“Big Love”: Wife No. 4 on the way?

Watching the season finale of “Big Love” last night and seeing Bill Paxton making out with his wannabe girlfriend/fourth wife to be Branka Katic (Ana the waitress), I wondered why it’s OK for him to be unfaithful in his marriage and not anyone else who tires for old and wants something new and fresh?

Biglove_2

Being polygamists, the Henricksons don’t have to abide by normal laws of matrimony: one wife at a time. But under the guidelines of his religion, Bill Henrickson can, without discussion, announce to his three wives — all wonderfully portrayed by Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin — that he’s received a calling for a fourth woman to share his bed.

Suddenly, when Bill locked lips with Katic, my first and only wife turned around to me and said, “He’s just a cheater.” Can’t really argue with that.

The episode was a strong, if not stellar, conclusion to “Big Love,” the series that HBO moved to Mondays in order to allow “John From Cincinnati” to gather post-“Sopranos” momentum. Yeah, how’d that work out for “John”? “Love” often feels like it’s traveling under that radar at HBO, which sees much bigger buzz on “Entourage” and even the low-watched but geek-friendly “Flight of the Conchords.”

Even at Emmy time, “Love” seems, well, unloved. Granted, it wasn’t eligible this Emmy season but in its first campaign it didn’t receive a series or any acting nominations. And Paxton and his three ladies — or at least one of them — are certainly worthy of awards attention. Even Sevigny, who’s so good that she makes me hate her Nicolette Grant.

With “Sopranos” gone and HBO looking for a drama series that might be able to capture some of that watercooler talk that Tony and the gang seemed to create week after week, “Big Love” is as good a candidate as anything they’ve got.

Certainly, the upcoming “Tell Me You Love Me,” about three couples who go to therapy and reveal intimate details about their love life, will get plenty of publicity for all the sex that takes place. And it would be a shame if this addictive series is dismissed as exploitive and not given credit for the terrific dialogue and intricate interplay between characters, as created by Cynthia Mort.

But “Big Love” is the better long-term candidate for keeping viewers subscribed to their HBO. Though the network will rightly say that it counts its audience on a cumulative scale — adding up the different broadcasts during the week, including video on demand, rather than just on the premiere night — moving it to Mondays didn’t seem right.

It’s earned a move back to Sunday for season three. Polygamists, whether you agree with their philosophy or not, seem a better fit than surfers, no matter who they’re sleeping with.

— Stuart Levine

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  1. timmy-nyc says:

    looking foward to bill and the fourth wife coming in the new season of big love…o thats right there will be a fourth and more than likely there will be a fith(there are 2 seats open at the dinner table during the intro)plus,bill is a straight ladies man.im tired of reading all these blogs of people hating on bill,hes a slimeball,cheater,ect…let me tell u something,if my old lady was with having a second,third or fourth wife and i had the funds to support them please believe that i would jump all over the opportunity.and any other sane man would do the same….how great would that be to sleep in a different bed every night and not get busted,but embraced for it???…exactly.im all about it and cant wait to see the new season.and look out for RHONDA this season to blossom and draw some eye candy

  2. chatangel says:

    I really enjoy ‘Big Love’ but I also need more “JFC.”
    JFC Fans, we are still working to bring our John back. Please visit http://www.saveJFC.net today!
    Also visit http://www.youtube.com (sign-in or register for a free account)
    Subscribe to user “Jmonad” video’s “John” needs our support now more than ever.
    This is big & huge!
    Hope to see you soon….

  3. George says:

    Big love is friggen’ awesome. I can’t get enough of it. This season was the best.
    After checking around the ‘net to see what bloggers are saying, I’m surprised to find that more than one are expressing negative feelings about Bill (e.g. creepy, cheater, etc). I disagree. I think Bill and the three wives have a pretty nice setup that is mutually beneficial all the way around. One more wife shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
    In this day where the number of people per home has shrunk to an all time low of 2.6, we forget that homes often held extended families (i.e. grandparents, etc.) who all contributed to the household goings on. The Henricksons have managed to recreate that supportive family environment (albeit it an untraditional manner).
    Bill is not about to dump any of the wives. He loves them. I say good for him and good for them.

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  5. muze says:

    totally agree with you about the lack of buzz on Big Love. HBO should be promoting the hell out of this thing, it is wildly entertaining. John from Cincinnati was such a big miscalculation. it sucked and it was never the type of thing that would appeal to the large Sopranos audience. It also felt like HBO was ramming it down our collective throats by putting it on right after the final Sopranos–the end of an epic show deserved something better. If David Chase didn’t want a retrospective or interview show, then they should have put Big Love on directly after since it is something most viewers were already familiar with. I get it–they wanted a mass audience for the new show, but they should have known no one would be ready for a surfer melodrama with some kind of Jesus complex.
    I do think HBO is feeling a little heat from Showtime, who has several good shows and the extremely underrated Brotherhood.
    It sure seems like HBO is starting to strive for the self-consciously hip programming…Hope the new show isn’t as navel-gazey and boring as it looks.

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