Y’all, help a sister out…please tell me why TLC insists on dragging out Sister Wives into two hour episodes? The same content could easily be edited down to an hour without scrapping any valuable lip sync footage. There has to be another plural family that wants to risk persecution by having their own show that can air during the second hour. Or, better yet, bring back the TLC flagship What Not to Wear! Alas, it’s not that I don’t love the extra time with the Janelle, Meri, Robyn, Christine (especially Christine!), and crew, but Kody Brown’s hair is such a treasure, it needs to be shared sparingly with the public.
Last night’s episode begins with Maddie and Caleb in town to celebrate her 21st birthday, but she can’t drink because she’s pregnant with the first Brown grandchild. While Janelle and Kody are privy to this information, the young couple has yet to share the news with the rest of the family. Kody resembles a cartoon villain when he’s tasked with keeping such a big secret. The family comes together to toast Madison’s milestone. Robyn explains that polygamists embrace individual birthdays…probably because being one in twenty-something children makes it easy to get lost in the shuffle the remaining 364 days a year!
Because Maddie’s big day falls between Halloween and Thanksgiving, Janelle has baked three pumpkin pies in lieu of a cake. Kody gifts his daughter and her husband with his and hers watches which have the New Testament microscopically engraved on the back. When it is time for Caleb to present his gift to Madison, Robyn grills him. Girlfriend has to get her screen time, y’all! She peppers him with questions: does Madison know what her gift is? Does she even have the tiniest clue what is in the package? Did he buy her something she’s been hinting at for a while? Gah! Shut up already so they can make their big announcement. Madison pretends to go for the present but then stops to unzip her sweatshirt to reveal a “Baby on Board” sign safety pinned to her belly.
The family is ecstatic to learn the big news, and they are even more thrilled to hear that Maddie and Caleb will be moving back home so Janelle can help them with the baby while they finish school. There are a few comments about the couple’s original plan to wait until they were finished with school to try for a baby, but they are said under the guise of “but we’re so happy they didn’t!” Absent from the big reveal is Meri, who is out of town for “business,” which is apparently code for hocking leggings. She’s more independent now that she’s an empty nester, but she hated to miss the big event. It means a lot to her when Madison and Caleb face time with her to include her in the moment.
Kody boasts he is going to be a 49 year old grandfather. Janelle, 48, thought she’d at least be in her 50s the first time she became a grandmother. A giddy Christine announces she is 44 and teases Robyn about becoming a sister grandmother (that’s the term, right?) at the ripe old age of thirty-eight. Is it just me, or do all of these ladies look a few years older than their actual age?
Christine is super happy to hear that Madison and Caleb are coming back to the cul-de-sac compound. Kody has been itching to move (again!), but Christine is over the family’s nomadic ways. She is quite content staying put in the cul-de-sac, and Maddie’s move means Kody will have to put any relocation plans on hold. The wives are divided on the longevity of the compound. Robyn doesn’t feel at home in Las Vegas, and she always believed this move was temporary so they could avoid jail time in Utah. Ultimately, she and Janelle would love to move back to Utah with the family. If that was always the intention, was it really necessary to build four giant homes on the same street? Seems excessive to me, but then again, it’s the Browns.
Robyn and Christine are impressed with Kody’s ability to keep the secret of Maddie and Caleb’s baby news. Kody bristles. He is the best secret keeper on the planet! Gentle ribbing from his wives turns into a study in Kody’s struggle to be a husband to four different women. Polygamy is hard, and it’s somewhat lonely for Kody. He has four wives, but he can’t share the intimate details of his relationship with one wife with the others. It can be very isolating. Give me a break! Robyn sympathizes. It’s tough compartmentalizing certain aspects of a plural family.
Christine has commandeered her sister wives for a zany lip sync routine to be performed at Mykelti’s bridal shower. Even Janelle, who usually (and wisely) sits out of these fiascos, is going to be a part of it. Of course, Janelle notes that she is begrudgingly participating after Christine played the birth mom card. She’s so out of her comfort zone that she requests some extra rehearsal time with Christine.
There is less dancing and more discussion on Christine pulling the bio mom card and being front and center in this little singalong event. Janelle is quite fine dancing back up to Mykelti’s biological mother. The viewers are treated to quick lesson on when polygamist bio moms are not faulted for taking the lead until the scene dissolves into Janelle’s aversion to “twinkle fingers” and costumes. Janelle is hopeful that Mykelti will see her lip sync sacrifice as an apology for not being super excited when her engagement was announced. To be fair, Mykelti and Tony’s timing threatened to overshadow Madison’s big day, and Janelle did her best to stay quiet.
Janelle and Kody’s son Garrison has been in basic training for the last four months, and the family is excited to welcome him home to a big barbecue. Christine is as anxious to see Garrison as Janelle because there is a special bond between the kids and their moms regardless of the biological pull. Oh Christine. You are such a lovable hypocrite. Garrison arrives to a tearful homecoming with an ecstatic Janelle. All of his siblings are equally excited to see him, and it’s a great reminder of how, as much as I hate to admit it, the Browns are truly one big family. Garrison, like the rest of his siblings, is supportive of his parents but has no desire to live a plural lifestyle.
Much like with Maddie’s baby announcement, Meri is upset to miss Garrison‘s homecoming. She is actually back at her cul-de-sac wet bar, but somehow she missed the memo that he was coming home early. The family gathering made it seem like “coming home early” for Garrison was twenty minutes early, so I’m confused by Meri’s narrative. If she knew he was coming home that evening, it seems she would have only been late to the party instead of missing it altogether. My rationale, of course, misses the part where Meri is trying to get as far away from this family as possible.
The night before Mykelti’s bridal shower, Christine is prepping for the party and lording over a final dress rehearsal for the “I Will Survive” lip sync. Janelle is still a wet blanket, but Christine powers through with her multiple costumes. The wives discuss their reasoning for not getting naked in front of their sister wives. They are not quite at that comfort level with each other. Christine has enlisted a few of her kids to watch their performance and provide constructive criticism. Wow. It’s a lot. Meri is kicking herself for not scheduling her own private dance lesson with Christine. Meri wants a very structured performance, but it’s not happening with this group. Thankfully, the ladies seem be truly getting along while they tweak the choreography on this nightmare.
Aspyn, newly engaged herself, is taking the helm for the shower. Christine is in charge of the Mexican hot chocolate, which she describes as liquid chocolate covered tortillas. Delicious! Aspyn’s OCD is on full display, and she is fine as long as everything is absolutely perfect. Christine is lurking in the background, waiting to pounce. Aspyn won’t accept any help from her mother, but perhaps she could accept some of her mom’s happy pills. Christine’s only concern is that groomzilla Tony will point out all of the discrepancies from a traditional Mexican bridal shower. In true Christine fashion, she decides to deflate the tension by running around the house like a screeching banshee before reflecting on the sometimes distant (and contentious) relationship of her two oldest daughters. She’s excited Aspyn and Mykelti are in a place where they are truly friends.
When it is finally time for the shower, Janelle doesn’t notice any of the food or decorations. She is just waiting anxiously for the lip sync to be over. Because Tony can’t leave well enough alone, he takes it upon himself to give the shower a quick one-through to voice his opinions. Fortunately the theme and offerings meet his approval. Aspyn gives an awkward speech to welcome the guests. People need to hit up the hot chocolate bar before completing a crossword puzzle based on Mykelti and Tony’s love story. Hold onto your hats, party goers! The bridesmaids each gift Mykelti with their favorite love story, and a hilarious Maddie hands “Taming of the Shrew” to her sister. Another friend gives Mykelti “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Christine blushes. She hasn’t read it…well, she’s only read the good parts. Christine is shocked to find out the central theme of the book is bondage. What “good parts” did she actually read??
The wives sneak out to don their costumes for the grand performance. The guests seem entertained, but only Christine and Robyn seem to understand the concept of lip syncing. Meri and Janelle are merely back up dancers who may or may not move their lips every minute or so. Overall, Mykelti is pleased with the outcome. Robyn wants to hang on to her blonde wig. I’m guessing it’s for an alter-ego for Kody, but she is quick to say the wig just makes her more carefree. The longer Robyn is a part of this family, the less she cares what her husband thinks. Amen says Janelle! The wives then chat about how Tony’s mother and her family all gifted Mykelti with sexy lingerie. Is it a cultural difference? Should the sister wives feel uncomfortable by this display of inappropriate presents? Christine chalks it up to the fact she and her sister wives are just a giant group of prudes. Christine is a truth machine.
Maddie and Caleb are preparing to move into Janelle’s house, and she is struggling to find space for their growing family. Kody is appalled that Janelle can’t offer the couple their own bathroom. Perhaps he didn’t think out his cul-de-sac compound out so well, did he? Kody is prepared for a remodel. He is very in tune to what kind of apartment a married couple would need to have some privacy. How about having their own place to live? It’s not on Janelle to house her unemployed married daughter and spouse because they decided to have a child before they finished school. Kody wants to move the pair into one of Madison’s siblings’ rooms, but Janelle isn’t willing to uproot another child to accommodate her daughter. Her husband is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He knows all about romantic relationships in close quarters.
YES! Christine is taking vocal lessons so she can sing a solo at Mykelti’s wedding. This is going to be everything. In Christine’s head, it’s an apology for not welcoming the wedding news from the get-go. After she belts out the final note, she is tasked with picking up the dreaded bride and broom pinatas that Tony and Mykelti intend to beat with a vengeance at their reception. The pinatas are actually cute, but Janelle still seems a tad perturbed by the idea. Tony’s pinata will be filled with Mexican candy, while Mykelti’s pinata will be filled with “white people” candy. That is what Christine called it, right?
Aside from the pinatas, Christine has latched onto a Frisbee idea presented by the pawn shop owner who will be officiating the wedding. Mykelti and Tony met at a game of ultimate Frisbee, and Christine is spearheading a Frisbee decorating initiative. The Frisbees will be thrown
at over the happy couple as they walk back down the aisle after being married. Christine is policing the appropriateness of the Frisbee decorations. She has also purchased an Irish wedding ring, which is a family tradition with all the Browns, as a welcome gift for Tony.
In the vein of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” Mykleti has asked each of her mothers to take part as one of the traditions. Christine has big plans to cut up her wedding dress to create flowers for Mykelti’s bouquet. She isn’t one for much sentiment, so ruining her wedding dress shouldn’t be an issue. However, when Christine tries on her dress for the last time, she succumbs to her emotions.
Kody interrupts Christine‘s walk down memory lane to compliment his wife on how much weight she’s lost since their wedding day. The dress is basically a trash bag on her. The pair discusses their stressful and quick courtship. Kody admits he wasn’t engaged in the wedding day…probably because he’d already done it twice already. Christine reflects that she is thrilled that her family is public so she can proudly proclaim to be one of Kody’s wives. While joking about carrying his wives over the threshold, Christine makes a joke that Kody could do all four wives at once. An embarrassed Christine is appalled when she realizes her words. Kody likens Christine’s cutting up her dress as a symbolic gesture of gutting the cultural stereotypes of a society that suppresses plural marriage. Deep. Christine acknowledges her ups and downs with Kody and recognizes her daughter and Tony will go through the same highs and lows. And we’ll get to see them all in the couple’s inevitable spin-off (please no, TLC!).
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE? WAS THAT THE BEST SISTER WIVES LIP SYNC PERFORMANCE TO DATE?
[Photo Credit: TLC]