So last week when Judge Walker issued his decision overturning Prop. 8, one of my friends posted as her status update, “Is polygamy next?” I didn’t know if she was being silly or sincere, but if any of you all are wondering the same thing, let me reassure you: No. Polygamy is not next. That’s just something we conservatives make up to scare people. Ha ha, that was a joke (sort of). You know how I know polygamy isn’t next? Because unlike attitudes toward homosexuals, attitudes toward polygamists haven’t improved much in the last hundred years. Most people have at least one friend or someone in their family who is gay, but not many people know any polygamists. Also, when was the last time you saw a movie or TV show character with a sassy polygamist friend? Never, that’s when. And you’re not likely to start anytime soon. (Not until someone options my screenplay, that is.)
Being the kind of person I am, when my friend asked, “Is polygamy next?” I had to respond, “If only!” My husband and I often talk about who he should take as an additional wife if they ever reinstate polygamy. Potential candidates include Nicole Parker, the Sleep Country spokeswoman and, I dunno, maybe one of those gals from the channel 6 news team. Of course we are just being silly; I don’t think any of these ladies would actually have my husband, let alone me, but we little people have to have our dreams. Naturally, if we were going to have a serious conversation about actually taking on another partner, we would need to be more realistic. What would be great is if we could marry a good housekeeper. Not like a professional one or anything (necessarily), but someone who just really gets off on picking up after others. But that too is a dream. Personally, I think I would settle for someone to talk to while I clean my own house. I find cleaning house to be a very lonesome chore. But again, this is all castles in the sky. Polygamy isn’t going to be legalized and even if it were, the Church would probably not go along with it this time, so we are crap out of luck on that front.
It’s probably just as well, since I don’t think my husband and I have the same taste in women. If he were to bring home, say, another me? I’d be very disappointed.
So as it happens, I just read that TLC is going to be airing a new reality show called “Sister Wives,” which profiles a dude named Kody and his three wives and their (collectively) fifteen children. My first thought was, “Ha ha, that’s awesome.” (Okay, my first thought was, “Kody? Effing Kody with a K?” But after that, I thought, “Awesome.”) Then I read some more about it.
“They are very much a modern family. They are open-minded. They are generally adorable,” said Bill Hayes, president of North Carolina-based Figure 8 Films and co-executive producer of the show.
“Their children were so well behaved and polite and healthy and happy,” he added. “Pardon the cliche, but the proof was in the pudding. I thought, ‘What a bunch of great young people, and there was nothing strange about them.’ They have an unusual lifestyle, but for them, it was their lifestyle.”
Their children are so well behaved and polite, and there’s nothing strange about them? They are “generally adorable”? What kind of entertainment is that supposed to be? Well, I myself don’t enjoy reality TV, so it’s not like I’m these people’s target audience. (I don’t think those three months I spent watching “Elimidate” in 2002 should count. I was depressed.) But seriously, a reality show about an adorable family with polite children sounds about as much fun as going to church on Sunday, no offense to it. If this polygamist family is as normal as the producer makes them out to be, going to church might actually be more of a freak show, depending on how wacky your ward is. I’ve never watched “Big Love,” but I can understand why someone would want to–a fictional story about a polygamist and his three wives could very easily be interesting. You just make crap up and voila, interesting! Following a polygamist family that’s all well-adjusted and normal, well, I’m just not seeing the appeal. (Maybe I’d like it better if it were “Elimiwife.” Just kidding. That’s disgusting.)
On the other hand, the show will also follow Kody’s pursuit of a fourth wife, Robyn. I’ve always been interested in how that works, and how the existing wives figure into that decision. Do they all four sit down together and go, “What about Robyn? She seems nice, doesn’t she?” Or does Kody (jeez louise) try to feel things out with each of the wives individually? Or do the three wives get together and say, “Robyn is so fun, we should totally get Kody to marry her”? Or does Kody just come home one day and say, “Honeys, great news! This is Robyn and she LOVES to pick up after other people!” I’m kind of interested in that. Not enough to watch reality TV for it, but, you know, if one of you all wanted to TiVO it and just give me the highlights, I wouldn’t turn you away.
Essay questions (choose at least one of the following):
1. Have you ever had polygamist fantasies? What qualities would be important to you in a plural wife?
2. Do you think a TV show presenting polygamists as normal, well-adjusted folks will persuade people to have a more favorable opinion of polygamists and/or polygamy? Do you think one of the wives will be sassy? Will this be an important step toward polygamists being accepted in our society, or is that just crazy talk?
3. If you’re a woman, does the idea of having more than one husband appeal to you? If yes, what kind of sicko perv are you, anyway?
4. What do you think about this for a reality show: Some wacky polygamist cats offer dating tips to men who are looking for their first wives–”Roving Eyes for the Monogamous Guy”? Eh?