Welcome to Plathville Brings the Drama to GeorgiaBy Yuri S.
TLC’s Welcome to Plathville showcases Barry and Kim Plath and their nine children: Ethan, Hosanna, Micah, Moriah, Lydia, Isaac, Amber, Cassia, and Mercy. While Ethan and Hosanna live elsewhere with their spouses, the rest of the Plath clan reside on a farm in rural Georgia, where they are sheltered from the outside world.
They limit technology and have retreated to their “piece of heaven on earth.” However, even in the middle of nowhere, there is plenty of drama. With plenty of children, their spouses, and clashing personalities, you never know what is going to happen on Welcome to Plathville.
Meet the Plaths
If you haven’t watched Welcome to Plathville on TLC, then you probably have never heard of the Plath family. Barry Plath, a transportation planner, met his wife Kim, a naturopathic “doctor,” in the ’90s, and they married in July 1997. They moved to a farm in rural Georgia and started to grow their family.
Their oldest son Ethan was born a year after they married, and they had nine more children after him. Barry and Kim chose to raise their kids in a fundamentalist household, limiting their access to many technologies and not allowing them to eat sugary foods. However, the strict rules might have backfired.
A Terrible Tragedy
Although the Plaths only talk about nine of their children on the show, they had ten children. Before they were on TV, their son Joshua died in a tragic accident in 2008. Kim was transplanting fruit trees using their Suburban with 17-month-old Joshua in tow. The other kids were playing in the yard.
Kim thought all the kids were accounted for when she pulled forward to get the next tree. However, panic ran through her body when she realized what had happened. She accidentally ran over Joshua, and he sadly passed away. It was a dark time for their family.
She Isn’t on the Show
While the rest of the Plath kids are seen on the show, Hosanna didn’t want to be on TV. She is Barry and Kim’s eldest daughter and she lives in Ohio with her husband. Hosanna isn’t geographically close to her family but has a good relationship with her siblings and parents.
She and her husband married when Hosanna was 19 and moved away to start a family. She wanted to keep her life private, but some believe she follows the fundamentalist lifestyle she grew up with. Hosanna doesn’t have social media, so not much is known about her, and she likes it that way.
She’s the Rebel
When people grow up with strict rules: sometimes they rebel, and that’s what happened with Moriah. She is considered the black sheep of the family because she is opinionated and doesn’t agree with her parents’ views on what a proper lifestyle should be. Moriah also sees the differences between her and her siblings.
She is also the most comfortable on camera because Welcome to Plathville isn’t her first appearance on screen. She was featured in a 2018 short film called You Should Be There, in which she played a troubled daughter who has a strained relationship with her father. It’s not far from her real life.
They Left the Family Home
Micah is one year older than Moriah, and he has dreams of becoming a model. Like Moriah, he doesn’t agree with his parents’ religious lifestyle. Micah wants to do more with his life than live on a farm away from the rest of the world. That’s why he decided to move out.
He and Moriah started renting a house together in Cairo, Georgia, the closest city to the family farm. However, Micah and Moriah aren’t the only ones who don’t live at home. Ethan and his wife Olivia also moved away from his parents.
They Started Their Relationship With Letters
Ethan and his wife, Olivia, have been one of the focal points of the series. They are head over heels for each other. The two first met at a camp for conservative families, and Ethan couldn’t stop thinking about her. Two years later, they started writing letters to each other.
The couple had occasional phone calls but mostly got to know each other through written correspondence. Living in different states wasn’t easy; it prevented Olivia from seeing how restrictive Ethan’s parents were, even when she visited the Plath family home.
Getting Their Parents’ Permission
Olivia also grew up in a conservative household, so she and Ethan had to keep things G-rated. They had to get their parents’ approval before being able to spend time together in person. Olivia spent two weeks in Georgia and realized she and Ethan were “made for each other.”
In 2017, Ethan surprised Olivia by taking her to the garden where they had their first date. He then got down on one knee and told Olivia he couldn’t live without her. A year later, the couple married in Whigham, Georgia.
Their Relationship Changed
Shortly after the couple got married, the relationship between Ethan, Olivia, and his parents started to disintegrate. Kim and Barry didn’t approve of how Ethan and Olivia lived their lives. Olivia also grew up in a conservative household, but it wasn’t as restricted as the Plaths.
In the series premiere, Olivia shared her intentions of breaking away from the Plath’s traditions because she didn’t agree with the fundamentalist movement. In Season 2, things got worse when the Plaths refused to allow the couple to see his siblings without a parental chaperone.
A Source of Tension
Initially, Kim was supportive of Ethan and Olivia’s marriage. Kim was obsessed with Olivia when they first met and encouraged Ethan to date her. However, Olivia’s close relationship with Moriah has caused tension in the family, largely because she was determined to go against the grain.
Olivia took Moriah under her wing, exposing her to new experiences that Barry and Kim didn’t approve of. Kim doesn’t trust Olivia, but she allowed Moriah to travel with Olivia to San Francisco for a work trip. Kim’s disapproval hasn’t gotten in the way of their relationship.
He’s Not Close With His Mom
Due to Kim’s strong opinions about Ethan and Olivia’s marriage, Ethan doesn’t have a relationship with his mom. He said, “She’s selfish, stubborn, and she doesn’t look out for anyone but herself.” Kim is the more controlling parent, and Ethan doesn’t speak to her.
Ethan went as far as saying Kim is the neck that turns Barry’s head. She makes all the decisions and wouldn’t even let Ethan and Olivia say goodbye to his younger siblings without her being present. Ethan and his wife have tried to get away from his family.
They Didn’t Move Far Enough
After getting married, Ethan and Olivia moved into their own home away from the Plath family farm. Unfortunately, they didn’t move far enough because the Plaths moved into a home nearby during Season 2. It added to the family drama seen in the series.
Olivia shared that the show has forced her and Ethan to continue their relationship with his parents. They have tried to cut contact and started looking for a new home in Season 2 that was further away from his family. During Season 4, they officially moved to Tampa, Florida.
They Almost Got a Divorce
During the show’s third season, Olivia and Ethan announced their separation. They started arguing because Olivia wanted to move to Florida, but he wanted to stay in Georgia. She moved out of their home but didn’t move far away because she wanted to work on the marriage.
She wanted Ethan to make his own decisions and choices. By the end of Season 3, the couple reunited and agreed to move to Florida. They are still working on their marriage and recently spent a month in Paris. It’s a work in progress.
Social Media Backlash
When Welcome to Plathville premiered in 2019, it didn’t take long for people to share their opinions on social media. Many TLC fans believe the network has dedicated enough time to showcasing large families with conservative religious views. But that isn’t the only problem.
Viewers were appalled by the way Kim and Barry “socially and emotionally stunted” their children. They created their own world and have tried to keep their children in it. However, fans appreciated Ethan and Olivia’s relationship and separation from the family.
Moriah Found Love
During the Season 2 premiere, Moriah revealed that she had started dating someone. She and Max Kallschmidt met through Marsha Doll, who worked with Micah in modeling. Moriah introduced him to her judgmental parents, and Kim said he was the first boy Moriah brought home.
The young lovers continued their relationship through Season 3, and Max gave Moriah a promise ring. When she talked about moving to Florida with her older brother and sister-in-law, Max seemed ready to move with them. However, the relationship came to a shocking end.
By the beginning of Season 4, Moriah had moved to Florida with Ethan and Olivia, but Max wasn’t with them. Viewers quickly learned that the couple broke up, which weighed heavily on Moriah. She couldn’t leave her room, and the breakup shocked Ethan.
No one understood how they went from exchanging promise rings to ending things. Max later revealed to Micah that he kissed someone else and told Moriah. She ended the relationship because she couldn’t forgive his betrayal. Max understood why Moriah ended things.
It Was Almost Canceled
Despite the backlash, Welcome to Plathville became popular after Season 1, but a second season wasn’t guaranteed. The first season only had six episodes, and it seemed TLC would order another six episodes before committing to a full season. It was a while before anyone knew what would happen.
The Plaths also didn’t share much on social media to let viewers know if the show would return. Luckily, the show came back in late 2020 for Season 2, which consisted of nine episodes. Now the show is in its fourth season.
Lydia Wants to Make Peace
Lydia is the oldest sibling that still lives with her parents. Viewers called her the saint of the family because she is dedicated to getting everyone back together. She takes on many household responsibilities, including cooking, cleaning, and watching her younger siblings.
As the oldest in the house, Lydia is the only one allowed to use the internet (with supervision). She happily sticks to her parents’ strict rules, and it seems she takes on more work than Kim and Barry. However, that wasn’t even the most alarming thing about Lydia’s home life.
A Cry for Help
The Plaths made it clear that they are very religious, but the debut of Lydia’s “prayer closet” caused concern. The little room had notes, prayers, and pictures taped to the walls, making viewers question Kim and Barry’s parenting abilities. But Lydia would go there voluntarily.
One viewer compared the prayer closet to a scene in Carrie, where she is banished to her prayer closet by her crazy mom. Other fans saw Lydia’s retreat to her closet as a cry for help. She was shown begging for help from a higher power.
They Didn’t Have Birth Certificates
There are many bizarre things about the Plath family, but nothing is more concerning than the children’s lack of birth certificates. While Ethan and Hosanna got theirs, the other seven children didn’t have them until recently. Without proper documentation, they couldn’t work, drive, or vote.
However, when TLC approached Kim and Barry in 2017, they needed to properly register their children so they could appear on the show. The lack of birth certificates might have been a way for Kim and Barry to control their children even as they got older.
They Have a Family Band
The Plaths have showcased their many talents on the show, including their singing abilities. The family started their singing career as a family band led by Kim and Barry, producing gospel music. They released several songs together, including one album called The Plath Family Band.
Over the past few seasons of Welcome to Plathville, viewers have seen the Plath family evolve and go on separate paths. Moriah still loves to sing but doesn’t perform with her family. Many of their songs can still be found on YouTube.
Moriah Wants to Be a Musician
Although she doesn’t perform with the family band, Moriah is still interested in having a music career. Since moving out of the family home and finding independence, she has focused her attention on making music, singing to fans on Cameo.
In January 2022, Moriah released a song called “Missed Myself.” Fans speculated that it was about her breakup with Max because of the lyrics, “I let you get the best of me. But that won’t mean you can control who I’ll be.” She revealed she wrote it after leaving Georgia.
Micah Is Busy Modeling
Micah has also used his newfound independence to pursue his dream career in modeling. He signed to Select Model Management and frequently posts pictures from photoshoots on Instagram. However, Micah’s pictures with female models have been a sore subject on the show.
After growing up heavily restricted from dressing and acting how he wanted in his parents’ home, Micah relished the opportunity to do something different. He works hard and wants to make it to the big leagues someday. His strong looks could help him get there.
Ethan Has Regrets
While the show has given the family more opportunities, Ethan regrets agreeing to be on TV. In an interview with People magazine, he said, “I would recommend to anyone being offered a reality show to say no.” But Ethan knows he can’t change the past.
Ethan shared that the show has had a negative impact on some of his most important relationships. But he is using the opportunity to keep working on himself and his relationship with Olivia. Some think the show is the only thing keeping him and Olivia together.
Kim Is Changing
Kim has never been a fan favorite on Welcome to Plathville because of her controlling nature, and it doesn’t help that viewers feel she is jealous of her children. She dedicated most of her life to being a mom and teacher to her children, losing herself along the way.
Since most of her older children have moved out and found freedom, Kim seems angry and envious of them. Her insecure feelings have led Kim to open up a dance studio and work on her physique. Her changes have also been a reaction to her failing marriage.
Headed for Splitsville
The show might be called Welcome to Plathville, but Barry and Kim are headed for splitsville. In the latest season, Barry revealed that Kim had been sleeping on the couch, and it might be too late for them to rekindle their marriage because they announced their separation.
Kim recently moved out, and fans felt she abandoned her family. Barry said he felt left behind and thought his marriage would last forever. While the younger kids will be affected by a divorce, the older children want to stay out of it. Ethan hasn’t talked to his parents since he moved.
Barry Has a New Look
Like Kim, Barry is also going through some changes as their marriage comes to an end. In Moriah’s Father’s Day Instagram post, Barry traded his button-up shirt for a tank top. Some fans criticized him because he made negative comments about Kim’s makeover.
Others feel the separation and changes Barry and Kim are making could lead to healthier relationships within the Plath family. Barry previously let Kim dominate their marriage, but he seems to be doing better now that they live apart.
Standing Up to Her Mom
In a recent episode, Amber, one of the younger girls in the family, shared some harsh thoughts with her mom. The youngest siblings went to Kim’s rental property for a sleepover, and the separation was a hot topic. Amber said Kim played a large role in the separation.
Amber took her father’s side, noting that he had been with the children. Barry has made sure the kids spend time with their mom, but fans were furious that Kim manipulated her children into picking sides. Unfortunately, it backfired because fans are rooting for Barry.
He Feels Alone
Barry recently revealed that he has felt lonely ever since Kim moved out. He was so used to Kim taking control in the family home, and now he has to do everything alone. Barry seemed depressed in a recent episode because he might have to figure out how to be single again.
It doesn’t look like Kim wants to make the relationship work, and Barry called her selfish because he was fighting to keep their marriage intact. Sadly, Barry will have to start coping with being by himself sooner rather than later.
Fans Aren’t Excited for Lydia
Lydia recently announced that she will be releasing a new song this summer. Like Moriah, Lydia has continued with music without the family band. However, fans aren’t excited about her new music because they feel she should get a real job instead of focusing on hobbies.
People also expressed that the stars of Welcome to Plathville aren’t as talented as they think they are. Fans blame Kim for failing to tell Lydia that her singing voice isn’t very good. Others feel Micah is the only one with a shot at lasting fame.
While people have grown to enjoy watching the Plath family over the past four seasons, some feel it is too scripted. Reality shows aren’t always real, but viewers think the dramatic moments seem fake, like the standoff between Ethan and Barry in their driveway.
With Micah adjusting to life in LA, Moriah, Ethan, and Olivia starting over in Florida, and Kim and Barry separating, everyone is doing their own thing. Kim is reverting to her life before she met Barry, and viewers noticed the drama feels forced and inauthentic.
Hesitant to Start a Family
Ethan and Olivia seem to be working on the marriage and making steps towards a better future, but Olivia is still hesitant about starting a family. She doesn’t think they are ready because they still have a lot of things to fix in their relationship.
They both came from large families and have talked about having a few children and adopting more. However, that won’t be for another few years because Olivia thinks they need more therapy. The couple wants their children to have a better childhood than they had.
She Doesn’t Speak to Her Sister
While Ethan’s family has a lot of drama, Olivia has her own family issues. Olivia also left her strict, religious family to find independence, and she no longer speaks to her younger sister, Lydia (not to be confused with Ethan’s sister Lydia).
When her sister planned to do a tell-all interview about their upbringing, Olivia contacted the interviewer to cancel it. She said she no longer spoke to Lydia and wanted to protect her family, who don’t approve of Olivia being on the show. They had a fallout shortly before the show premiered.
Her Brother Joined the Show
Olivia might not speak to her sister, but her brother Nathan recently joined the show. In Season 4, viewers met her brother, who moved in with Ethan, Olivia, and Moriah in Florida. It is the first time Nathan has lived away from his family home, and the move was an “overnight decision.”
Nathan wanted to experience the world like his older sister and get away from their conservative parents. Like Moriah, Nathan is also trying to become a musician. Maybe they should collaborate on some songs.
They Left Their Church
The Plaths might be a very religious family, but Ethan revealed that they do not attend formal services. Kim and Barry “didn’t agree with how a regular church system functioned.” The family band played at Baptist churches, but they aren’t regular churchgoers.
The Welcome to Plathville stars have also been linked to the controversial organization, No Greater Joy Ministries. The organization’s founders were criticized for allegedly putting abusive teachings in their parenting handbooks. It has caused some controversy for the Plaths.
Connection to the Duggars
While the Duggars have faced a lot of backlash over the years, people have drawn similarities between them and the Plaths. Both are large families with conservative beliefs. Although there isn’t evidence that they hang out, the Plaths and Duggars have a mutual connection.
Nurie Rodrigues was in Hosanna’s wedding party in 2019. She was being courted by Anna Duggar’s youngest brother, Nathan Keller, at the time of Hosanna’s wedding. The Rodrigues family posted a photo of Hosanna and Nurie from the wedding, saying Nurie had caught the bouquet.
Even without the help of editing, Olivia’s relationship with Kim and Barry is bad. During the Season 1 finale, Moriah told her parents that Olivia had bought her a ticket to Minnesota to help with a photo shoot. Moriah explained that it was a one-way ticket.
Kim and Barry were shocked, and Olivia received criticism for purchasing a plane ticket behind their backs. However, Olivia said fans shouldn’t believe everything they see on TV. She said she had their permission to buy the ticket and would never purchase a secret ticket for a minor.
Manipulated on to the Show
With all the drama surrounding Olivia and her in-laws in the first season, many wondered why she would want to be part of the reality series in the first place. Olivia shared that she felt forced to appear on the show.
In a 2019 Instagram post, Olivia wrote, “I made many mistakes during the filming of the show (the first one being allowing myself to be manipulated into doing it by family). But until you’ve dealt with narcissist behavior, you have no idea how hard it is to protect yourself.”
Not the Middle of Nowhere
Welcome to Plathville’s premise centered on Kim and Barry living on their 50-acre farm in rural Georgia with seven of their nine children, whom they raised away from technology, modern media, and most of society. However, the Plaths don’t live in the middle of nowhere.
When Season 1 aired, their farm was listed as an Airbnb rental, and they resided in a large home in Cairo, Georgia. Their home was close to shops and restaurants. It seems they aren’t as detached from society as they would like viewers to think.
Concern for the Youngest Children
Although the older children have broken away from their parents, Lydia, Isaac, Amber, Cassia, and Mercy still live at home. Education has never been a top priority in the Plath household, with Kim homeschooling the children before starting her dance studio.
Now that she is out of the house and busy with her new business, Lydia has been left to homeschool her younger siblings. Isaac works 40-hour weeks, and the girls are left to do whatever until they have an hour of school with Lydia during lunch. Viewers hope child services gets involved.