Big Love's Affect on Polygamy

Did Big Love Change Your Attitude Toward Polygamy?

Last night we bid goodbye to the best-dressed polygamists on television. Big Love did not go gently into the celestial kingdom, making up — somewhat — for a lackluster fifth season. Like Buzz, I agree it ended on a beginning that could have held my interest through the entire last season. But I'll say no more — no spoilers here!

I didn't think polygamy still existed before Big Love. I know when police removed women and children from the Texas compound in 2008, I was shocked to see their resemblance to the residents of fictional Juniper Creek — or, really, vice-versa. Now there's no doubt Big Love has made its mark, influencing pop culture, politics, and countless Halloween costumes. Practicing polygamists have gone on Oprah and landed a reality show, seeking acceptance or at the very least tolerance.

Nobody's questioning underage marriage or forced polygamy, but all these women — it's usually women — are asking for is the alternative-lifestyle label we bestow on all other polyamorous relationships, including polyandry (when women take multiple spouses) or even open relationships.

So while you may have trouble believing enlightened polygamy exists, there's enough unenlightened monogamy to make it hard to pass judgment. Either way, Big Love let us into a secretive world, and see plural marriage at its best and worst. Was it enough to change your mind? Even a little?

Photos courtesy of HBO

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