Tuesday, March 9, 2010

big love: the outing


For all that the show is controversial and however many ways that it pushes my buttons, I love Big Love, probably for those very reasons. The show simultaneously challenges and validates my preconceived conceptions of polygamy, forcing me to re-evaluate the pros and cons of the practice.

The feminist in me cringes over the patriarchal megalomania of the family power structure but that said, I find something oddly compelling (albeit frustrating) about the bond created between the wives. Spoiler Alert! At the end of this season’s finale, Barb announces that she doesn’t need Bill anymore and we see her walk away claiming that she wants a different life. But then she goes to see her wives and something changes. We expect a big reveal, but instead she watches Margene cut Nicky’s hair and remains silent. I was left feeling as if she’s ready to walk away from Bill, but not her wives. Barb’s struggle with polygamy is absolutely fascinating to me within this show. I both pity and rally for her. I hate her and love her for being so strong and so weak.

It’s rare that a show can tie me into so many intellectual and philosophical knots. I mean, this season has gone too far, really. But on the other hand… well I just can’t wait to see what open polygamy will mean for this family! Is it odd that part of me hates the idea of polygamy but that I am rooting for the Henricksons?

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