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September 4, 2015

Big Love: A Barbecue for Betty

by Michael Sciannamea, posted May 8th 2006 9:58AM

Nicki looking paranoid(S01E09) Paranoia. Deceit. Anger. Seems like just another "normal" day in the Henrickson household(s). Nicki finally tells Bill about her massive credit card debt, but chooses to do it after she and her husband have sex. (I guess breaking bad news to your partner after great sex doesn't make it easier to take,)

Bill obviously is pissed off, especially since he and his tormentor Roman Grant have come to some sort of agreement to settle their financial dispute and fresh on the heels of a big deal to open a third Henrickson's Home Plus store (which he later loses out on). Nicki fears that she will be thrown out of the house, and Bill's attitude toward her plays on her paranoia.

Bill's friend, business partner, and fellow polygamist Don Embry is ready to take on wife number 4, and the Henrickson's decide to have a lavish barbecure for the future Betty Embry. Bill spends thousands of bucks on lobsters imported from Maine for the occasion (they eat lobster in Utah?), but later the plans are dashed when Don's three wives blackball Betty and vote her down. Margene has been acting paranoid about the vote for her to join the Henrickson family, and learned that she "won" by a 2-1 majority. She is constantly freaking out over who voted against her, and she can certainly relate to Betty.

Bill comes to the realization that even though in his type of family "dynamic" he is supposed to be lord and master, there are many things he is not aware of which makes him say "I feel like a stranger in my own home." His daughter Sarah, responding to his indignation over her not telling him about a father-daughter event, calls him out for his own web of deceit regarding his three wives which leaves him stone cold silent.

The incredibly nosy neighbors across the street who have been all over Margene then unexpectedly set her up with "Chad," who comes across as quite forward and nerdy at the same time. After one "date" he brings her flowers and tells her that she is the one for him. (Just what exactly is in the milk out there?) Sooner or later Margene's relationship with them is going to result in a very uncomfortable situation. In addition, she later learns that Nicki was the one who voted against her, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that their relationship, tenuous at best, is certain to deteriorate with time.

It seems that Bill is losing control, and to top it off, he can't even throw out the garbage in his own store's garbage dump and eventually leaves it at the ill-fated store site. Even after he reassures Nicki that things will be OK after she runs away for a night, things are not going in the right direction for Bill. Plus, we only say Roman Grant for only a couple of fleeting moments, and suffice to say his battle with Bill is not over by a long shot.

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chad is so lame.

and re: nikki, no character on tv currently annoys me the way she does

May 19 2006 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Margene is "married" to Bill but not legally. She would be free to leave The Family, and marry Chad, who gives her positive reinforcement, which the Family does not! Niki is another matter. I think she would resist any attempts to kick her out of the family unit. Barb was right when she said that Bill needs to slow things down with the expansion. Bill thinks it is divine will that he open a 3rd store, but obviously he is very ambitious and gets angry when his own will is blocked.

May 11 2006 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
susan smith

for some reason i'm wondering if it was really Niki that voted NO.... or was it Barb?? sure Niki wants Margene to think it's her. (she does love to be the most deceitful and she loves every minute. after all she is supposedly trying to have a baby but is still taking the pill.) but by the look on Barbs face sometimes i wonder if she really ever wanted any of this at all. they may have gotten "stuck" with Niki due to circumstance but that may be all Barb could deal with and Margene coming in would acually benefit Niki,because she can easily manipulate and control her.

May 10 2006 at 8:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

After last episode, I do thought Roman was over and done with, but as this week's latest episode revealed, that is far from over. I find every fresh episode so exiciting! I worry about how Margene is going to deal with both Chad's eagerness to have her, and her neighbour's eagerness to set her up. I mean how you can explain to both of them that your already married! I think it's sad though, because this guy seems really sweet, and honestly I think she'd be better off with him then in this three way of nothing but complication and deceit. Honestly, Margene is my favorite character.

May 10 2006 at 2:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When I saw the hotel bill that Nicki pulled out (along with the sly smile), I thought that maybe her and Bill had make-up sex in a hotel room after he met her at the mall. And that maybe this charade was done partly because she wanted Bill's focus to be on her, rather than on Barb.

May 09 2006 at 2:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Don Wilson

Technically, Bill said "I feel like a stranger in my own homes" (not home), which made te sentence unique to it's show.

May 08 2006 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We've known from the start that Nicki is manipulative, but there has been, in my opinion, a sense that she has genuine affection for Bill, the other wives and the children (e.g. the way she protected the families from Albie at the end of "Affair"). However, last night I think she turned a corner and we, sadly, will be unable to recover any sense that she is capable of goodness.

I have liked the bad girl/good girl tightrope that she had been walking all season, but last night she and Roman were inexorably linked by the close up shots of their faces after having each attained some personal triumph over Bill and/or his family (Roman's after talking to Bill at the store and Nicki's after looking at the Fairfield Inn bill at the end of the episode). The parallel was intentional and something that Nicki will not overcome.

Chloe Sevigny is such a brilliant actor, she's playing the role perfectly. I had hoped for some redeeming qualities that would endear Nicki to the audience in spite of her faults. But, after this episode, I fear that Nicki's (and as a result, Chloe's) time with the show will be relatively short lived.

May 08 2006 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


It's been slow to be revealed, but so far the audience s beng led to beleive that Bill didn't have much choice into getting in bed with Roman. It seems that somehow he needed something from Roman (money?) in order for Barb to beat cancer. Nikki was part of the package.

Also, Chris, Nicki's reciept was actually from a Farfield Inn, which is a Marriott product. The Marriott family are Mormon and very involved in the church. Every Marriott has a Book of Mormon either in place of or in addition to a standard Christian Bible.

I love how Nicki was able to manipulate her way out of Bill's "doghouse" -- what a great character!

May 08 2006 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Kata

Bill actually says, "I feel like a stranger in my own homes."

May 08 2006 at 1:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris McMahon

Nikki didn't go to a shelter, she pulled out a receipt for a Radison Hotel & Suites at the end of the show

May 08 2006 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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