Sister Wives

Common Sense Media says

Docuseries turns polygamists into reality stars.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Polygamy is described here as a lifestyle that can be positive and healthy for those who choose it. Kody Brown clearly notes the distinction between the L.D.S. (mainstream Mormons) and what he calls the Fundamentalist Mormon Doctrine that promotes and practices polygamy. The Browns voice some concerns over prejudice toward their lifestyle.

Positive role models

The Browns practice a fundamentalist doctrine that endorses plural marriage. Neither Brown nor his wives proselytize or criticize other faiths. The women appear to care about and respect one another. Most of the wives come from plural families.The adults (and some older children) share in parenting duties.


Some talk about dying at the hands (or fins) of sharks ... and toasters.


Discussion about the existence of sexual relationships between Brown and his individual wives.

Not applicable

The family drives large cars like Honda minivans and Chevy Suburbans. But the logos/brands aren’t highlighted.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series presents the polygamist lifestyle as one that's both positive and healthy for those who choose to live it. Much of the show's focus is on the relationship between the sister wives themselves and their ability to deal with their husband’s courtship of a potential fourth wife. There’s no proselytizing here, but the family occasionally makes references to being fearful of living out in the open and dealing with prejudice. There are also some mild conversations about the importance of healthy sexual relationships between each individual sister wife and their husband.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

SISTER WIVES follows the day-to-day life of an American polygamist family. Husband Kody Brown and his three wives -- Meri, Janelle, and Christine -- negotiate their relationships with each other, their 13 children, and, on occasion, with the mainstream world. Viewers also get to see how the courting and introduction of a fourth wife, Robyn, into the family circle impacts the wives, as well as the overall family dynamic.

Is it any good?


Sister Wives offers a fairly voyeuristic look at plural marriage from the point of view of people who have chosen to live according to a religious doctrine that promotes it. The series' intent is to show how complex this cohabitation lifestyle is and to counter some of the stereotypes about plural marriage that exist today. But while Brown and his family discuss some of the challenges that come with choosing their lifestyle, including the emotional and financial burdens it creates, overall the series paints a happy picture that sometimes seems a little too idyllic.

The family is very likable, and they seem to be a bit worldlier and open compared to other plural families (both real and fictional) depicted in the media. Despite all of this, some of the choices they make and other unspoken signs indicate that they're sometimes not as comfortable in the mainstream as they appear on camera. Nonetheless, the show ultimately offers viewers a unique chance to see real people openly share their experiences as part of a plural family.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the lifestyle presented in this show. Why/how do some families practice polygamy if it's illegal in the United States? 

  • What are some of the stereotypes surrounding polygamists? Do you think this show contradicts some of these stereotypes?

  • Why do you think this family agreed to be in a TV show?

TV details

Cast:Christine Brown, Janelle Brown, Kody Brown, Meri Brown, Robyn Brown
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Adult Written byDogcrazed March 13, 2011

No thanks!!!

Can't stand it, there is nothing positive about women having to share their husband. That is not love, you cannot tell me that this is not sexist, if a woman did that (which for the record I would think is just as bad as a man having multiple wives), no one would accept it, but because woman are viewed differently, they think it's ok. It's not breaking stereo types, it's breaking morals, and I'm pretty sure the law in most states.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent Written bysutekimommy November 10, 2011

Making polygamist reality stars brings BAD image for the TLC network

It clearly shows the displaced values of people thinking it is illegal to both GOD and state (illegal in the United States) why on earth TLC shows such inappropriate series? Are they aware that by showing the series, it gives out a BAD IMAGE for the network? Are they giving out a perception to those foreign viewers thinking this is a Travel and Living Channel that the USA is open and quite proud of such taboo? Families and even children watch TLC, but because of such unacceptable series or shows that you are proud of showing the world makes us wonder if the network are really assessing about the aspects of good TV for all.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent Written bycopperpennies August 4, 2011

Having a full understanding of the Roots and Application of Polygamy

My geneology is packed full of polygimists. They were the early Mormon pioneers that settled Salt Lake City and many other towns in Utah in the 1800"s. I have a Mormon Prophet in my family tree, Lorenzo Snow. My family built the Salt Lake Temple and Tabernacle Organ. I was a Mormon for many years and have studied the history and principles further than most mainstream Mormons. However, I have never believed that the principle was spiritually or morally correct. In the New Testament God forbade polygamy after the Abraham debacle with Haggar. The Mormons believe that the word of Joseph Smith was inspired. I strongly disagree as he was actually a fallen prophet if you care to read the history. The show Sister Wives is totally surpirsing to me. It is sad to me to see Meri cry and deal with accepting the sharing of a husband though she proclaims it is her wish to live in this situation. But it is heartbreaking to watch her sorrow, especially since Cody chose Robin for a 4th wife. It's very disturbing. There is not much film on Cody's relationship with his children not like the Duggard's. I feel that he [Cody] is narcissitic to a degree and the children are just there and that he doesn't really have a major part in their lives. The FLDS are a peculiar bunch and it has to be noted that there is extreme indocrination,brainwashing and manipulation regarding religion in this situation. The practice is totally unacceptable to me but the show leaves me with my jaw dropped as I can hardly believe what I am seeing, from the women especially.


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