Does 'Big Love' Have Legs?

I knew going into this season of 'The Sopranos' on HBO that I was going to like that show. I have been on board for five seasons running now. Then I saw the previews for this new show about polygamy, called 'Big Love.' Last night I watched the second show of the season of 'Big Love' and I still don't have a verdict as to whether or not I think this show will last.

The show has some good actors in the cast. Bill Paxton plays Bill Henrickson. (By the way, Bill Paxton should not be confused with Bill Pullman who played the President of the US in the Will Smith vehicle Independence Day) Paxton plays the busy husband with balls enough to have three wives. He and his large family live in Utah in three separate houses that are connected in the back yard. It is the perfect metaphor for polygamysts in Utah. The fronts of the houses really make it look like there are three completely separate domains. Only the view from the backyard -- behind closed doors -- can tell the real story.

Behind those closed doors, there are three wives. Barb, Nicki and Margene are played by Jeane Tripplehorne, Chloe Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin, respectively. This is also the order that they came into the "family" and subsequently acts as the pecking order amongst the women. There are squabbles, but overall, everyone seems on-board with the lifestyle and believes in the ways of many women to one man.

And this also represents the most difficult task that I think the show will have. How is it that you convince the audience on TV that these women not only believe in polygamy, but make the audience care about the characters enough that they can accept the multiple wives as something more than just an abstract portrait that they are observing? In order for the show to be a success, they will have to accomplish this task, and I don't know how well they will be able to convince a lot of the mainstream audiences in this country to accept this female to male ratio.

In the short-term they can attract an audience from with the shock of the subject matter and by putting in lots and lots of sex. In the first two weeks, there has been no shortage of that. The women all have their allotted nights, and Paxton makes no waste of them by popping Viagra pills. And then, if nights weren't enough, he creates controversy by having loud relations with Margene, and then getting "caught in the moment" with Nicki in Margene's bed a day later.

This lack of discretion works to keep viewers in the short term because sex still sells, but at some point the inconsistency between this kind of activity and what you would normally expect from an ultra-pious sect of the Mormon religion will start to smell funny. As far as I can tell, while polygamists have lots and lots of , it isn't a tradition steeped in promiscuity. And this group of polygamists in the show is at least promiscuous.

For now, it looks like the show could last a while. The characters seem engaging and I want to find out more about this Henrickson family, their psyche, individually and collectively. I want to learn more about their who appear to range from the age of 16 or 17 all the way down to infancy. I want to find out about the old-fashioned sector of polygamy vs. the more progressive polygamists who moved off the "compound." I want to find out about polygamy as it relates to mainstream mormons. Finally, I want to learn all this stuff in an entertaining, and believeable way.

That is a lot of ground to cover, but only time will tell if this is a real show that we want to watch for multiple seasons, or whether or not it should have been a mini-series of some kind. And finally, as more articles continue to come out about real-world polygamy, we will start to see just how seriously this show can be taken.

Will 'The Loop' Make You Fold Your Rabbit Ears?

As another day comes to a close in the offices of our nation's newspapers, a panic comes over the newsrooms.

Do we have enough snappy titles to keep our readers chuckling? Apparently the answer is a resounding no as evidenced by these actual titles that I found for articles and reviews for the new Fox show, 'The Loop.'

I don't know whether this show is good or bad. In fact, I probably won't watch it so I won't know whether the show is actually funny or not. But, I have to say it is ironic that the people who came up with these ridiculously unfunny headlines are sitting in judgement of the comedic skills of ANYONE.

Read these unoriginal, unfunny, creativity-starved examples of "witty" headlines.

I think they are . . . OUT OF 'THE LOOP'!!! Get it? 'The Loop' is the name of the live show on, but when I turn it around like that I can insult you with the name. See, now that is funny.

It's Almost Always About the Money

Obviously, even the Browns pickups this weekend wouldn't have come here without lucrative contracts. I know that. At the same time, I think the fact that these guys grew up in Cleveland did mean something. By the same token, you can really see the heart of an NFL free agent depending on what he says during his press conference. For example, Edgerrin James went to the Arizona Cardinals.

James had this to say about joining the Arizona Cardinals:

"OK, it's a risk," James admitted. "But hey, I'm a poker player. You can take it to the river. I'm not scared to make a change. I'm not scared to go out on a limb and try something different."

Risk? From what standpoint. As of Friday, James will have $11.5 million in guaranteed cash at his disposal.

The Cardinals are an improved jasminelive team, but at the same time, how do you go from a team like the Colts who are loaded with talent and on the verge of the Super Bowl almost every season to go to a place where Jake the Snake became famous because he sucked less than most who had played there before?

Sentimental About Sports

Jen always wonders what (if anything) I am sentimental about. I will tell you that I am not sentimental about too much. One large exception would have to be sports. We love our sports teams in Cleveland. We love our local players who make good. We aren't satisfied with the condition of any of our teams with the exception of the Cavs. Maybe we can start to take the Browns seriously now too. They made huge signings in free agency yesterday. But they didn't just sign great players. Two out of the three are local boys who really want to be here and grew up Browns fans.

There is nothing that will excite this town more than huge NFL free agent signings, unless those free agent signings happen to do things like this!

Bentley was so happy to join the Browns, he said he didn't care.

"They could put me at punter," he said.

Bentley opened his remarks by unbuttoning his massive suit coat to reveal a Browns jersey with the number 00 - which he'll petition the NFL to let him wear.

"This is my ultimate dream," he said. "Every day, I wished this could've happened. This is where my roots are and where I want to blossom."

He said he'll be able to "buy groceries for my dad, who just turned 85. My mom's here, she's my best friend. . . . I've got two boys here in town, and it's the best thing for me."

Bentley vowed to help restore the Browns to the glory days and said he'll break the Pro Bowl drought. Since the Browns returned in 1999, only Jamir Miller has made it - after the 2001 season.

"I'm going to do it," Bentley said. "I'm going to do it in this jersey, in this town and in that stadium."

And the Browns needed help at wide receiver so they bring back another local boy who has gone on to good things and should hopefully help stabilize the passing game and make sure that defenses have to stay honest on Braylon Edwards. Joe Jurevicius.

Finally, the Browns signed Kevin Schaffer who is a solid young offensive lineman who should come in and replace LJ Shelton. I think this is almost the best thing the Browns could have done in the offseason. They got a stud offensive lineman, a solid wide receiver and another young O Lineman with a track record and further potential. As fans of a crappy team, we couldn't possibly ask for anything more.

Oh, except maybe Lavar Arrington. But, I don't want to be greedy.

By the way, if you haven't picked up Reuben Droughns in your fantasy leagues for next year already, then it is about time to do so. With LeCharles Bentley, Jeff Faine, Kevin Schaffer, Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman, this O-line should be about 1000% better than last year, and Droughns didn't run half bad behind THAT o-line.

Getting the Keys

What a busy set of days for Jen and me!

Engaged last week and this week we are supposed to get the keys to our cash flow killer of a house!

I promise if we get the keys today, that I will do a full digital photo tour of the house and post all the pics here. You have got to see the new band practice area in the basement. The Company Line is movin on up. We have a full wet bar, a fireplace, and nice plush carpeting. This is all way more than any band could possibly need, but, I am hoping that it won't require too much dampening for recording acoustics and things like that.

Hopefully this means some serious demos will be forthcoming from the basement.

Anyway, this is my apology for a lack of updates.