If the first installment of “Big Love” is an example of what HBO has planned for its new series, it has very little to do with the modern practice of polygamy in America and is instead something silly spun in Hollywood.

Papa Paxton and his wivesUnlike other HBO series such as Deadwood, Six Feet Under or The Sopranos, which at times take audiences on a trip to an otherwise unknown world, the world of “Big Love” is simply unknown and does not exist.

HBO’s contrived creation is inhabited by polygamists living in suburbia driving around in a shiny expensive SUV. This fictional family lives in three modern tract homes and has a pool. Their personal struggles include excessive shopping and viagra.

Viewers get an almost totally fictional world of polygamy that could only exist in the active imagination of a Hollywood writer.

What viewers got last night was not the often desperate existence of American polygamists living in Arizona, Utah and Montana, but something more like Desperate Housewives.

Real polygamists are frequently impoverished and subsist on welfare programs, largely subsidized by federal and state poverty programs.

In “Big Love” its star Bill Paxton has three wives and one spends $3,000.00 just for some home decorating. She is depicted as a shopping freak that shuffles through her credit cards like she’s playing a hand of poker.

However, real polygamist wives are more likely to be shuffling through their food stamps inside a trailer.

HBO’s fantasy world is similar to a network soap, something like Melrose Place, where you find out which woman Billy decides to sleep with each week and perhaps there will be a pool party.

There was a brief glimpse of a gritty poor polygamist community that Papa Paxton supposedly comes from, but viewers are asked to believe that he somehow left all that behind to become a very successful businessman who owns home improvement stores.

The audience is also expected to believe that Salt Lake City Mormons are oblivious to what is going on in their neighborhood and somehow either don’t know or don’t care. 

But the axiom “don’t ask, don’t tell” is not a Mormon doctrine.

Maybe HBO thinks this is somehow supposed to be 7th Heaven on steroids with a lot more of everything?

As Tony Soprano might say, “fogedaboutit”

HBO has created a polygamist Land of Oz “somewhere over the rainbow,” where the children are all well-fed and clothed and the only thing daddy has to worry about is essentially his business deals, weird wives, household budgets and erection.

It is hard to understand why someone as gifted and respected, as Tom Hanks would agree to produce such nonsense. It’s so ridiculous that “Big Love” could be a comedy if it wasn’t so insulting and disrespectful to those who have suffered through polygamy and its painful realities.

Mr. Hanks should know this was no television event like Band of Brothers.

HBO should be ashamed of its mess, which makes the NBC bomb the Book of Daniel look a lot better.


2 comments untill now

  1. Not2Sweet @ 2006-03-13 17:37

    Thank you for telling it like it is. I grew up in the FLDS and was fortunate enough to escape, but I care about my many family members who are still trapped inside. Warren Jeffs is no comedy act. I know the truth. I too am saddened and feel betrayed by Mr. Hanks. I feel as if he is making money off my pain. Thank you for defending us, Mr. Ross.


  2. He is as lost as you are, you are all going to hell and you like it and are proud of it. The day comes when you have to lay it on the line you have one chance to get it right before you become the death of yourself.