In my house, there's a little buzz on Sunday evenings when HBO's Big Love come on. At its core, it is pure soap opera and somewhat addictive.
It is, of course, pure fiction. There are elements in the plot that suggest the writers have watched the news and used real events to craft the conflict in a program that examines polygamy among some of Utah's Mormon community, but the show itself is fiction.
This is in contrast to a reality show, which involves a camera crew following real people as they go about their interesting or unusual day.
And like all reality, unpleasantness can ensue.
Polygamist Kody Brown may have been inspired by Big Love's success and put himself and his many families out there to show that there really are people like those in the make-believe world of HBO.
But in the real world, there are laws against polygamy and if a polygamist calls attention to himself, he is likely to face prosecution.
The issue of polygamy is a touchy one for Utah. The entire state is almost uniformly Mormon, and their religion's past history makes it tough for them to come out strongly against a practice that was once preached. However, the other forty-nine states aren't pleased to see one state turn its back on a law that was enacted by the Mormons so that Utah could join the United States.
With Mr. Brown appearing on television sets nationwide, it would be extremely difficult for Utah's Attorney General to sweep him and his multiple wives under the carpet. The rest of the nation is watching, to see if the legal team has the intestinal fortitude to do what must be done, to prosecute a law-breaker.
If Sister Wives doesn't get yanked by the network, you might want to tune in and listen very carefully to the women involved. Behind their cheery demeanor you'll hear the bad side of plural marriage, the part that torments women into believing that normal human behavior is sinful jealousy to be conquered, that the male of the species is dominant and they are there to be subservient.
Makes for a chilling hour.