Big Big Love
Well my new favorite television show after the demise of my beloved Sopranos has to be HBO’s Big Love. I watch very little television these days, but this is a show that I watch each week and do not miss. And it’s been getting better and better.
For those of you who have not been watching the series, the plot revolves around a modern day polygamist, home building supply owner Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton), and his three wives, first wife Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), second wife Nicki (Chloe Sevigny) and third wife Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin). Harry Dean Stanton also plays the role of fundamentalist polygamist prophet, and Nicki’s dad, Roman Grant, exceptionally well.
Their combined family lives in three homes next door to each other in a Utah suburb with an adjoining backyard. Bill alternates each night between wives as he tries to raise his family and live out “The Principle.”
While the unconventional and taboo family structure of Big Love might have drawn people to watch the show initially, it’s the strong writing that makes it worth sticking around for. The show is as much family drama as anything and after a few episodes in you quickly get used to this unconventional family as any other family with their quicks and problems and things to work out.
Of course in the Henrickson’s case this means lying to their neighbors about pregnancies (Margene tells the neighbor that she is a surrogate mother) and not being able to be open outside of their own house or amongst a small circle of polygamist friends about their lifestyle.
Part of their lifestyle revolves around Bill’s drive to succeed as a businessman after having been raised on the polygamist compound, Juniper Hill, run by Roman Grant. Grant has his creepy son Alby (Matt Ross) who keeps popping up every few episodes as well as a runaway child bride Rhonda (Daveigh Chase) who seems to be as much a sociopath as Alby. The reconciliation with Bill’s dark and ugly past of the Roman Grant version of polygamy to a more mainstream but hidden lifestyle of “The Principle” seems to be the central focus of the show.
The supporting characters who form the remaining cast of the show are outstanding. First rate actors who portraty their roles perfectly. Grace Zabriskie as Bill’s mother Lois Henrickson, Joel McKinnon Miller as Bill’s business partner Don Embry, Amanda Seyfried and Douglas Smith as Sarah and Ben, the two oldest Henrickson children dealing with crisis of their own.
Big Love creaters Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer definitely have an outstanding drama on their hands. It’s about the only thing on TV right now that I am excited about waiting for week after week and yet another testament to HBO as being the top place on TV to find quality content these days.
The show is on Monday nights on HBO (or whenever you want to watch it if you have TiVo like me). I think the first season is out on DVD already, but this second season is even much better than the first. I think you can watch the first few episodes of the second season on HBO on demand if you want to pick up the season thus far.