Monday, October 02, 2006

Three's Company

Three's Company
A TV show about one man's disparate housewives

Posted Wednesday, Nov. 09, 2005
The makers of HBO's Big Love, about a Utah man with three wives, say
their drama is about the strains and compromises of family--times
three. And sure, you want to know about that. But mainly you want to
know: How does he ... you know ... ?

The answer: Viagra. Lots of it. But stamina is only one problem that
Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) has. He keeps his wives Barb, Margene
and Nicki (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ginnifer Goodwin and Chlo=EB Sevigny) in
adjacent houses, where they run the extended household jointly but
harbor simmering jealousies. ("Officially," he tells Margene when she
asks if he missed her, "I miss you guys all the same.") He has to keep
the arrangement semisecret because polygamy is illegal in Utah and
banned by the mainstream Mormon Church, or Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints (LDS). Oh, and one of his fathers-in-law (Harry Dean
Stanton), the patriarch of a fundamentalist polygamist compound, is
shaking him down for a cut of his hardware business. The Osmond family
these Utahans ain't.

For a network as blue-state-oriented as HBO (each of its current
sitcoms, for instance, is about show business), Big Love is a
surprising detour to the reddest of the red states. In the drama,
which debuts in summer 2006, characters declare their faith as easily
as those on Deadwood swear. Co-creators Mark V. Olsen and Will
Scheffer, neither of whom is Mormon, say they were interested in the
conflict within Bill, who came from a polygamist compound but now
lives in the mainstream suburbs of Salt Lake City. The
fundamentalists, says Olsen, see the LDS Church "as sellouts and
apostates." Mainstream Mormons, he adds, "wish the compounds would go

Some of them feel the same about Big Love. The church banned polygamy
in 1890 and regards it as a source of wife and child abuse. The church
is concerned, says spokesman Michael R. Otterson, about the show's
"making polygamy the subject of entertainment." But Scheffer says,
"This show is not really about polygamy, in the same way that The
Sopranos is not really about the Mob." Except that Tony Soprano only
has one family at home--to handle three, that takes real guts. And a
little blue pill.

From the Oct. 24, 2005 issue of TIME magazine

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