This has been the refrain for years: there aren’t many good roles for women in Hollywood.
I wonder if people who say this have seen Big Love? The show is wrapping up with its last episode this weekend, but for 5 years it has featured wonderfully talented female actors in deep and unusual roles.
I first noticed this in the first few episodes. I couldn’t figure out how the actress playing third wife Margene — Ginnifer Goodwin — kept attracting my interest: a character that flaky ought to be like window dressing for your enjoyment of the show. She was so much more than that, and it was readily apparent from the start.
Consider the rest of the roles:
- Chloe Sevigny has the role of a lifetime as the devoted, yet conflicted and sociopathic Nicolette.
- Jeanne Triplehorn as wife # 1 Barb (truth be told, I’ve liked her for a long time and have never warmed up to her in this show).
- Grace Zabriskie as Bill’s loopy mother Lois
- Cassi Thomson is new this year, and has been amazing as Cara Lynn … and geez … she’s only 17
- Amanda Seyfried in the underutilitzed — but sometimes poignant — role of the distant daughter Sarah
- Melora Walters as the batshit crazy sister-in-law Wanda
- Mary Kay Place, as the prophet Roman’s first wife Adaleen — this role started small, but has gotten more interesting over the years
- Mereille Enos as Joey’s doomed second wife Jodean
- Daveigh Chase as the creepy near-child-bride Rhonda … and 15 when she started that role
- Tina Majorino as the mostly steadfast kids’ friend Heather — the character started out ditzy, but has evolved into one that is deep and conflicted and in multiple story arcs
- Audrey Wasilewsky as the sweet and troubled and nosy and mostly harmless neighbor Pam
- Anne Dudek who left a role in House to play Alby’s power-hungry first wife Laura
- Judith Hoag as Barb’s rarely accommodating Mormon sister Cindy
- And how about Branka Katic as Ana. She was in only 12 episodes, and she stole the show those two years.
- Or Ellen Burstyn and Sissy Spacek with 6 vivid episodes for their characters?
That’s quite the list. I hope actresses had the good sense to overrun this show’s casting calls.
There aren’t that many male roles you’ll remember? Bill Pullman, of course. And perhaps Harry Dean Stanton and Matt Ross as the two prophets. But who else? Ben? Don? Joey? Frank? JJ? Goran? Hollis Greene? I don’t think so.
Is this the best show ever? Not even close.
Is it the best show for actresses that’s ever hit the screen? I think it is.
P.S. And I wouldn’t call it family-friendly, but all these roles were pulled off with almost none of the T&A that Hollywood usually uses women for.