saying she heard from her friends who had read it on the internet. Which leads me to believe that Christine herself does not have internet access. I didn't see a computer in the house, and though they do have televisions, none of them were on, which could mean they don't have cable, and only have TVs so they can watch religious videos, a la the Duggars. And I can't imagine they exactly have a daily delivery of The New York Times. At least not on their salaries, anyway.
Your thoughts on this crazy show? Let them all out in the comments!
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