America’s fascination with extreme family living has led to reality shows about very little people and very big families. The latest is TLC’s “Sister Wives,” about a real-life fundamentalist Mormon polygamous family living in Utah. We meed Kody and his three wives, legal wife Meri and Janelle and Christine, who consider themselves equally fully married. The house, designed by a “plig” (polygamous) architect is helpfully shown to the audience via diagrams. It has separate apartments for the three women, and each has her own kitchen. Apparently, it is easier to share a man than an oven. Two of the women work and the third, who is pregnant with the family’s 13th child, is the house-wife. And things get even more complicated very quickly as it turns out that for the first time in more than 16 years, Daddy is dating again. He is thinking of marrying wife number four, who comes with her own three children.
It is a remarkably likable family, far easier to imagine as your next-door neighbors than the more glamorous and dysfunctional fictional counterparts on HBO’s “Big Love.” They all laugh easily and often and the children all seem happy, healthy, confident, and well cared for. The house is immaculate. The biggest problem the family may face is the one that comes as a consequence of the increased visibility of the show itself; they are now being investigated for breaking the laws against bigamy. Stay tuned.