“You made our trip! You. Made. Our. Trip,” a woman emphatically annunciates as she leans into a seated Meri Brown, who’s signing autographs at the Silverton with husband Kody, and sister wives Janelle, Christine and Robyn.
The woman looks like most everyone else waiting to meet the stars of TLC’s reality show, Sister Wives, whose jewelry line is selling in the casino’s Guilt Gift Shop: a middle-American, grandmotherly (almost Red Hat) type, who’s got her gal pals on one arm and her knitting basket on the other. She works her way down the autograph line, exuding love and gratitude while the crowd swelling around the table outside the shop snaps photos with cellphones and cameras.
“I love you!” says another woman, who has been waiting in the long line. That the Browns would be loved by viewers is not so unusual, but it’s the type of fan who came to the casino for autographs that speaks to one reality of this reality show: The Brown sister wives come across more as traditional, working-class middle-American moms than cult members or amoral salacious types out to destroy the neighborhood. The ordinariness of their appearance, emotions and behaviors is what ushers their extraordinary circumstance of plural marriage right into the feel-good saccharine hearts of their many fans.