Home / TV / TV Open Thread: Sister Wives – “Browns Out of Hiding!”

TV Open Thread: Sister Wives – “Browns Out of Hiding!”

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In the opening episode of Sister Wives, Utah polygamist Kody Brown, 40, and his four wives: Meri, 40; Janelle, 41; Christine, 38; and new bride Robyn, 32 prepare to go to New York City to be on the Today Show and to reveal their plural marriage to the world.

At the same time, the children begin a new phase of life by going to public school, mostly for the first time, and find a welcome there that gives the parents hope. Later, Kody and the kids go “ice blocking,” sliding down grassy hills on blocks of ice.

The family speaks eagerly of the new standards of tolerance and acceptance that public schools now teach; they look forward to a time when plural marriage will be accepted. The Browns hope that when people see how nice and “normal” they really are, they and their lifestyle will be accepted.

Though fearful about coming out of the closet, the family takes the plunge of doing interviews in New York: they discover the excitement and the oddity of sudden fame. On TV, verbal, outgoing Kody suddenly becomes shy and tongue-tied. He likens telling the truth about their polygamy to jumping out of a plane without knowing if the chute will open.

Despite their optimism, danger looms over the family. The police have been investigating them, and Kody may soon be charged with bigamy.

Will Meri, Janelle, Christine, Kody and Robyn find that the monogamous world outside their closed, protected circle is far less tolerant than they had dreamed? What will happen to them if Kody goes to jail? Will the women lose their children? What will happen this season on Sister Wives?

Will Kody be sorry he decided to “stand up and be different?” What do other viewers think?

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About Ladybelle Fiske

  • I would like to ask if anyone wants to take over this “TV Open Thread” column on SISTER WIVES. I’d like to write about them every five episodes or so, but not every Sunday, if I can help it. Anyone?
    Ladybelle Fiske

  • Thank you, Rachel! I love open-minded people and I do feel that it is wrong for others to criticize these folks for living their own lives in a way that satisfies them (for the most part). I don’t think they are immoral.
    Thanks for your kind remarks. I’ll forward them on to someone who may know how to send them to the Brown family.

  • Rachel

    I would just like to say that I don’t agree with people saying negative things about this family and how THEY choose to live THEIR lives. They are not hurting anyone so why does people have anything bad to say? Just because they dont’t live just like you do does not make them bad or immoral…They all seem like wonderful people, intelligent, and great parents. I totally understand why they choose to live that way… I mean for some people it makes complete sense. So Brown family I LOVE U ALL and I think you are courageous and just a great family bringing kind, well brought up young people into our society (:

  • Check out “Free Range Browns.” It’s up now, and we’re eager to hear your thoughts!

  • Hello everyone,
    I wrote a summary of last night’s episode, “Free Range Browns,” but it has not been posted yet. I expect it will be up soon. Feel free to post any comments that won’t wait here. I will try to work out getting my summary up as soon as I can. Ladybelle

  • How do they all survive financially? This is not clear to me at all…

  • One funny thing: I used to belong to a “group marriage” or multiple-partner situation (women had more than one husband or boyfriend too). When this show (or maybe Big Love) came on, I said to my husband, “I want a Sister Wife! — It’s lonely and I need the help!” He turned pale and said, “I got you a puppy! That’s all I can handle any more!”

  • Yes. They don’t make much of a differentiation and this is something TLC should pay more attention to. They don’t make it clear that this is not the standard LDS point of view NOW, though it was in Joseph Smith and Brigham Young’s time.
    TLC tends to make things rather muddy. I couldn’t tell from the first episode exactly when it took place, but I think it was after Robyn and Kody’s wedding and just as the TV show was coming to an end. I wish they would clarify and if enough “regular” LDS members write in to complain, perhaps they will have to make it clear what the difference is. It’s not really fair to people of your faith, nor, for that matter, to “renegade” quasi-Mormons like the Browns.
    Write in and complain! I always do!

  • deedee

    I know it’s an O my bad.

  • deedee

    I don’t mind what they do as a family,but I mind the fact that they call themselves MORMAN because they are not. The LDS church banished polygamy years ago.I don’t like people asking my husband how many wives he has,because he is a morman.This show is not expressing the DIFFERANCE and giving LDS/ MORMAN a bad reputation. and I think if they are getting all this attention of the world! Then they should be honest enough to tell people the DIFFERANCE!

  • PS Melody, I do actually agree with you, too. I like the way the family functions, and that the women are able to help one another out.
    There is great warmth in female fellowship; and sister-wives are closer than other women, for they share a family. Although I was never a polygamous wife without another man in the picture, I do have a son with a man who had a son with a close friend of mine (she and I both knew one another first). He is now my husband. The two young men, about 10 years apart (mine the younger), look alike and are very fond of one another. While she and I no longer live in the same place, love is there, and we are friends.
    Thanks all,

  • Thank you, everyone, and I really do thank you, for your interest in the show, in this feature on Blogcritics.org, and in the issues involved. They obviously aren’t simple ones. In general, I do have a “live and let live” point of view, and I hope the publicity won’t hurt the kids– I hope that the family will find that the country is tolerant enough to allow them to continue to live as a unit as long as the chidren are well cared for.
    I myself do not find Kody terribly appealing,but I think he has a sense of humor and is pretty good to his kids. (But HOW does he support them all?)
    I do also feel that Robyn and Kody seem to have caused pain to the other wives that wasn’t necessary; she could have settled for a simple wedding and short honeymoon, coudn’t she? But, as I am the moderator, my opinions aren’t as important as yours, and they may change over the course of the season.
    I look forward to being “here” with you all every Sunday night, and the discussion can continue, if people are interested.
    See you this coming Sunday, Mar. 20.
    Ladybelle Fiske (Isabella)

  • terry

    From what I can see, Kody is more loving and attentive to his four wives and numerous children than most husbands/fathers who are in monogamous relationships. If Kody or his wives are arrested for bigamy, then I want to see every unfaithful married person(who,by the way,do this behind their spouses back)arrested for breaking their wedding vows. When monogamous people cheat they usually cheat their children and they hurt their entire family because of their betrayal. I don’t see this as the case in Kody Brown’s family. Either leave them alone or start going from house to house to gather up and arrest all marital perpetrators.

  • Kathy

    I don’t agree with polygamy for me. But this country founder believed that everyone has a right to religious freedom. So let them live their lives and raise their children.

  • Melody

    I really love how this family works together. I don’t believe it is about the “man” being with so many women as it is creating a bond between the sister wives. I don’t believe in their faith but I could see living like that, in a loving environment where they all have family and love as the goal.

  • Lacey

    So, in the USA people are fighting for gay marriage but polygamy is a crime? Obviously, the human body was created for male/female sexual relationships but society is saying gay marriage is ok. This is a group of consenting adults. If what they are doing is wrong, then I believe adulterers should be arrested too. Adulterers cheat on their spouses, potentially exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases without their knowledge or consent. That is far worse than consenting adults choosing to have a polygamist relationship.

  • just me

    I am always intrigued to learn about and understand the way other people live. Although not everything I see or hear may be something that is right for me, I have respect for those who choose to live their lives the way that is right for them so long as no harm comes to others as a result. I can see polygamy being an issue if someone was forced into it or a child is married off to an adult but if it involves consenting and willing adults, who are we to say it is wrong. With all the chaos in the world, it is refreshing to watch a program filled with lots of love, commitment, understanding and faith then the other crap filled with violence, cheating, pregnant teens, spoiled children and a lack of values of any sort. I say go sister wives stand up and be proud of your family. I think you are doing a fabulous job raising such beautiful children. Polygamy may not be for me but I see nothing wrong with it between consenting adults who find it to be a right fit in their own lives. We have bigger issues in this world that we need to be concerned about, and not such petty things as who is married to who. As a society we are just to concerned about peoples sexual orientation, relationships, religion, status, what one wears, drives or the house they live in. Let’s get back to being accountable for the weeds in our own personal backyards and quit making mountains out of molehills over something that really is a nothing. We need to get back to remember to be loving, respectful, helpful and kind to all living creatures of this world and put our differences aside. remember what may not be right for you may be right for someone else and that doesn’t make what they are doing wrong as long as it brings no harm to others.

  • Denise

    I’m glad to see that others feel the same way about this as I do. This is a solid family, it does not look like my family, but its a family.
    These women are all adults, and made a choice that reflected their values and beliefs, and I admire their stepping out and showing the world that Polygamy is not just the sensational stories we have all seen on the news.

  • littlej36

    In a world full of conflict and pain, I find it refreshing and wonderful to watch a family full of love. It would not be my choice to be married to a polygamist, but all of the women made the choice to be in the marriages. The children are loved and well provided for, and what is bad about that? In fact my friends have always joked about needing a good wife when it comes to getting all of the domestic duties and maternal duties taken care of! I can imagine that the feeling of support and caring and having someone “in your corner” that totally understands what you are going through as a mum, wife, and daughter would be pretty great! There are enough people out there who need to go to jail for crimes against society – this is not an example of that. I wish you all the best Brown family. I hope that you are treated with respect and dignity by people. As for your relationship with God – everyone has their own personal journey on that front and perhaps people should be focusing on that instead of standing in judgement!

  • Janice13

    The Brown family children should be proud of their parents fir having the courage to expose their lifestyle. The wives were all consenting adults and made a decision to join this family. Their lifestyle choice is their choice, the children all seem happy and well adjusted. To all the critics out there-this family may not be “traditional”, however, who are you to judge? Why do we always see the speck in our neighbor’s eye, when there’s a log logged in our own? America truly needs to wake up and stop legislating what marriage should or ought to look like. Each marriage is a unique celebration that can’t be defined so narrowly.

  • KalaBelle

    Nope, I don’t believe in polygamy. I think it’s wrong, and personally I’m just too selfish to share, however, as long as no abuse of any kind is occurring, leave the Browns be. Their lifestyle works for them, where it wouldn’t work for someone such as me. Meri wanted eight children. She was only able to have one, but how many children did she actually end up with that look at her, treat her and love her as their mother? Looks to me like 16, so in a way, even if not the traditional way, she got her house full of kids. My favorite wives are Meri and Christine because they’re the most honest about their jealousies and reservations at the advent of Robyn in the marriage, um marriages. And Christine’s just a Mommy. My least favorite is Robyn. I still see her as a usurper. Why did she get a big wedding and a big wedding reception and an even bigger honeymoon? She should’ve just been patient for her 20 year anniversary trip to Mexico. I’m sure Kody had something to do with that though. I wonder how long it will take for the “new” to wear off of Robyn for Kody. I’m not fond of Kody. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a great dad and a good husband, but I am from the Bible belt and I feel about him the way I feel about Joseph Smith…he caln’t be faithful to one wife, so he wants to make it accepted, legal and even right to be an adulterer. I’m with Ladybelle…if a man can have more than one wife, why can’t a woman have more than one husband. It wouldn’t surprise me if all the polygamous wives defect to the rare polyandrous regions of the world. I believe there is a tribe in the South American rainforest that each woman has several husbands and it is seen as taboo if she has more than two children by one husband. I just think Kody should have a taste of his own medicine.

  • Dodgegirl.

    I hope the world embraces Sister Wives. I have never met a polygamist so all I know is what I see and read in the news. Watching the show all you see is love & fun in my eyes. The kids always have family watching after them. Dad isn’t far away if you need him. All I can say is it looks like a big happy family and none of us have a right to judge them. They are not hurting anyone. So open your eyes people and watch with your heart not your head. They are a beautiful happy family let them live their life in peace.

  • PS The above is by Ladybelle Fiske…

  • Thank you for your point of view, Debbie! I really appreciate, and I know that Blogcritics.org does, varying points of view.
    I think that there’s room for all sorts of “marriage” in a country as big and wide-spirited as this one– as long as the women have the right to choose, and the children aren’t being married off to someone they don’t want to marry. What I like about the Browns is that they say their sixteen kids will be free to choose their own lifestyle when they grow up; they won’t have to practice “The Principle” (polygamy) if they don’t want to (and I think some of the daughters have made it pretty clear already that they aren’t interested in doing so). I see women who love their family, and have big hearts– enough to include other women– and a man who, for all his posturing and preening, seems rather brave. I still think that the women should be allowed to have other spouses too (Bigamy: let’s all be big for a change, as Groucho Marx says).
    Let us know more about what you think, Debbie. Who’s your favorite person on the show?
    Who do you feel is the most annoying?
    Do you think Meri feels she wishes she’d never gotten into this in the first place sometimes?
    All comments welcome!
    (I’m sure the Browns would appreciate your encouraging comments!)

  • Debbie

    I really admire you for coming out as polygomist.The rest of the world should be able to learn some lessons about getting along from you.You are living the way you choose and raising your children with the father in a loving household.I’m sure there are many men out there with children by more women than 4 that are not involved in raising and supporting them.As to what a lot of people say about it being against the law and you should be charged,so is adultery in most states,the jails would really be overcrowded if everyone that was guilty of that went to jail.People need to be more accepting of alternate lifestyles.Don’t let them get you down.

  • Yeah, he even said last season that he thought it was “disgusting” or something like that to think of his wives having other husbands! I had to laugh.

  • Well, of course I agree that it would be a lot more fair if the women could all have several husbands as well! I do find Kody comes off as rather smug. I was pleasantly surprised last season to discover that the wives feel they can talk back to him, though.
    I wonder whether it is really worth sending the father of sixteen children to jail for a crime that is perhaps “victimless” though? Who will support the kids? What will happen to the women? I agree that some of them seem to feel diminished in a way and perhaps if they had lives that did not center around Kody, they’d have more self-esteem, but should we force that on them?
    Everything’s a matter of custom or what we are accustomed to (except, of course, if child abuse or neglect is involved). If someone were to say that we should go to jail for our monogamous marriages (yes, I am in a monogamous marriage), how would we feel?
    Is this law worth enforcing?
    Which of the wives do you like best, if any?
    Which the least?
    DId you think it was obnoxious for Kody and Robyn to take an 11 -day honeymoon when the other wives had not had real honeymoons? That bothered me!
    Thanks for your comments, Carol. That’s what we want at Blogcritics.org– a lively discussion of these shows– and even whether they should or shouldn’t be on.

  • carol

    I do not believe in polygomy…I think that women involved in a plural marriage have self esteem issues…the man is laughing his way through life from bedroom to bedroom and the little women are dutifully waiting for their turn….It is like a brainwashing of women to believe that the woman is of lesser importance….how about the other way around…would Cody Brown be as agreeable to being one of four husbands…I think not! I find him to be controlling and smug, but that is my take on him. I would recommend that these women take better pride of themselves and to realize that they deserve someone faithful to them and not settle for sharing!!!! What he is doing is illegal and he should be charged as anyone breaking the law. Lets take the cameras off them and quit aiding to their celebrity status.