This addiction hearkens back to the eighties, when I was introduced to that quartet of guilty pleasure: Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing and Falcon Crest. (I can still hum all their theme songs beginning to end.) And it didn't matter the backdrop, vineyard, oil field, cul de sac, all that was needed was a fertile environment for good to battle evil. The myriad of characters became part of my generation's mythology. My fingers practically tingle as I type their names: Fallon, Jock, Valene, Alexis, Chase, Lilimae, Miss Ellie, Chao-Li, Dex Dexter. Ewings and Carringtons and Giobertis and Colbys were the dynasties I avidly watched build and topple weekly. The acting may have been overwrought (did Linda Gray ever have dry eyes?) but it was the stories that kept me coming back. Who can forget the Moldavian massacre? Or when Pam found Bobby in the shower, claiming the entire previous season was a bad dream? What the...? Okay, there might have been some missteps, but there were also a string of paternity suits, kidnappings, evil look-alikes, who shot JR, long lost children and poison paint to fill my cup.
Recently, I saw the season opener for Big Love. With the subject matter of polygamy, one would assume a limited spectrum of stories...and shoulder pads. And, yes, I grant you, the protagonist's home life with three wives and a gazillion kids can be somewhat mundane. "What do you mean you didn't get the detergent, Margene?" (On a personal note, I'm not sure there is an actor alive who has a more monotonous whine than Bill Paxton.) But the B story... The Gothic plot lines on the compound, is quite Shakespearean in it's largess. And even though socialites with big hair and Nolan Miller couture have been traded for sister-wives with french braids and Little House on the Prairie smocks, I have been suckered in and made a believer.
The past two seasons, the villain was the Prophet, Roman Grant, head of the compound on Juniper Creek. He made life a living hell for monotonous Bill and his growing family. But this season, the villain mantle has been snatched away by his wormy, power hungry son, Alby. So far, Alby put his father in a Percocet haze and when that didn't work, Alby set up the Prophet for a fall, landing him in the slammer. Alby has since moved into the big house and is doing his damnedest to fill his father's shoes. But he has a hidden secret...
...Turns out, when not picking out a new wife, turning out a passel of kids or making apple butter, Alby hangs out at rest stops on the interstate to get himself some backdoor action, if you know what I mean.
There was something hot about the promise of sex in a grimy bathroom setting. Leather Daddy walks in. Alby sees him in the mirror and braces himself against the sink. Leather Daddy approaches and fondles Alby from behind. And then he slowly pulls out...a knife. Turns out Leather Daddy is really Hired Killer. And then Hired Killer does something only TV hired killers would ever do. Instead of jabbing the knife into Alby's gut, he stupidly announces his intent. Alby goes on the defensive. They wrestle. Knife skitters across the tile floor. Hired Killer then tries to drown Alby in the clogged sink. Enter two men (prospective pee-ers or fellatio enthusiasts, not sure which) thwarting Hired Killer, who realizes he's underestimated the homos and hightails it out of there.
Cut to Adaleen, the always good for a laugh Mary Kay Place, wife of the Prophet, mother of Alby. We find out this failed assassination may have been set up by her. (That's not Shakespearean, that's damn near Greek.) I lean forward in my chair expecting Adaleen to kvetch how her skeevy son has done damage to the Prophet's reputation, but instead she takes a tact I did not expect. She insinuates men who like to be fucked deserve to be sliced up like summer sausage.
Really? Lynch the faggot!! Alby is a despicable character with the morals of a morel, but that's not why he should be killed. This weed wacker has got to go because he likes it up the ass!?!
I tried to take the high road. I justified that faggot lynching has taken place on our soil, Matthew Shepard being the unfortunate poster child, so why not on TV? And fiction holds a mirror up to society's actions so that we may recognize its atrocities. And really, these characters are of a fundamentalist sort, and not necessarily the most enlightened bunch. I shouldn't let this get to me.
But then these characters' live counterparts come to mind. They might be watching the same episode and chuckling to themselves, "Goddamn right. Lynch the faggot!"
I understand I cannot change others. I cannot change the finger pointers, the fanatics, the haters. If others want to dislike me or my family because of what we are rather than who, there is precious little I can do. If others want to pool their hard-earned monies into coffers to overturn my "legal" marriage, my strongest recourse is to live by example: to raise my kids safely, hold my husband's hand tenderly, and take out the trash daily. We are interracial, dammit. We're homosexual. We're parents. We're family. We're not going anywhere. And we're painstakingly, for lack of a better word, NORMAL.
So, back to Big Love. I can't expect the show's creators to change. That responsibility falls on my shoulders. I must change. If this is bothering me so much, I must get off my fat ass and change the channel.