You Should Give Big Love Another Chance

Many people watched the first couple episodes of Big Love and decided it wasn't for them. But, based especially on the third season's first four episodes, those folks should rent the DVDs and play catch-up.

I understand why some people might have been turned off by the show initially. I sort of was too. The characters and the actors were grating—too-perky Ginnifer Goodwin, nerve-jangling Chloe Sevigny, drawling dummy Bill Paxton. Plus the situation—not-as-scary-as-it-could be polygamy in the leafy suburbs of Salt Lake—is so jarringly unfamiliar and unsympathetic (they're so religious!). But if you just power on through the first six or so episodes of the first season, you'll eventually be rewarded with a deep appreciation for all of the strange characters that populate the show (and the actors, too, especially Jeanne Tripplehorn as sad, lost first wife Barb, Mary Kay Place as a crazed fundie, and Grace Zabriskie as a Mormon Violet Weston) and for how their experiences, while couched in strange circumstances, are, in fact, pretty universal. You'll like it, I promise.

And then you'll zip through the HBO series' thrill-ride second season—all about the lurching horrors of a fundamentalist polygamist compound—and then arrive at the third season. Which has thus far been seriously artfully done; meditative and somber (that music!), possessed of the kind of quiet existential angst that was The Sopranos at its best.

And look at the sorta-sexy, mostly-scary plotlines that have yet to be resolved:

  • What's to become of Frankie, the towheaded young half-brother of Bill (Paxton), who was kicked off the compound by Bill and Frankie's terrible father? He's totally going to sleep with Heather, right?
  • And what about Ben and Margene's attraction to each other? Something is definitely going to happen with that.
  • Someone, at some point, will explicitly find out about Alby, right?
  • Rhonda: scariest character ever. Hopefully she's not done.

Nothing there is really a spoiler, don't worry. Really you should watch. It's one of the best shows on TV—surprising, stirring, frightening, and has just enough gonzo black humor to be pretty funny, too.

Watch it. You'll love it! Um, big time!