I am addicted to Big Love and season 2 is better than season 1. At first I was turned off by the fact he had 3 wives but after seeing how they have such a great support system in place I think it's pretty cool.
Big Love -- Season II Themes
The theme of Season II seems to be about the dysfunction of polygamy and the perversion of its religious "principle."
One comedy is the polygamists as moralists: sexually active women are sluts going to hell, virginity is revered, the sexually active man is debauching. While God is invoked and nature is demonized, the likes of Ben and Sara get screwed. There just isn't any room for individuality under the codes of God, procreation, arranged marriages, and anti-homosexuality. Its a kind of children's growing up hell, pitting their loss of innocence and maturity against either being cast out (individuality as a betrayal of God and family) or included (by suppressing self to conform family and social values.)
Bill's rationalizations for entering the gambling business while he grounds Ben for immoral behavior also help show us the hypocrisy of the patriarchial values on display, and how the children of such a system tend to grow up a bit twisted.
The next comedy is the art of manipulation: As the women are all disempowered, they must find alternative ways to assert themselves. Nikki is the shopaholic gambling addict. Barb deviously tries to unionize the wives against Bill to compete against patriarchy. Margene revels that she's the swing vote between the opposites of Barb and Nikki. Bill's mother suddenly wakes up and realizes that her pathway to independence lies in divorce and community property statutes. Albie apes religion to dupe the compound into annointing him its leader. Joey's wife, Wanda, fights back via the stealth poisoning of her family's enemies. Rhonda seeks to escape Roman and the compound, but she's ignorant, uneducated and ill-equipped to function in the real world --- so she operates there instead by facade, lies, and manipulation. Its as if no genuine individual resides inside her at all.
The there's tragedy of the FALLEN PATRIARCH. What happens to the system when strong leaders like Roman and Bill fail? Who fills the power gap. Who administers order and arbitrates the rivalries and vagaries of polygamy as a family and social system? The women can't manage money or business, so who are they left to depend upon?
Straight shooters and clean players do not abound.
In opposition to these problems and dsyfunctions, the show does magnify the beauty of submission to polygamy order, discipline, and higher authority. It stresses cooperation and sacrifice over individual, self-actualization. The reward: a strong community support system and a release from selfish, hedonistic egoism.
The conflicts of the show remain universal, though. The salient tension lies between liberty and order, the individual v. collective, the religious v. the natural. Its as if everyone's life thrives and chokes on the barriers between these polarities.
< Message edited by cloudboy -- 8/7/2007 9:25:30 PM >