'Tis a Virtue
Three episodes in, and I'm liking HBO's new polygamy show, Big Love, more and more. Sure, it's creepy as all get-out, the notion of multiple wives being just strange and kind of, well, icky, but that world, the world of men and women who view this as the preferred way to commit to life-long relationships, is very alien, and therefore, fascinating to get a glimpse into. As much as I love The Sopranos, we've all seen the "world of the Mafia" before--the show isn't brilliant because it's making us privy to a whole new world, but for myriad other reasons. The world, or worlds (the fundamentalist polygamists on their compound and with their prairie garb versus the more modern polygamists embodied by our main characters being a key conflict within the series), of Big Love, on the other hand, are all-new, at least to this observer.
That being said, I've read a lot of criticism of the show that focuses on the fact that we don't know a lot about these people--why would the senior wife, who was brought up as a traditional Mormon, consent to these multiple marriages? Why was the youngest wife so eager to enter this kind of relationship? Why was the middle wife, who seems to have such strong ties to the fundamentalists, be happy "off the compound?" And so on.
These criticisms puzzle me in that we are only three episodes in. All of these questions, and many others that arise in watching the show, are clearly intended to be mysteries the show will, presumably, get around to answering later. Why we should have all of these answers three episodes in is kind of beyond me. Patience. Yep; you got it. A virtue.