Monday, July 4, 2022
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Five Must See Alternative Lifestyle Television Shows

There are so many shows available for viewing that sometimes it’s hard for the casual viewer to find content that’s both educational and entertaining. Watching and learning about different relationships can be a little scary, but these days television can ease a person’s apprehension. The Alternative Lifestyle category has become a popular genre for networks to explore, and I have highlighted five of the best for you to check out. Enjoy…

Big Love

Home Box Office (2006-2011)

The show is about a fictional fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah that practices polygamy. –

I miss this show. The description above doesn’t do this show justice. The main character Bill Hendrickson juggles his three wives, Barbara, Nicolette, and Margene while owning/managing a couple of Home Depot-type stores. This show not only deals with these four peoples day-to-day lives with their eight total children (nine if you count the one Bill had out-of-wedlock), but it also deals with the tyrannous polygamist cult this family is continuously trying to break free of. The characters are engaging (including a small, but important role for now mega movie star Amanda Seyfried and ‘Breaking Bad’ alum Aaron Paul) If you are looking for something to put in your Netflix Queue, the five seasons of this show is worth your time.

Extreme Cougar Wives

The Learning Channel (2012, 2013)

TLC’s Extreme Cougar Wives follows three women and their much-younger beaus who live by the expression “age is only a number.”

This needed to be a regularly scheduled show instead of the specials that ran over the past year – This is some great unintended comedy. I’m not sure you can find enough crazy people to sustain a four or five year full slate of reality television shows, but it would be fun watching them try. I loved the weirdness of the Civil War reenactment couple, the confidence of the 70 year old grandmother (who was only looking for much younger men) and the mother who cried because she felt the family name would die with her 27-year-old son (after he proposed to a 50-year-old woman). There was even a woman 32 years older than her boyfriend (who previously had dated her daughter seven years prior – do the math). I’ve heard that this year was the last of the specials, but I hope TLC reconsiders and revs this engine up again next year.

Polyamory: Married & Dating

Showtime Network (2012-Present)

Polyamory: Married & Dating follows two polyamorous families living in Southern California. New to the show are Chris, his wife Leigh Ann and their girlfriend Megan, a threesome living in Hollywood… We also pick back up with our Season 1 San Diego family of Michael, Kamala, Jen and Tahl. This season takes viewers on an intense emotional journey as we follow two families as they navigate the ins and outs of polyamory. –

I want to believe that Showtime is really just trying to show its viewers how life is for polyamorous people, but at times this show seems like one big sex fest. I think the characters are interesting, and there are some funny moments like Jen chewing out her husband Tahl for leaving the bed a mess after he fooled around with his girlfriend (yes you read that correctly). The new triad has the most compelling storyline with the wife Leigh Ann cheating on the pod with another man. I also still wonder what happened to the original season one trio and how their lives have/haven’t changed since they were broadcast in season 1. Overall, this is an entertaining show that I hope will get a crack at a third season.

Secret Sex Lives: Swingers

Discovery Fit & Health (2013-Present)

Delving into this mysterious and daring lifestyle, Secret Sex Lives: Swingers follows four typical American couples—leading busy lives and juggling marriage, children and careers. But behind closed doors, these husbands and wives share one surprising thing in common—they lead double lives as swingers. –

Some of the storylines on this show are very interesting. There’s a woman who’s getting married to her swinger boyfriend, but has not yet told her family about her night-time lifestyle. By the way, she’s been meeting with her priest because after a couple of years, she just now is starting to question if this life is “right for her.” I also chuckle at the guy who is okay with himself flirting (as well as other things) with other women, but is too insecure to allow his gorgeous fiancée to flirt with other men. These two couples mixed with the other colorful characters (a few of which seem like odd people to be on a show like this) and Discovery just might have something. The season has recently just started, so it remains to be seen if it will be as good as some of its alternative lifestyle predecessors.

Sister Wives

The Learning Channel (2010-Present)

Kody Brown, with his four wives Meri, Janelle, Robyn and Christine and their combined 17 children, attempt to navigate life as a “normal” family in a society that shuns their lifestyle. From their unconventional family structure and living arrangements to financial challenges, each half hour episode exposes the inner workings of a polygamist household, revealing the unexpectedly tight-knit and loving relationships between Kody’s wives. – TLC Publicity

This show is probably my favorite on this list. Watching Kody try to handle all four of his wives and their 17 children (most of the time unsuccessfully) is reality television gold. I’ve even found a person to root against in Kody’s third wife, Christine. There isn’t a topic she won’t complain about and a situation she won’t try to exploit for her own personal gain. She’s a good mother, and overall decent wife; she just tries to hardtop grab all of Kody’s attention, and it’s a little irritating at times. Meri is my favorite wife, I love Janelle’s sensibility and perseverance (she’s lost around 40 pounds in the past year), and the newest wife Robyn may grow on me in the future. The Browns are a good family with a good story that I have enjoyed watching over the past three years.

Jack Gotta
Follow Jack on Twitter @JackGotta


  1. The 2 Learning Channel shows are the only ones I got and this is from a network that shows that classics "Here's Comes Boo Boo" after that show gets cancelled hope the parents did not spend all that money for counseling. I will just wait for Daniel Bryan to do a cameo on Duck Dynasty.

    • Yes, reality TV is an "acquired taste." Extreme Cougar Wives is a little salacious, but Sister Wives is actually not bad (considering all of the other stuff reality TV has to offer). I have never understood the Honey Boo Boo craze… that show seems extra stupid to me – But to each his own.

      Daniel Bryan + Duck Dynasty = Ratings GOLD!!


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