Monday, March 20, 2006

Big Family TV

Sons & Daughters, ABC Tuesdays

This show was over-promoted for weeks, no, MONTHS! "See the new unscripted show from the creator of SNL." Whatever. The problem with this show that is sometimes improvised is that it, well, needs a damn script!

I watched 2 full episodes of this show and not much of it worked. Sure there were a few funny lines, but there are so many freakin’ people, it’s impossible to keep them all straight. And I know the "writers" have a direction they want the actors to go in, but everything seems so forced. And when the entire cast DOES improvise, it’s painfully obvious and completely overdone. On that note, child actors trying to improvise? Kill me now!

Go ahead, watch a full hour of it tomorrow yourself and tell me what you think. There’s gotta be something better on, like the Unit (I’m getting to that show later, just assuming).

1.5 out of 5 (extra .5 for the resurrection of Wojo and the chick from Cujo)

Big Love, HBO Sundays

I know, you have to give an HBO series a few episodes before you judge, and I have seen 2, so I’m going for it here.

Big Love stars Bill Paxton as, well, Bill, a Utah polygamist in the here and now. Bill is married to Barb, Nicki and Margene (Jeanne Tripplehorn, ChloĆ« Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin), and all 3 have their own needs that he tries to fulfill. Barb, the eldest, is kind of the mother hen, Nicki is stuck in the middle, and Margene is just a kid with kids really. As you can imagine, Bill’s home life is quite chaotic. He owns 3 houses in a row, and they all share a large backyard with a pool. Bill spends the night with each wife every third night. It could lead any man to Viagra, which it does.

As if that wasn’t enough stress on the man, Bill’s family from the past, a polygamist cult that lives on a compound, wants part of his business. Bill agreed to the rules of the cult, which means he gives 15% of his income back to the leader. But Bill is incorporating and trying to buy his way out. The leader of the cult is threatening Bill’s family just as Bill is about to open his superstore.

Now, as many people that are in the cast (like Sons & Daughters), the main focus is on Bill, his wives, and a few older kids (one works at a fast food joint with the ponytail girl from Napoleon Dynamite). Communication issues are tripled, but somehow Bill manages to keep order. Can he do it now that he’s being threatened by the compound?

The show is much easier to follow, and the ensuing chaos is captivating. I honestly didn’t love the first episode, but the second was much better. I’m sure the first was designed to introduce the characters and the situation, and now that it’s all out there in front of the audience, I think the show will take off. Besides, there’s nudity. I’m just sayin’!

4 out of 5

If you’ve made it this far, then you deserve to read the Random Monday CD Review. This week, it’s Mr. Bungle!

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