Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big Love for Big Love

I finally had the opportunity a few days ago to watch the series finale of Big Love on HBO.

To fill those of you unfamiliar in, Big Love is a show about poligamy, and it is quietly controversial. I don't remember hearing about any huge outcries over its introduction, for sure, but the subject matter is controversial. While I (clearly) do not endorse poligamy, and would certainly never make the choice for myself, what I appreciated so much about this show is how, at the end of five seasons, I feel like I understood, at least the version of polygamy portrayed here.

And I LOVE that. I LOVE it when a work of fiction gives me a glimpse into something that is elsewise so removed from my life and seems so foreign, even something that makes me uncomfortable or causes an intensely negative initial reaction, and make me understand. This is not to say that I feel that polygamy should be tolerated in cases where young girls are married to men three and four times their age to have chidlren. Just felt I needed a disclaimer, in case it seems that I am heralding wide acceptance of the entire practice of polygamy, because I am not.

But, for the sake of clarity, here is what I loved about the show. HBO has, yet again, proven that through excellent writing, television is high art. Case in point, the character of Margene. She begins this show as a timid, young, immature, and lost soul. Her mother is a neglectful alcoholic, she has no father, and is clearly teeming with a desire for acceptance and love. Throughout five seasons, the change in her is so skillfull, and so subtle. With a combination of masterful acting by Ginnifer Goodwin and awesome writing, Margene transforms into one of the show's strongest, and most reliable, interesting characters. This is amazing writing, and I for one am floored and massively impressed by it.

Let anyone who ever said you can't learn on televesion watch some HBO or Showtime. I am convinced that watching the series on these channels will help me be a better writer, because it is some of the best that exists in our time.


  1. Thank you for sharing why you like this show, Shauna. My son watches it, but I haven't because the subject matter just turns me off. So did Sopranos until one year when I watched it, then watched all the DVDs of it. When I didn't think it was telling me something was right, but just telling me a story about the world.

  2. It's an interesting idea. I was fascinated to see what polygamy looked like in our society, but as it turned out, the wonder wore off quickly and I was left watching a random family drama that really didn't bring much excitement to my tv watching life.I watch Big love Online