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TV Open Thread: Sister Wives – “Carving into Polygamy”

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Brown Kids Gather Pumpkins

Photo courtesy TLC/Discovery

The family celebrates Halloween this week as the Northern hemisphere wakes into springtime. Watching the Browns pick pumpkins for Halloween and paint the kids’ faces, one gets the feeling that this episode was created in part to give a sense portraying the normalcy Brown family’s lives. They speak of a police investigation going on—and their stress about it—but there is no explanation of what exactly is happening. There is a peculiar feeling of trying to have fun while dark clouds are gathering over them.

The family, to forget their problems, take the kids out for pizza (which they say they can’t usually afford to buy) and to pick pumpkins—a Jack O’ Lantern for each member of the family!

Five months after the wedding, it seems, the family is settling in together. “I like being a part of the family,”” says Aurora, Robyn’s oldest daughter. Meanwhile, one of the other little girls cries because another child pulled her hair. It seems the Brown kids have been raised to “knock it off and play” rather than cry, while Robyn’s kids are sensitive and easily upset—but they are getting accustomed to one another.

The family picks almost thirty greenish pumpkins (one of the kids saying pumpkins are never really orange, except in commercials). I want to say, “They are in Vermont, kids!”

The family loads the pumpkins into the cars, amazed by how many pumpkins they ended up buying. “With the Browns, it’s go big or go home,” they say.

“There are a lot of kids, but I don’t see it as an overwhelming responsibility—they’re just my kids,” says Robyn.
There is a little “very little talk” about the police and their legal problems. Janelle says she feels differently about police because of the investigation; the older kids, Meri says, are concerned about what is going on. They call the adults when they see a police car on the street. “I just want to forget about it for today,” says Janelle, “and have fun.”

They carve the pumpkins, and Kody pronounces them “very creative.” Again, the feeling is inescapable that there is little substance this week, though it is pleasant to see the children having a good time.

The Brown wives decide to dress as the four elements, earth, air, water, and fire; they want Kody to be “man, because he is powerless against the elements,” but he is offended by this and say “Oh yes, it’s so great to seem powerless in this family,” so they paint his face to represent the Sun instead (Christine rolls her eyes at his egotism).

There is some discussion of his being an “avatar” that controls the four elements, but Robyn insists, “He doesn’t control us.” In the end, Kristine is air, Meri fire, Janelle earth, and Robyn water, and Kody dresses as the sun—“corny,” the kids say.

The children enjoy trick-or-treating. “It’s fun to go trick or treating with a lot more brothers and sisters,” says one child. The emphasis is definitely on how well everyone is getting along and fitting in together. The three original wives seem to be adjusting to Robyn’s presence, and even Janelle, who last week seemed worried about finance and a little resentful, is clearly glad she’s there. “I couldn’t have asked for a better family,” Robyn says.

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About Ladybelle Fiske

  • http://quarryhillcreativecenter.blogspot.com Ladybelle Fiske

    I look forward to talking with anyone who wants to chat about the Browns. What did you think of tonight’s show? Do you think next
    week’s will tell us more?

  • http://quarryhillcreativecenter.blogspot.com Ladybelle Fiske

    Did you think tonight’s show was a little lightweight? Why are the Browns not letting us know more about the police investigation?

  • North Vancouver, BC Canada

    Ladybelle Fiske, yes, I agree. There is something for sure they’re not telling us. It seemed as if there’s something heavily weighing upon their minds.

  • http://wndrdr.livejournal.com Joan (willowdreams)

    I have no problems with the fluff of tonight..I sort of enjoyed seeing the children on the couch talking.. and the frankness of their words.. such as.. Robins kids being a bit of *ahem* whiny :P but you know what I mean.. (not meaning anythign bad).

    I enjoyed it.. however.. I will enjoy next weeks as well when it seems they will be a bit more serious.

    I would like to see more ‘updated’ though.. I mean it is like.. April.. and we just watched ‘october’ time…

    I am confused bout the timelines here..

  • TK

    I think it’s very likely they were instructed by their attorney not to comment much on the investigation. If I were the lawyer representing them, I wouldn’t want them to do or say anything that could help make a case against them.

    I’m more interested in the logistics and liked the camping episode better where they showed more about grocery shopping, etc.

  • http://quarryhillcreativecenter.blogspot.com Ladybelle Fiske

    Thank you all so much for your thoughts! I am very curious about the life of the Browns, as are many viewers and critics of TV and life in general… and I appreciate every point of view I hear. It’s like putting together a puzzle with others.
    I agree, TK- their lawyers probably told them they couldn’t comment about it (though it SEEMS as though there will be more on the harder issues next week). In fact their lawyers’ hair must be standing on end because of the reality show!
    I also enjoy knowing how it all works. Grocery shopping and camping (for time alone) and how the schedule works also interests me. In the group of people– who were essentially a large group marriage, though not everyone was with everyone else– where I lived, we shared food to begin with and shopped in bulk. Later on we had our own situations and refrigerators, but would still share food if needed. We also had little Hallmark date books (free) in which we wrote all our dates and whether they were love interests or for the purpose of helping a friend out with her kid overnight!

    Joan Willowdreams– great name… I do also like to see the kids happy, of course. In fact it’s one of the reasons I watch, as I have long had what the Friends (Quakers) to whose number I belong call a “concern” for the well- being of children. I was happy to see the adults putting the kids first. I also wondered why some kids felt it wasn’t ok to cry and so on… I guess the Mormon Polygamist lifestyle leads to a lot of toughening up among the kids because there are so many of them, they probably feel they can’t pamper them too much. I feel more sympathy for Robyn’s way of parenting and imagine the kids love having her as a new mom!
    I was sorry for the little girl who got her hair pulled. Wasn’t the other girl– Aurora– smart? Her comments about “my family is like one branch of a tree” seemed very precocious. Maybe someone told her this but from the children I am privileged to know, I’ve learned kids can come up with a lot of things on their own.

    Hi in North Vancouver– thank you for saying that you see the same anxiety and fear below things that I see. TLC tends to make their shows rather “choppy” in terms of editing anyway so that one doesn’t get deep information, but probably they are being told to keep their problems quiet, legally speaking– yet they can’t help being worried. I imagine we will find out what happens later on.
    I had some problems with seeing Halloween in April, but I guess all TV shows, especially Reality TV, work that way to some extent. We can see a Christmas show on “House” or any fictional show — made in September perhaps– but here we are seeing what they made to show us last year. I wondered if the schedule had been different to begin with.
    All in all I am not as impressed this year with the quality of the show, but of course last year the drama of Robyn’s entry into their lives added quite a lot to the whole thing. We will all see how it goes this year!
    And please– if you end up writing in late and I’m not here anymore on a Sunday– please be assured I’ll check in on Monday to catch up with all of you, and probably Tues and other days too. I enjoy the communication and hope to hear from you all again!
    Ladybelle Fiske

  • SisterW

    I’m a little conflicted about polygamy, but I think it’s way better than some unnatural unions, wink wink :)
    I got hooked to sister wives and followed it closely, but I was a bit disappointed about the celebration of Halloween, avatar, elements and what not. I always presupposed polygamy was based on faith in some form of Christian belief. The way they initially projected sincerity just melted my heart, because I thought their lives were modelled on their faith in Christ, which is more than what most families can do.
    I’m rather disappointed that, despite my supposition, I heard less about their Christianity and more about avatars, elements, and abominable celebrations. I’m not sure if it’s out of ignorance or intentional, because that’s as far as one can get from Christianity and the Jewish God. I would like to see them being clear about their convictions and beliefs, and that will also help us decide if we want to continue watching or not!!