Thursday, January 14, 2010

Anybody watch Big Love?

It's a beautiful winter day here in Western New York - Temperatures were in the 20's early this morning, there's a definite wind chill but nothing too terrible, snow is on the ground, and the sky is cloudless and clear. It's really, really pretty outside. A good day to be cozily sipping tea inside. I went out for a short walk in my new Storm Chasers, but was happy to come back inside and warm up. My to-do list is coming along; could be better, could be worse. We have a 3 day weekend approaching, and even though I could really use that day to work, I'm embracing the time off. I need a break. I have bellydance Friday night; Mike and I may rent Julie and Julia Saturday night; Big Love is on Sunday night, and Monday Hank and I may go out to lunch with my mom.

So, Big Love... anybody else watch this? I really like this show. I originally got hooked on it via DVD from the library. We didn't subscribe to HBO, so a friend actually taped them for me to watch last season. This year, we have 3 free months of HBO due to upgrading our Internet package through Verizon FIOS, so score. The season premiere was on last Sunday.

I have a definite affinity for shows and movies with a religious theme, even if they aren't Catholic. Now granted, Big Love is pretty untraditional in this way - it's based on a family of practicing polygamists. One of the things that I like about the show is that it decidedly does *not* glorify polygamy - in fact, it shows very clearly how unrealistic it is for one man to fulfill the emotional, physical, spiritual and financial needs of so many women and children.

In a nut shell - the show centers around a husband, Bill Paxton, who was raised on an FLDS compound. He was ejected from the community as a young man by the prophet. The reasoning seems to surround the older men in the community not wanting competition from the young bucks for the women. He owns a local chain of hardware stores, and lives in suburban Utah. He cut ties with the FLDS, but has still managed to accumulate 3 wives:

Barb (Jeanne Triplehorn)- his first wife. They were married in a traditional Mormon ceremony 12 years ago and have 3 children together. She was a devout member of the LDS church. They had a monogamous marriage until Barb fell ill with cancer. They befriended a woman from the FLDS compound who nursed Barb back to health, leading to...

Nikki (Chloe Sevigny) - the second wife. A devout believer in plural marriage as the way to eternal life in the kingdom. Dresses in traditional FLDS garb, and is the least flexible, but by far the funniest, of the bunch; her father is the prophet. Has 2 little boys with Bill.

Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin) - the third wife. Youngest of the bunch, used to be the babysitter. Raised in a dysfunctional household devoid of religious faith. Seems to enjoy polygamy because she acquired a large family in the mix. She has 3 young children with Bill.

At the end of last season, there was a plot line about Barb being officially ex-communicated from the LDS church because she was discovered as a polygamist. This broke her heart, and she confided to Bill that she missed having a church home. Finally, they addressed something that I had always found odd about the show - the family does not attend religious services of any kind. Bill started his own church (sigh) but in terms of fictional drama, I enjoy that they are finally showing the family as belonging to a community of fellow believers.

Like I said, I see this as a "religious" show. Granted, an adult, dramatic quasi-religious show, but I enjoy it all the same. If your local public library has the first 3 seasons on DVD, I recommend checking them out.

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