big love is the best drama on tv. except now i have to wait like nine more months for another episode. *sigh*

the season finale was as awesome as the whole season was. we’re finally starting to get our old and lovable margene back, the manipulative little bitch that she turned into for the last handful of episodes just had to go. i am so invested in these characters. my friend Brooke would say that i think they’re real (i don’t…but just barely).

i’ve been thinking, ever since my last post, about my feminist issues and why i’m so in love with this show and i think that the reason is threefold.

1> it is just a really great high quality show. good writing, good acting, music, direction, it is all there (although they are dropping the ball on that horrible FBI agent or whatever she is, with the terrible accent that drops in and out – what’s happening here guys?).

2> the show actually challenges my thinking, which i love. i am forced in literally every episode to rethink preconceived ideas that i have been living with.

3> despite these women being first, second, and third wives, this show has the most powerful and fully developed female characters on television. whether you love them or hate them (or the situation they are in) you spend more time dealing with who they are and what they are dealing with than on any other normal show, where even when a show is well done, women often play second fiddle. not the case on this show. and in addition to Barb, Nicki, and Margene who obviously get the most screen time and are thus the most fully developed at this time, the female supporting roles are incredibly strong as well – Lois, Adaleen, Wanda, and Sarah most of all lately are all surprisingly interesting and three dimensional and just amazing, despite limited screen time. in fact, let’s take a minute to look at the paths the women of big love have been put on, as of our season finale…

[spoilers possibly abound]

Barb. oh how i love thee. i guess because i identify most with her since she is most unconvincingly on the path of polygamy (which is likely how i would feel on that path). we know that she came to this “arrangment” under duress. i suspect, though it has not been said outright, that she never would have agreed to this situation unless she was genuinely concerned that she was not going survive her battle with cancer, and wanted to insure that her family was in good hands. in this case Nicki’s. in the finale she makes moves to finally accept the life she is living, by outing herself to the neighbors, it is like finally admitting it to herself, and the pain was palpable. if you think about Barb’s arc since we met her, it has been one form of denial after another that this was the life she was living. last season she had an affair with her own husband that lit her up like a child. you could see her fantasies as clear as day that he was going to run away with her and their “original family” back to their old/normal life. given the opportunity i don’t think she would hesitate for a second, despite her genuine love and affection for the rest of the family. and then this year, she did everything to separate herself and make something of her own by going back to school. she loves her family, but it is not the family she wanted and dreamed of, and watching her next year to really come to terms with that and deal with the reality of her situation and possibly the acceptance of it, will be a sight to behold.

Nicki. oh Nicki, how conflicted i feel about you. i love Nicki, but man does she throw me for a loop. unlike the other characters, whose motivations i feel are quite clear, Nicki is a complicated mess, and it is so enjoyable to watch the writers (and Sevigny) put the pieces of her together. Nicki is constantly surprising me. despite her extended family ties and obligations and her minor machinations, she does, in the end, tend to honor her family. and despite her claim that she is in the family because she believes in the testament, and not because of romantic love, it is obvious that her romantic love for Bill is powerful. and her love for the others is pretty evident as well. you would think with all Nicki’s desires for power and the constant frustration of being the second wife, that she would want Barb out of the picture, in fact the opposite is true, and when that reality raises its head she is the first to try to fix things, to make sure that her family remains intact. she is always surprising me, and never more so than in the finale when she defied her father to his face, and with nobody watching her thus able to give her approval. i’ve never been more proud of her. she’s a badass.

Margene. oh Margene, how i’ve wanted to strangle you for the last four or five episodes (ever since your mother showed up actually) and never more so than in this episode, until you re-emerged as your true self in the last few minutes. i understand Margene’s frustration this season, but it was one i have empathized with the least. she knew what she was getting into when she signed on for this multiple marriage situation, and so stamping her feet and throwing little tantrums and putting the family in jeopardy over her manipulations has been endlessly frustrating, especially because for the first half of the season i was more in love with her and her innocence and enthusiasm than ever. so it’s good to have her back, but i’m still mad at her. especially with this whole fourth wife/Ana nonsense. it would serve her right if they got a fourth and she suddenly found her newness and thus power stripped away. that said, i don’t want a fourth (especially after that scene in the closet with Bill & Ana) . the whole situation quite frankly upsets me, as does Nicki’s comment to Margene in the finale that “Bill’s dating life is none of our business.” WHAT?!?!?!?!? my head almost exploded.

okay, lastly i’m going to talk about Sarah, arguably the most interesting character on the show. she is developing into an amazing woman. and while this comparison will possibly draw fire, i think she is infinitely more interesting and complicated a character than Claire from Six Feet Under. a lot of people loved Claire, and i didn’t dislike her, but i found her more interesting early on, more and more as i watched that show she turned into a bratty annoying character, and the one i was least interested in watching. Sarah however, is fascinating and so not the selfish self absorbed teen that Claire was (although perhaps, like Claire, she is headed in that direction, time will tell). i am saddened that Sarah gave up her virginity to a guy that obviously isn’t going to be “the guy” and it will inevitably cause her a lot of heartache, however, what she is going to go through next season, having let sex and more complicated adult relationships into her life is going to be fascinating, and i hope, it will give her some perspective and aid in her transition into the empowered woman that she is already on the road toward becoming. on that note, poor, poor Benny. how lost is that little one? reeling after losing a teenage love/lust relationship and just grasping at anything around him to hold him up. and congratulations Bren for dodging THAT bullet.

so basically what i’m saying is that a show about polygamy is actually the most female centered and feminist show on television. there. i said it.

if you haven’t been watching the show, pick it up on DVD as soon as it is released. i can’t recommend it enough.