Pop Culture Gadabout
Monday, May 29, 2006
      ( 5/29/2006 06:50:00 AM ) Bill S.  

"WE'RE ALWAYS TELLING LITTLE LIES. ALWAYS!" – Been catching up on episodes of Big Love this weekend, and for the life of me I can't see how those culture critics who've been slamming the HBO series for its purported message can assert that the series "endorses" polygamy. Leave aside Harry Dean Stanton's creepy "prophet" Roman Grant and the denizens of his isolated compound, the life led by series' lead Bill Henderson (Bill Paxton, never better at blending a bland exterior with a hint of strange) and his trio of wives is an unending series of deceptions and self-imposed isolation. As the show repeatedly highlights, the life chosen by our extended family – the illusion of normalcy in a suburban Nevada neighborhood – is built on an extremely rickety financial foundation, one sustained through a mountain of debt and capable of instantly collapsing should word of Bill's multiple marriages become public in Salt Lake City.

And though Paxton's hubby is presented as a nicer guy than either his father Bruce Dern (who's like the immature thug from Support Your Local Sheriff rendered even more childish with age) or Roman, he still has his moments of patriarchal heavy-handedness (as when he gets enraged over second wife Chloe Sevigny's compulsive overspending – this show has middle-class debting as one of its central motifs). Too, the only spouse with sure legal and financial footing in the home is Jeanne Tripplehorn's Barb, the levelheaded first wife. Neither Sevigny's Nicki nor young wife Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin) have any legal rights should their hubby pass on, and though the family attempts to resolve this with a set of wills, it's clear this won't be sufficient should the worst happen. Even the men's mag fantasy of living with Three Hot Wives proves a double-edged situation – as our hero nearly overdoses on Viagra in his attempt at keeping all three spouses happy.

In short, though it focuses on making its characters as recognizably human as the gang in HBO's flagship drama, The Sopranos, the show doesn't endorse its peoples' choices. It examines them. Of course, to a certain breed of cultural critic even acknowledging something exists is tantamount to supporting it. In their willful shortsightedness, they're like Rhonda, the little 14-year-old (and future wife to Roman – Ick!), who is so blinkered by her beliefs that she describes Long Day's Journey into Night as a play about "this family that's miserable because God's punishing them." Don't think that's exactly what Eugene O'Neill had in mind, Rhonda, but with this kinda cultural criticism, projection is everything . . .
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter