Watching any reality show based on polygamist families is like watching a car crash in slow motion — you just can't look away, even though you know it's going to end in one of the wives demanding for more attention from her husband as her sister wives look on. And TLC's second show about polygamy My Five Wives is no different.
Even though imagining a life where sharing your husband is the norm is pretty hard to swallow for most people, it doesn't mean we don't want to watch someone else do it. Enter Brady Williams and his wives Paulie, Robyn, Nonie, Rhonda, and Rosemary: TLC's answer to a new, more progressive side of polygamy.
We knew from the outset that this show would be different from Sister Wives, but after seeing a few episodes, it's clear that if you're in search of a Sister Wives reboot, My Five Wives isn't it. Here's why:
The Williams Family is Way Bigger... Which Means More Problems
Sister Wives first introduced the skewed reality Kody Brown faced on a daily basis as he struggled to balance Meri, Christine, Janelle, and Robin. And you wouldn't think that adding another wife to the mix would be that big of a deal. What's one more wife when you've already got four? Well it is a big deal.
Newsflash: Each wife is an individual person with her own needs, wants, and personality. No wonder My Five Wives' Brady has such a hard time keeping them satisfied on his own. And it's impossible not to roll your eyes every time Brady complains about how hard it is to keep all five of his wedding anniversaries straight.
Also, Kody's brood of 17 kids? Sounds like a baby-sitter's dream when compared to Brady's crop of 24 children between his five baby mamas. And, unsurprisingly, his kids are all expected to find a way to pay for college themselves... or they'd have six very homeless parents.
Jealousy Runs Rampant Among Brady's Wives
The Brown women look downright saintly next to Brady's wives, who are quick to admit to their jealousy when Brady focuses his attention on anyone else — but they're surprisingly thoughtful when it comes to each other's feelings. As soon as Nonie and Brady decide they'd like to try for another baby, Nonie avoids sharing the good news with her sister wives so she can spare them the image of her and Brady getting it on. And, on her birthday, poor Robyn was practically cringing as Brady awarded her with 40 kisses as the rest of the family looked on.
The scary part is the fact that this allows us to relate to them on a level that makes them seem less like reality sideshow freaks and more like who they are: actual human beings.
Brady's Wives aren't afraid to call Brady out on his bullshit.
From what we've seen on Sister Wives, it very much appears that in the Brown household, Kody's word is law. Sure, on camera, Kody asks for his wives' opinions when it comes time to make big decisions, but it's a little suspicious we've never seen anything not go his way.
In contrast, Brady's wives are quick to let him know when his behavior is just not up to par — and when he does something they don't approve of, they don't seem afraid to bring that up, either. Exhibit A: When Paulie's fifteen-year-old daughter comes to her complaining about Dad's archaic rule that all potential suitors must ask his opinion before holding their daughter's hand, Paulie quickly sides with her and, after discussion, gets Brady to amend the rule.
My Five Wives Satisfies Our Morbid Curiosity Better
The Sister Wives seem to love reminding us of how much they love each other, and how they live together with Kody in perfect harmony, so thankful to be in such a big and loving family. Which is great for them, but boring for us, the viewers. Surely it's not that perfect when the cameras are off. So why don't you show us?
The ladies of My Five Wives just seem so much more real, because they're open. And maybe this is because their family is much more progressive, or because the Browns have paved the way for polygamist families to seem more "normal." But in complaining of their jealousy, despite the fact that they're in a situation they've chosen for themselves, they manage to avoid isolating themselves even further from the rest of the world. Maybe I don't want to sign up for that lifestyle after watching their show, but I can definitely understand better where they're coming from. They're not just reality show fodder; they're actual people.
In fact, these women don't seem like freaks at all. Actually, they seem a lot like my friends.
Images: TLC, MRW Gifs, Huffington Post Tumblr/RowerPangers