The Power of Love
By Bryan Caplan
Big Love, HBOs transcendentally excellent polygamy drama, is back for its third season. I’ve praised it often enough (here and here for starters), but the last show was too good not to blog. In this episode, Don Embry, the right-hand man and fellow polygamist of lead character Bill Henrickson, starts acting erratically. It finally comes out that two of his wives have left him and taken their children, and given the illegality of his lifestyle, there’s no legal way Don can even get visitation. “What kind of world are we living in?” he cries.
It’s a great scene, but its power grows when you understand where the writers are coming from. Big Love‘s writer-creators are a gay couple, Mark Olson and Will Scheffer. A gay friend of mine once balked when I analogized gay marriage to
polygamy – recognizing, perhaps, that the analogy was just the excuse
the masses need to keep banning both. But instead of looking at culturally conservative polygamists and seeing evil – or worse yet, a substitute scapegoat – Olson and Scheffer find a common humanity. As a writer, I’m green with envy. Watch it.