January 10, 2010

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HBO's Big Love returns tonight and if you haven't seen it, the show is a blast. It's the show that the Mormon church never wanted hitting the airwaves. It takes place in Utah and focuses on Bill Paxon's independent polygamist family structure as well as their ties to the polygamist cult called UEB in Juniper Creek. He's a successful businessman with three wives and eight kids and they live in fear that the LDS will catch them violating the ban on polygamy. One of his wives is the daughter of the "prophet" from the fundamentalist cult that he was once part of but had been kicked out of because the leader feared him as a possible future "leader' of the cult.

In a NY Times article about the show back in 2006:

"The pro-polygamists think it's too dark," Mr. Olsen said. "The anti-polygamists don't think it's dark enough. I think we've split the baby down the middle." The men said they spent almost three years researching the show, talking to experts and reading everything from sociological tracts to official Mormon records.

Mr. Scheffer said future episodes would explore some of the darker aspects of polygamy, like the abuses of patriarchy. There are already hints in the early episodes: Roman has at least one teenage bride.

The show also exposes teachings and history of the Mormon church that the church would rather not see put on public display and was especially not happy that a "Temple" scene was included in last years finale.

Here's a wrap up of season 3.

The acting is off the charts great with very good story lines that keep you engaged week to week. I'm not trying to analyze it for you from the point of view that it either makes polygamy seem more normal or less normal or that the Mormon religion is bizarre or typical of religion in general, but that the writers have plenty of material to work with to produce a very entertaining series. The rest is up to you.

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