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Monday, July 9, 2012

Four Wives and One Husband, Polygamy in Iran, Documentary

An intimate portrait of a polygamist family in a rural Iranian village. The intricacies of the relationships between the four wives, their husband,
their astoundingly free-spoken mother-in-law and their numerous children. Sometimes humorous and often heartbreaking, this film follows the daily lives of the wives whose situation has turned them into both bitter rivals and co-conspirators against their abusive husband.

Sent in to sister Wives Blog by SoylentGreen

55 comments:

  1. Mister Sister,

    "Humorous and heartbreaking"--I'm glad you posted this link and included a spot-on summary.

    It interests me that ssues faced by polygamists a world apart are not so different. I'm looking forward to hearing the take on this documentary as I always enjoy the posts.

    My thanks to you, Mister Sister, for all you do.

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  2. For me the hugest differnce between sister wives and these wives is their brutal honesty, quite frankly it was refreshing to see. All the women were able to vent on camera and even get angry, insult their husband and their mother in law. You saw and felt their frustrations.
    I've only watched half the show so far but from what I've seen up until this point I would say the husband is way less abusive emotionally then Kodster and he seems to be a hard worker albeit a huge womanizer. Just like Kody's, Heda's wives didn't have to marry him but did and now no one seems happy. Too many mouths to feed and the most current wife gets all the attention. For me the biggest problem with men like Kody and Heda is that they procreate without really caring about what happens to their offspring. For both men (as the mother in law stated best) it's all about the pussy! This is what happens when women aren't educated at all and all the focus seems to be on the male and his needs and desires. Looking forward to watching the rest. Thanks Mister Sister for the interesting post.

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  3. Interesting documentary.

    First, let me point out a few differences. In Islam, a man is allowed to marry up to 4 wives, for the heck of it. He doesn't become a God on a planet in coocooland. He's allowed to more or less to fulfill his (sexual) needs. He must have permission of his other wives to marry (nowadays, in several islamic countries women get prenups that state no 2nd wife will be allowed, and if a man still marries a 2nd wife the first one automatically get a divorce and granted almost all belongings).

    In a normal situation (not these rural country people), the wives live in seperate, large houses, not too close to one another. They have totally seperate lives. Thus, a man must be rich to be able to maintain his several families. One of the reasons therefore is economical honor/showoff/power.
    The other reason men marry other wives are sexual, duhuh, lol. But still, he must be able to provide economically for all of his (growing) families.

    Here though, they all live together. I do admire their honesty, and they will say others what they think of them, straight in their faces! These are very simple people, but if you substract the material, so are the Browns.
    I do have to say though, what we don't get shown, is that men are basically owners of the women and therefore are allowed to be totalitarian and beat them when necessary. From what I heard from people and read in many books, it is totally common for a man to beat the heck out of his wife, and she will still crawl back to him. Figuratively we have seen that with Kody and Christine (in the Morales interview).

    All in all, none of those wives are really happy. But I have to add, that in those countries, being a divorced women basically takes away all normal options. No one wants to marry a divorcee, so it's either they stay with their parents and end up all alone when they die (and in such countries, being a woman alone is hard), or they become a 2nd, 3rd or 4th wife.

    I did enjoy their honesty, the mother in law and the fact that they stood up against each other keeps amazing me. They are also not trying to portray anything like sunshine and lollipops, don't seem to lie and are just straight folks.
    I have found a few similarities to the Browns... Yet their situation is just way different because they can not go to heaven/don't get to get the heavenly perks without Kody. For these Iranian women, it's more a matter of survival, than anything else.

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    1. You are correct that Islam permits men to abuse their wives. From the Quran, 4:34:

      "Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God's guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; God is All high, All great."

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    2. I didn't know that quote (but I know other quotes of loving-kindness, lol). In their culture it is totally socially acceptable, they think every self respecting man should hit his wife from time to time.

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    3. Thanks for posting the video Mister Sister!

      As far as abusing women goes, that is and has always been the thing I take issue with when it comes to Islam. I think that both Joseph Smith and Mohammed, when they wrote down their revelations, they tailored them to their own needs. Joseph Smith wanted to legitimize his cheating on his wife, Mohammed wanted to take more than one wife also, hence the revelations they received.

      Just to clarify, I do not wish to upset any Mormons or Muslims, but that is how I see it.

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    4. Sarina I wholeheartedly disagree with you; not just because I am a Muslim but because polygamy was commonplace in that society at that time so there would be no need for Muhammed Peace be upon Him to create a new innovation of polygamy. Limited polygamy was quite a radical idea for that society, prior to then some men had 15 or more wives and there was no upper limit. As for the quote from the Qur'an this is a poor translation and taken completely out of context. The Prophet Muhammed Peace be upon Him is on record as having never beaten or hit in any sense of the word his wives, children, servants etc etc and his is the best example for Muslims. The verse above is talking about a particular situation where someone's behaviour is completely out of control; and they are going off the rails, I am talking really wreckless behaviour which could earn someone jail time ala Lindsey Lohan, then and only then is a Muslim man permitted to tap his wife in a symbolic gesture which is usually done with a handkerchief or other cloth and on the shoulder its really to say look your behaviour is completely out of control, a little like slapping someone across the face when they are hysterical. Slapping any Muslim on the face is completely forbidden, its even forbidden for a Muslim to slap an animal on the face so this is the alternative. If the wife then comes to her senses and then realises what she is doing then he is not permitted to repeat the same again even with a handkerchief. Also a court could order the husband to have this same type of reprimand for such behaviour; it isn't advised for the woman to undertake it herself due to men generally being stronger and if he was a wreckless character he probably wouldn't take kindly to it. Hitting anyone in such a way as to leave a mark or physically hurt them is not allowed in Islam and it is a grounds for divorce if a Muslim man ever hits his wife.

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    5. I come from a country with a lot of Muslims (Europe!), lived in a building for a while with lots of them, and even almost married one (thank God I didnt, even though he is still a great guy).
      It has happened more than a few times that neighbor kids knocked on our door that their father is killing their mother and my mother would run over there to find the men beating down their wives very, very badly and would put an end to it, disciplining the men (she has that talent). Now I know this happens in all cultures, religions, races but among muslim women, they accept it as part of their lives, at least according to the ones I was friends with (and they dress modern, dye their hair, no scarfs, wear make up, etc).

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    6. I, personally, believe the polygamy is a man made custom. There's nothing 'inspired' about it. If it was natural, there would be dozens of females born for every one male born. However, this is not the case and never has been. Even though there are actually more male babies conceived than female babies, it pretty much evens out to 1:1 ratio in live births. With men taking more than one wife, it means the some men will end up with none. That's why teenage boys get kicked out the FLDS on trumped up charges.

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    7. Polygamy, just like Grandma said, and the other poster abt. Joseph Smith, it's a way to get p&*(!

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    8. Yes Lobotomized women who are culturally Muslim not necessarily strong adherents to the Islamic faith. Amongst practicing Muslims who do wear the scarf etc wife beating is not acceptable and yes I am in Europe also. In those 'Muslim' cultures where misogyny is commonplace it is just as commonplace amongst those of other faith groups in those countries. You'll also find that those from these cultures tend to participate in behaviours completely opposite to Islamic teachings such as dabbling in black magic, wearing 'evil eye' charms and so on

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    9. Yep, Kim, grandma put it quite bluntly. LOL! Grandma ratted them out.

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    10. PoppyC, Does it also have to do what country the Muslims are from? LIke wouldn't there be a difference in beliefs If a man was from Egypt as opposed to Saudi Arabia? And also as far as what the Quran says about beating women (I hope I spelled it right). Are these people reading it and taking it wrong?

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    11. PoppyC: Please show me where the Koran states that it's only permissible to beat one's wife if she's "going off the rails". Exact verse, please. None of the verses in the section in which I quote (4) have anything remotely similar to what you are claiming here.

      http://www.yabiladi.com/coran/display/4-3/an-nisaa.html

      Also, is it permissible for a woman to similarly discipline her husband when he's "going off the rails"? For example, did Osama bin Laden's wives have Islamic permission to beat him for his terrorism?

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    12. Disclaimer: I am the first to defend Muslims and Islam against unfair judgements--many of you have seen my previous comments that did just that. That being said (I'm going to refrain from commenting too forcefully, so as not to start an international incident) the romanticised version of Islamic polygamy presented by both Lobotomized and PoppyC are not generally true for most muslims. I have lived in 3 countries. That includes a European country where I was isolated in an immigrant community of many muslims of many different backgrounds; the US, among hundreds of Muslim and Christian Middle Easterners from a number of countries; and Syria, among Arabic and Kurdish Muslims--both Sunni and Alawite, Assyrian Christians, Arabic Christians, Catholic Armenians, and Yezidi. I personally know at least 20 polygamous muslim families. In fact my husbands own grandmother was taken on as a second wife when she was quite an old woman (by a man who was probaby about 30 years younger). Since she was over 95, and he was almost 70, I wouldn't call her a cougar; and I assume (or dearly hope :D) it was not all about the sex. I also know at least 2 men who married without their first wives' knowledge--and more than 2 who married because their first wives insisted on it.

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    13. I think you could agree to diagree, but not say they are flat out wrong. Each see it it's own way.

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  4. I liked this docu. because these people keep it fairly real. I'm sure there is plenty that isn't seen but there wasn't a heavy sugar coating.
    It is what it is.
    I'd hate to see what it would turn into if they were filmed all the time...it would become as distorted as the SW show I bet.

    Thanks SoylentGreen and SWB.

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    1. These people are illiterate, Iranian people from the countryside. This is how they are. They don't even think of sugarcoating, showbiz, etc. I think they don0t even really know about that. I finally watched it till the end and saw he (way in his fifties) got himself a new teen bride (against Islam which allows 4 wives tops). Then it stopped, I wonder what his mom/other wives thought of that. He will get older, it will be harder for him to work, he'll have babies with this girl, I don't think things will be well 10 years down the road. It's sad.

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    2. Lobotomized, perhaps he's thinking of divorcing one of the other wives so he can keep the teenaged one (horrible)?

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    3. I saw this video before and though why is TLC wasting time & money on the Browns when this tells the whole story in a single viewing. Opens with wifes 1 - 3 complaining about newest wife # 4. Husband spends too much time with # 4. # 4 pines for a baby of her own. Pregnant wife # 3 supplies her with one (to keep her busy & therefore less favorite, plus it's only a girl, not important like a boy). 2 years go by and we now hear how he beats his wifes when he's angry with them. Even wife #4, who is saying maybe she should have married the other man who was interested in her. She has tried to kill herself 2 or 3 times. The husband has given each wife her own home, then tells wife #3 to move because he's going to sell her home. She doesn't want to move, but he's already building her a new place. But surprise, he brings home wife #5, and puts her right next door to wife # 4. Wife # 5 thinks she has married a very nice charming man.

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    4. They are shia so they can marry more than 4 wives. Shias are only allowed to marry 4 wives in a permanent marriage but Shias have something known as temporary marriage which the sunni Muslims (the majority) do not. In the early days of Islam according to sunni doctrine, temporary marriage was allowed as it was something found in the Arabian society prior to Islam, but it was phased out and then finally forbidden. Shias believe the evidence of it being forbidden is weak and that one of the first Khalifs (Muslim rulers) forbade it himself. Technically speaking some Shia jurists allow marrying unlimited numbers of women in mut'a (the Arabic word for temporary marriage). I know there is a Shia 'commune' in Malaysia where the leader has 10 wives, he was imprisoned for two years about 17 years ago not sure what happened to him after that, I did read somewhere that after that he was allowed to stay with the 10 against Malaysian law but cannot find the later article about him now. There was a rather striking pictoral article in a glossy magazine over here in the UK showing his 10 wives all lined up wearing identical outfits.

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    5. If "temporary" marriage is so forbidden, why is it legally binding in every islamic country? College students in Cairo are even engaging in temporary marriages during their university years because of the housing shortage.

      In fact, in Egypt, there is a thriving "white slavery" sex trade. "Temporary marriage" of girls as young as 8 or 9 (as long as the girl has had a single period) goes on--and though THAT (under-age aspect) is absolutely illegal, the authorities treat it as a misdemeanor on the rare occassions that it is reported. It is generally NOT reported though, because it is the father himself who pimps out his underaged daughters. He is paid a fee to "support" the girl for the about a year, in the event that she is impregnated (as is commanded in the divorce instructions of Islam). This is not practised by all muslims everywhere--but it is absolutely dishonest to deny that it--or other distasteful facets of Islam--exist.


      BTW, I would be the first to point out similarly outrageous aspects of my own society and religious tradition, but they are not the topic today!!

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  5. wow! that was amazing. Admittedly I have a fascination for middle eastern/north african culture, having lived in it before. Although as it was pointed out above, marrying all these women was not about getting planets or being a God, the similarities are quite real. The problems they face half a world away were incredibly similar - husband/father does not respect wife, spend enough time with wife, spend enough time with his children, struggles to provide for them, wives/children are unhappy. Unfortunately it doesn't look good for polygamy - however or wherever it is practiced. I was really moved by the compassion of wife #3 towards her sister wife #4 who was unable to have children. Giving up her daughter at birth was a massive gesture towards a woman who literally came along and stole her husband. Seeing #5 show up was predictable and sad. I'm sort of glad the documentary ended there, even though I was fascinated by it. Seeing wife #4 go through the emotions of her husband bringing home another younger wife who probably will bear him children with ease would have been very painful. Oh, and I gotta mention it - his TEETH. ughhhhhhhhh. What a catch..........NOT!

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    1. Why is it that they do not having running water in the house? No lines?

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  6. I call this keeping it REAL.
    All my son cares about is p^&&*.
    Sounds like poligamy to me!

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  7. Thanks to SoylentGreen for this video and MS and all who make SWB what it is.

    "THIS" one was fascinating for all the reasons others have already stated.
    There were so many point-on-point similarities to Kody and his harem.

    The standout moment for me was almost at the end when the first wife saw her grandchild and the camera panned to the closed metal barricade-like door and she said that her daughter had not been allowed in public for 3 years. And that Heda, the father had refused other suitors in preference to this one who was keeping her daughter a virtual prisoner.
    Uhhhhhhhh !!!! That was so sad !! The mother's eyes told it all.

    Anyway.....
    Yet another glaring example that *Polygamy is just not healthy for women or children.*

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  8. Wouldn't we all like to be able to whip out those pancakes or tortillas, bread, like those women do.

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    1. no kidding! when they first started rolling the dough I was thinking! "why such a long stick"? and seconds later my question was answered! crazy nan-e lavash or nan-e taftoon skills. Now I am craving indian food with garlic naan for dinner....

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  9. As I was watching this, I became more and more horrified at how unhealthy this environment is. Wives against wives, husband against wives, wives against husband. Its scary, especially how he disrespects them, the abuse is completely visible and horrifying. The way he treats his own children!! It fills me with sadness that people in the world have to live like this. I feel for the wives here, for it is hard for them to leave their husband, its a matter of survival for them. But the Brown family is living exactly like them, except the abuse is emotional. It saddens me that here in the US women accept to live like this when they have the freedom and help to survive. May God help all the families in situations like these.

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  10. The part where wife #1 pointed out her grandchild and talked about how her daughter's been captive by her husband for three years was SO sad. I can't even imagine.

    Also, was that a real engagement between toddlers?!

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  11. Am I understanding this right? Did the one wife give her baby to the childless wife?

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  12. Anon 8:06pm I think that was a marriage arrangement.

    New shoes, she didn't give her the child realy, I think she is just having her raise th little girl. I think the little girl still stays with her actual mother. Women are devalued in Iran, if it were little boy I realy doubt she would let another wife raise him.

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    1. I wasn't sure how that worked. How sad.

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    2. In many Islamic communities, it's not unusual for a woman to let another women with no children (often a sister-in-law, cousin or other close relative) raise one of her children from a young child to a teenager, and for that child to help their "auntie" when she is elderly. And not just girls, BUT hardly ever a first chid of either sex, or an only son.

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  13. She did. But it was almost dual parenting. Biological mom nursed her for at least two years, while the 4th wife was raising her as her own.

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  14. My computer is old and I can't watch well. Can someone summarize for me?

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    1. Certainly you can get the gist of the documentary just by reading all the comments on here. I can't think of a better job of summarizing.

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    2. Gladys, it's about a poor Iranian man and his 4 wives. He ends up with a 5th. The enlightening part of it all, is that they speak very openly and honestly with each other about their place, dislikes, each other, and they are a hoot. Sadly, their living conditions are awful, like spilling blood of a sheep and the kids walking in it. BUT, the honesty gets you. They talk about how much they sleep with their husband and everything in between. Hubby wishes one of them would go. If only THE BROWNS talked this honest, now that would be a show!

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  15. I think his comments said it all, really..."if your well runs dry, you dig another one" Then about how one sheep looks the same as another and it's the same as women -- they all are the same to him. property. He said that TO HIS WIFE. how very sad :( no wonder she tried to set herself on fire! I'm not sure how much comparison can be drawn here between this family and the Browns, but it all makes me wonder. Also, did he build a new house for his 3rd wife, under the guise of saving money and selling her old one, only to have a new house for his 5th wife? Surely they saw through this plan. How very sad! I did love the grandmother, though. Makes me thankful to have air conditioning and furniture and a loving family.

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  16. Off topic:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/cat-buried-in-concrete-colorado-city-az_n_1660320.html

    FLDS Burying kitten alive as a warning to ex-member

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    1. I read that, even thought about posting it. You may talk about it here, but keep it in this thread!~

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  17. please post more documentaries like this~! this was an awesome watch!

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  18. The documentary is called Matter of Principle. I am on my phone now so cannot post the link but if you google 'YouTube Mormon polygamy documentary 1991' it will come up.

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    1. Sorry the first part of what I was saying didn't go through for some reason there is a very interesting doc that the blog mods should link here IMHO, it's from 1991 and about Mormon fundamentalists mainly AUB and FLDS but some independents as well. Am on phone but if you search for what I've written in the other comment it should be the first to come up

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  19. LetEmBePligButNoBleedingTheBeastJuly 10, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    How do you think Kodouche would react if polygamy was legalizes, but with the caveat that if you are plig you can't collect welfare, food stamps, or get Medicaid? Oh , and you have to let women marry more than one man and the women, to get welfare and food stamps. have to name the father and have to have DNA testing to prove their claim? Think he would be so gung ho then? Also, do you think he would then legally marry Janelle and Christine and legally claim he kids? I'd say, probably NOT!

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    1. I think that is why he and the Dargers are not pushing for legalization. Simply do not want to be prosecuted for being polygamist. Or is the Kodester pushing for making it legal? Would be shooting himself in the foot big time.

      Great documentary. Very sad indeed. The one 'nice' part though was how they were all so open about their issues and hatred. None of that 'it makes us better' garbage the Brown women are always spouting.

      Amy

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  20. Why can they get away with it in the name of religion, and any other man be arrested?

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  21. I am not generally a conspiracy theorist type, but did anyone else think the ending with the fifth wife was scripted? They was they ended it exactly when comes in and didn't speak to Ziba or anyone else about it. Only the new bride gives a scripted sounding little speech.They filmed Ziba getting up from bed in the morning, and it is not likely they just happened to be there waiting for her to get up, and she is just sitting there the moment they walk in, and she says nothing. And the only phone call they happen to record is Heba speaking with his bride. I dunno, just didn't look right to me.

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    1. It may be a way to close the documentary, but I believe it was not scripted, personally. Why would he end it after showing such honesty? GREAT Documentary.

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  22. In today's times, there may not be beatings, but there are slappings, ignoring, other ways for men to punish the women, and yes, it happens in the AUB

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  23. Very wild that happens in todays times. Oh yes, let's legalize polygamy and let them all come over here.

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  24. So honest, compelling, and interesting.

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  25. Would it not be great if the Brown's were so honest? That would be ratings gold! TLC, are you listening?

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  26. I watched this last night. Thanx SoylentGreen. BTW, does your name have anything to do with the T shirt above of Kody and wet pants? hee hee

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