On Feeling Conflicted Over Polygamy

I'm normally fairly adamant about what I like (black licorice, good manners, boys who layer a short-sleeved t-shirt over a long-sleeved one) and what I don't (Ben Affleck, lipliner, "your" when it should be "you're.") But there are some things about which I just don't know how I feel. Old Navy, for example. The prices are cheap, the stuff is cute, but you can hardly ever wear anything after four or five washes. And Shakira! I would rather have my eyeballs scooped out with a mustard spoon than put Shakira on my list of favorite musical artists, but damn, does that "Whenever, Wherever" song get me moving on the treadmill. Also, take eggplant---it's all very well when it's swaddled in tomato sauce and mozzarella, and then served (by a waiter) on a bed of angel hair pasta, but buy an eggplant at the grocery store and it'll sit in your refrigerator for weeks while you try and figure out how to make something appetizing from it. (Trust me, I have one in there right now. I was going to use it to make a wheat-free lasagne, but then I thought tsch, life is too short!) So I'm conflicted about these things. Do I like them? Or do I not?

This is how I feel about HBO's new show, Big Love. Sean and I started watching it when it first came on a few months ago, in the hopes that it might fill the empty place left in our hearts by Six Feet Under (it didn't), and now we are obsessive about catching every episode. If we miss it on Sunday night because Grey's Anatomy isn't a repeat, we make time at some other point in the week to watch it on HBO On Demand. I mean, we watch it on purpose. We try to watch it. And yet halfway through, without fail, I always groan, "My god, this show irritates the hell out of me." But what do I do? I keep watching. And then I watch again the next week.

I've decided, therefore, that this warrants an investigation.

Things Big Love Has Going For It, And Why I Guess I Continue To Watch While Still Swearing Vehemently At The TV:

1) It features mormons. I'm very interested in mormons. I'm not sure why; I'm just fascinated by them. Once, right out of college, I worked for a company in San Diego run entirely by mormons and everyone was just so damn nice to each other! Instead of stomping out and slamming the door behind her on her last day, the girl whose job I was taking over brought in an apple pie for everyone to share, just to thank them for letting her work there. In truth, it was a little exhausting, working there and trying to be so nice all the time. Really, it was very hard for me not to swear. One of my tasks was to stick pre-printed labels onto envelopes, and when I discovered that a label for a client living at 17, White Birch Lane had accidentally been printed as 17, White Bitch Lane, I was terrified about how to tell my boss. But then I hid in the bathroom and cracked up for, like, ten minutes.

2) It stars Chloe Sevigny. Sean went to high school with Chloe Sevigny; they took Spanish together, and her Spanish name was Magdalena. (I think his was Juan.) When I lived in Connecticut, I'd often drive past the house she grew up in---I mean, to get somewhere, not because I was stalking her or anything---and once I saw her on the beach over Memorial Day. The combination of these things makes me feel that I have a certain kinship with Chloe Sevigny, and that I'm obligated to watch her in whatever she stars in. You know, out of support. Because I don't think she's quite famous enough yet. What with the whole Oscar nomination and everything.

3) It also stars Mary Kay Place. Now you may be less familiar with Mary Kay Place, who plays Adaleen Grant and lives on the commune, but she was Camille Cherksi in My So Called Life. You know, Sharon's mother! As such, I am compelled to like her, just by virtue of the fact that she probably once spoke to Jordan Catalano. (Speaking of actors who used to be on My So Called Life and have now turned up in other prime-time TV dramas ten years later: in Grey's Anatomy, Meredith's father is played by Jeff Perry, who is none other than Liberty High School English teacher, Mr. Katimski---the gay one who tried to get Eyeliner Rickie to sign up for drama club in the Boiler Room episode. Remember? Don't say I never tell you anything important! However, do feel free to say that I need to get out more.)

4) The guy who plays the teenaged son, Ben, is pretty hot. I mean, right? I know he's seventeen and everything, but still. Underage eye candy is better than no eye candy at all, that's what Jon Bon Jovi always told me. Or, you know, it kind of sounds like something he would say. Twenty years ago.

Reasons Big Love Drives Me Crazy And Forces Me To Question Myself, Like, Isn't There Something More Productive I Could Be Doing With My Time, Perhaps Making A Wheat-Free Eggplant Lasagne Or Curing Cancer Or Something?

1) I hate Bill Henrickson. Bill Henrickson is the main character, the one with the three wives, and there's something so smug and self-serving about him that I want to kick him in the balls every time he comes on television. This is unfortunate, as basically the whole plot of Big Love revolves around Bill Henrickson, and it really is kind of hard to concentrate on a television show when you're too busy waving your middle finger and making gag sounds at its protagonist.

2) I hate Bill Paxton. Bill Paxton is the actor who plays Bill Henrickson. His dialogue is stilted and his teeth annoy me.

3) There are way too many shots of Bill Paxton's naked buttocks. Really, they're just superfluous. And by superfluous, I mean pale and flabby. I would wear lipliner for a month, have a conversation with Ben Affleck, and willingly write "your" instead of "you're" every single day if it meant I didn't have to see Bill Paxton's naked buttocks in front of my face every two minutes.

4) There are too many lines in the show that go something like this: "no, it's my night with Bill." Also, sometimes the wives ask each other if they can swap nights. Which, you know, gag me with a spoon!

5) I don't really care about the whole "business deal" plotline between Bill and Roman. Which I think is actually a main factor of the show. Bring the teenaged son back on screen already! Let's see him at football practice! Or in the locker room! Yes, let's see him in the locker room!

And so the highly scientific conclusion to my investigation is that although roughly three quarters of the characters irritate me, I will most likely keep watching Big Love anyway, based on a combination of being interested in mormons, feeling an obligation to Chloe Sevigny, and reminiscing about My So Called Life. These are apparently the things I look for in a television program. (I feel sure they will soon give me my very own Nielsen box.) For now, it is my duty to keep watching, so that I can find out what happens next. And as for you? Your duty is to forget that I ever told you that hilarious lie about that Shakira song earlier. Ha! Shakira! I was obviously kidding! Obviously!

I mean, please, I never listen to it on the treadmill. The pace of it is far better suited to the elliptical.

1
lissa
Apr 29, 2006

I too watch big love and I don't know why! It is a train wreck and I can't turn away from the television. What about mention Ginnifer Goodwin? I mean her character is highly annoying but I think she is as adorable.

2
Nothing But Bonfires
Apr 29, 2006

I think the most annoying thing about Ginnifer Goodwin is that she spells her name GINNIFER.

3
Jen
Apr 29, 2006

Now I have another mental picture of Chloe Sevingy to think about while I watch the show. All I usually think about is all the fugly pictures of her in strange outfits. And how her character is so damn bitchy.

4
krista- the silent k
Apr 29, 2006

Man, I don't even think I get that show here. Americans get all the good shows damnit.
PS- I like the new site design, it looks good. Top nav bars are hot.

5
jes
Apr 29, 2006

I can proudly (proudly?) admit that I've never watched Big Love.

I can also admit that I am also intrigued by Mormons. Not so much because they are nice or because I've ever spent much time working with them, but because they came to my house one time and my roommate and I sat down and talked to them, and before we all started talking, they asked if they could pray. Out Loud. Which I was fine with.

Until they started speaking in old English, "Lord, We asketh that you be here with us this day, that the words that you spaketh in the beginning would moveth our hearts. eth."

During the prayer, my roommate and I both opened our eyes and looked up at each other, and I think I tore a muscle trying not to laugh, which was probably a more obvious maneuver than if I had actually just laughed aloud.

6
lissa
Apr 29, 2006

You're right about the spelling of her name. I actually had to google it to make sure I spelled it right. THAT IS ANNOYING!

7
Meepers
Apr 29, 2006

I have to agree on all points except Bill Paxtons' bottom. Which, for a man of his age, I found quite nice and round and hairless - all points in my book. Not that I was looking, or anything...cough...ermmmm.. moving on: My biggest beef with B.L. is the fact that they keep stressing the fact that they AREN"T MORMANS (ummmm... sure ya aren't!) they are a kind of Morman-esque break-off group. Like when Chloe screamed, "Go PRAY FOR YOURSELVES!!" last week. I think the character from Napoleon Dynamite is SO. DAMN. PERFECT. for her role as Over-Zealous Friend. Total agreement about the Ginnifer = worst spelling of that name ever.

Oh! and I forgot my favorite reason for watching the show: Driving my husband crazy for one hour a week. He gets to watch the Lakers, I get Big Love and Gray's Anatomy. Fair is fair!

8
Susie
Apr 29, 2006

There is no Big Love here - that I know of - but seriously Bill Paxton is nice, he was in Apollo 13 and he got sick on the space shuttle! And honestly, don't you talk to me about having to watch people's gross teeth when you haven't had to sit through an hour of The OC with Jimmy Cooper's (Tate Donovan) row of corn smiling at you! Everytime he laughs you want to scream WHY WERE YOU ONCE ENGAGED TO JENNIFER ANNISTON? And speaking of Ginnifers, I like that Ginnifer Goodwin, she was in the Walk The Line...she kissed The Joaquin!

9
Meg
Apr 29, 2006

We don't get it here. :(

10
jonniker
Apr 29, 2006

I am fucking RIVETED by Big Love. Absolutely positively riveted. And I do not know why. And also, while Bill Paxton's teeth and perpetual arseview bother me, they do not bother me as much as the simple EXISTENCE of Chloe Sevigny. Which makes me feel bad, as you feel a kinship toward her, because obviously then, I should feel like I like her, because I like you and you seem to have good judgment, but SHIT, I can't stand that scowl. And that voice. And the perpetual over the shoulder "I'm so sexAY" look that she gives the paparazzi. Like she's some sort of MUSE or something. Which, shit, I think she is. For who, Dior? I can't remember. However, these annoying things do make the character Nicki that much more believable, so I guess, whatever, she's a good actress. Or playing herself. Or herself if she were a Mormon in prairie garb. FINE.

So, anyway, was the Magdalena version of Chloe nice to Juan? Did he like her? Or was she scowling all the time in high school, too?

Oh, and as an aside, I like Ginnifer Goodwin's character. And Ginnifer Goodwin. Both are simperingly adorable. But yes, her name is INCREDIBLY annoying, but it is not her fault, I suppose.

11
jonniker
Apr 29, 2006

Oh oh oh! And I forgot to mention my favorite part of the whole show: Jeanne Tripplehorn. I never liked her before, but I am now, for some reason, enthralled with her gorgeousness. Is it me?

12
gina in SC
Apr 29, 2006

i'll be there and you'll be here,. and that's the deal my dear!! Love it.

13
Adele
Apr 29, 2006

Ok, still smiling like a loon after that post.

Sadly I was also making up my own jokes (totally unnecessary as the whole 'teeth' and 'wheat free pasta' thing has comedy value enough for all of us).

Yep, I totally misread your first point as "It features morons". I then went on to read the next two sentences in the same vein. I was amused to find out that you are very interested in morons and that you once worked with an office full of them.

Ahuh, well I was good at reading comprehension when I was ten....so there!

Also speaking of Chloe thingymabob scowling at people, can I just use that as a totally flimsy link to the fact that 2 weeks ago I was metres away from Prince at LAX and he totally scowled DIRECTLY at me.

Yep, my life is enriched. Sorry, but I had to brag about that somewhere. (I've already bored all my friends silly with the story.....)

14
s@bd
Apr 29, 2006

have you seen Dooce's take on this one?
(Of course you have. EVERYONE reads Dooce. But I just thought I'd ask.)

ANYWAY. Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks Bill Plaxton is WRONG. (shudder)

15
barbie2be
Apr 29, 2006

while i don't "get" the whole polygamy thing, it seems to work for some people. i just know it's not for me and the show gives me the willies.

16
Blakeburn
Apr 29, 2006

En-rique!

Liz and I once ordered baked aubergine (eggplant, if you will) covered in chocolate for pudding by mistake in Italy. We translated "chocolate aubergine" ok, but assumed it wouldn't entail an actual aubergine. Then, in a pudding shock double-whammy, it turned out to be absolutely delicious. I will always admire and respect the aubergine for that.

17
Sheila
Apr 29, 2006

Will I be allowed to comment here ever again if I confess to loving Ben Affleck?

See, I think we can still all get along because, if Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were walking down the street side by side, and you (Holly, or any other of your readers with a dislike of Ben Affleck) and I were walking down the street side by side and we met up with them, you (again, Holly or readers) could go for Matt and I could totally take Ben Affleck. Only he would not be allowed to speak. And he must be wearing the "Irish" t-shirt he was wearing when my best friend saw him in a casino in Las Vegas playing celebrity poker (that is, Ben Affleck was playing, not my friend). (She very discreetly waved her camera phone in his general direction, took his picture, and promptly emailed me, risking the wrath of casino security and all.) So, wearing the t-shirt, which, now that I think of it, was of the short-sleeved variety layered over a long-sleeved variety, he would approach me, not speak, and have his way with me.

And now, am I forever banned from this site? If not for my tawdry thoughts of Ben Affleck, then for my overuse of commas? Remember-- you can have Matt!

18
jonniker
Apr 29, 2006

Sheila, move to Boston. There are a million guys who look and act just like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Seriously. Yes, yes, they might be wearing Fila jumpsuits that swish when they walk, but God, does that really matter? Because they. are. everywhere.

19
Lori
Apr 29, 2006

I tried to watch Big Love, but as much as I wanted to like it, I just couldn't get into it. I decided life is too short to waste my time watching bad television so I flipped to VH1 and watched Surreal Life.

20
Heather
Apr 30, 2006

OK, I was going to say something witty and insulting about Chloe Sevigny, but after having read Jonniker's comment, I have nothing left to say. Because she said it all for me! Couldn't agree more: Hate Chloe (haaaaaate), think Ginnifer Goodwin is adorable and Jeanne Tripplehorn is lovely. And please do enlighten us as to what Chloe was like in high school. I hope she was nice. Because I really am looking for a reason to like her. She just hasn't provided me with one yet.

21
NotSoccerMom
Apr 30, 2006

I'm totally with you on the fascination of Mormons thing. And Shakira---at first I thought what's up with those hips of hers, but just watch her dance and listen to that beat. I can hardly wait til she comes in concert in August!

22
Gretchen
Apr 30, 2006

Damn. Well, I don't watch series TV, but I wanted to mention that Mary Kay Place was a darling of my generation because of her work on "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," a very funny and surreal late-night soap which also starred Louise Lasser, an early Woody Allen wife.

Also, that Bill Paxton is SO 1997.

And that I have had enough of men's bare buttocks in general. I was watching Thomas Haden Church's ass in "Sideways" one night on cable and musing grumpily that with my husband and two little boys in the house, I see enough naked male buttocks every day that I react to them something like "Oh Christ, not some of THOSE again."

23
liz
Apr 30, 2006

I think HBO has convinced us all to watch Big Love, not because it's really that good, and not because it is only mildly entertaining, but solely because it is HBO's BRAND! NEW! SHOW! and everyone (myself included) has jumped on the hype bandwagon. They conveniently scheduled it so that it comes on after the Sopranos and many lazy couch-potatos (again, myself included) stick around and watch, just in case the show starts getting good.

24
Y
Apr 30, 2006

I realize this was really a post about Big Love, but I do not have HBO, so I have never seen it. Which means, I probably shouldn't even comment on this post, but since you brought up the whole "feeling conflicted" thing, I hope it's alright if I get a few things off of my chest....

I, too, am conflicted on the whole "Shakira" thing. One might not believe that, considering I own her cd's, but, it's true!

I love her body. I love the way she moves her body and I do like a lot of her songs, but. OMG! HER VOICE! There are moments where I go "Ok, she sings pretty good!" But then, she starts sounding like a man goat and WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?

I am also conflicted with bananas. The flavor? Is awesome (mmmmm banana laffy taffy), but the texture makes me gag. So do I love bananas? Do I hate bananas? I do not know.

25
Sin
Apr 30, 2006

hmm i stumbled upon here randomly but decided to continue reading anyway. Big Love... i don't know why but i cannot bring myself to watch that show. it freaks me out a bit.. oh and I hate Ben AfflecK

26
Liz
Apr 30, 2006

Canada truly sucks in that we don't get any of the good new shows until they've been playing for like, YEARS in the U.S. so, unfortunately, I have no comment about Big Love other than the fact that I, too, am traumatized by the very EXISTENCE of Chloe Sevigny. Someone please tell me HOW she became a designer muse because I don't freaking get it.

And Y - I'm with you on the whole Shakira thing. Her body is really outstanding and I can't help but sing along with that "Hips Don't Lie" song with Wyclef Jean, but that goaty bleat thing just freaks me the hell out. It quite literally makes me shudder.

Oh and bananas? Alternately make me gag or my mouth water.

27
stellalafayette
Apr 30, 2006

1) I am the offspring of two people deeply affected by Mormonism. My mother was raised Mormon and decided at 17 that smoking, drinking and backseats of cars were much more interesting. She 'ex-communicated' herself. My father was the son of a Greek immigrant and was raised in a town dominated by Mormons (in southeast Idaho). He was discriminated against and ridiculed by them b/c he was different. I think there are great aspects to it (family, community) but think the whole set up of the religion and the mind set are very detrimental to women.

2) When I was about 17 my mother and I were visiting a great aunt of hers in Salt Lake City. The aunt (whose name I do not recall) pulled out an old picture of Brigham Young and his 40 or so wives. My aunt pointed to one of the women and stated that we are descendents of that particluar family. I tried to die right then and there but was unsuccessful.

3) I watched the first two or three episodes of Big Love and dislike it intensely. It makes my skin crawl.

28
Laura
May 01, 2006

I WISH I had HBO. I would love to watch this show. I am on the fence about Chloe Sevigny, think Bill Paxton is very smug, and also adore Jeanne. Sadly, I eat far too much wheat-free pasta. And I also am fascinated by Mormons. After all, who isn't?

29
juliloquy
May 01, 2006

Ginnifer is bad, but in Philly we have a newscaster who spells her name Jennaphr. I don't watch that channel, but whenever I see the posters at bus stops promoting the news team I have to fight off the urge to claw at the sign. Jennaphr!

30
Julie
May 01, 2006

I have an episode sitting on the DVR, being ignored in favor of trying to catch up with The Sopranos.

31
dutch
May 01, 2006

I can't see Chloe Sevigny without picturing her unzipping Vincent Gallo's hipster jeans and then fellating him. Have you seen the brown bunny?

I went prom with a Mormon. Never got to see her garments though.

32
kgirl
May 02, 2006

you know, just yesterday after watching Big Love (recorded because I will not miss Grey's Anatomy for, um, anything), actually not after watching it but about halfway thru the show, i started to wonder, why? why am i still watching this? thank you for writing out my feelings for me. it's so much easier than having to do it myself. (seriously.)

i have the same comflicts with the show. especially i hate bill hendrickson and even more i hate bill paxton (and his teeth and his butt and ew i read in a mag interview how he thought women would LIKE his butt)... anyway... i also don't like the stupid business story line. i like when it's about the women and how they feel and how they interact with each other. that's why i started watching in the first place and why i still watch in the hopes jean tripplehorn, chloe sevigny, and ginnifer goodwin will get good dialogue and plot lines. and i really like ginnifer goodwin. even if she spells her name like that. and those women should have totally apologized for scratching her car.

33
Chollyson
May 04, 2006

This posting is hilarious!

I live in Utah and am amid many a Mormon and you are totally right about the "nice thing." While Utah is a great place to live based almost wholly on that fact sometimes it would be nice to buy beer on a Sunday or pick up wine at the grocery store. Alas, not possible in the Beehive state. But not to worry, when you curse out the gas station attendant for not handing over the 6 pack of Corona be comforted that he will smile and reply "Have a nice day, Miss."