Does anyone here watch Big Love, HBO's series about a polygamist family? I heard some press when the show first came on. I don't have HBO so I didn't pay much attention. I noticed the series was available at Blockbuster, so I rented it just out of curiosity. It's very interesting and I would like to know what others think of this show.
The premise of the show is simple, according to the show's web site (www.hbo.com/biglove): they're just another American family trying to live the American dream, struggling to balance the needs of seven kids, three wives, three separate houses and one husband-in-chief. Bill Paxton does a great acting job playing Bill Hendrickson, the husband-in-chief. He and his family(ies) live in suburban Utah in a nice neighborhood. He owns a growing hardware chain and is concerned that one of his in-laws may "out" his family, which he fears would destroy his business.
Big Love shows two very different sides of polygamy. One side is the Hendricksons and their friends. The other side is seen through the parents of Bill's second wive, Nikki. She comes from a very traditional polygamist background where most members of the sect live up in the mountains on a compound.
The wives are played by Jeanne Tripplehorn (you'll recognize her as Tom Hank's wife in "The Firm"), Chloe Sevingy (who was nominated for an Best Supporting Actress nod for "Boys Don't Cry") and Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays the youngest wife. She was the babysitter before she married into the family. These actresses all deliver, in my opinion, Emmy-worthy performances. Some of the co-stars, like the first wife's sister, overact a big. Taken in whole, the ensemble is good. It is a drama with very little humor. HBO has ordered a second season.
This show is a bit different than most polygamist cases that make the news. First, they are living in modern America. The houses are next to each other and share a backyard circled by a huge privacy fence. It proves very difficult to keep their secret. One of the neighbors has caught on and is starting a neighborhood watch. (She first gets tipped off when the second wife's family comes down from the mountain for a son's birthday party...all the women look like they've stepped out of "Little House on the Prarie.") Another difference is that the man works and makes enough money to support all three families. In most cases I've seen on the news and in documentaries, the women work and the men stay home. The children in these families attend public school. They don't attend church except at home as the LDS (Morman) church condemns polygamy. One of the children is baptised in the family pool.
What fascinates me about this is the relationship between the sister wives. I can't imagine sharing my husband, my kids, everything I own, with two other women. Perhaps I'm too selfish. Since this is an open and somewhat anonymous forum, I wonder if anyone out there is part of a polygamist family? Have you seen the show? How does it compare with real life?