Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Has “Big Love” Nuked the Fridge?

I know this is a slightly off topic since “Big Love” is a TV series. But it’ll be on DVD soon enough. Season 4 ended last Sunday on HBO and I have just one question: What happened? “Big Love” has always been a bit out there. This season they went way out there.

For the uninitiated, “Big Love” revolves around the lives of polygamist Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) and his three wives, Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn) , Nicki (Chloé Sevigny) and Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin), who hide in plain sight in a Salt Lake City suburb. Meanwhile, characters from the benign to the creepy, including Roman Grant (Harry Dean Stanton), the leader of Juniper Creek, the polygamist colony where Bill grew up, and Bill’s father (Bruce Dern), threaten to expose the family. Those outside forces and the domestic politics between the three “sister wives” have been the show’s driving force. But this season, the plot lines seem to be ripped from the headlines of the National Enquirer.

Here’s the brief summary: The fundamentalist Henrickson family is now a partner in an Indian casino with Barb running it. Bill himself is running for a seat on the Utah state legislature. Ex-wife Ana (Branka Katic) is pregnant with Bill’s child, while Margene is in a sham marriage with Anna’s husband, Goran (Steve Bacic), to save him from deportation. Roman Grant, now dead, is taunting son Alby (Matt Ross), whose sanity is slipping away after his gay lover, Dale (Benjamin Koldyke), commits suicide. Nicki, Roman’s daughter and the oddball of Bill’s wives, takes the opposite tack by trying to be more normal, even jettisoning her “Annie Oakley” wardrobe in an attempt to mainstream herself. Nicki’s ex-husband, J.J. Walker (Zeljko Ivanek), is involved in a plot to use IVF to incestuously impregnate his wives. And these are just the highlights There are more (and even more confusing) plot detours in the mix. And when the season finally comes to a close, Bill, while addressing his political supporters, publically comes out as a polygamist, contradicting everything he and his family been doing for the last three seasons.

The producers did everything short of having Bill strap on a helmet and fill up the shark tank. I’m really not sure where the Henricksons go from here. My fear is that next season they’ll introduce special guest sister wives like Charo and Betty White. My hope is that Pamela Ewing (Victoria Principal) will wake up and realize it was all just a very bad dream.

“Big Love” Season 4

Released: 2010

Rating: TV-MA

Length: 90 minutes

Cast: Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amanda Seyfried, Douglas Smith, Grace Zabriskie, Matt Ross, Harry Dean Stanton, Bruce Dern, Aaron Paul

Directors: Dan Attias, Adam Davidson, David Petrarca, David Knoller

Genre(s): Drama, Romance, Family

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