Last February, on a spiritual quest from one drive-thru Starbucks in Santa Fe to another in Joshua Tree, I drove an hour and a half out of my way to pay respects to a holy site called Coyote Pass in suburban Scottsdale, Arizona. Coyote Pass, as described by my holy text The Learning Channel, was promised as the site of the future compound inhabited by the modern polygamist family, the Browns, at the center of the docuseries Sister Wives.
Coyote Pass was to be an Edenic gathering spot in which one disgusting adult blonde dork named Kody may be free to copulate with any number of women who, after fourteen years on air, still haven’t figured out how to do their makeup. A place where, amidst new-build farmhouses and manmade ponds, children with names like Truely and Paedon and Gwendlyn are free to roam in graphic tees emblazoned with apostles in the form of licensed characters from the Among Us and Roblox. In Coyote Pass, everyone was an insufferable loser, and despite the polygamy of it all, nobody seemed particularly religious.
Coyote Pass is not a public site and nobody invited me there, but I figured it out based on three minutes of strategy on Google Maps. When I arrived, it was barren. There was no evidence of even one house, let alone four, since the sister wives, even in financial straits as a result of trying to unload an entire cul-de-sac, refused to live together. I got down on my knees and prayed to whatever evil god they worship in the Apostolic United Brethren Church, a fringe LDS-adjacent sect which the Brown family broke from years ago. Finding god dead and my knees muddied, I got back in the car and did as the Browns do: put a mustard seed of faith in their blonde adult patriarch Kody. I failed, as they had before me.
Yesterday I learned Kody and Christine, his wife of 25 years who appeared to hate him a lot less than all the others did, are separating. I fear his other wives Janelle, Meri (who got catfished over a multi-season arc), and Robyn (the only wife he still wants to have sex with) are close behind. Sister Wives is the rare reality show that was allowed enough time on air to refute its original premise and instead prove a fundamental truth about humanity: everyone breaks up. Sister Wives was a program conceived as a way to normalize and celebrate the bounty of this bigamous community, only to show, about four seasons in, that no human relationship can last, sexual or filial or otherwise.
Thank you, Christine and Kody, for taking the prophecy to its logical end over the course of the last twenty-five years. Nothing lasts forever, and that’s alright, except for Kody’s ponytail. Even as his hairline recedes like the waning passion of so many other soon-to-be empty nesters across the sunbelt, that ponytail keeps growing.