Friday, February 25, 2011

shark, jumped: more thoughts on old tv

Oh, Big Love, where did our love go? In seasons one through three you were so poignant—a perfect family drama times three families. But now (meaning about a year ago, since AK and I just finished watching season four on DVD) it’s like you’re running downhill and your body is moving faster than your legs. A similar thing happened in the final throes of The L Word, except whereas The L Word at best was a bad show with some good moments, you were once an amazing show (with a little more Juniper Creek than was sometimes necessary).

On Facebook someone referred to season four jumping the shark, and at first I thought she must have meant the scene where Bill’s mom chops off Hollis Greene’s arm in B-movie glory down at the Mexican bird-smuggling compound. But after watching the season finale last night, I’m pretty sure she meant the plotline where JJ Walker, Nicki’s ex-husband/stepfather (‘cause that’s how Juniper Creek rolls), runs a secret eugenics program that involves impregnating women with foreign embryos while under the guise of treating them for infertility. His Kansas compound is raided on suspicion of incest and inbreeding, which we’re led to believe his infertility-clinic-in-a-trailer is evidence of.

My newly acquired familiarity with the science of baby-making (and, I’d like to think, basic logic) made my little antennae vibrate with rage.

“Wait, how is impregnating a woman using someone else’s eggs or embryos inbreeding?” I asked AK. “That’s, like, the opposite of inbreeding. That baby will be less related to her than if she got knocked up naturally. Not to mention, why would Nicki ever visit a doctor whose office is in a trailer?”

“See, you’re asking too many questions,” AK said. “The problem is, we actually know a tiny bit about this stuff. If we knew about law enforcement or politics or casinos or smuggling, we’d see all the holes in those plotlines too.”

I sighed. “I could have spent a whole season just watching the sister-wives bicker over grocery shopping. What happened to those days?”

But the finale, to its credit, at least burned down the clinic (with JJ in it, which, as AK pointed out, would have been sad and disturbing back in the days when the show still had human characters), and Bill more or less made a pledge to start his life over. I think the writers were trying to send us a message: Look, we made a mistake. At least 72, actually. There’s nothing to do but throw these pages into the fire and start over with season five.

Here’s hoping. When season five comes out on DVD a year and a half from now, I’ll let you know.


Peter Varvel said...

That's the problem with asking questions and knowing a bit about stuff. I'm constantly reminding my partner that "It's just TV!"
The real mystery is that, old TV or new TV, someone got paid to write this crap - and how can we get in on that?

Cheryl said...

Well, they get some points just for being able to keep all those balls in the air. One plot is usually more than I can handle.