I remember preparing myself to be horrified the first time I watched Sister Wives and then being even more horrified by how unhorrifed I was with the Brown family. Despite the fact that I find polygamous marriages to an incredibly chauvinistic institution, the wives won me over. The same thing happened all over again last night when I watched the premiere of My Five Wives. I went into it atop my high horse, preparing to be extra-judgmental toward this family. But alas, it ended up being Sister Wives all over again. Just with a bonus sister wife.
That’s right. You can take the title My Five Wives very literally. Brady Williams has five wives: Paulie, Robyn, Rosemary, Nonie and Rhonda. They’re just a fun lovin’ group of gal pals who happen to have sex with the same man. No, not at the same time silly! They’re polygamists, not heathens. Brady simply rotates through them all every five days. Meaning that he has sex every single night and they have sex once every five nights. It’s a win-win for Brady AND his very hard-working penis. And according to the ladies, a lose-lose for them. “If only there was a way for my husband to be with me every night,” they all accidentally say aloud during the episode. “If only society had another kind of marital structure that let me give into my one-wife-one-husband whims and fancies, but alas there isn’t.”
Between the five wives, there are 1400 children. Give or exactly take 1376 of those. The 24 children are spread out somewhat evenly amount the wives and their houses and Brady makes it clear that he loves them all very much. Hearing him name them all would’ve helped prove that — but we’ll just take him for his word. He loves all of 24 children equally. They’re just 24 little strangers running around, calling him dad and wondering how he can afford to feed them all.
No I’m sorry, they’re not wondering that. I am. I’m always the one wondering that during these kinds of shows. How is it possible that one guy can afford five families in five houses? Sure he says that he’s struggling a bit in the recession, but still, five families in five houses costs a lot of money. Even though we didn’t get five full house tours, I saw five nice houses plus a child using a tablet nonchalantly. Are you really telling me that everything’s on the up and up here? Especially considering that Brady made it clear that they got exiled by their religious community — and financial support from the polygamist community is generally how i thought these families stayed afloat.
While we’re traveling on the Wondering Train, something I’m also curious about is if TLC makes the wives say that there are no jealously issues when there are clearly lots of jealously issues. ”We’re like one big happy family where you can’t trust anyone not to stab you in the back the second you turn around.” The wives always, always wax poetic about the harmony among the wives within the family, yet never miss a chance to remind you that all is not all well. In this episode alone, there’s an unbelievable amount of drama about who gets to give Brady his birthday blowjob. You see, all the ladies want to help him celebrate privately — but they all can’t do that because, well you know the rules, one lady per night.
However despite the drama and the jealousy, the family still comes across as functional enough. Sure they have problems, but no more than the average family and certainly no more than the average reality show family. I think that’s the appeal of these types of shows to audiences — seeing that these families aren’t nearly as different as their own families. Sure the wife to husband ratio might be (five times) off, but at the end of the day, they’re just trying to make it work. And isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?