When doing a little research for my post on A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story, I came to realize that YouTube is a treasure trove of full-length Lifetime movies, many of them taped off TV and painstakingly uploaded in 10-minute chunks. (Don't worry, I made a playlist for you.) One such movie is "The Man with Three Wives," a delightfully overwrought Lifetime movie from 1993 in which a man has three wives (obviously) that don't know about each other. I stayed up way too late watching it, the whole time thinking about a man-with-three-secret-wives movie from my past. The first movie I ever fell in love with because it was so bad it was good, it was also from the 90s, but it starred a sexy pilot. Three seconds of googling led me to "Frequent Flyer," also available on YouTube! Yes, this is what the internet was invented for. Needless to say, I got up the next morning and watched the entire thing before lunchtime. (As someone who's self-employed, this happens much more rarely than you might think.)
Whether you enjoy bad movies about polygamy as much as I do, or are simply sick in bed and don't have a TV in your room, I suggest you indulge in this double-bigamy double feature yourself. It really gives you both sides of the secret polygamy coin: sometimes it's super-sexy and free from all consequences except your kid hating you; and sometimes it's somewhat-sexy and free from all consequences except you die from the stress. Either way, you definitely need a beeper to pull it off.
Since you have to have a beeper, it's good to have an early 90s job where you might plausibly need to get paged about things. The sexy pilot is always getting beeped about emergency flights or something (I guess), while the other man with three wives is a doctor. Of course, those are just their cover stories--neither man actually gets beeped by his employer in either movie. Meanwhile, their wives are always complaining about "that damn beeper" while the other wives are beeping him because they don't know where the hell he is, or they're horny.
|Beau Bridges rocks the Billy Mays|
beard and spends much of the movie
open-mouthed, thinking of excuses
|Wife #2 doesn't even have the decency to remove her hat|
One thing I learned from watching this double-bigamy double feature is that wives come in patterns. If you're a guy who decides to live a triple life rather than commit to one person or find a swinger to love, you're probably going to follow a very precise sequence of wives. Your first wife will be a woman you'll have kids with, and therefore everything is very boring. (The doctor's first wife is downright not hot, and they don't even have sex once during the movie!) She'll have boring hobbies, like antiques and bike safety advocacy, and she'll yell at you all the time about your beeper and your lack of cash, which she apparently doesn't keep close enough track of to realize two-thirds of your paycheck is going elsewhere. Your recreational activities with this wife will include family ski vacations and worrying about your child, who may or may not be waiting to find out if he was accepted into your alma mater, Dexter Academy.
|Beau Bridges steams up his all-white house with his|
second wife (Joanna Kerns from "Growing Pains"). The
pilot's second wife also lives in an all-white house. Chic.
Your third wife will be the one you should have divorced all the previous wives to be with. In the doctor's case it's Pam Dawber (Mindy from "Mork and Mindy"), who he spent the first 20 minutes of the movie chasing after, only to lose her to a dentist who she marries, has a kid with, and divorces...just in time for him to swoop in and sweep her off her feet by telling her he sat in his car outside her wedding like a weirdo creep and that he wants to marry her RIGHT THIS SECOND. In the case of the pilot, his third, ideal wife is a freewheeling twenty-something who is too dumb to realize that he is a loser. Unfortunately, she's such a freewheeler that she decides to go with her new husband to Dallas, on the exact same day his second wife has just moved there, three blocks away from his first wife!
Luckily for the pilot's heart health, his hijinks involving having three wives in the same city don't last very long, because on Christmas, having three wives is logistical feat that's hard for even the most seasoned secret polygamist to pull off. The doctor starts with his third, most-loved wife and her daughter. After a Christmas Eve worthy of a perfect-family award, he cuddles up with them, then announces that he has to leave that very night to go tend to the all the kids spending their last Christmas in the Dying Kids Ward at the hospital. Since the hospital he works at is several hours away, she can't really offer to drag her kid along at 11:00 at night on Christmas Eve, and the fact that he's just now telling her he isn't going to be there on Christmas Day apparently doesn't start a fight so big that it takes until New Year's to sort out.
|Joanna Kerns, alone at Christmas|
|Jack and his copilot friend only wear|
Hawaiian shirts in Hawaii, obviously
Sure enough, Pam Dawber doesn't find out he's already twice-married until shortly before he dies of a heart attack from all the stress. She's been suspicious that he's cheating on her, but he says she's just imagining it all, and suggests they go to couple's therapy. But when they're in the therapist's office, his beeper goes off (naturally), and while he's out of the room, the therapist suggests that maybe Pam should be 100 percent sure he really isn't cheating before she seeks treatment for paranoia. Well, it turns out that the doctor didn't try any harder than the pilot at hiding his finances--her PI discovers just as easily as the pilot's wife's did that he isn't just her husband.
|We have Pam Dawber's biggest fan,|
MorkandMindy333, to thank for
putting this movie on YouTube
In "Frequent Flyer," it's the first wife who has a heart attack, when the second wife shows her her engagement ring and she realizes there's a third woman. Luckily, it's not fatal, but the third wife finds out about it when the copilot calls her looking for pilot (doesn't he know he has a beeper?), and blabs that he's already married. She shows up at the hospital, and there's a medium-sized confrontation between her, the second wife, and Pilot Jack. She's all, "My father will ruin you!" and slaps him, but it doesn't seem like it hurts that badly. Then the second wife does what can only be described as Frenching him, and says "I knew you were too good to be true." Yeah, a guy who's never around or has any money is pretty great. Too bad you have to leave him when you find out he's a polygamist, lady.
|Pilot Jack Wagner looking forlorn after all his wives who|
aren't unconscious leave him
Frequent Flyer on YouTube
The Man with Three Wives on YouTube