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Fiction meets some fact

Real-life polygamists see a `certain truth' to HBO's portrayal.

June 09, 2007|From Reuters

SALT LAKE CITY — As "Big Love" enters a second season Monday, the HBO series is inspiring a variety of emotions among real polygamists where the show is set, in a Salt Lake City suburb.

"There's a certain truth to it," said Anne Wilde, a 71-year-old widow who was part of a family of plural wives for 33 years.

"Here's a family of three wives that lives in the community, and they just blend into the neighborhood, although they don't say too much about it."

But Wilde said she blocks her eyes when scenes get intimate and bridles at the show's trademark sexual tension, saying it's too racy for many of the estimated 37,000 fundamentalist Mormons who practice polygamy in Utah and Arizona.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday June 13, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 3 inches; 130 words Type of Material: Correction
'Big Love': In an article in Saturday's Calendar section about the HBO drama "Big Love," two quotes from show creators Will Scheffer and Mark V. Olsen were mistakenly merged and attributed to Scheffer. The story should have read:
The complaints prompted HBO executives to carefully scrutinize the program's depiction of Mormons.
"But this year, they kind of let us be," Scheffer said. "I think we proved ourselves, so they kind of let us dramatize whatever we wanted to without too much gate-keeping.""I think it took some of the creative shackles off us, to tell you the truth," Olsen added, "and just allowed us to write the characters as the characters without a couple little angels on either shoulder going, 'Will this alienate viewers? Will it be too polygamous?' "
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday June 17, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 3 inches; 132 words Type of Material: Correction
'Big Love': In an article in the June 9 Calendar section about the HBO drama "Big Love," two quotes from show creators Will Scheffer and Mark V. Olsen were mistakenly merged and attributed to Scheffer. The story should have read:
The complaints prompted HBO executives to carefully scrutinize the program's depiction of Mormons.
"But this year, they kind of let us be," Scheffer said. "I think we proved ourselves, so they kind of let us dramatize whatever we wanted to without too much gate-keeping.""I think it took some of the creative shackles off us, to tell you the truth," Olsen added, "and just allowed us to write the characters as the characters without a couple little angels on either shoulder going, 'Will this alienate viewers? Will it be too polygamous?' "

Valerie, a fashionable suburban mother with elegantly coiffed blond hair who is one of three wives in a family of 21 children, said the hierarchy depicted in "Big Love" is off the mark. The first wife, she said, is not always the most powerful and domineering of the bunch.

But like the show's bread-winning male, played by Bill Paxton, her husband conceals the extent of their family from co-workers, which is why she declined to use her last name.

"My husband is a professional.... He has to pick one that is the wife that people see," she said.

Ephraim Hammon, who has two wives and eight children in Centennial Park, Ariz., disagrees with some of the show.

"But I think it does open up people's minds to the concept that it can happen, and that probably makes people more accepting, to some degree," he said.

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