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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

‘Sister Wives’ on TLC

posted by Nell Minow

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.

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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.

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  • BH

    I have enjoyed many programs on the TLC and DIscovery Network for some time now. I just recently came across a new show advertisment, ‘Sister Wives’ and couldn’t believe Corporate would approve of such a show! I think I speak for a majority of the general public when I say, Corporate should consider ethics rather than viewer numbers and thus profit. Polygamy is ILLEGAL! Choosing to air such a program and twist it to appear as if POLYGAMY is ‘normal’ and okay isn’t ethical! Though losing one viewer will not hurt Corporate in any way, I choose to no longer support the TLC and Discovery network.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, BH. I am also very surprised that they are showing this family and that this family has agreed to this kind of exposure. I suspect the show will not last, now that law enforcement is investigating them.

  • Alisa

    Since I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it has always bothered me that people *assume* that these polygamists are members of my church. I, too, am offended by the Discovery channel, for continuing to promote this as the belief system of “Mormons”. No wonder so many people are confused about the beliefs of the Church.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Alisa. While they do make it clear that they broke away, I agree that their use of the term “Fundamentalist Mormons” adds to the confusion many outside the church have about LDS.

  • Sheila Greemore

    I’m disappointed in showing such an immoral show….I wonder if any of these women are receiving state support? How does this so called man afford everything? I’m a retired teacher and see that this will only add to the negative teaching to our youth. What is wrong with the State????

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Sheila, the family gets no state support. The father and two of the wives work full-time. I think the show is likely to reinforce the audience’s notion that traditional family structures are optimal.

  • http://monkeybusiness1.wordpress.com Le Singe

    This guy is a con i hope they get convicted just b/c It should mean they can’t make any money off the show (my thoughts here http://monkeybusiness1.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/sister-wives-i-think-i-just-threw-up-in-my-mouth-a-little/)

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