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Cable Television Rundown: Oh Chloe, You Don't Need To Apologize (Big Love Season Four Controversey)


In a recent interview with the venerable AV Club, actress Chloe Sevigny called the recent season of Big Love "awful" and compared it to a telenovela. (In a bad way.) In another recent interview with the also very venerable Michael Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly, Sevigny apologized profusely for her statements that season four was, indeed, "awful." Chloe, I understand the reason for apologizing and for throwing Sean O'Neal of The AV Club under the bus by stating that your comments were taken out of context. But, there is no need to apologize. You were right the first time.

What's surprising about Sevigny's interview with The AV Club was the frankness in which she discussed the ins and outs of the writers' room. It's not often you seen an actor making serious critiques of the writing of a show (outside of the context of the Katherin Heigls of the world.) But in this case, Sevigny is dead-on correct. The reason this show worked in the past was that there was at least a semblance of reality in the occasionally off-the-wall situations the characters got themselves into. But, in this latest season, reality seems to have completely gone out the window. Worse, the interesting plots that were set up at the end of season three, with Bill starting a family church and the continued fallout of Joey whacking Roman Grant, were all but buried by the Bill Hendrickson for Senate plot.

Although Sevigny alluded to the fact that the episode order being cut to nine for this season was a reason why the quality was lower, the fact is there were many, many strands of plot that c0uld have been completely left out that would have solved the problem of not enough episodes. We didn't really need the weird Mexico plot, especially based on how rushed the strand felt at the end. We didn't even really need a follow up to the Ben-Margene quasi-romance, because that was, again, buried after a couple of episodes. And we most definitely did not need anything to do with JJ impregnating Sevigny's Nicki Grant. Overall, we got a lot of strands of plots that didn't go anywhere and/or were not at all dramatically satisfying.

What's surprising to this blogger is the fact that Big Love, a firmly established drama that had previously shown its goods, is 50% less genuinely dramatic than the new half-hour dramedy (that's what I'm officially calling it) How to Make It in America, which just continues to improve with its best episode yet having aired last night. Whatever happened in the writers room for Big Love this year, I sincerely hope showrunners Will Scheffer and Mark V. Olson think back to what made the show good in the first place and try to re-establish itself. Until then, kudos to Sevigny to have the guts to say what she actually thinks and demand good television writing.

Update: The AV Club posted an audio snippet of the actual interview here, that pretty much quashes any talk of being "taken out of context."

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