All of those grand houses and nobody’s happy. Fresh off their family therapy sessions in Sedona Arizona, the one where the owner stopped the group along a path to show some respect to a grasshopper, the Kody Brown family isn’t feeling the love. It seems as if the sessions only made them realize how moving next to each other on the plig-de-sac – don’t say “compound”, that’s the “C” word – really didn’t bring them any closer. Janelle is the most vocal about her feelings of being disconnected from Kody and the other wives. Kody is worried that the family won’t stay together when he’s dead. He thinks that they’ll go there separate ways, and, for him, that doesn’t fit his definition or hopes for his family.
Meri is still whining about not finding her place among the others as Mariah goes off to college. She’s also not very happy with how the college tuition debate is going. You see, none of these parents gave any thought as to how to pay for college – that is, until three of the kids started filling out their applications. Kody doesn’t advocate any kind of indebtedness and doesn’t approve of his high school age children looking at loans. He does approve of them getting jobs and scholarships, and he’d like them to consider cheaper colleges, though, but all of that seems a little late in the game. The five parents sit down to talk about Mariah’s first choice of college, Westminster, in Utah. The tuition is $28,000 whereas UNLV is only $6,500 for in-state students. Logan and Aspyn attend in-state, much less costly colleges. Mariah, though, doesn’t want to stay in Nevada. She wants to go to school, graduate and live in Utah because she’d like to find a husband who supports plural marriages. She starts crying. Meri starts crying. Everyone vows to do whatever they can to help Mariah get her way. And she’s going to need a car.
The family is about to celebrate Mother’s Day by inviting all five of their respective mothers – that would be Kody’s mother, Genielle, Alice, Robin’s mom, Annie, Christine’s mom, Bonnie, Meri’s mom and Sheryl, who is Janelle’s mother and Kody’s step-mother/sister mother. After they arrive, Kody goes shopping with the moms for gifts for his wives. He’s worried that each of the wives will be comparing their gift to the others’. They visit a gift shop, the kind which has signs with cute sayings on them, dried flowers and candles. Kody finds a sign for Janelle which says “I Kiss Better Than I Cook”. When Sheryl says that Janelle may not appreciate the sentiment, Kody says that he’s not really criticizing her cooking skills, he’s complimenting her kissing. Kody’s haircut is clouding his judgment. Now he’s just opened himself up to an argument about who’s the better kisser. He also purchases a clock, sure to cause some more wife-to-wife combat, along with other assorted dust collectors before taking the moms out for lunch.
Having a captive audience over lunch, Kody tells the moms about the “mission statement” that the Brown family has been sweating over for months. Bonnie thinks it’s a great idea and explains how nobody understand the burden of the man in a plural marriage. Everything rests on his shoulders – apparently that doesn’t include making arrangements for his children’s education. Annie wants to know what Kody means about the changing family dynamic. Kody says that it seems as if they’re not as close as they use to be but Annie asks him if he’s just noticing it now. He admits that it’s been there all along.
Mother’s Day arrives, and Kody and the kids are making breakfast, until they blow the circuit breakers after plugging in about ten waffle makers. While Kody goes off to find the breaker box, the wives and moms sit down to talk about him. Their conversation doesn’t last long, though. Breakfast is finally served and Kody offers a prayer of thanks for the women who bear and raise the children. Then another conversation takes place and Kody plops himself right into the middle of the group of women. Maybe he doesn’t really trust them alone. Each of the moms relate their experiences with the plural marriage lifestyle. Some say that it was painful and filled with jealousy. That’s understandable. Others, like Annie, resented being told what to do, how to be a good wife and mother. Genielle, on the other hand, sees the experience as a good one, filled with love, from both their families and God. She reminds the wives that it’s their responsibility to love each other and to be humble in that love. That sounds like a little lecture on dealing with jealousy, in my opinion.
Kody and the wives are planning a commitment ceremony – the reality TV standby of airing a vow renewal. That’s when they’ll, hopefully, present the finished mission statement. It might actually be interesting, considering that their vows will probably be nothing like what we’re used to hearing.
Just a couple of notes: TLC has plans to begin airing “My Five Wives”, a show about Brady Williams, hiss five wives and twenty four children, starting on March 9th. It debuted in September and the ratings were good enough for TLC to give it the go-ahead.
The Brown family won a victory of sorts in their suit against the State of Utah. In early December, the US District Court found that the language in Utah’s anti-bigamy/polygamy statute violated their Constitutional right to privacy, as well as due process and freedom of religion. Judge Clark Waddoups held that the word “cohabitation” was open to interpretation, did not specifically mean marriage, and, therefore, could not be construed as illegal on its face. He did, however, keep the section dealing specifically with plural marriages, finding it illegal: “in the literal sense — the fraudulent or otherwise impermissible possession of two purportedly valid marriage licenses for the purpose of entering into more than one purportedly legal marriage.” Utah’s Attorney General is appealing the decision. For the record, Kody Brown is legally married to only Meri. The other wives are joined by spiritual unions.