Reasonable people all agree that the third season of polygamy-fest Big Love was awesome. Season four starts Sunday, and as we scan the winter TV landscape, it’s safe to say that the show is the closest thing we have right now to Mad Men — that is, if you don’t watch it, you will seem completely foolish to all your college-educated friends and never be invited to cocktail party again. There’s all sorts of scheming and tense man stuff having to do with power and how you wield it, but we love it for the soapy, feminine-coded, domestic-relationship drama. This slideshow is meant as a refresher and a bit of salesmanship: Here are 16 examples from last season of why we adore this show, from Ben’s stiffie for Margene to hapless, gentle Don.
Related: Big Love Season Premiere Recap: Free Fallin’
This pie-slinging waitress caught Bill’s eye, she dated the fam, and he tried to put a ring on it. But she was too fierce for all that nonsense! Her Euro-accented tempestuousness required a man’s full attention, and Bill didn’t have that to give.
We love Margene. She’s so … uncomplicated. Although when her hopes to have a wife one rung beneath her were dashed, her beaming façade cracked, and she went a little wacky and eventually decided to start her own business selling jewelry, an idea so crazy we think it just might work. But our fave nutso Margene moment had to be when she bleached her lustrous, presumably sweet-smelling hair. Nicki, of course, said she looked like a “complete whore.”
Ben, truly his father’s son, found his aching teen loins swiveling in the direction of Margene, and Margene, adorable thing, really kinda liked it. Eventually she had to show the boy to a cold shower, but not before they found some time to wrestle playfully and take a fraught dip in the pool.
Sister Sarah, meanwhile, had no fun at all, getting pregnant, miscarrying, and proposing to BF Scott only to have him say “I’m not saying ‘no,’ exactly … ” Uncomfortable with the whole multiple-wives thing, she’s the show’s moral center, which is totally the kind of chore a sister gets saddled with after her brother dodges it.
What is the deal with Scott? We couldn’t figure out if the guy’s awesome or a closet jerk — he seemed shifty and supportive at the same time. The only thing we’re sure of is that he’s a beautiful man.
God, these people are assholes.
Ted and Barb’s sister did get their chance for us to feel sorry for them when nasty monster Hollis kidnapped their adopted Asian daughter and gave her lessons on “the Orient” (not the preferred nomenclature, dude). But they’re still assholes because they got the daughter back.
Remember when Bill’s mother tied up his father and threatened to kill him? Good times.
He’s a complicated guy, a villain who suffered one of the season’s most affecting bits of brutality when his own mother had a man lure him into a bathroom for gay sex and then try to kill him. Here’s to a better season for you, Alby!
Like Alby, Rhonda’s a mini masterpiece of calculation and insecurity. She escaped being wifed up to Alby’s dad, Roman (“Will it make people like me more?” she asked, wondering whether she should testify against him), was turned down by Bill when she offered her womb up to him, then went wild and decided to start playing folk music. Then, hitchhiking to L.A., she got picked up by a truck driver who instructed her to “come sit by me.” Total heebie-jeebies.
You know who’s not calculating? Bill’s buzz-cutted business partner, whose two wives apparently “only loved each other.” You really felt for him, especially when he was faced with the advances of a presumably bear-loving man named Chester.
Speaking of women who only really loved each other … Once Wanda got over her insecurities, Kathy (right) and Wanda, Joey’s wives, became a touching pair: The former, a picture of sturdy, apple-cheeked exuberance; the latter, a living embodiment of a finger twirling around a temple.
Kathy died, leaving behind her sis. That was really sad.
We hated the slick, Bill Lumberghian lawyer until he and Nicki really fell for each other. But he still looked like his breath stinks.
Nicki had her Adriana from The Sopranos moment, haphazardly extricating herself from the family as they kept pulling her back in, but that didn’t stop her from constantly, and hilariously, insinuating that Margene’s a dumb slut. Is she a villainess, seething with self-regard, or a lone voice for freedom? It’s gotta be that second one. We’ll see what her definition of freedom becomes this season, as she copes with her newly introduced, toad-dissecting teenage daughter. Everyone knows teenage girls are a handful!
Ben flirted with these two, and it was nutty.