Arts 2

Published on October 6th, 2005 | by Greg


Hot Mormon Action

I have to admit, polygamy sounds sexy. And that certainly must be part of the appeal for HBO, with its “groundbreaking” new series tackling the “controversial” issue of polygamy. Oh, HBO, never one to shy away from exploiting- I mean addressing- a controversial issue!

The setup is intriguing. “Big Love” is a dramatic television series that features Bill Paxton as a Utah man with Chloe Sevigny, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Ginnifer Goodwin as wives. Paxton’s character has seven children and rotates between houses and wives each night. He owns an expanding hardware store and is apparently separated from the church and is fairly non-religious. His wives get into various spats over sex, kids and money; his children get into typical adolescent image issues (jokes about sex, “three moms”, etc); Paxton suffers from the usual bout of mid-life crisis, in the form of the expected sexual dysfunction requiring Viagra. You get the picture.

Truly Obscure was only able to get our hands on the first episode, which felt both manipulative and crammed. To be fair though, it’s a setup episode with lots of character development and the obligatory background of the crazy family. The dialogue is great, and the show features the same gloss of high production values that keep HBO in the Emmy winner’s circle.

And then there are surprises- for starters, Tom Hanks is producing. Secondly, the show was announced long ago and was greenlit for 10 episodes plus the pilot… But it doesn’t appear on HBO’s website, and the last major coverage of it dates from more than a year ago. Some sources say that “Big Love” was supposed to air starting last month, but was indefinitely pushed back after poor pre-screenings. Time magazine’s blog briefly mentions that it will debut in 2006 but doesn’t offer any additional information. IMDB suggests January 2006.

“Big Love” doesn’t seem like a possible hit in the vein of “Dead Like Me”, “Sex in the City”, or “The Sopranos”. There’s some decent material there, religious and social aspects, but the narrative feels forced and the characters oddly out of sync with both the modern world and the world of current Latter Day Saints.

Truly Obscure applauds HBO’s attempt, even if it is alternately insincere and pandering. There are moments of great emotion, and the acting is top-notch. Let’s hope it can get to the small screen in one piece, and not cover the same familiar forms and styles as other HBO productions.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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