Below, an interview with the creators encompass an interesting and (to some Latter-day Saints) an uncomfortable mix of issues -- including Polygamy, feminism, patriarchy, gay marriage, family values and more.
Excerpts of 'Big Love's Creators Deconstruct The Show's Finale, from NPR's Fresh Air (Spoiler Alert!! - don't read on if you want to be surprised by the season finale ending)
For five seasons, HBO's Big Love has chronicled the lives of polygamist Bill Henrickson, ... and his three wives, Nicki, Barb and Margie.
"We didn't want Bill to go out a loser or a failure or an unrepentant fundamentalist. And we wanted to find that thing that would render his life's existence the most successful. We felt [that] the greatest testimony to Bill would be that he had created a family that endured."
Surely enough, after Bill's death, his three wives — who'd slowly become more independent as the season progressed — decide to stay together. The closeness of the three widows, says Scheffer, was something Big Love's writers really wanted to highlight.
"The big secret of the show is that it's always been a feminist show," he says. "And even though it was dramatizing this very patriarchal system in some ways, the opportunities that women found — particularly in this very abusive system — to support each other was what drew us to the material in the first place, and gave us reason to want to explore it. ... We felt that there were opportunities for women to find support in one another."
Olsen and Scheffer, who've been a couple 20 years, hit upon the idea of exploring the dynamics of a polygamous family shortly after the second inauguration of President George W. Bush. They say they were offended by campaign-season rhetoric about what makes a family and wanted to show that any family can embody "the idea of family values." That's partially why their fictional family continued to remain together, in spite of all of the drama going on around them.
"Every time there's a whiff of discord in the family, [people think] 'they're going to bail. This one's going to bail,' " Olsen says. "And Will and I have never looked at it like that. We've never played the 'who's going to leave the marriage' game, because I think we have a firm belief that you stick it out — that marriage is worth sticking out."
It's a philosophy that guides the two men in their own marriage, Scheffer says, particularly now that they've created a show — and worked together every single day.
"It's been good for us," he says. "I think it's forged us. I don't think we'd be the couple we are had we not had this experience together."
"It's not for the faint of heart," chimes in Olsen. "You better have your ducks in a row before you enter into it."
Interview HighlightsOn the sanctity of marriage ....
Contine the article here, or listen to the entire piece here.
More can be read about Big Love here