Big Lust

“Big Love” has got some big problems

Last Updated: March 3, 2010 @ 12:32 PM

Oh, those wacky Polygamists and their assorted lusts: casino gambling, (but no booze!) sex, money, politics and bloody, squirty violence.

What’s not to love about this last episode of "Big Love?" Save for an arm-shearing or two, a very icky pregnancy, retail therapy, father/son tension, gambling aficionados and bomb-planters, this is merely a primetime soap opera. Writ large.

What would Freud think of the antics emanating from this baby-crazed eight-is-not-enough clan? Sometimes a cigar is not just a cigar.

"Big Love" is so not your basic soap, (which usually corners the market on incest, kidnapping, alien abduction) but more like an acid-fueled Hunter Thompson tale. The latest installment explores Bill’s parents “brilliant” illegal exotic-bird trafficking (with a few rifles thrown in), intergenerational skeevy subplots, Mexican death trials straight out of the Gulag, mixed with delightfully festive celebrations. Did I miss the piƱata?

Oh, and of course throw in some pregnancies — one with Bill’s almost-fourth wife and the other with his delusional, just-sealed mother-in-law who’s pushing 60. And what a lovely pairing she makes with her daughter’s ex! Lovely. By the way, what happened to last season’s jowls? Nice facelift, Mary Kay Place, you look great! (I am prejudiced ever since loving her in “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”)

But a prego mom when your own screwed-up kid has an “unhappy uterus?" Yuck. Could you blame her now-barren daughter for wanting to do a little shearing off the top herself?

"Big Love" has continued its spiraling descent into Dante’s Inferno and there’s no turning back as Bill’s house of cards caves. Politician Bill continues his magical thinking of winning the election, coming out as one of the “good” polygamists and embracing his happy commune under one roof (all those women and how many kitchens?). He envisions a lovely land where the multi-marrieds get along with regular folk. Well, regular for that part of the country, at least. Joseph Smith, what on earth have you done?

Poor Bill. His carefully constructed phony life is dissolving into one bad acid trip after another and he thinks this dirt won’t come out if he’s elected? And whatever happened to those other children of the corn? Did their real parents find the show just too creepy and yank them out? And where did “Teenie” return from? Is there a cheat sheet with this season?

In case you haven’t yet seen the latest episode, there will be no more specific spoilers, just a warning that this was a doozy and worth seeing twice. Barb is becoming quite the sleuth, (especially regarding Sissy Spacek’s dicey, suspicious character) and Barb is looking mighty fine to her casino partner, don’t you think? I smell another romantic sub-plot here, even if she is also baby-lusting at the same time.

This series has continued to break new, weird ground and boundaries (thank you, HBO), but is starting to show some strain in these crazy plot devices. Toward the end, after some far-fetched schlepping to Mexico, it was a relief (and no big surprise) that Mr. Bill finally found some cojones and did the right thing regarding his despicable parents.

But his relationship with eldest son Ben is probably irreparably damaged. Get out Ben! Run as fast as possible, and not to Arizona. Come to Oregon and start over. Everyone else does. Or take a page from your sister’s script and audition for some big screen movies. You’re way cuter than any tween star on the loose.

"Big Love’s" got some Big Problems. And I’m loving it.


Naomi Serviss has covered Broadway, celebrities, lavish resorts and high-end spas. Based in New York City, she's still hooked on Hollywood.