HBO's Depiction Of Mormon Ceremony Upsets Church

A Dose of Reality: Good or Bad for HBO's 'Big Love'?

"Both Scheffer and I feel that when these events [like the raid in Texas] happen it is unsavory and tawdry and pushes a lot of buttons when you see these women with the robotic mannerisms – it's a real mixed weapon for us," said Olsen, who did agree that the news in the real world gave the show a good backdrop of relevancy.

At the time of the raid in Texas "Big Love" was on hiatus, a coincidence the creators say they were grateful for at the time.

"We got a phone call from HBO saying 'what a bummer' that we weren't on the air," said Olsen. "But our instincts were more like thank god we're not going on the air right now especially with all the extremely unpleasant imagery [coming out of the raid]."

"Viewers wouldn't want to embrace someone like Warren Jeffs on Sunday night before they go back to work," said Olsen.

Olsen and Scheffer still recognized the unique creative opportunity the raid in Texas gave them for the show, spurring them to revise the script to more closely mirror what viewers had seen unfold in real life.

"The raid gave us the opportunity to get more into what the underbelly of polygamy is and to explore the manipulation and kind of illegal and hurtful activities that are going on on the compound," said Olsen.

Olsen said that he and Scheffer incorporated the fear of an impending raid of the ranch, Juniper Creek, on "Big Love" much more in the show's upcoming third season.

"[The 'Big Love' characters] are absolutely wondering if Juniper Creek will get raided," said Olsen. "There's a kind of palpable tension."

In the season premiere of "Big Love," scheduled to air Sunday, Jan. 18, at 9 p.m. EST, Roman, the prophet of the fictional Juniper Creek ranch, is up on charges similar to those that Warren Jeffs, the prophet or leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, faced last year.

Jeffs was convicted in September 2008 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for being an accessory to rape for coercing a 14-year-old girl to marry her 19-year-old cousin.

"We have Roman up on the same charges as Jeffs had faced," said Olsen. "We embrace that similarity."

And the Roman-Jeffs similarity is only the beginning, said Olsen and Scheffer, who said that they did the research for the show themselves – without full-time consultants – reading everything they find about the subject.

"We're huge fans of anything related to research and accuracy," said Olsen. "When we started out it was a little difficult and we had to dig deep – [polygamy] wasn't exactly on the front pages."

"These days we just have to turn on the news," he said.

Series Aims to Echo Reality of Polygamist Lifestyle

One of the main story lines on "Big Love" involved Nikki Grant, one of the three wives of Bill Henrickson.

Grant, who is the daughter of prophet Roman, takes a job at a local law firm this season, claiming that she's trying to atone for an expensive shopping addiction.

But it's soon revealed that Grant's job at the law firm is not as innocent as it seems. She and other members of the sect have started working on the firm to gather information on the trials of several Jane Doe's who are responsible for putting the compound's prophet, Roman, behind bars.

This story line too, said Olsen, is based loosely on actual events within the polygamist community.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...