As many people know, I watch a few reality TV shows. I mean, I don't sit and stare at them, but they play in the background while I work on things that don't require total silence.
I watched Sisterwives. Now I've been watching My Five Wives.
I'll begin by saying, I have no issue with alternative lifestyles. If people want to marry one, two, three, or more people, go for it. But...the way Kody's Cult and now Brady's Bunch are being edited by TLC, these two families look more like Gaslighting Nightmares than Happy Families.
The more I watched Sisterwives, the more the blatant narcissistic tendencies of Kody began to leak out. It really is a fascinating study for those who want to examine a live narcissist in action. He doesn't have to say a word as he smugly sits surrounded by his harem, each wife puffy and sad, even when she smiles.
As this season of Sisterwives came to a close, commercials began to play for a new polygamist family show called My Five Wives. They were cut in a catchy way to Bowie's "Modern Love," looking clean and cute and fun. It was even hinted that this family was more open with their marital relationships with each other with coy snippets of dialogue and lots of smiles.
I laughed at the use of "Modern Love." This is not modern love. This is just another family run by a misogynist narcissist trying to keep his wives in the dark times. Polygamy is an ancient custom, nothing about this show is modern except that it takes place now.
If you thought Kody was selfish, hang on to your hats when you meet smarmy-smiled Brady.
Brady has five wives. Well, he has one legal wife and lives with four other ladies. They rotate nights, so each wife gets Brady to herself one night in five. Unless of course there's an anniversary or something. Then the lady of the hour gets to take someone else's night. There are no make-ups. A wife pushed from her night doesn't get the next night. She gets to wait five more days for her husband's attention.
In the most recent episode, Brady missed a wife's anniversary by a real long time. However, another wife got her anniversary on the show we saw Sunday and no one cared about the wife who had been missed. Then the missed wife had to miss her regular date (sex) night with Brady because Brady had a bee in his bonnet about one of his kids dating and even though she was home by nine, Brady blew off the blown-off wife yet again to stay with the dater's mom, one of his more favoured wives.
It seems to me that even though there are rules and schedules, Brady can break them at will and everyone has to suck it up.
The things that BLOWS MY MIND in both of these shows is the whole children thing.
In Sisterwives, wife #1 keeps talking about adoption even though there are 19 kids or something in Kody's family. I thought that was ridiculous. If she doesn't want to be an empty nester while her husband plays with three of his other wives and their kids, she could get a divorce and marry a man who loves only her. And since she's the only legally married wife, she'd probably do pretty well with a settlement. All she has to do is say she was on the show and the world has already seen how Kody mind-games her endlessly.
Anyway, back to My Five Wives.
One wife wants to adopt a baby since she can't have any more children. She is sucky and whiny about it. She already has kids. Brady has 24 kids. She has a full-time job. Brady wants her to quit her job and hang around the house all day. He says he'll support her, he doesn't want her working full-time. She says she loves her job and doesn't want to quit. He pretty much demands it. She says she's lonely because she doesn't see him much. Yeah, no kidding, once every five days! But even so, he wants her to quit working so she can be paying attention to him. He pretty much said that. It was absolutely jaw-dropping.
He wasn't terribly on-board with looking into adoption until he discovered that they weren't allowed to adopt because they were a polygamist family. This doesn't suit King Brady. He demands to be allowed to adopt a child. And I'm sure the rest of the season will be him on this expensive mission for a trophy. How does he have time to properly father the twenty-four he already has created? And FIVE wives?
Oh yeah, he's also getting a masters degree while working full-time and juggling twenty-nine people.
Oh, what a circus, oh what a show...!
So, he tells the wife they're going to do this adoption thing and she needs to think very seriously about quitting her full-time job.
Then there's another wife. She wants to have another baby. She already has a litter but as the show progressed, it seems like perhaps one reason women want to have a lot of babies is because once they "decide" to make a baby, the husband gets to be with the wife not on her night. I'm not positive if that's true, it wasn't really clear. But it provides pathetic motivation.
Brady says he doesn't want to have another baby, he can barely afford the ones he has now. He keeps putting her off, but at last, she wins. Then she's all worried about telling the other wives in case they realize they're having sex.
Uh, duh. She makes no sense. She acknowledges they all realize they likely have sex with Brady but to announce a baby makes her feel as if she's throwing it in their faces that she's having sex with him. Since everyone kisses and hugs in front of each other, it's pretty obvious Brady is the rooster in the hen-house. So bizarre.
But as with Kody, you can't totally blame Brady. Part of it is the culture most of them were raised in. I would say most of it is low-self-esteem on the women's parts. You don't see any famous people in a polygamist marriage. If I'm wrong, correct me. Women are not people in these marriages.Not the way they are edited on TLC. Both men claim they are open-minded and forward-thinking but they are not. They are classic examples of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
I can see the pluses of polygamy for sure. Joint finances, joint raising of kids, joint chores, instant parties, taking care of each other, loving each other, lots of great sex with each other.
But to me, a true polygamist marriage is one where everyone has a voice. Where a wife can have five husbands just like her husband, where several couples can sleep in the same bed if they want once in a while, a situation where if there's jealousy, there's work to fix it by respecting each other's feelings and being certain no one is being shunned or shafted. An organic blending of families and sexuality in a committed arrangement certainly has its appeal. But not how it's been depicted in these two shows. The men get all the sex, all the say, pretend the wives have a voice, and have ulterior motives for almost all of their actions including being on a reality show to begin with.
If this is God's will, then why is everyone so sad? Why is it so one-sided? Why do we feel like these men are building communities for their own visions of God at the expense of women and children who either don't know better or are too trapped to get out?
Every single wife on both shows declares her love for her husband and sisterwives. They say they freely choose this life and can leave whenever they desire. Yet even when they smile, one can't help notice the air of sadness and jealousy that hovers over both families. Edited or not, as a viewer, that is what I see.
I had hoped My Five Wives would provide a more progressive look at polygamy than the Browns show does. I was wrong. My Five Wives is like a tragedy. Five depressed, jealous wives, one selfish controlling man, and twenty-four children who are trying to make sense of the world.
What do you think about Brady telling one wife they can't afford to bring any more children into the family and telling another wife to quit her full-time job that she loves and adopt a baby?
(photos are selfies on the set of "Zombie Love" for the I HATE TODD band video.)