A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main character in this edgy polygamy drama has three different families with three different wives -- but even with all of those families, very little in the show is appropriate for kids. Instead of focusing on how one man juggles three families, it focuses on how he satisfies his three wives. Everything else -- his job, his kids -- is less important. It's important to note that although this show is about polygamy, the characters are not Mormons.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
HBO has made its bread and butter through its slate of quirky original series, and BIG LOVE is no exception. Unassuming, mild-mannered Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) owns a Home Depot-type store and maintains three wives in three adjacent homes that share a giant backyard. And that's not all -- they also share the ups and downs of a poly-amorous life. But the viewer is left without enough insight as to why four adults would decide to forge this unusual household (some episodes seem to indicate that sex -- and there's plenty of it -- is the main reason). It's bold stuff, garnering plenty of buzz for HBO.
Is it any good?
Too bad the producers couldn't restrict their focus to the entangled, sometimes mangled, relationships built into a situation of a family like this. Though Big Love is highly entertaining -- and compelling to watch given its stellar cast (including Jeanne Tripplehorn and Chloe Sevigny as two of the wives; Ginnifer Goodwin plays the third) -- the show does disappoint. Instead of mining its fascinating premise, creators have decided to dilute the series by introducing other unusual supporting characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's polygamy concept with older teens. Why would HBO make a show like this now? Since polygamy is often associated with the Mormon religion, despite the fact that the Mormons have long since banned the practice, could the show be considered an implicit lampoon or criticism of their faith? Or does it actually show some of the benefits -- or at least the complexities -- of the practice? Who is the intended audience? How does each character come to terms with the complexity of a "big love" household?