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My Five Wives, Season 1, Episode 7--We'll Be There for You



Sister Wife Solidarity

We open on the moon over the mountains. So picturesque. So peaceful. But there’s turmoil in the Williams household.

It’s Rhonda’s night and she and Brady are lying on the bed with their son. They want him to go to sleep which would most likely be easier without the cameras in his face. Rhonda and Brady discuss the mammogram scheduled for the next day. Rhonda says she won’t mind if the results take a while because she wants to just pretend everything’s okay. I completely understand that. Brady asks if she wants him there when she gets her mammogram. Rhonda says he’s too busy and she’ll go by herself.

Paulie and the other wives meet. Paulie suggests they help Rhonda out during this difficult time. I’d like to know if this is a producer-driven meeting or if this is what is expected of the first wife—to rally the troops around one who needs support. Paulie thinks it would be nice to clean Rhonda’s house for her. Robyn wants Rhonda to feel taken care of. This seems like a lovely gift and it’s nice to see the wives working together to do something nice for another member of their group.

While Rhonda drives to her appointment, she reflects on her mother’s unsuccessful battle with cancer. She says her mother did “exactly what she was supposed to do….have faith in God….eat healthy. And in the process she died.†Heartbreaking. Rhonda says she believes doctors are inspired by God. “I feel like we take a step back into the dark ages when we close our eyes to new perspectives.†Glad she can think for herself, especially in a situation like this. Rhonda says she struggles with the way she was raised. You are supposed to trust Heavenly Father with the body you’ve been given. It’s a shame she’s been made to feel this way.

Rhonda gets her mammogram and I sympathize. As she points out, they are unpleasant. But she says she has children counting on her so it’s something she has to do. I really give her credit. In spite of her upbringing and in spite of her fears, she is sucking it up and getting it done.

Brady pulls up to a construction site. He says he’s worried about Rhonda and can’t focus on work. He can’t imagine his life without Rhonda.

Back home, it’s dinner time, the kids are flinging what appear to be dinner rolls at each other. A few of the kids are at a table. The wives and some older kids are eating on couches. Do any of the houses have a table big enough for everyone? 24 kids – 1married daughter living away + 5 wives + Brady = 29 people. Tough to find a table that seats that many. I don’t think the Duggers even have a table that big. Still, eating in the living room has so many hazards, especially since they appear to be eating soup. Stain removal must be a nightmare.

Okay, now the boys are playing rough. The wives talk about how the children behave “when the kids get together.†Do they not see each other every day? I’m confused about how this works. Also, what happens if one mom yells at another wife’s kids? Does that make the bio mom mad? This is the kind of stuff I want to know, but it’s not to be, at least not today.

Later, one of the kids leaves; he is sleeping over a half-sibling’s house. I wonder how often that happens, but of course I don’t expect to find out. Rhonda comes in. It seems very late—she did tell us she works late. She is happy that Brady is there. It must be so difficult to go through a cancer scare and not know who, out of five wives and 24 children, is going to have your husband’s attention.

Rhonda tells Brady the test showed some suspicious things and they are going to compare it to her previous mammograms. The results could take a week.

It must be Nonie’s night, because Brady tell us that if he went to Nonie and told her Rhonda was having a hard time, she would tell him to go be with Rhonda. Yes, in a case like this I think she would. Brady also says Rhonda would send him back to Nonie’s and it’s an impossible position for him to be him. Yes, it is—which is why so many of us have a hard time understanding the attraction of polygamy.

Rhonda tells us how sometimes she wishes Brady could spend some time with her, but that’s not reality for her. You have to stick to a schedule.

After the commercial, it’s a snowy morning and the kids are off to school. The wives sit around watching the blond toddler from the scene in Rhonda’s bedroom walk around the room. They seem to be making fun of Brady when the little boy toddles back and forth. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.†I guess there’s something to be said for having a group of women to make fun of your husband with—misery loves company and all. But, again, I wonder if sometimes one wife takes offense in a “don’t-make fun-of-my-husband†sort of way.

Robyn tells the other wives that the boys were running amok at Thanksgiving dinner and need to learn some manners. Rosemary says that she thinks the boys should wear shirts to dinner but if nobody else feels the same, she’s okay with not worrying about it. Well, I, for one, am not okay with that, Rosemary. I think if they’re going to eat together, there need to be rules across the board. Just because there are a lot of kids doesn’t mean they can act like barbarians.

Oooh, Paulie tells us that she thinks the not-wearing-a-shirt thing starting with her son, Josh, the earnest one. Well, that’s awkward. So now all the wives decide the boys should wear shirts to dinner. Robyn says the kids don’t know what is expected of them and need to take an active stand on teaching them manners. Well, what took them so long? They should have had rules in place for decades, no? Am I being too judgy? Rhonda thinks the younger kids will follow what the older ones do.

Brady walks in unexpectedly and says the last time he found them together someone was pregnant. Don’t these wives spend any time together?

Anyway there’s going to be a “manners†talk and guess who will deliver it. Nonie thinks the kids will be more responsive to Brady. He agrees to sit down with the boys to discuss table behavior.

At Rosemary’s house, Robyn asks Rosemary how her anniversary night away with Brady went. Rosemary tells her how nice it was. I’m glad Rosemary had a nice time but how is it that they discuss romantic getaways with their shared husband but they haven’t talked about table manners for the kids? I am baffled about how plural marriage works.

Rosemary says they have an established tradition that on the 20th anniversary, the wife gets a ring. (But table manners have not been established? Oh and remember that Rhonda couldn’t afford a mammogram for awhile? But we’re buying rings for five 20th anniversaries? I just can’t.)

Robyn says she is really excited for Rosemary to get her ring, but her face says otherwise. Turns out she’s afraid Rosemary getting a ring will hurt her (Robyn). Hmmm. She describes how excited Brady was when he got Paulie her 20-years-of-loyal-service anniversary ring, but when Robyn’s anniversary rolled around Brady neither took her to look for rings, nor got her a surprise ring. Rosemary looks very upset for Robyn (probably because this kind of crap happens to Rosemary All. The. Time.). Robyn is crying. She doesn’t know how this could have happened. I do. Brady is overextended and he doesn’t have time (or money) for ring shopping.

It’s one thing for a traditional wife to get angry when her husband forgets an anniversary. It’s another for that to happen with a polygamist wife, who has to watch her husband’s other wives get better treatment. Uuugggh.

Rosemary comes to sit next to Robyn. She feels Robyn’s pain. I think these two are the most overlooked wives. Paulie’s the first wife, Nonie makes herself heard, and Rhonda is the last, newest wife. Robyn and Rosemary always seem to fall through the cracks.

Robyn says her 20th anniversary was the worst day of her life. Brady did try to make it up by getting her a ring a couple of weeks later, after Robyn said she didn’t want one. Robyn wore it, but her heart wasn’t in it. Robyn has tried to get over this, but she can’t. She wants Rosemary to have a good experience on her 20th anniversary but she’s worried that she (Robyn) will be hurt and jealous if Rosemary gets a special ring. I appreciate her candor. I think she’ wounded and pissed and I don’t blame her. (Also, if Brady plans to get Rosemary a new ring for their next anniversary, why did he just spend $254 each to repair her two old rings?)

Rosemary suggests she and Robyn go together to talk to Brady. Solidarity ladies! I love it! Robyn thanks her for listening and “being my friend.â€

After the commercial break, the wives bring cleaning supplies and lunch to Rhonda’s house. It’s a surprise and Rhonda is really touched. So am I. Robyn remarks that in a situation like this, being part of a polygamist family is a good thing because Rhonda has so many people to love and support her. If Brady’s not available, she still has the wives. They tell Rhonda to sit down while they clean. That adorable toddler, who’s getting a lot of airtime this episode, “helps†mop the floor.

Now it’s time for the table manners talk. I think this is one of the downsides of a family with so many people. Shouldn’t teaching kids’ manners be an ongoing, daily activity? It shouldn’t have to be decided on by a committee, and special time for a “talk†shouldn’t have to be arranged.

I’m surprised to learn that the oldest boy, the earnest one, feels that requiring a shirt for dinner is “pathetic†because “you can swim without shirts.†Swimming is an entirely different activity from dining, young man. One boy tries to game the system. He wants to know which wives are opposed to shirtless suppers and they’ll only wear shirts at their houses. Brady also tells the boys “not to be gross around your sisters.†Around each other they can fart all they want, but he wants them to be gentlemen around their sisters. One boy—who I think is the same joker who talked about dating non-humans during the sex talk—wants to know what to do if they can’t help farting. There’s one in every crowd. Brady challenges the boys to give their mothers a compliment that night.

After the commercial break, the Coalition of Underappreciated Wives (Robyn and Rosemary) have a private meeting with Brady. Rosemary wants a “safe talk†about “a particular ring.†Brady says when he sees his somber-faced wives come in he knows one of them needs moral support. No, Brady, it means somebody is in BIG TROUBLE, and that somebody is YOU.

Robyn talks about how hurt she is about the ring. Brady says he understands why she would be hurt. Robyn shakes her head—I think she is really, really mad and I’ll project my own thoughts here: nothing that man could say about the situation would make me feel better. Too little too late buddy.

Brady wants a “do over.†Robyn rightly says “you can’t just ‘do over’ 20 years.†Yay! I’m on her side. Brady looks like this is all a mere annoyance to him. Robyn blows up about Brady not understanding her feelings. She’s crying and I’m finding it hard to understand her. Did she just say Brady took her shopping for Paulie’s ring? Oh, for crying out loud, this guy has no sensitivity chip.

Robyn says “you were buying a ring for another woman and I loved you for it.†Wow. Robyn wanted the same thing for herself, a reflection of Brady’s love for her. Brady looks sorry he has to deal with this. I’m not sure if he’s sorry about the ring thing, but he says he is.

Isn’t anyone uncomfortable that Rosemary is witnessing Robyn’s epic meltdown and Brady’s non-apology?

Brady says he didn’t try to hurt Robyn. He says he’s known generally what’s wrong but she’s never put it all out there. I guess he’s been distracted. He’s got all those kids and a wife waiting to hear if she has cancer and another wife who wants to get pregnant and another wife who can’t close a window by herself and it’s very easy to let a sweet, quiet wife fall through the cracks.

Brady says “sometimes I’m just really stupid and I screw up.†Sometimes?

Robyn says she wanted the sentiment to come from him. She wants him to want to do something sweet and special for her instead of her having to ask. Now Brady talks to her like she’s a first grader and I want to smack him. “You want me to come up with the solution?†“No,†says Robyn, “the solution is I’m leaving your sorry ass.â€

No, that was just my imagination running wild. What Robyn really does is nod. She does want him to come up with a solution and she wants him to do it before Rosemary’s 20th anniversary. Now Rosemary says her ring can be put off until this is resolved. Way to back up Robyn, Rosemary, but lordy there are so many complicated emotions going on in this room my head is spinning.

Brady thanks her. Robyn starts bawling again and I am completely unsatisfied with this result. The ship has sailed. Brady has treated Robyn as an afterthought. He’s trying to make amends because he was told to, not because he really wanted to make Robyn feel special on her anniversary. IT’S TOO LATE! Now he’s thanking Rosemary for coming in with Robyn. Yeah, I think this would have been an even bigger battle if Robyn had come alone.

Brady explains to us how Robyn felt betrayed and he’s glad he can make this right. It seems to be enough for Robyn. (Did I mention that it’s not enough for me?)

Robyn leaves her unwanted ring with Brady and I don’t know what he’s going to do. Get her another ring? A tennis bracelet? I don’t think there’s any amount of jewelry that would make me feel better in this situation.

It’s dinner time at Rhonda’s house. Let’s see how this goes. Everyone’s got a shirt on, so it’s a step in the right direction. There’s a group blessing. Brady reminds the kids of their manners. It looks like the boys are falling in line. The wives are happy. One nice boy offers to do the dishes. If I were cooking for 29 people every fifth night, I’d have asked for help way before then.

Rhonda brings the mammogram results home to read with Brady. The doctor recommends a sonogram to help evaluate the situation further. She says the doctor is concerned and wants to do a biopsy. Rhonda is upset. Brady cries and doesn’t want to talk about it on camera. (Yes, Brady, some life events should not be filmed for the masses.)

Rhonda tries to suck it up and put a brave face on for the kids. She says she has to do everything she can for her health even though she was raised to believe that she wouldn’t be a good person for seeking medical treatment. If she was a good enough person God would heal her. I’m horrified that children are actually brought up this way. But Rhonda says she is going to be aggressive and let common sense rule. Good for her. Let’s hope next week she gets some good news. And on a lighter note, let’s hope next week Robyn gets a diamond-studded tiara that she can hock for a one-way ticket out.

To discuss this epidode, go the the forums: http://freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=21415&p=724588#p724588



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