I’ve been so disappointed by the fourth season of “Big Love” I’ve taken to sending jeering e-mails to a friend who still likes it. My latest said I’m starting a petition to send it back to Univision and restore the original Spanish dialogue, because surely this allegedly prestigious HBO drama was kidnapped from its ancestral home in the telenovela big house.
But then, watching it, I realize it’s been like this since at least the third season, although that one stopped just this side of the line between incredible-but-entertaining and ridiculous-and-insulting. This season is turned up to 11.
What happened? In the first season, the story of a polygamous Utah businessman balancing a household of three wives was promising and interesting. It raised questions: What is family? How do we integrate religion into our Monday-through-Saturday lives? What do we owe our community, and what do they owe us? When we’re pulled in more than one direction, how do we keep from being pulled apart? And so on. The second season was even better, once the producers figured out that sex with three women on consecutive nights isn’t all that interesting, even by HBO standards, and started looking at the toll polygamy takes on women, both in the suburbs and in the creepy rabbit warren of Juniper Creek. It was in many ways a replay of Carmela and Meadow Soprano’s tango with the mob in that other show, but it was still worth exploring, and raised another question: Why do we cling to the chains that bind us? (Answer: Because they make such pretty jewelry.)
If anyone’s asking questions now, they’re right out loud and in the script: Don, will you take the bullet? Was that baby you’re caring for kidnapped from an Indian reservation? Could it be because you’ve never really dealt with the miscarriage you suffered in Season 3? And so on.
I swear, if it weren’t for David Simon, HBO would be toast with me. “Entourage” moved from ridiculous-but-entertaining into just-plain-offensive virtually overnight; whenever I land on it now I stay long enough to see whether they’re still serving the same tired salad of misogyny sprinkled with screeching homo-hatred (“Ari: Keep your eyes on Andrew Kline. Lloyd: Keep my eyes on him how? Ari: Pretend he’s Zac Efron’s ball sack.”), with a side of sure-I-believe-Jamie-Lynn-Sigler-likes-short-fat-penniless-guys. Look, one of the gang has a new girlfriend! She’s tall, beautiful and anorexic. Look, Ari’s on a rampage! He’s insulting his gay assistant again. Actually, Ari’s the most interesting character on the show, in the sense that it’s interesting to watch the blackly self-loathing Jeremy Piven deliver lines like this:
Mrs. Ari: What time is it?
Ari: I don’t know. My cock doesn’t wear a watch.
And he ran away from a David Mamet play? I’m not the world’s biggest Mamet fan, but he’s William Shakespeare compared to this.
Hurry hurry hurry, “Treme.” Which is sort of a nice segue to the bloggage. (Yes, I know, a bit early, but I’m having a bad morning, people. I am Ari Gold today.
Anyway, I’m told the parents of this young actress will be featured extras in “Treme.” Although now I’m looking forward to their daughter’s career:
And for anyone who’s ever had a relative whose last words were “Hey ever’body, watch this,” the sad tale of one man’s attempt to top his last wacky party stunt. Must reading. For once, the comments on a Free Press story are worth a look: He’s GOTTA be a white guy. Well, hell yes.
The cock crows 10:30. Time to start the day.