I don't much like the burden of watching two dramas back to back, but that's how HBO got us interested in "Big Love," and now it's a weekly assignment. I could save one to watch on the rerun, but so far I haven't. Last week, I watched part of each show and bailed out on both. I thought I'd pick them up later in the week but never did. I just paid a lot of attention to the clips at the beginning of the show.
"The Sopranos" last week was devoted to two characters I never cared much about, AJ and Vito. (And let me just say that I think the whole Vito-is-gay story is an incredibly lame attempt to cook up a story for a character.) This week, however, was devoted to my favorite character, Christopher, and to one of the best secondary characters, Paulie. There was some tremendous drama (Tony and Christopher in the basement) and some fabulous comedy ("Where's the hat?"). And some perfect small doses of Janice and Carmela.
I'm a little ambivalent about "Big Love." I'm of two minds about this show about having three wives. The negative for me is that it's too much about financial problems, which I don't find entertaining. Roman is a great evil character, but he's operating mostly through financial methods, and then we have to watch Bill worry about financial problems. They try to make financial problems interesting by timing how characters find out they have financial problems and creating conflict between characters who find out about financial problems at different times. You knew and didn't tell me? At least, during one of the conflicts, Bill dug a big hole in the yard -- not a grave, a lobster pit -- and lit it into a blazing fire -- symbolizing Hell?
I did like the subplot with Margene: the squeaky clean nice neighbors, who think she's a widow, ask her to dinner and then spring a squeaky clean young man on her, and he promptly falls in love with her. She has to tell him she has "her eyes on someone else" and, as he retreats into the pouring rain, we think, no, someone else has his eyes on her. Escape Margene, escape!
UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge has a long post all about the wine that Tony and Christopher stole, from the details on what it's worth (much more than Chrissie sold his for) to advice that storing the wine near a washing machine is a bad idea (vibrations!).