"My Five Wives," TLC's new polygamy series about a family in it for "love and commitment", begins March 9.
Yes they're in Utah and yes they come from originalist Mormon culture, like the fictional Big Love family (HBO), the real-life Sister Wives family (TLC), and the real-life Joe Darger family (TLC). I guess TLC's market research found that viewers can't get enough. The twist this time: The Williams family are post-Mormons who have left the religious stuff behind and choose to live as a big polygamous household regardless. Says husband Brady Williams, "It's now about love and it's about commitment, and it's about happiness as a family. It's not about the fear of hell or the promise of heaven."
"My Five Wives" starts Sunday March 9 (at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific time) and will run for nine episodes. It's an expansion of TLC's one-hour special on the Williams family that aired last September 15th. From Zap2It.com:
My Five Wives': Meet TLC's newest polygamist family
By Jean Bentley
...Patriarch Brady Williams is 43 years old and was raised a Mormon. Now, however, he and his five wives live a non-denominational plural lifestyle. He's been married for 21 years to his first wife, Paulie, and his second wife, Robyn; 19 years to his third wife, Rosemary; 16 years to his fourth wife, Nonie; and 14 to his fifth wife, Rhonda. Between all five of his wives, he has 24 children.... The show will debut on-air during the "Sister Wives" [season] finale.
Why would TLC want another show to compete with their popular Sister Wives that follows Kody Brown, his four wives and their 17 children? The Brady Williams family will show a different, more progressive style of polygamy.
The Williams still live and work in Utah while the Browns had to flee to avoid prosecution. Brady Brown runs a construction company that one of his five wives helps him with. Viewers have never been quite sure what Kody Brown actually does to support his family.
My Five Wives is being billed as “more progressive” and does not appear to sport the modesty in dress or behavior than the Brown wives do. The show promises to allow viewers to see more of the private relationships that Williams has with each of his five wives.
The Williams family all live together on their family’s large property in Utah, in what appears to be a big spawling house. The dynamics of that alone make them different than the “Sister Wives” who all live in separate houses on a cul de sac in Las Vegas.
...“My Five Wives” will give us an entirely different prospective on life in a plural marriage than the show “Sister Wives” does....
Article (Feb. 17, 2014).
At the Huffington Post, when the one-hour special aired last September:
"My Five Wives": TLC's Newest Polygamous Family Favors Buddhism
By Brady McCombs
The newest polygamous family from Utah on reality TV considers itself progressive and independent. Williams and his wives slowly withdrew from the fundamentalist Mormon church in their rural community outside of Salt Lake City during the mid-2000s after re-evaluating their core beliefs.
The family no longer teaches the tenets of fundamental Mormonism to their children at home, opting instead to take from other teachings such as Buddhism to instill good, moral values in their two dozen children, who range in age from 2-20.
"Since we have left the religion, it's now about love and it's about commitment, and it's about happiness as a family," said Brady Williams, 43, a project manager in his brother's construction business. "It's not about the fear of hell or the promise of heaven."
It wasn't the first time Brady Williams has crossed religious lines. As a teenager, his parents left mainstream Mormonism and joined polygamy. He said that transition was very difficult, but not as hard as leaving the fundamentalist church his five wives all grew up in.
...Non-affiliated plural families are actually quite common among the estimated 38,000 fundamentalists who practice or believe in polygamy, most living in Utah and other western states, said Anne Wilde, co-founder of a polygamy advocacy group called Principle Voices. The group estimates that about 15,000 are independent like the Williams....
The whole article.
A trailer for the new series, titled "Love Keeps Us Grounded" (1:03):
From a TLC press release:
From dealing with everyday issues like maintaining a strong marriage and raising children to more complicated issues such as jealousy, loneliness and their schedules with Brady, nothing is off-limits.
An independent plural family, the Williams gradually withdrew from the fundamentalist Mormon Church after reevaluating their core beliefs. Believing in equality for everyone and a God who loves and accepts all, they emphasize that their choice to be together is "about love, commitment and happiness as a family" rather than religious doctrine. Though their beliefs and their decision to leave the church have led them to be shunned by their community and estranged from many family members, the Williams’ believe their sacrifices are worth it.
Here's the show's website, with more videos.
The Williams family's Facebook page.
Here's what I find interesting. With a series about a more secular, "progressive" family, TV polygamy is edging closer to home for mainstream America. Only Showtime (an edgy network) has so far dared to base a series on modern, gender-equal "polyamorists next door," who challenge mainstream life directly. Maybe other networks are cautiously moving that way. We know they're interested.