If you haven't set your DVR's for the TLC series yet, you're missing out. Here's why:
1. It's about a man and his three four wives: Ladykiller Cody Brown has taken the hand of wife number four Robyn Sullivan. The reception, which took place in May, will be chronicled on the season finale episode. Sullivan joined to clan with three kids from a previous marriage making the family cap out at 21. Our national obsession with over-sized families is taken to the new lengths. But unlike the Duggar propaganda machine, this series and its subjects don't sugar-coat their unique lifestyle. It's presented just as you'd imagine: impossible.
2. The first three wives get jealous: Of course they do. Their husband is "courting," as they say, a new young bitty. But the open admissions from the wives of their fears of being ignored strikes a surprisingly relatable chord. The tendency to consider the women brain-washed robots with perpetual Stepford smiles is quashed by the underpinnings of anger and hurt that permeates their interviews. But when Cody joins the four women for an interview, he knows to keep his mouth shut and just listen as the wives gripe over their mutual anxiety about losing their husband. Resentment festers under the surface but in a less cringe-worthy way than with the Gosselins. Possibly because it comes from a family structure most of us don't have to worry about. They are simultaneously going through every phase of a marriage. The third wife, who's pregnant with yet another Cody spawn worries she can't compete with the slender, starry eyed Sullivan. The youngest wife-to-be is in the early stages of passion with her husband and wants to spend all her time with him. The middle two are occupied with the children, still figuring out how to balance family, work and romance. The one thing Cody has learned from the juggle is to keep his mouth shut and his head down. Which may be why all four women are so in love with the guy.
3. It makes every other relationship look easy: Forget "Mad Men," this should be the Sunday night show you watch with your partner, if only to remind you your issues are a lot simpler. The rules of this particular bigamist clan are more convoluted than "The Rules" book of dating. The fourth bride feels guilty for kissing her future husband before they wed, but doesn't think twice about sleeping with a guy who's sleeping with four other women. Last night, Cody said he'd be sickened if one of his four wives slept with someone else. Whaaaa? No matter how iffy your own situation is, you can close the night with an "at least we're not bigamists" line. Think about it: You don't have to worry whether you'll be sharing a bed that night. Or whether your kids will be traumatized by their dad's sexual voracity. And even if there's another woman in the picture, you don't have to embrace her as your sister.
4. The kids are candid about the family's dysfunction: The clan's spawn talk openly about the dynamic. Most are in favor of it by wouldn't choose the same path themselves. They see their family as old-fashioned, which puts an interesting spin on an outside-the-norm custom. When Cody asks one of the kids to get their mom, she responds "which mom?" This would be funny if he didn't quickly respond with "Mom #2." These tiny sobering moments reveal a twisted parent-child dynamic that the subjects are open to talk about. Its something reality series usually gloss over("Keeping up with the Kardashians") or lighten up with hokey sound cues ("19 Kids and Counting").
5. The controversy is just beginning: With reality subjects making news headlines, catfights and episodic dramas are jumping off the screen. Months after the Salahis of "Real Housewives of DC" allegedly crashed the White House, Bravo's exclusive footage of the hours leading up to the event aired last week. It allowed viewers to be the judge. In a similar turn, Cody and his family are being investigated for the felony of bigamy. And, meanwhile, we're invited to the wedding party! Meanwhile comparisons between Utah's notorious polygamous cult are inescapable. As viewers, we serve as jury of their private lives. We get to see the footage and follow the family in the news, when the show's over.And there's no doubt, with the full house and the frayed nerves of the wives', the story will continue to unfold after the cameras cut.
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