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I may post the full column here tomorrow. Photo courtesy TLC/Discovery: The Brown Girls Gather Pumpkins...
The family celebrates Halloween this week as the Northern hemisphere wakes into springtime. Watching the Browns pick pumpkins for Halloween and paint the kids’ faces, one gets the feeling that this episode was created in part to give a sense portraying the normalcy Brown family’s lives. They speak of a police investigation going on—and their stress about it—but there is no explanation of what exactly is happening. There is a peculiar feeling of trying to have fun while dark clouds are gathering over them.
The family, to forget their problems, take the kids out for pizza (which they say they can’t usually afford to buy) and to pick pumpkins—a Jack O’ Lantern for each member of the family!
Five months after the wedding, it seems, the family is settling in together. "I like being a part of the family,”" says Aurora, Robyn’s oldest daughter. Meanwhile, one of the other little girls cries because another child pulled her hair. It seems the Brown kids have been raised to “knock it off and play” rather than cry, while Robyn’s kids are sensitive and easily upset—but they are getting accustomed to one another.
The family picks almost thirty greenish pumpkins (one of the kids saying pumpkins are never really orange, except in commercials). I want to say, “They are in Vermont, kids!”
The family loads the pumpkins into the cars, amazed by how many pumpkins they ended up buying. “With the Browns, it’s go big or go home,” they say.
“There are a lot of kids, but I don’t see it as an overwhelming responsibility—they’re just my kids,” says Robyn.
There is a little "very little talk" about the police and their legal problems. Janelle says she feels differently about police because of the investigation; the older kids, Meri says, are concerned about what is going on. They call the adults when they see a police car on the street. “I just want to forget about it for today,” says Janelle, “and have fun.”
The Brown wives decide to dress as the four elements, earth, air, water, and fire; they want Kody to be “man, because he is powerless against the elements,” but he is offended by this and say "Oh yes, it’s so great to seem powerless in this family,” so they paint his face to represent the Sun instead (Christine rolls her eyes at his egotism).
There is some discussion of his being an “avatar” that controls the four elements, but Robyn insists, “He doesn’t control us.” In the end, Kristine is air, Meri fire, Janelle earth, and Robyn water, and Kody dresses as the sun—“corny,” the kids say.
The children enjoy trick-or-treating. “It’s fun to go trick or treating with a lot more brothers and sisters,” says one child. The emphasis is definitely on how well everyone is getting along and fitting in together. The three original wives seem to be adjusting to Robyn’s presence, and even Janelle, who last week seemed worried about finance and a little resentful, is clearly glad she’s there. “I couldn’t have asked for a better family,” Robyn says.