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My Five Wives: Tell All



Sorry for the delay, things have gotten away from me over the last two weeks.

In the season finale, Tamron Hall asks the family questions. She’s a professional, so hopefully she’ll ask some hard-hitting questions.

Notes before we begin:

  • It seems the make-up artist who’s in charge of these things likes the Williams wives better than the Brown bunch. The Williams don’t look like movie stars, but they don’t look like streetwalkers either.
  • There was much ado on the boards about Robyn appearing pregnant (and she has responded that she’s not). She just looks slightly puffy to me.

Tamron’s first question goes to Brady—why are they doing the show? And it’s the same old, same old. They want to represent a good, healthy polygamist family. Healthy? Tamron, have you watched the show? Why didn’t you ask a follow-up?

Paulie, it turns out, has not watched the show at all because she didn’t want to see how Brady acted with the other wives in the bedroom. Talk about having your head in the sand. Now Tamron says they’re going to show bedroom scenes so Paulie should be ready. I’m guessing that Paulie is not one of the ones who wanted to do the show. And she knows this is not a “healthy, polygamist family.â€

Brady tells Tamron that the local polygamist communities are not accepting of the family because “we’re not traditional.†He adds that the stigma of polygamy in Utah is greater than anywhere else in the nation because the church considers it a “blight on their past.†It doesn’t seem so great in the present, either.

Tamron asks about if they are members of FLDS and I’m hoping we are going to get the story of their separation from the organized church. They used to be AUB, but are no longer part of any formal, organized religion. “The Mormons won’t have us because I’m a polygamist and the polygamists won’t have us because we don’t think the same way.†Brady says that his family’s progressive stance regarding gay marriage, racial equality, and gender equality doesn’t sit well with many polygamists. Well, I’ll give them credit for that but I still want to know exactly how it went down that this family left the church and now will most likely have to leave the community.

Instead, Tamron goes to clips of Rosemary who, according to Tamron (and the viewing audience) “got the short end of the stick.â€Â  Ooh, ooh, it’s the “Paulie-can’t-close-a-window†scene. I wonder how Paulie feels watching that.

Tamron asks Rosemary if she thinks that Paulie has deliberately tried to “steal†Rosemary’s time with Brady. Rosemary replies that, having spoken to Paulie, she doesn’t think it was deliberate. When Tamron asks what Rosemary said to Paulie, Rosemary has trouble verbalizing the conversation. Tamron flexes her investigative reporting muscles slightly and says there’s something deeper going on. Tamron says either this wasn’t resolved or they’re not telling her the whole story. Paulie says she thought on her part it was resolved and didn’t realize that for Rosemary it wasn’t. Rosemary says it’s a work in progress. Paulie says the same. And we have learned nothing. Keep digging, Tamron!!!!

Instead, the next thing that comes out of Tamron’s mouth is “these are marriages that work.†Seriously? I’m sorry I implied that you had investigative reporting muscles. (She does have some toned biceps and triceps, though, as evidenced by the dress she’s wearing.)

She gets back on track when she asks if any of the wives have ever thought about leaving. Rhonda replies “sure†pretty darn quickly. She talks vaguely about “ups and downs†and says she always comes to the conclusion that she’s very happy with what she has.

Tamron goes a step further and asks if anyone ever spoke to Brady about leaving. Paulie says she talked to him about leaving polygamy when they left the religion because she didn’t “have†to do polygamy anymore. Paulie wasn’t sure it was worth it to be a part of the family, but she says eventually she came to the conclusion that it was.

Two thoughts here: Paulie was raised in polygamy and I think she still believes with every fiber of her being that this lifestyle will get her to heaven. Second, she is two-and-a-half decades, six kids, five wives, and 18 “step†kids deep into this life, and I believe it would be too painful and complicated for her to walk away.

Brady responds that he feels “really proud of these gals†and the way they handle the stresses of the relationships. I respond “BRADY, STOP CALLING THEM ‘GALS’!!!!† I don’t know why that annoys me so much. Maybe because it’s soooo condescending. He always talks like that when he’s trying to downplay the misery of his wives’ lives. It’s like, “See what spunky ladies they are? They’re better than me. I would never be strong enough to handle being one of half-a-dozen husbands.†It seems like a way to appease disgruntled women with faint praise.

After the commercial break, Tamron asks how they make ends meet. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they actually sound sensible and responsible. Brady says for a while they did really well. When the recession hit, everyone chipped in, and picked up work where they could. Rosemary says everybody has their own budget for their family. Those with more kids get more money. (Ahem, I know a certain sister wife on another program who would NOT put up with that arrangement.)

There’s a central family account and each wife has her own checking account. Money from the central account is dispersed into each wife’s account. Each wife spends as she wishes.

Seriously, it sounds very organized.

Brady tells us honestly that they don’t have the money to send the kids to college, and the kids know this so they work hard. There are four daughters with full scholarships. Those that don’t get scholarships will have to work and get student loans. (Again, I know a certain sister wife who wouldn’t stand for that.)

Tamron wants to know if money (or the lack thereof) causes conflict.  Brady says they drew closer when money got tight. Brady adds, “If you don’t have it you’re not going to worry about it.†I beg to differ. If there’s not enough money to feed 29 people, I’d say that’s something to worry about.

Next they discuss the Williams’ need to leave their polygamist community. It’s the group Brady used to be the leader of and he says it’s “uncomfortable†for them to live there now. We want to know more, Brady!! How did the falling out happen??  Tell us exactly what started the breach. We are waiting with baited breath!

But all he’ll say is “the rules of the community are that if you’re not a part of the faith, you shouldn’t be there.†Well, that doesn’t sound very neighborly.

I guess Tamron has been watching the series because the next question she asks is designed to hit a nerve. She asks where the family thinks they will move and she notes that Paulie would prefer to stay in Utah. Paulie says she’ll go wherever Brady decides to go. Her meekness is driving me crazy.

Noni, who no one would ever call “meek,†pipes up “where we ALL decide to go.†Paulie says “Well said, Nonie.†There you go, Paulie. See? A little backbone is all you need.

They tell us that, wherever they go, it will have to be a unanimous decision. So Tamron goes right for the jugular by playing the clips of Rhonda and Brady in Washington looking at properties without the other wives. And we see clips of the other wives when they find out. They are VERY unhappy.

Tamron wants to know what was going on. Noni says they all understood it was a family decision. Tamron asks Rosemary how the conversation went when she asked them. Tamron, why do you keep asking Rosemary these kinds of questions? You know she has a hard time talking about her confrontations with others. Rosemary just says that she told them they would look at property together.

Brady, as oblivious as usual, says the situation was no big deal. Tamron reads my mind and asks him “Did you see that video?†Brady says it was just “window shopping†and hedges when asked if they’re going to leave Utah. Tamron won’t let him out of it that easily and asks “How can you call a place home where you don’t feel welcome?â€

Brady spouts some nonsense about “blooming where you’re planted, even if it’s in a gravel yard.†I beg to differ again Brady. You’ve got kids. If the villagers are all but surrounding the house with torches, perhaps it’s time to leave.

After the commercial break, Tamron asks about the safe talk!!!! Yay! This should get good. Robyn explains that they’ve always gone to Brady when they’ve had a problem and Brady said they should talk to each other. (Which I can understand because it must get very tiresome having to referee these women.) Still, I wonder how you can be in a marriage with all these people for all this time and not be able to broach problems with them.

They show a clip of the disaster that was Paulie and Nonie’s safe talk. And just like the first time I saw it, I don’t understand why this issue is what makes Noni snap. Paulie is all “Are you going to be paying this bill or should I keep paying it?†It’s a basic accounting question. It’s not like anyone brought up having sex with Brady, or not getting a ring from Brady, or why Paulie cannot close a window without Brady. There’s so much to get worked up over and this is what drove Noni over the edge?

Paulie apparently feels the same way; she was surprised by Noni’s reaction.

Noni says she doesn’t like feeling like she can’t be who she is, and Brady had told her that she shouldn’t have emotions she should be calm and reserved all the time and that she shouldn’t have been hurt.(Aaah, keep sweet!) But Noni couldn’t hide the fact that she was hurt. (About accounts payable, Noni? I. Just. Don’t. Get. These. People.)

Brady gives what I assume he believes to be his most endearing smile and admits that he might have been too calculating and unfair to expect Noni to keep it together.

Tamron asks Paulie what she wants to say to Noni to help the relationship. Paulie says they’ve talked and they are good and gives a genuine smile. (Well, I think it’s genuine because it seems to involve her whole face, not just her mouth like other times she has tried to smile all season long.)

Noni reiterates that they do have a good relationship and “talk all the time.†You’re a family. I think we assumed that you all talk all the time anyway. I’m confused again.

Brady says the show is like a pressure cooker—he calls it therapy on steroids. Mmmm, not so much Brady. Therapy allows you to work out your issues in a private setting. This TV show allows you to work out your issues in front of all of us—and allows us to comment on them. For instance when you say all the “gals†are talking to each other, I am free to scream “STOP CALLING THEM ‘GALS!!!!!’â€

Now there’s a clip about Robyn and “ring-gate.†I can’t wait to hear what Tamron asks.

In a split screen we can see Brady and Robyn’s reactions to the clips. Like the first time, Robyn looks very sad and Brady looks like he just can’t be bothered. (Also, I was wrong before, Robyn’s makeup does look too heavy here.)

Tamron points out the obvious—that Robyn is in pain. Oh, now Brady has an excuse for his thoughtlessness, it was a really tough time in the business and he was distracted. But he didn’t intentionally hurt her. Well, I’m sure Robyn appreciates his candor; she is literally an afterthought.

“I was just dumb,†he says. Now that I can agree with.

Robyn looks like she is still very hurt. Tamron asks where they stand. Robyn says they’re “still waiting for the do-over.†Tamron wants to know if Robyn has moved on. I’ll answer that. No, she has not.

Robyn says if she has to wait ten years, it needs to feel right and she’s willing to wait. Oh Sweetie, don’t hold your breath. She still feels that her anniversary was one of the worst days of her marriage. Well, on the bright side, I guess that means that Brady hasn’t done something even worse to her in the interim.

Tamron comments that Brady has his hands full and she believes that Brady will come up with something fantastic for Robyn. Brady says he knows he will. I know no such thing.

After the commercial, Tamron asks Rhonda why, in the name of all that is holy, she would want to adopt a child when the family already has so many kids. Of course, Tamron was more polite. Rhonda answers that there are so many kids who need love. “We’ve got 24, what’s one more?†She says, there’s love to go around.  But not money, Rhonda, or time.

Next is the clip about Noni wanting a baby and I will never understand these women who have an abundance of babies yet don’t seem satisfied with that. And we’re back to the “throwing-our-sex-life-in-the-other-wives’-faces†clip that TLC seems to run ad nauseum. I guess the logistics of polygamous sex is a fan favorite.

Tamron points out that Noni told Rhonda about wanting another baby, but not the other wives. I pat myself on the back because I pointed out the very same thing when I recapped that episode. I can flex my journalistic muscles, too Tamron. Noni says she has a close relationship with Rhonda, and adds quickly that it’s not that she doesn’t have a close relationship with the other wives. Uh huh.

Tamron asks why Noni was nervous about telling the other wives. Noni says she knows that Rhonda won’t be hurt by discussing her sexual relationship with Brady. Rosemary says she wasn’t hurt but she found out about the decision by watching the episode. Yeah. She was hurt.

Rosemary says Brady got defensive when she confronted him about it and Tamron wants to know why. Rosemary doesn’t know and asks Brady who deflects, “let’s save that for another question.†Then Tamron says “No, why do we have to save it?†Thank you, Tamron.

Brady says he did feel defensive, like he was being attacked. Seriously Brady (and Noni), you didn’t think the other wives would WATCH THE SHOW???? (Well, all except Paulie.) What did you expect would happen?

Rosemary later went to Noni and told her she felt betrayed. Noni explains that they’ve never told each other when they were trying for a baby in the past.  “I was trying to be authentic,†But you’ve never been in front of a TV film crew in the past, Noni. See how this is different? It has nothing to do with your “authenticity.†Tamron asks Noni about the pregnancy test. She won’t answer directly if she’s pregnant, but it seems as though she’s not.

Now we hear that Paulie told Brady she was thinking about having another baby. I don’t remember that. But okay. I understand it. You get to a point when your kids are just about grown and you remember their babyhood through rose-colored glasses. I’ve done that myself. Paulie says that she’s decided against having another baby. And I am glad. Girlfriend is just too morose to hang out with a newborn.

Next is the clip of the conversation in which Brady pretty much tells the world that the wives use birth control and the wives refuse to confirm or deny. Tamron asks why the conversation was so difficult. Noni says they were raised that birth control was wrong. They don’t want to make it awkward with their families. I’m thinking it’s a little late for that.

Uggh. Now we have to talk about Brady’s tattoo again. As Brady watches himself show the family his tattoo you can tell that he thinks he is just the cutest thing to walk the earth. I’ll say it again, that is one big-ass tattoo.

Rosemary likes it now because “it represents us.†Rhonda who at first didn’t like it, says “It’s part of Brady now and I love Brady.†Gag.

Tamron doesn’t gag but calls that a P.C. answer. Rhonda says she was originally opposed to it, but she appreciates it because she knows how much it means to Brady.

Tamron asks Rhonda about the breast cancer scare. Rhonda smiles as she watches the clip of the family blessing her. And again I get the feeling that she’s the most content wife.

Rhonda says she could sense everyone’s hands trying to feed strength into her and explains about how she was raised to view illness. If you were good enough you’d be miraculously healed. If you weren’t healed then somehow because you were so strong, your position in the next life would be that much better because of the suffering in this life.

Cut to Robyn who looks sad and angry and resentful at this teaching. I’m with her on that. I think Rhonda is, too. She says there are options and the medical field has come so far. She believes God can heal you but, and I will paraphrase here: God helps those who help themselves.

Well, I don’t think we really learned anything new, even with Tamron at the helm. These people are very guarded and I can understand why. They were raised to hide their lifestyle from the time they were born. They’ve obviously gotten very good at keeping things to themselves. But what they apparently haven’t learned is how to hide their unhappiness.


To discuss this episode, go to the forums: http://www.freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=21415


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      Edited by dawn9476
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