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Trying to move to Vegas, the Browns are stumped by a lack of polygamist homes. A surprise party for Meri!

TV Open Thread: Sister Wives- “No Place for Home”

This week’s half-hour opens with Kody and Christine at loggerheads, angry and utterly opposed to one another. Christine doesn’t want to move from Utah despite the police investigation (now turned over to the prosecutor’s office); she appears to feel that the situation can be ridden like a wave, or perhaps simply doesn’t want to think about what will happen if they stay.

Kody has decided that he has to “be the leader” and firmly chooses to make the decision to move to Las Vegas. “The main reason we have to move is to preserve our family, and we’re moving in eight days.”

“I know it’s unfair, but I feel that the most important thing is that we keep the family together… and we’re going to leave in eight days,” Kody says firmly. There is a lot of anger and tension in the Brown’s polygamist menage.

The older children decide to “be positive, because we’re sick of the grownups being negative.” They are aware of the possibility they can be broken up and not allowed to grow up as brothers and sisters. They put up signs urging the grownups not to despair and to be positive, and do their best to put on a show of determined good cheer,both for the distraught grownups and for the younger kids, who still don’t know what’s happening and who look up to them.

The older children’s “Be postive” movement seems to delight Kody, who says, “Our kids decide to “correct” us!”
Part of the reason to move quickly is that the children’s school semester is coming to an end, and the one in Las Vegas begins shortly. Another, of course, is that Kody can be taken off to jail at any moment.

Meri, Kody, and Robyn travel to Las Vegas, meeting up with Robyn’s father, who lives there, to seek new houses—not an easy task for a family of more than twenty people. At the same time, the family members who stay home plan to put on a surprise party for Meri’s birthday though “Meri is never fooled,” says Janelle. They decide to arrange the party while Meri’s away—and they settle on a “’70s theme,” since Meri was born in the ’70s. A friend agrees to cater the party for free as a gift to Meri. Janelle and Christine, with some of the children, shop for pet rocks, headbands and male and female “gender pendants.”
Meri, Robyn and Kody, calling realtors in Nevada, discover that there are no giant, 15-bedroom polygamist homes in Las Vegas. (I wondered what it must cost to heat those immense houses, and how much effort it must take to keep them clean!)

Kody complains that if the family has to live in four different homes, it will be hard for him to say good night to each wife, something they always want. He wants proximity—ideally one giant house—for the family, something their realtor, Mona, tells them will be impossible to find in Vegas. There are no more than five bedrooms in any house in Las Vegas, but “the market is affordable here right now, so we are going to try to find four individual homes that will meet their needs,” the realtor says. She wants to help them.

“It doesn’t feel as “family” as when you have all your children in the same house,” Kody says. Mona, the realtor, tries to help. She is able to locate four homes in one subdivision, on the same street, owned by a developer who is willing to consider owner financing.
“Let’s get over there right away!” says Kody. Excited about the large houses with more square footage than the houses they have back at home, they make an offer on the houses and hope that it will be accepted. When Robyn’s video of the Vegas houses is sent to the wives who stayed home, Christine begins to feel differently—“The houses are beautiful! And new!” They are also about double in square footage to the houses the family live in at present. Kody figures that four houses will work, and that later he can get a builder to create a giant house in which they can live later on. “We must move in eight days,” is a recurrent theme—when the children’s school comes to an end. “I know that the move will be an absolute challenge to our children,” Kody says.

Looking at clothes back in Utah for the party, Janelle and Christine send Robyn a picture of a dress she considers “hideous.” The ’70s apparently aren’t her style.

The family waits for their three wandering members in Meri’s living room, and leap up as Kody, Meri and Robyn enter, yelling “surprise!” and Meri is, to the family’s glee and pleasure, definitely surprised. The other wives and the children are awaiting with Meri’s surprise birthday party, and when the Kody, Meri and Robyn walk in, they yell “Surprise!” To their pleasure, Meri is surprised

Kody says it was wonderful to come back to a party—“A burden off my shoulders.” But afterwards, speaking of the stress they are under, he becomes very upset, thinking of the children’s feelings.
In scenes from the next episode, we see that the younger children learn that they will be moving to Utah, just a few days before the move—and they are shocked and unhappy. “I like it here!” one boy says.How hard for them to suddenly find out that they will have to move in three or four days to a whole new world!

On top of this, as they talk on the couch a few days after the party, Meri says that their offer on the four Nevada houses has been declined. Though they have no “Plan B,” Kody says that now they must go anyway, and that they will now tell the young children—whom they say they have been protecting—that they are moving in a few days. For virtually the first time, at least on television, the sunny, upbeat Kody breaks down and cries. “Chrisine tells a story about her dad’s dad moving all his wives to different states—they never got back together again. Now we own that story,” he says, tears in his eyes. “Or we don’t want to own that story,” Christine says.

Yet the Browns are determined to continue with their move to Vegas, to “preserve our family.” There are only two episodes left in the season, and the family has nowhere to “land,” as Christine says. There is no room at the inn—yet they will travel onward anyway.

I liked what the older children say: “This is a lifestyle, not a crime– we’re not hurting anyone,” as one of the sons says, and that they can “correct” the adults by posting “Be Positive” signs and try to protect the younger children by staying cheerful. I felt sorry for the family, but more and more uncomfortable with Kody’s determination to be the “leader” and make the decisions for the whole family. It is clear that if they can find a place to go, Christine will accept his decision– but what if she had decided to refuse? She has many children and no job (she is the “homemaker” and food-gatherer of the group,) so in a sense she has no choice but to go along with the decision.

What do you think, fans and foes of Sister Wives? It is perhaps true that there is little choice for the Browns but to move, but should Christine’s wish to stay and ride out the legal issue in Utah possibly not also valid? “It will tear our family apart,” she says. I am very interested in what the viewers, and our readers, have to say about the Browns. Are they being treated fairly? Are they being unfairly persecuted? Write in and let me know your thoughts!

About Ladybelle Fiske

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