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I'm surprised no one has written about this great show yet! I've always
liked HBO's original programming, from Video Jukebox back in the early
80's (before Mtv!), to Taxicab Confessions, OZ, Sopranos, and Six Feet
Under. I really had little interest in watching a show about Mormons
and polygamy in Utah, but I knew HBO would make it interesting. I love
the cast! Bill Paxton is perfectly cast as the lead. He was always an
underrated actor. Same goes with Jeanne Tripplehorn as his first (and
favorite) wife. Chloe Sevigney is almost unrecognizable as the
manipulative second wife, with her long hair and prairie outfits. I
first noticed her in Kids. Newcomer Gennifer Goodwyn is quite good as
the overwhelmed and lonely youngest third wife. She reminds me of a
young Sherilyn Fenn. It doesn't hurt that all of the wives and eldest
daughter are quite attractive!
One would think Bill's character would be envied, but the more we see into his everyday life, the more I say "No thanks!" Imagine dealing with three moody wives and children coming out of the woodwork! Everything has to be written in a daily planner, otherwise things get extremely chaotic. On top of dealing with his huge family, living in three adjacent houses with one back yard, he also has to run a growing chain of Home Depot-type stores, deal with the rest of his oddball family (parents and brother) still living on a polygamist compound run by an evil Harry Dean Stanton who keeps extorting money from Bill and harassing him and his family. Oh, and they also try to keep their polygamy secret from the nosy neighbors, and one of the wives has run up huge credit card debts! Plus almost everyone the family deals with is an over-religious meddler! I also like the relationship with the eldest daughter and her straight laced but good hearted friend, who played Napolean Dynamite's love interest. Overall, I really like this show and hope it becomes as popular as the other great HBO series.
I will admit I didn't think that I would be at all interested in watching a show about polygamy because I find it bizarre and degrading but I was pleasantly surprised by how good this show is. I love the cast. Bill Paxton as "Bill Hendrickson" is the head of this crazy household and he makes you sympathize with him more than criticize him for the lifestyle he chose. His life is so stressful trying to run an expanding business, 3 households, appeasing 3 wives, hiding the fact that he is a polygamist from his neighbors and employees, dealing with the constant stress brought on by a man called the "prophet" who runs the polygamist compound Bill grew up in (his parents still live on this compound)who is trying to extort money out of his business and recently blocked it's expansion,and dealing with the stress that his brother and parents cause(i.e.his father played by Bruce Dern is a complete jerk and loves to pee in Bill's kitchen sink and his mother allegedly poisoned his father). I also love that he has a favorite wife,his 1st and only legal wife played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, because I love her character (she tries hard to be a good wife, mother, and support to the other wives) and the jealousy that the other wives feel make it that much more dramatic. His conniving 2nd wife played by Chloe Sevigny is so much fun to hate, not to mention she is the prophet's daughter and is loyal to him. And Gennifer Goodwin as his young 3rd wife is so cute and lovable. Though this show is chocked full of jealousy and emotion,you really get the sense that this family of 3 wives, 1 husband, and 7 children (with another 1 on the way)really do love each other. They're just having a hard time dealing with the stress that arises from this very unique lifestyle. Each week I wonder if the prophet is going to win his battle with Bill, if one of the wives are going to say forget it and leave, if this family is going to be exposed for what they are (a few characters have gotten close to discovering their secret), or if Bill is going to have a nervous break down. This show is jam packed with good actors and good acting with such interesting plots that you don't get caught up in feeling conflicted over liking this show because you think polygamy is wrong. You get caught up in the chaos that is this family's life and it is so much fun to watch. I highly recommend giving it a shot.
I cannot honestly remember when I enjoyed a television show quite so
much. There are so many well developed characters in this show, yet
there is still so much we do not know about them. We get a few hints
each episode. I love the complex relationships these intriguing
characters are involved in. The plot is intricate and moves at a fast
pace without sacrificing believability.
There are a lot of insider references made to Mormon culture and religion. But you do not have to know a lot about the LDS church to enjoy the show.
Bill and his family live in nice suburban style Salt Lake City neighborhood. In many ways they seem so normal, they make polygamy seem normal. But when the story takes place in the polygamous compound things seem anything but normal. Two sides of polygamy, as different as night and day.
Bill and his family have a difficult time keeping their lifestyle a secret, this creates moral dilemmas as well as making the average nosy neighbor or coworker a very real threat. But Bill's biggest antagonist is Roman, the leader and prophet of the polygamist compound he was raised in.
Bill's wives are very different in about every way. His first wife is really the typical Mormon wife and mom, very down to earth, modestly dressed but fashionable and very kind. His second wife, Nicki, is from the compound. She dresses in the prairie style of the compound, she is very manipulative and self centered. She is the daughter of Roman and her allegiance to her husband is questionable. The third wife, Margie, is the youngest. She is ditsy and insecure. By the way she dresses it appears that she may not be Mormon. She also provides the comic relief for the program.
This show is definitely thought provoking as well as entertaining. I can hardly wait till next season. It is definitely worth catching up on the episodes if you haven't seen it, you won't regret it.
I was curious about this series because I like Paxton, Sevigny and Tina
Majorino in particular, and also Harry Dean Stanton (whom I got to see
play blues at the Mint, in L.A., a couple of years ago - got his
autograph that night as well, which was very cool). I don't agree with
'the principle', but I do like the series.
They've taken a potentially combustible premise and managed to make it charming and almost 'normal' - after a few episodes, it didn't seem odd at all that Bill has more than one wife. I like the interaction between the characters, the women in particular, and the side-story involving Bruce Dern is hilarious and tragic at the same time. They're walking a fine line here, and I would say, after viewing 2 seasons' worth of episodes now, they're pulling it off magnificently.
A friend of mine asked me if I had seen "The show about the guy with
three wives," and I had no clue which show he was talking about. He
told me it was called "Big Love" and I should catch it. Well, now
having watched the first two seasons, I can confidently say this is the
best television show I've seen in years. The polygamy is not even close
to what the show's all about-- even though that part is extremely
First off, Bill Paxton is charged with a tough duty-- he's really the backbone of the show, and he is flawless scene after scene after scene. The same can be said of Tripplehorn, Sevigny and Goodwin. Amanda Seyfriend also really shines in a quiet but emotionally conflicted role as the teenage daughter battling religious self-esteem and monogamy vs polygamy for a life path. Douglas Smith demonstrates great promise as a young actor whose character is in a state of constant awkwardness and whose introverted nature is taken to the backseat when a great personal challenge for him begins to arise in the second season.
The stories are fantastic, with wonderful characters at every level. Harry Dean Stanton as Roman Grant is an absolute masterclass in acting; his tiny, shriveled exterior does nothing to prevent us from fearing his powerful, commanding leadership role as the so-called prophet of the compound.
Boasting plot lines consistently intriguing and aiding in character development rather than mere shock value, it refuses to make overt caricatures out of characters easy to keep one-dimensional. For me personally as an atheist who is fascinated with the study of theology, it's rousing fun to cheer for the polygamist and his loving family. The part that sucks me in the most is definitely the "right" decisions characters make, albeit justified with religious convictions. Don't just "give it a chance"-- watch it and you will love it. It's smart, funny, emotionally impacting and extremely well-written.
When I first saw the ads for this show I said, "huh. Really weird
premise to base a show on. Not to mention towing the line on being
patently offensive. How good can it possibly be?" Well not only is it
good, it's beyond wonderful. This is a series of many layers. It is at
different turns screamingly hilarious, poignant to the point of tears
and thought-provoking. Most of all though, it is just... human.
Think it's easy to be Poly?
How do you satisfy three wives without taking viagra? What are the risks of losing your eyesight - especially if you're taking a teensy bit more than prescribed. Is it really cheating if you're meeting one of the wives on the side in a hotel room without the knowledge of the others? Is the prairie skirt still a fashion statement? Who gets the kids if one of the wives dies? How long will your neighbors believe that your "babysitter" never has a boyfriend and conveniently has a house bordering your backyard? Who controls the money?
This show takes a subject which many of us have often wondered about, polygamy, and looks at both the bad and the good. It turns it around and examines all of the angles. Then very quickly it twists it into a Rubik's Cube of a puzzle and let's us watch a very talented cast including Jeanne Tripplehorn and Bill Paxton as they try to work it out under a very unconventional set of circumstances.
A MUST WATCH of a new series and definitely another home run for HBO!
I find myself rushing to put the kids to bed on Sunday nights so that I can watch all of Big Love without interruption. I love how some of the characters struggle with being a polygamist and come to terms in their own way. Also, Nicki's character is one of those you love to hate. She drives me crazy most weeks with her behavior and then makes me really respect her in others. My experience in life is that most people are this way, where they do really dumb or selfish things majority of the times and then they surprise you with something wonderful, which is why you keep them in your life. Although the main theme of polygamy is not something I deal with in my life a lot of the other issues they face are things that can happen to any of us.
"The Sopranos", "Six feet under", and now "Big Love". Hbo offers us a totally new outlook of family, this time by describing the harsh quotidian of a successful polygamist. The family according to Hbo is always subject of greater afflictions than the regular family. In "The sopranos", the father's profession was the issue (the mafia), in "Six feet under", the father's profession was once again the issue (death itself), and in "Big love", the father chose to live against the rules of society, he chose to be a polygamist and that's a big problem because it takes a lots of responsibilities to have three houses, three wives and plenty of children. Somehow, in all these TV series, everything rotates around the problematic of being a father and in a larger sense HBO talks to us about MORALITY. The way of life of these men is really the main idea. "Big Love" is a really great and profound show. As always, HBO prefers the realistic treatment of his subject rather than the inner and comical sense of polygamy. The cast is unbelievable, and the score is great. In spite of the dramatic aspect of this show, I find it really entertaining. Anyway, if you like HBO's shows, you will love "Big Love".
Yes, it has a nice complexity of characters, who are ever being
revealed to us. Yes, you really don't need to know much about the
Mormons to get this show. But what I really love is how it points out
how very few people in our supposedly "free society" are truly free to
be who they are without fear of judgment, or worse, legal hassles and
entanglements. Little by little, our freedoms have been whittled down
by those among us who think they know best for ALL of us. If you don't
believe me, go find a cancer patient who wants to smoke pot for their
nausea and pain. Go ask the Californian who adores their pet ferrets
but must hide them from the dept of fish and game. Ask the person who
exclusively prefers the company of someone of their own sex yet fears
losing their job if the wrong people find out.
This show is for anyone who enjoys great television, but it is mostly for those of us who know what its like to not be truly free to be who and what we are without fear.
"Big Love" begins as a gripping exploration of a family that attempts
to walk the tightrope between polygamy and normalcy. Bill Paxton stars
as Bill Henrickson, a straitlaced family man with three wives: Barb
(Jeanne Tripplehorn), Marge (Ginnifer Goodwin), and Nicolette (Chloe
Season 1 allows the audience to step inside the Henrickson homes (there are three, right next to one another). We see Bill struggle to please all three wives as he faces problems at work. We see Barb struggle to rise to her duty as "First Wife." We see Marge struggle to find her place in the family. We see Nikki struggle to cling to her conservative roots. At the same time, the show hints at doubts and serious questions concerning Sara and Ben, Barb's children. Season 1 works as a compelling dysfunctional family drama: 10/10 Season 2 doesn't flow quite as well. It picks up just as Season 1 ends, and it doesn't bring much new content to the table. Conflicts with Nikki's father, Roman Grant (Harry Dean Stanton) escalate, which pushes the show out of the house and into Roman's compound. The compound scenes are repetitive and bland, as well as over-the-top. Season 2 gets a 6/10.
Season 3 is a huge step up from Season 2. The show returns more to its roots at the Henrickson household, and it introduces new conflicts of exposure, family ties, and possible expansion. 8/10.
On the whole, "Big Love" is a solid show with one very weak season. It would do best to abandon the compound scenes altogether. Still, each character and performer gets his/her due. Paxton is solid as the patriarch, Tripplehorn shines throughout as the questioning mother, Goodwin shines in Season 2 as she finally gains some responsibility, and Sevigny carries the show in its third season.
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