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Entries in Big Love (1)

Wednesday
Dec022015

HBO’s LGBT History: Big Love (2006-2011)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week (and perhaps you missed it seeing as it was on Thanksgiving Eve), we talked about Diane Lane and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Willam Belli in Cinema Verite which chronicled the behind-the-scenes drama of the first reality TV show, PBS’s An American Family. This week we look a decidedly new American family, the Henrickson clan of Big Love.

Shows like Big Love are precisely what draws me into the HBO brand. Here is a drama about a polygamous Mormon family man, Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) that tackled its subject matter with surprising candor and complexity. It at once aimed to present a deconstruction of the “traditional” American family while all the while rebuffing such an ideological construct in the first place. Bill lives with his three wives: Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicki (Chloë Sevigny) and Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin). Those three names alone should you get you interested since, even as the show billed itself around well, Bill, it was the interactions and inner lives of Bill’s three wives which drove much of the show, with Tripplehorn, Sevigny and Goodwin doing great actressing. At its best, the show was a thrilling exploration of non-normative families, particularly insightful when it came to dealing with issues of sexuality within and outside the confines of marriage.

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