SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this post, I want you to celebrate my indomitable will to survive by watching Big Love.
I don’t think we’ve discussed this here, but this season David Byrne has been serving as musical consultant on Big Love. (Continuing a trend of alternative rockers migrating to TV: Trent Reznor is reportedly turning a Nine Inch Nails album into a TV series, while Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo–who scored Big Love’s first season–appears in an upcoming new kids’ show on Nick Jr. But those are for other posts…) He writes about the process of scoring the show here.
This is all a longwinded leadup to saying that my favorite bit of last night’s show was musical–though I don’t think Byrne had anything to do with it. It was Rhonda, in the closing minutes of the show, singing Donna Fargo’s The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA. The episode as a whole was fine–it moved the ball downfield on the compound and video-poker business (and ew! those twins!), but I didn’t think the business-trip storyline added much to what we’ve been seeing of the Henrickson family dynamic.
But it was a beautiful last few minutes, pulling together the various strands of the episode in a lovely, ironic serenade, focused on the women of the show: Sarah, torn between Heather’s family and her own; Heather, who may indeed like Sarah in that way; Barb, her sadness welling up as she sees her life as Public Wife getting away from her; Nicki, suddenly back under Alby’s thumb, as he plans to serve Kathy up to ghastly Frank; Adaleen, locked out of her husband’s sickroom by the son whom she helped usurp his place; and pious, lying Rhonda herself–getting her moment! singing! on TV!–who probably is the happiest girl in the whole USA at this moment. And of course, Roman, the sedatives ordered by his son dripping into his bloodstream, gazing foggily into the TV as he sees his former child bride singing him, presumably, out of this life.
About which: can we consider Roman dead now? I mean, fake-kill me once, shame on you, fake-kill me twice, shame on me.