Big Love: Pilot
After having been transfixed by last night's episode of The Sopranos, I was pretty much in the mindset that anything following the show would be a tremendous letdown. Well, the premier episode of Big Love certainly did not come remotely close to The Sopranos, but I was still rather intrigued by what I saw.
Now we all have to remind ourselves that when we watch anything on TV, we have to accept dramatic (or comedic) license and have to suspend reality. In the case of Big Love, you're going to have to kick reality out of your house. When you watch this program, you have to constantly remind yourself that this isn't real--at least you don't think it is. It's hard to believe in this day and age that polygamy still exists, and in this particular case, that it seems almost normal.
Bill Henrickson owns a chain of home improvement stores, and he is doing his best to keep his own house in order.
Make that three houses in order, because he has three wives--Barb, Nicki, and Margene--and seven children who all live
together in a trio of houses joined by a common backyard. It doesn't take long to see who among the three wives seems
to yield more of the power. Barb aka "Boss Lady" pretty much runs the entire show, and comes across as the
most logical wife of the bunch. Nicki seems to be the most unstable (if you can believe that) of them all, constantly
seeking out attention and making her jealousy over Barb rather obvious. Margene, the youngest wife, trips over herself
to get Bill's attention, and is ready to satisfy him at every opportunity. Bill manages to move from house to house to
house to wife to wife to wife to family to family to family without much effort. Just picture a typically dysfunctional
American family and multiply it by three.
Bill is on the verge of opening a new store when his estranged brother calls him and says that their father is terribly ill and that he needs to come up to "the commune" right away. Then we follow Bill, Barb, and Nicki up to a remote area in Utah where a number of people live together in this ramshackle commune where religion and polygamy abound. After learning that Margene can't seem to run a house for even a day, a 14-year-old girl marries an older man, and that Bill's mother may be poisoning his father, your head starts to spin like a centrifuge.
I wasn't quite sure what to make of Big Love. The acting was good and the dialogue was snappy and to the point. However, I felt incredibly weird after watching it, sort of the same way I felt after watching The Book of Daniel when it was on NBC. Are the writers and producers trying to shock the audience first and somehow develop a story around it? That approach hasn't worked before, and it's doubtful if it will ever work. The disclaimer at the end of the show said the Mormon Church has disavowed the practice of polygamy, but in modern day America, does this type of culture still exist?
I'll tune in next week for the curiousity factor alone, but if we're going to be subjected to multiple storylines that don't go anywhere and are only intended to shock viewers, then I may not stick around for too long. We'll see what happens next Sunday.