Blogs » Pop Goes the Culture » "Sister Wives": Reality TV in all its illegal glory


If I've said it once, I've said it 82 (possibly 83) times. I hate reality TV. In fact, should our civilization ever crumble, I'm personally putting the blame on "Jersey Shore."

But just when I thought it couldn't get any worse (J.Lo as an "American Idol" judge...really?) in swoops TLC with their new show "Sister-Wives." And forget drunk New Jersey Italians or D-list actors doing the two-step. This one is all about a man and his three (soon-to-be four) wives living in Utah.

Yup. They made a reality show out of bigamy, folks.

The show debuted last week and chronicles the life of 41-year-old advertising salesman Kody Brown, his four wives, 13 children and three stepchildren.

Surprisingly, however, (NOT) stories quickly spread after the debut that Utah law enforcement were starting an investigation into the family for felony bigamy. I mean, it's completely understandable. The family is blatantly doing something illegal and doing it in front of TV viewers each week.

But now here comes the real M. Night Schamayalanadingdong-esque twist. It's looking likely that the family won't, in fact, be charged with anything, at least any time soon. While bigamy is big (pun COMPLETELY intended) in Utah, it seems that it is rarely prosecuted, even if a family is flaunting it on national television.

According to an article in the Utah paper Daily Herald, "police are investigating a Lehi family who appear on 'Sister Wives' for charges of bigamy, but officials are unsure whether charges will be filed."

And I quote:

"Does this open up a can of worms that we want to open up right now?" he said.

He, by the way, is Utah County prosecutor Tim Taylor. He goes on to say bigamy is a third-degree felony but even deciding whether to prosecute this case would be new ground for his office.

"An adultery conviction could have trouble withstanding a constitutional fight, Taylor said, which must also be considered when prosecuting bigamy. He said statutes that are overly broad or constitutionally vague may have difficulty if taken to the Supreme Court."

Scott Troxel, spokesman for the Utah Attorney General's Office also chimed in on the article stating, "It's been our policy, and the attorney general has reiterated his policy, not to pursue investigations of consenting adults practicing bigamy in Utah." (meaning they pretty much only prosecute bigamy cases where abuse or underage girls are involved).

Personally, I'm curious to see how this all plays out. I mean, we all know there are laws on the books that aren't necessarily prosecuted (such as the purported Texas law that says it is illegal to take more than three sips of beer at a time while standing...of which I've been guilty of...numerous, numerous times). But bigamy seems a pretty big one to ignore, let alone while the rest of the country is watching.