Big Love

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 12, 2006 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
204 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

As Bill prepares for the opening of a new addition to his hardware store chain, he receives bad news about his father's health, and also deals with trying to balance the needs of his three wives.

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  • The pilot.

    There are certain pilots where you can tell from the beginning that the series is going to be something special. Big Love was not one of those shows.

    The show moved a little faster here than it does in later episodes, but that is not necessarily a good thing. A little too much was thrown at the viewer and the show opted for comedy too much over drama, a position it will switch in later episodes. Not that the third season was not humorous, but scenes did not end on a joke sitcom style like they did here.

    Yet even those was a bit underwhelming and less than spectacular, these characters still draw you in and leave you wanting more. People should really keep watching as the show gets better after this.moreless
  • Pilot episode.

    A very promising start to HBO's "Big Love" and this show definitely is original, which I always seek for in a new series, and it definitely has some great potential.

    Who knew delving in to the lives of polygamists can be so entertaining? I've always been interested in the Mormon's belief system, and I'm intrigued to see what they do, how they do things, how it is to have three wives, and many kids. Of course, we've got the obvious jealousy factor from all the wives.

    Then we've got the husband who isn't able to satisfy all of them. Amanda Seyfried was not terrible, and I must say her performance here is better than her "big time" movie roles. The moment I knew I'd be a fan of this show was when they entered the fundamentalist's town, I was completely intrigued.

    A compelling pilot with potential, sure it was slow paced, but I think that's a good thing, and what HBO show isn't slow paced, really? Great pilot episode.moreless
  • Promising

    Think life as a polygamist is a dream come true? Think again.

    Big Love follows HBO’s unprecedented knack for creating brilliant and promising shows. Meet Bill Henrickson, husband to three, father to seven, and just opened up the second of his ‘Wal-Mart’-esque superstore; ‘Henrickson’s Home Plus’. It all sounds a little too perfect, and in fact is… balancing the needs of his three wives is quite the daunting task. Due to all the stress he is going through, Bill is having problems ‘getting it up’ for Margene (the third wife), or so she thinks, due to her baby fat… but really he’s just unable. Nicki, his second wife, shows jealousy towards Barbara (first wife), because Bill gave her the money to work on her house, and now Nicki wants the money to do hers.

    Bill gets a call at work from his shady brother Joey, with the news that their father is very sick, and needs to be taken to the hospital. The only problem is that their mother refuses to bring him, or let anyone for that matter, mostly due to the fact that she doesn’t want attention attracted to them. Bill is forced to make a trip to his birth place, the Juniper Creek compound… bringing along Barbara and Nicki, who are really not happy with each other at the time being. Inside his mother’s home, Bill finds his father on the ground foaming at the mouth, but Lois still won’t allow hospitalization. When Lois leaves the house for work, Bill and Joey sneak their father to the hospital. What are the kids up to you say? Well, Bill’s son Ben wants a new gun, his oldest daughter Sarah becomes friends with an apparently religious girl who’s father is none other than a state trooper, daughter Teenie needs food for her pet lizard, and two of the younger boys are begging for someone to play with them in the shared family pool. All three houses are interconnected through the backyard, including a family pool.

    In the parking lot of his new store, Bill runs into Nicki’s very creepy father Roman, who is also the head of the Juniper Creek compound, who wants compensation for helping Bill open up his first store, by demanding 15% income from the second. Bill says he won’t do so, adding great tension between the two, this isn’t the last you will be seeing him. Bill receives more news about his father, and apparently he has arsenic poisoning. While lying in bed, Bill ponders the fact that his mother may have poison him.

    Is the thought of multiple wives still appealing? I would sure hope not.

    Overall Big Love looks to be an incredibly promising and very unique show. The possibilities for the show are seemingly endless, and I have full faith that HBO will deliver (as they always do).moreless
  • Good beginning. Now let's see if it can deliver.

    I felt that this was a good starter episode as far as grabbing your attention. However, it lacked any real depth or detail. But, it definitly wasn\'t boring. I look forward to learning about these characters and why a couple that was married for ten years in a tradional marriage would decide to change their lives (and that of their children) in such a dramatic way. I hope that it turns out for the best. But how long can a family like this exsist in suburbia without getting caught. If they lived outside of town, I would find it much more plausible.

  • Great show with definite potential!

    The first episode show a ton of promise! I think the premise of the polygimist family is very unique to television and is only the intial draw to the show. When you get past the polygomy 'Big Love' is really just a show about relationships and family and life. It's got all the quality of a family is without the boring basis of your average show! I give Big Love two thumbs up!moreless
Margaret Easley

Margaret Easley


Guest Star

Richard Hilton

Richard Hilton


Guest Star

Doan Ly

Doan Ly


Guest Star

Tina Majorino

Tina Majorino

Heather Tuttle

Recurring Role

Matt Ross

Matt Ross

Alby Grant

Recurring Role

Mary Kay Place

Mary Kay Place

Adaleen Grant

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Goof: When Bill is driving to the compound he puts on sunglasses handed to him by Barb before they leave home. In the next shot, he's wearing sunglasses of a different style.

    • We find out that Margene's birthday is March 21, 1983, and Wayne's birthday is March 17, 2001.

    • Bill's father's last name is Harlow. His mother, Lois, is the second of Frank's five wives and, following rules common to some sects, the children were all given their mother's last name. Bill's first wife, Barb, took his last name in marriage. However, Bill's children all have Henrickson as their last name although Nicki and Margie still retain their birth names, Grant and Heffman, respectively.

    • In the original version of the script, Sarah tells Heather that she has a boyfriend. Additionally, their conversation about what music they like takes place in a record store and the conversation about their families in the mall, not in the fast-food diner.

    • It's revealed that Bill's brother Joey used to play for Dallas in the NFL.

    • Highlight for a spoiler:
      We find out that because of a cancer six years earlier, Barb had a hysterectomy and can't have any more children.

    • See Barb's expression when Sarah suggests they get a babysitter. Sarah may not know this but the character biographies on the HBO Big Love website reveal that both Nicki and Margene were first hired as babysitters for the Henricksons.

    • The Henrickson Family

      Bill & Barb's children:
      Sarah, 16 (Amanda Seyfried)
      Ben, 15 (Douglas Smith)
      Teenie, 8 (Jolean Wejbe)

      Bill & Nicki's children:
      Wayne, 4 (Keegan Holst)
      Raymond, 3 (triplet brothers Garrett Gray and Spencer Gray)

      Bill & Margene's children:
      Aaron, 1½
      Lester, 3 mo.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Margene: Does that mean you miss me more?
      Bill: Officially... I miss you guys all the same.

    • (The doorbell rings.)
      Nicki: Oh boy! You know who that is?
      Wayne: UPS.
      Nicki: You're so clever!

    • Bill: We need the money, is all. Just do as I ask, will you?
      Barb: No. No, you mean do as you say.
      Bill: Yes! (realizes he's just made a mistake -- too late)

    • Sarah: Why can't we just hire a babysitter like everyone else?
      Barb: Because we're not everyone else.

    • Bill: (seeing his father lying on the floor) Oh good lord!
      Lois: He's better today. He's gonna be fine. I don't know why everyone's so up in arms.
      Frank: (hoarsely) Don't let me die.

    • Bill: (about his father) He's gotta get to a doctor.
      Lois: No! Remember when he got his fingers caught in the fan? You said doctors and he was fine!
      Bill: He needed 23 stitches!

    • Heather: You know, when I'm 21, I really wanna go on a mission and I wish I could go to an Islamic country because I think post-9/11 that part of the world needs our help the most. Don't you think?
      Sarah: I think the whole world needs help.

    • Roman: (to Bill) Listen to me, son, carefully. There's man's law and there's God's law... and I think you know which side I'm on.

  • NOTES (16)

    • Sarah is the oldest of the Henrickson children but, in real life, Amanda Seyfried is 6 months younger then her co-star and character's younger brother Douglas Smith.

    • Broadcast History
      Season 1 (March 2006 - June 2006): Sunday 10 p.m. on HBO
      Season 2, episodes 1-10 (June 2007 - August 2007): Monday 9 p.m. on HBO
      Season 2, episodes 11-12 (August 2007): Sunday 9 p.m. on HBO

    • Bruce Dern (Frank) and Harry Dean Stanton (Roman) have also appeared together in the movies The Rebel Rousers (1970) and Down Periscope (1996), and in episode 1-26: By Force and Violence of The Big Valley.

    • International Air Dates:
      - Latin America: October 1, 2006 on HBO Ole
      - Australia: June 3, 2007 on SBS
      - Denmark: May 12, 2008 on Kanal 5

    • Director Rodrigo Garcia received an Emmy nomination for this episode in the category "Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series" in the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (season 2005–2006). The award went to director Jon Cassar for episode 5-1: 7:00 A.M. - 8:00 A.M. of 24. In addition, the opening title sequence was nominated for "Outstanding Main Title Design".

    • Shooting for the pilot began on April 30, 2004 and wrapped on May 21, 2004. Shooting for the series began a year later, on April 5, 2005. It took nearly another year before the show finally premiered on March 12, 2006.

    • Music Featured in This Episode:
      - Top of the World by Lynn Anderson
      - Miss America by David Byrne

    • Amanda Seyfried (Bill and Barb's daughter Sarah) and Tina Majorino (Sarah's friend Heather) both have recurring roles on the UPN series Veronica Mars.

    • Opening theme song: God Only Knows by The Beach Boys

    • The premiere of Big Love was watched by 4.56 million viewers with a rating of 2.2/5 among adults 18-49. Overall, it was the sixth most-watched cable program of the week of 03/06/06 through 03/12/06.

    • As a publicity stunt for the premiere, HBO sent out cards that looked like wedding invitations to the wedding of Barbara Dutton, Nicolette Grant, and Margene Heffman to Bill Henrickson on March 12, 2006 at 10 p.m. The wedding invitations even had the return address as Sandy, Utah.

    • Jeanne Tripplehorn who plays Barbara Henrickson, Bill's first (and legal) wife, says that at first it was very difficult for her to relate to the role. She couldn't understand why a wife would willingly share her husband with other women.

    • Although the events of the show take place in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City, it is actually filmed mostly in California.

    • Executive producer Tom Hanks was briefly a Mormon when he was a small child.

    • When the debut of the series was publicized in fall 2005, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a press release emphasizing the fact that polygamy was officially discontinued in the church in 1890. Those that do still practice polygamy are not members of the church and are often referred to as "fundamentalist Mormons". Therefore, the depiction of the Henrickson family in this series is not a representation of the mainstream Latter-day Saint Mormons.

      A message emphasizing this fact was also included as an on-screen note at the end of the premiere episode:
      According to a joint report issued by the Utah and Arizona Attorney General's Offices, July, 2005, approximately 20.000 to 40.000 or more people currently practice polygamy in the United States. The Mormon Church officially banned the practice of polygamy in 1890.

    • The series was originally set to premiere in August 2005 but was pushed back to mid-season in spring 2006. At some point, the premiere date was also supposed to be in June 2006. However, HBO decided to use the March 2006 premiere of the long-awaited Season 6 of The Sopranos as the lead-in for their new show. This move pushed back Season 3 of Deadwood to summer 2006, angering many of the show's fans.