The Williams family came to TLC last night on MY FIVE WIVES, a special about a polygamist family in Northern Utah—five wives, 24 children and one husband.
It was interesting to see a family that, by its own words, practices polygamy not for religious reasons but because they want to do so. Yes, the adults in this family have had experiences with polygamy via religion, but the primary reason for this family to practice polygamy is not because they feel it is a religious command or required experience, but because, as husband Brady Williams stated, “It’s not complicated: We love each other.”
MY FIVE WIVES was a one-hour special on TLC; it is not currently a series. Will it be? That remains to be seen. But, if it does become a series, if last night’s special was any indication, the Williams family may fit with the idea of what many non-polygamists see polygamy as being, good or bad, better than the current TLC hit about polygamy, SISTER WIVES.
“It’s not an easy lifestyle to live,” second wife Robyn said.
All of the wives have children with Brady. Unlike the view of polygamy SISTER WIVES and the Brown family gives viewers, MY FIVE WIVES seemed more raw, more real, jealousies and all. Sure, the Brown women give a glancing comment on struggles with jealousy from time to time, but the Williams women seemed to really open up on that matter, including the fact that, yes, sharing your husband is HARD. While there is no reason to doubt that the Browns are genuine in the things they share–I fully believe that they love each other and that they believe completely in their way of life–they just are not as open with the things that make a lot of us tick, like jealousy, and that is what made MY FIVE WIVES seem more “real” than SISTER WIVES.
Brady sleeps with one of his wives every night, but the wives only get to sleep with their husband once every five days, unless it is a special night, like an anniversary or birthday. And, even then, those nights can cause problems, for example Brady’s birthday is on the same day of Robyn’s birthday, meaning that the other wives never get to share Brady’s birthday with him—something that all of the wives, even Robyn, were stressed over. And, when Brady gave Robyn her “traditional birthday kisses,” one for every year she is old, the other wives sat sullenly by as the 24 kids gleefully counted off 40 sweet smackers.
There is no doubt jealousy exists in this family.
Rosemary, the third wife, appeared more insecure than the others, bothered by her weight issues. More often than not, when the camera would catch her around the other wives, she was looking at them in a way that said, “I do not want you near my man.”
“There’s other wives that I compare myself to,” Rosemary admitted, tears streaming down her face in a camera cameo. “I’ve always felt like I had Barbie and Sleeping Beauty for sister wives in Paulie and Robyn. I’m just the chubby one.”
It has to be hard enough sharing your husband; but, sharing him with women who you believe are so much more beautiful than you are—well, just the look on Rosemary’s face every time the camera got near her said more than words could ever say.
It seemed pretty obvious and genuine that Brady does love all of his wives. But, it was also obvious and genuine, the hurt, difficulties and jealousies that exist in this family—something that is often suspiciously absent from the Browns’ relations. Yes, the Brown women SAY that they get jealous from time to time, but their actions often seem more measured—more tailored to come across positive on the camera—than the Williams’ relations did last night.
And, a final thought: One wife, the fifth wife, Rhonda, has four kids with Brady, and actually approached Brady and the other wives about adopting another child. Seriously? ADOPTING a child into a family with 24 kids already? It is hard to imagine any agency would ALLOW that to happen, but it is harder still to believe that someone would consider it in the first place.
Will MY FIVE WIVES become a regular series on TLC? We’ll see. But, if it does, it will no doubt be a very different look into polygamy than the Browns’ provide—that is not a comment on one being “better” or “worse” than the other, just “different” and, therefore, perhaps educational for viewers.
SISTER WIVES airs its two-hour season finale next Sunday, September 22, at 8/7c.