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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Big Ick Factor

Ern once tried to watch Big Love and only made it past two episodes. Why? The subject matter, of course. There is a huge Ick Factor for us in thinking about polygamy. It's wrong and weird and cheating. Also, it gives Mormons a bad rep. We know plenty of Mormons, and none of them are polygamists, and we have yet to meet one who is a boring jerk. We view Mormons the way the South Park guys do: most are awesome as people, but we can't get onboard with stuff like the whole "Native Americans are actually Jews" thing. Most of them actually manage to live out the tenants of their faith, unlike a lot of religious people, and they can usually be counted on to supply your party with jello and booze-free fun. Steroetypes aside, the point is, we approve. Polygamy doesn't need to be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of that particular religious sect.

But we've heard rumors for four years that this show is good. It's HBO, one of our most intelligent readers (Cat) likes it, and it's the final season. So one of us is going to lunge forward and force herself to get into it. Past the ick factor and beyond. One of us will be caught up by the series finale and will be able to post about the show as a whole and the ending. We'll keep you updated as to how it goes. And after that, Sons of Anarchy catch-up. And then Nikita.


  1. I can't, I can't, I can't. Shows reel people in based on topic interest, sex, and curiosity. I'm picky with my television because I don't want to boost ratings or even soak up their advertisements. I'm a little crazy about it.

    If I don't like a store's policy, I won't shop there. If I don't like a show's message, I won't watch.

    I won't watch anything with polygamists, Jersey Shore, shows that love teen pregnancy, or (and most especially) Sarah Palin's Alaska. It's my right as the consumer to avoid consuming things that make me want to claw out my eyes.

    But I do know that this is a huge fascination for American lately, so I do understand the allure of the show. Just like Jersey Shore, it's not my cup of tea, but I don't judge people who love it. Well, maybe a little ;)

  2. Totally understandable. If it makes you feel any better, we are watching it on the internet for free, so no support or numbers go to it :)

    But, after the episodes watched since we posted this entry, we've found that the show shines a light on the worst parts of polygamy. Rather than making it attractive, it shows that it exploits young girls, ousts young men from communities, and only favors creepy old men. Even the main character's family is shown as drama-ridden.....and expensive.

    Maybe it's not hurting society like Jersey Shore and Mrs. Palin (bleck, never even seen an episode), but the ick factor remains.

  3. Oh, and we boycott Roman Polanski movies.

  4. aaauuuuuugggggghhhhhhh......

    Well, throughout this show's existence there have been multiple times when the Mormon community has been up in arms. Our church leaders have always counseled us to calm down and ignore it completely.

    But please, DON'T take anything on this show as a correct interpretation of Mormon doctrine.

    And if you ever are curious about a correct interpretation of Mormon doctrine, including the whole "Native Americans are actually Jews" thing, you know who to ask. :)

  5. One blogger made "Atticus" watch the Mormon South Park with her at law school on hercomputer and pause it to explain when they distorted the doctrine/religion. It was very academic, for an SP episode viewing.

    So far, it's a decent show, and they don't get into religion much, just culture. Your church leaders are right; ignoring it is the best tactic. Protesting and freaking out just emphasizes the Mormon aspect of the show. It's really not much of a threat. Just a soapy drama.

  6. I love that South Park episode; it's shocking how accurate they actually were. We Mormons are pretty good at making fun of ourselves (example: the movie "The Singles Ward") and the South Park guys didn't cross the line. Big Love? I haven't watched it personally, but from what I've heard, they've crossed the line in certain episodes. There's a difference between poking fun and incorrectly exploiting our beliefs. But yeah, I've heard that it doesn't focus too much on the religion... so... whatever.

    I'm really curious about the forthcoming musical from the South Park guys.

  7. Ahh. We will keep that in mind when we watch BL then. We will just pretend it's a show about a made-up religion and apply none of it to real life.

    The musical looks like it will stray into the realm of blasphemy a little (there's a song called f*** God), but also that it will have a sweet spirit and be supportive of Mormons, as we expect from SP. We read an interview where the South Park guys said, "Yeah, we poke fun at God in the show, but we think he has a sense of humor and that he can take it. He sure can dish it out." Agree.

  8. Guilty as charged! BL is one of my favorite shows on TV, and I'm very sad to see it go. I feel like I need to defend it, here.

    First of all, I don't think it pokes fun at, de-legitimizes, or improperly represents followers of the true LDS church. To be fair, I'm a protestant Christian not a Mormon, so I'd probably be a little offended if a show was representing the "out there" members of my religion, too. I'm never left with the impression, though, that polygamists are following the "true church teachings" or anything, even though the protagonists, of course, claim to be. More than anything, polygamy on the show is a metaphor for gay marriage and freedom of religion: the idea that consenting adults (pervy old guys marrying teenagers is condemned over and over again on the show) should be able to marry whomever they choose and however their beliefs dictate is central to the show's themes. Polygamy is ick to me and I think oppressive toward women, but these characters see it as a central tenant to their ultra-fundamentalism. Watching them pursue it when everyone around them condemns it is interesting.

    Second, BL is all about the anti-hero. Going back to the freedom of religion and freedom to marry whom you choose them, in many ways the show is redundant in its insistence that you don't have to like the characters to think that they should have rights. Bill (the patriarch) is a qualitative egomaniac, and comes across most of the time as a self-righteous a-hole. I think that's a little bit of the point, though.

    The wives are all really interesting characters, too. At any given moment, one wife is doubting whether they're doing the right thing. They're all complex.

    I enjoy the show as a character drama, and in spite of the ick factor that initially kept me from the show, I've really gotten on board with the intelligent way the show-runners and actors have explored this topic.

  9. Sorta called you out there, huh? Nice response though.

    Do you have a favorite wife?

  10. My favorite wife is different every season. I've been on a Nicki kick this season. Any early favorites for you?

  11. My wife and I both like the show. It peaked in the 2nd season, IMO, and has been getting more and more dreary every season since (taking itself far too seriously). Like the Sopranos, it takes a stereotype and runs with it right off the proverbial cliff. Still, it's characters are interesting, and some of the storylines are cleverly done.

    Being Roman Catholic I can appreciate how Mormons feel; not every priest is a pedophile, the Pope isn't the Antichrist, and the Vatican is not covering up the divinty of Christ for it's own benefit. All of these subjects are addressed in entertainment media one way or another.

    Big Love, in the end, is about entertainment. Does it stray too far? Probably. Just don't take it too seriously...that's how I get through the anti-Catholic nonsense.

  12. Wait....the Pope isn't the Antichrist?

    haha, just kidding (JUST KIDDING, LEEARD)

    Ern is currently in season 2, and it's good!