The Curtain: By Zack Sampsel
Television Review: Big Love (HBO)
HBO's Big Love provides big entertainment

Created By: Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer

Always known for cutting-edge television shows and discussion of all topics taboo, HBO delivers another show in the same mold: Big Love.

Big Love
centers on Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) a polygamist living in Salt
Lake City with three wives. Henrickson is the successful owner of a
home improvement store. While Bill is successful businessman, his home
life is less than simple.

Bill Henrickson and his family of three

wives and seven children sits down to

 a family dinner.

(Photo courtesy HBO.com)

Because Bill has three wives,
Barb, Nicky and Margene (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny
and Ginnifer Goodwin, respectively) his stress levels never cease. Most
of his stress is generated by obvious problems such as, how to balance
his time with each wife or keeping his polygamist lifestyle a secret.
Bill must also deal with his down-on-their-luck parents who stay at the
Juniper Creek Compound commonly referred to as The Ranch.

the first episode we meet more than 10 characters. The introduction of
all these characters is interesting and they seem well written,
although it may be tough for some viewers to remember all their names
and their relationships to one another.

After the introduction
of Bill's three wives and seven children, he gets a call from his
mother explaining his father is sick, but she refuses to take him to
the hospital. Bill elects to handle the situation and head to The
Ranch. He finds his father sick on the floor foaming at the mouth like
a rabid dog. While getting his father to the car to drive to the
hospital Bill runs into Roman Grant (Harry Dean Stanton) who is the
leader of The Ranch and the father of Bill's wife Nicky.

arise as Roman tells Bill he wants a percentage of the revenue from his
newly-opened store – Roman financed most of the first store. After this
encounter, it's easy to see most of the complications from the series
will involve Grant and his diabolical business practices.

any show to be interesting, viewers must be able to like and enjoy some
of the characters. If Bill and his wives don't seem compelling enough
for you, it may be easy to find solace in his oldest daughter Sarah
(Amanda Seyfried). Sarah works at a local fast-food restaurant and
seems to be the only character with beliefs differing from her
polygamist family.

Big Love does an excellent job of developing its characters and providing appealing story lines each week. Although Big Love
would be considered a drama, it presents a world so unfamiliar viewers
will continue to tune in to piece together this polygamist puzzle.

Big Love airs on HBO East at 10 p.m. EST/PT.

© Zack Sampsel 2006