Monday, October 4, 2010

Polygluts: or, More, More Mormons!

OK, then. You gotta ask yourself, when watching this is about as appealing as eating 19 pounds of Kraft Dinner with no ketchup, why it is that I keep going back to TLC's latest domestic sideshow, Sister Wives.

I guess I just have a mind for the appalling.

Please don't stare (because it's oh, so very intimate), but this guy Kody Brown the groovy long-haired polygamist crawls from bedroom to bedroom every night, or at least gets to choose whom he "cohabits" with, while the other wives lie there tatting or something.

Not content with his three starter wives (named Wynkin, Blynkinn and Nodde), he's decided to mix it up a little and do an add-on: someone a little younger, a little thinner, and certainly more fertile.

In other words, he wants more more more of those Mormons! Can't get enough of them. Though they look like ordinary women in most ways, his original wives must have extraordinary tolerance (or just be really stupid) to live this way year after year, their horde of interchangeable/interrelated savages (I mean, kids) running all over the place like kissing cousins from the backwoods of Appallachia.

I know a little bit about Mormonism. A little bit. I apologize to any real Mormons out there, because I'm drawing upon experiences from a holiday ten years ago. We went to Utah to see Bryce Canyon and other breath-arresting, God-drenched natural sights of Brigham Young country, and for the most part we had a great time.

We actually tasted the waters of the Great Salt Lake - mighty salty, hmmmmm! - and realized that those horrible little wigglies in the water, the only things that could live in anything that densely saline, were sea monkeys. Good thing my order never arrived back in 1962.

We went on a bus tour of Salt Lake City with two jolly Mormon tour guides, one of them serving his missionary time to fulfill the requirements of his faith. But these two guys weren't stuffy at all. They joshed about Brigham Young and polygamy, and claimed that the extremely wide streets of the city were built to accomodate Brigham when he went for a walk with all his wives.

When we visited the Mormon Museum, however, it was a completely different story. As complete as it was in tracing the history of a people and a faith, there was not one mention of polygamy anywhere. God knows I tried to find it, but it wasn't there. So, officially, that must mean that it never happened.

Fast-forward about ten years, and here we are in polyglut land, everything on display except the sex act (and maybe that will be next. How much of the upcoming wedding night will they show, I wonder?). This program is completely bizarre in that nothing anybody says ever matches their facial expression. "Oh, the more the merrier (marry-her?)," Blinkie says at one point, her face a study in repressed grief.

Robyn, the skinny, new, young wife-to-be (who's closer in age to the eldest daughters than the other three wives: ewwwwwwwww!), is the greatest actress of them all. She's. . . so. . . sorry. . . for. . . hurting. . . anyone, but. . . (but that doesn't stop her from yanking their husband away from them by the short hairs).

Closeups show her hand repeatedly shooting up to cover her mouth, her eyes squinching up, the other wives pasting on a look of concern. But there are no tears. Never any tears.

Why? Because Robyn isn't crying. She isn't crying because she doesn't give a shit about them. Not only has she landed a quarter-share in Kody the shaggy-haired reality star and his sexual equipment: she's getting her own house!

Yes. The other three have self-contained apartments within the massive family mansion (which must be paid for by some kind of ill-gotten gains, crackmongering or Ponzi schemes or something). But there's just no room left for Robyn anywhere, dad-burn it, so she has to live down the street. Down the street in a house. Down the street in a brand new house.

Her house.

I won't ask whose name the mortgage is in (or did they pay for it in unmarked bills?).
This new arrangement, even creepier than the former one, means that Kody will soon be strolling down the avenue, maybe with one of his 17 dogs, to pay her a conjugal visit every - what'll it be, fourth night? How will he - you know - "keep it up", do you think? (Blue pills, anyone?)

A bigger problem is how he will he manage the smoldering rage of the "Keep Sweet Three" and the fake histrionics of Robyn the dry crier. In the painful group discussions which abound in this show, Kody sits there scowling, his arm draped around his current favorite, listening to the suppressed anguish he has created with his own selfish, depraved choices, acting for all the world as if he has nothing to do with it, or at least has no power to stop it.

The truth is, he just has no desire to stop it. He does this because he can. He freely admits he's wounding his ever-faithful polygals, but in his typical heartless sociopathic manner he just keeps on smilin' and gosh-darn-in' and walking around like the swaggering prick he is, oozing entitlement and toxic power.

It gets even more offensive, if that's possible. He's going to marry a DIVORCED woman, for God's sake! Since when does a fundamentalist Mormon woman have the right to do that? One can only imagine the furious secret discussions, the hissings and wads of kleenex that have transpired from this particular choice. Nobody has dared to drag the nasty fact out into the light (yet), but it points up the staggering inequity in this unholy alliance. For those first three, divorce has never been an option: there is no way out of this marriage except death. After all, you can't divorce someone you aren't married to.

For all his modern-day-sensitive-guy posturing, Kody Brown is a self-centred, arrogant, narcissistic little creep who claims to have "fallen in love three times" (no, four: he left out himself). In truth, he's a master manipulator, not to mention a petty criminal, a bigamist who simply doesn't care what his wives are going through so long as he gets his "needs" met (and no doubt each wife has a specialty that she must call up whenever he wants it).

"Kody is my soul-mate," Robyn giggles while getting herself prettied up for another session of "courtship" with a thrice-married man (with Kody once more moaning about how hard it is to remember how to do this). The fact that he kisses her when he proposes provokes disbelief among the other three: you're not supposed to kiss 'til you get married! But after that, apparently, anything goes.

For him, that is. So long as he still has the strength left to walk down the street.