The Sister Wives audience has witnessed the Brown family disintegrate for three years on our screens. During season 18, which was filmed in late 2021, we’re just now watching the family react to their off-the-rails behavior in their private confessional scenes, and it’s driving the family further apart. Kody even argues that reality TV caused the polygamous family to fail.
In the argument we witnessed for Episode 3 of Season 18, Janelle and Kody are vicious with each other over things that they’ve said in the interview chair. At that point, Season 16 had not yet aired or had only aired an episode or two, but promos were probably running on TV, or maybe they’d gotten early access to the episodes.
Janelle makes reference to Kody calling her the “Teflon Queen,” which wasn’t aired until January 16, 2022. At the point we’re watching, they plan what they will do for Christmas 2021.
Season 15 had already been a doozy, though, and had ended with Mari’s unforgettable “Look at the Mountain” speech to Christine to convince her to stay in her marriage to Kody.
Season 15, which aired from February to March 2021, was the first season the family stopped filming together for the confessional interview segments. Having that space alone to share their more genuine, unbridled thoughts gave rise to shocking honesty we haven’t seen on this show, or most reality shows, before.
That honesty came with a cost: it undoubtedly led to hurt feelings. It completely shattered the illusions the Brown family had built up to stay together as a polygamous family.
A significant point of contention now being brought up is Kody’s favoritism towards his fourth wife, Robyn. By the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kody had already been spending more time with Robyn than with the rest of the family.
Because of disagreements about handling COVID, Kody started spending almost all of his time with Robyn. He even refused to accompany his daughter Ysabel to her spine surgery in another state. Christine Brown has since revealed that Kody not being there for Ysabel’s surgery was the primary reason she decided to end her spiritual marriage.
However, Kody seems to have had different feelings about Robyn. In Season 1, we see him admitting that he was falling in love in a way he hadn’t before. Robyn had a larger wedding than all of the other wives because the show paid for it, and she also had a more extended, more lavish honeymoon.
In episode 2 of Season 18, Christine mentions that the big trouble in the family has been brewing for “12 years,” which was both when Robyn came into the family and when they started filming their show.
Kody says that the family’s disintegration had nothing to do with Robyn but everything to do with the show itself and going public with their family. “The big shakeup wasn’t caused by Robyn, it was caused by the fallout of going public, and that decision was made by our family before we met Robyn,” he says.
For three years the Sister Wives audience has witnessed the Brown family disintegrate on our screens. During season 18, which was filmed in late 2021, we’re just now watching the family react to their off-the-rails behavior in their private confessional scenes and it’s driving the family further apart. Kody even argues that reality TV is what caused the polygamous family to fail.
Even though the family is fractured, Christine and Janelle still consider themselves to be “Sister Wives” and spend a lot of time together, and with each others’ children. This sharedness between women was part of the “big pitcher”* polygamous dream all along.
*big picture using the pronunciation the Brown family often uses, which is part of their Utah-area accents