In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am a big fan of HBO's Big Love. Last night's finale of season 3 was perhaps one of the best television shows I have seen in a long time.
For those of you who don't know anything of the show (besides gross mis-caricatures made by protesting Mormons or the LDS Newsroom), Big Love is about a fictional drama about a suburban polygamous family living in Sandy, Utah. The husband and father, Bill Hendrickson, is a former "lost boy" from a fictional fundamentalist Mormon group in central Utah known as the United Effort Brethren (UEB). In his late teens Bill (who was the son of the UEB's former prophet) was kicked out of the compound by their current leader Roman Grant. After leaving the compound, Bill was taken up by a Mormon family in Salt Lake, was baptized, served a mission, and had a temple marriage with his first wife Barb. Several years later Barb was struck with cancer and during this time Bill felt that God wanted him to live the 'principle' (polygamy). Bill (and reluctantly Barb) marry one of Roman's daughters, Nikki - who helps nurse Barb back to health. A few years later Bill, Barb, and Nikki add a third wife, Marge, to their family. Bill runs a successful hardware department chain and the family lives in three side-by-side houses (with a shared backyard) in a suburban neighborhood.
Despite the false claims by some that the show is purportedly "blurring the lines" between traditional LDS Mormons and fundamentalist Mormons, anybody who watches the show will know that the show does quite the opposite. One of the key storylines throughout the series has depended on the idea that the Hendricksons are no longer practicing LDSaints and have to keep their situation secret from their neighbors who are almost all active LDS Mormons and assume Bill and Barb are simply inactive Mormons who have befriended and look after their two single-mother neighbors. The show is VERY clear that the current LDS Church does not endorse polygamy and in the third season Barb faces a church court and is excommunicated when the local leaders discover she is in a polygamous relationship.
Why is this show so great? Let's start with the opening credits...
I didn't notice (until Angela pointed it out to me last week) that the opening credits depict a short little 'plan of salvation' timeline. It begins with Bill in the premortal life coming to earth, he finds and is sealed to Barb, Nikki, and Marge (with a backdrop of the salt flats, desert, and mountains of Salt Lake valley), they are separated at death, they go through the veil, and finally are reunited on a celestial planet (with a terrestrial and a telestial planet in the background).