Not many people appear on a reality-TV show and immediately come under police investigation. Although I can think of a few who should. Everybody on Jersey Shore, for a start. The guys look like hoods and the ladies look like streetwalkers. To the untrained eye, that is. Might be a police matter. Kidding.
The person who did actually and instantly came under investigation is one Kody Brown, a polygamist fella who struts through Sister Wives (Sundays, TLC, 10 p.m.) showing off his three wives and his fiancée. Kody looks like an over-the-hill-surfer dude, and recently on the show he pronounced, "Love should be multiplied, not divided."
Dude, you're killing me here with the love-vibe.
Kody and his wives Meri, Janelle, Christine and girlfriend Robyn have 13 children and three stepchildren. He has a way with words, not just wives, does Kody. In the opening episode, he said, "I just fell in love, and then I feel in love again, and I fall in love again." Also, at one point he hugs one of his daughters saying she's a sister from the same mister." Then he hugs a son saying, "And he's a brother from another mother." What a silver-tongued devil of a dude, you'll agree.
Anyway, Kody and his multiple missus-es are under police investigation in Utah for a possible charge of felony bigamy. Kody has told the press that he wasn't surprised by the investigation. How he lives is already controversial, he acknowledges. He belongs to a fundamentalist Mormon sect, a breakaway group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that continues to practise polygamy. The mainstream Mormon church abandoned polygamy a long time ago.
What's interesting about the show is that it has become a topic for serious discussion. (It also draws viewers - some 2.3 million watched it last Sunday, a sterling number for a cable show.)
Although HBO's entirely fictional Big Love, about a character similar to Kody, has been on the air for several years, it's Kody and his life that have gotten grave attention. Newsweek, CNN and NBC have weighed in on the show. Newspapers and websites assign their Religion & Politics pundits to write about it. The gist of the discussion is this: Is polygamy the next challenge to traditional marriage?
But the truth is this: There is nothing interesting or thought-provoking about Sister Wives. No rumination is necessary. It's just repulsive.
As the show evolves (episode 3 airs this Sunday), it has emerged that Kody is dating his fiancée while one of the wives is about to give birth. Helluva guy. And there you have it - Kody is a jumped-up sad-sack hoser, manipulative and smug. All those wives, all those kids and he's king of his little world.
The show is at pains to present the wives and girlfriend as strong women. The point, one assumes, is to emphasize that these are not Stepford Wives, not chronically subservient to Kody. They talk the talk, but what is disturbing is the prattle, the therapy-talk about love and sharing and being at peace. It's Kody they are always channelling, because that kind if talk is his modus operandi for keeping his kingdom peaceful.
And yet, this strange and unsettling show would not be on the air it there wasn't some conflict. This story will end in tears. You know it and I know it. There are hints already - not all the current wives are entirely pleased with Kody's method of romancing his new bride. Some of the kids are growing old enough to be skeptical about being told how happy they are. Trouble is coming.
The best kind of trouble would be for someone to actually arrest Kody for creeping everybody out. Prosecution on that charge is probably as rare as for charges of felony bigamy, but we can hope, can't we?
By the way, Stock &Awe (BNN, 8 p.m.) is new and unlike any business show you've ever seen.
Essentially it's a primer on saving, debt relief and understanding finance aimed at twentysomethings. But what we get is an inspired educational comedy, anchored by the stunningly chipper Hilary Doyle. The real Doyle plays one Hilary Doyle, a business reporter who really doesn't know much about personal finance. She's obliged to learn, and with the help of zany skits, songs and real expert advice it all comes together.
Some viewers will learn a lot. Others will take away the abiding memory of Hilary Doyle dancing in an alleyway with what appears to be a ukulele. This ain't your mom and dad's business show. A new TV genre, the comedy-business show, has been created.
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