Search This Blog

Saturday, 29 January 2011

On how TV can expand the mind

It is 11:41 as I write this.  I have been trying to go to bed since about 8:00 p.m., and besides having cruised past my own deadline, I have missed all opportunities to put my feet up, eat snacky things with Dave and let TV wash over me.  That means I didn't get to see Fringe tonight.  I hate it when that happens.

I did however, earlier in the day, get to catch up on Big Love.  Ironically, I spent all afternoon sitting in my reading nook watching TV and relishing the two seasons I'd missed.

Not only have I been a fan since the (belated in Canada) beginning of this series, I've found it to be as strong every season, as star-studded, as well-acted, as full of surprises and as beautifully mounted as I could have hoped for.

And even better, it's been both a source for varied hairdos and a source of self-discovery. 

At first, I watched it because friends in the US had raved about it---even though I wasn't sure about the morality of watching a series about polygamy.  But I watch Dexter, so that debate ended rather quickly.

I admired the way the sister-wives treated each other: their generosity, their seeming lack of jealousy, their care of the family children and especially the way they seemed to complement each other. 

I liked that no one got to be best-loved because they all had quirks and some of the characters were downright evil.  I liked the slightly raffish feeling of seeing another culture through a keyhole; I kept wondering at every show if this was the one where everything fell apart.  Did I mention I love Big Love?

Back to the thing about self-discovery:  after a while, I started to challenge myself about why I was finding polygamy so acceptable, so easy to empathize with when it was such an obvious fact when I was younger that polygamy was wrong.  Just plain wrong.   I was actually getting to like Bill Henrickson---he was just a man who did his best and sometimes failed, but he did it in the context of a businessman/politician/community leader with three or four wives.  He had depth, he worked hard for his family, he was fair but he was deep into The Principle and I didn't know how I felt about that.  I  remember feeling the same way about Communism.  It seemed such a good idea from which people could profit spiritually and intellectually, but it was reviled by most people.

I started to make niggly comparisons with other faiths and other believers, and surprised myself by coming back to the old saw about bad apples in a basket didn't mean that apples in themselves were bad, or that the basket was at fault.

Somewhere along the line, I had an epiphany of sorts about tolerance and acceptance and one-size-fits-allness.  I didn't expect polygamy to be the driver.  Thanks, Big Love.


  1. From the picture, they're a little trendier and better looking than any real polygamists I have seen on documentaries etc. Where are the buns and bonnets? :)

  2. I don't have HBO but maybe I can ultimately pick it up on Netflix. Sounds like a nice way to spend a day, Lorna.