BEST FAKE LOVE STORY Phoenix 2006 - HBO's Big Love
We love what Hollywood does with real-life miscreants, so this year's prime-time television take on polygamy really caught our eye. What HBO's Big Love series lacked in reality it made up for in high cheekbones and even higher-gloss soap opera antics, courtesy of co-creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer and a passel of midlevel movie stars. They took a randy religious practice involving multiple wives and pedophilia committed with underage "spiritual" brides and turned it into a weekly hour that's as down and dirty as an episode of Three's Company. The abuses of polygamy in the northern Arizona and southern Utah towns of Colorado City and Hildale never looked so good, particularly as described, over the years, in the pages of Phoenix New Times, where John Dougherty broke much of the news about the real-life polygamists. But leave it to HBO to turn a program about a perverted practice that enslaves women into must-see TV. We defy you to look away from Utah polygamist Bill Henrickson (played by Bill Paxton) or his wives Barb, Nicki, and Margene (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin), who live in three separate houses on the same hunk of suburban crabgrass. Despite our better judgment, we haven't been able to turn off this sudsy mess, which returns for a second season next month.