Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Big Love = Big Let Down

Why am I reviewing a TV show only people with a subscription can watch, when I've never reviewed anything before?

Because, frankly, I have nothing else to blog about.  You may have noticed its been quiet around here lately.  No excuses, just quiet.

If you haven't seen, or heard of it (if so, why are you still reading) Big Love was an HBO television series about a polygamist family and the struggles that come with "practicing the principle of plural marriage."   Not strictly Mormon, they followed the teachings of Mormon founder Joseph Smith to the letter, especially the one that said a man had a celestial obligation to have more than one wife. 

Bill Henrickson was the head of the family, the priesthood holder, which is their way of saying he made the rules because he had a cosmic hot-line to the Heavenly Father.  He had three wives and between them, lots of kids.  During the five seasons of Big Love, we saw the Henrickson clan fight moral battles against both the foes and proponents of plural marriage, the latter being the nuts from a town called Juniper Creek, based on the real life town of Colorado City, Arizona, where I have visited.  The former included regular Mormons (the Henricksons live in Utah, for goodness sakes) like their neighbors Pam and Carl.  Pam is the BFF to Bill's third wife Margene, while Carl resents everything Bill and his family stand for, fearing Margene's influence on Pam.

Bill owns a successful home improvement store, but increasingly branches out to diversify.  The problem is he keeps getting involved in more and more public enterprises, always putting his family in jeopardy, since polygamy is all illegal and stuff.  Well, Bill finally goes over the deep end when he gets elected to the Utah state senate, announces he is a polygamist and vows to end the persecution of polygs.

Things go downhill from there.  The stores start losing business.  Bill's kids get beat up at school and his marriage(s) suffer(s).  When it is revealed that his third wife was only 16 when he married her, he faces charges of statutory rape, expulsion from the Senate and the goofballs from Juniper Creek come gunning for him, literally.

Still with me?

Good, cause that was all setup for this. 

Okay, Spoiler Alert

With all this looming over their heads, the producers of Big Love had a pretty tall order to wrap everything up Sunday night.  Would Bill go to jail?  Would the prophet of Juniper Creek send Bill to an early meeting with Heavenly Father?  Would the marriage survive?  Would he get impeached? 

No to all of the above.

In the end, they avoided everything by having Carl the neighbor, who had been in all of like, two scenes the entire series, and who's previous claim to fame was being Jerry Seinfeld's pool guy, Ramon, shoot Bill because he was mad that Bill took it upon himself to re-sod Carl's lawn while he was out of town.

Major cop-out.  Great writers know how to get their hero out of a jam.  And while a lot of other reviews have praised this ending as brilliant, I call foul.  Yeah, yeah...nice little epilogue at the end with the family still together, the Sister Wives having bonded stronger than ever in the wake of Bill's death, but come on!  Carl!?!  Or should I say, Ramon the pool guy?  After all the great villains this show has produced over the years to have such a nobody off our hero leaves me still asking why all these days later.

Anyway Big Love is over and I'm not having withdrawals, so I guess, from that standpoint, it ended well.  Seinfeld said you should always leave them wanting more, but I don't think he meant more Ramon.

That's it for me!


Raquel Byrnes said...

I tend to have that problem with Stephen King novels when he elects to end his stories by simply blowing everyone up. Happens to the best of us I guess.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Sierra Gardner said...

As a point of clarification, Joseph Smith said that marriage was essential to exaltation, but not that it was necessary for a man to have more than one wife =) I've never watched Big Love but from your synopsis, I'm inclined to agree that they could have wrapped it up a little better. I've definitely seen other TV shows do the same thing and been disappointed.

Liz said...

The only reason I watched this last season was because it was the last season. I was kind of done with it.

But as for Carl--he was more of a character in earlier seasons, and you could see him coming unhinged. Disappointing? Maybe. But it didn't bother me all that much.

I'm just glad it's over.

Chris Phillips said...

I never watched it. Lost to me still has the most disappointing ending ever though.

Kari Marie said...

I'm catching up on blogs tonight. My husband and I watched Big Love. It was one of our favorite shows. IMO, the whole last season was depressing. The family spiraled out of control endlessly and I kept wondering when the characters were going to catch a break.

Then the crazy ending. My husband is still talking about it. He's incredulous. Personally, it didn't bother me. Probably because I was already so annoyed. For my husband the death seemed senseless. Like something you hear about on the news and shake your head about. Maybe that's why it still sticks with him.