January 19, 2009

Indian casino in Big Love

'Big Love':  Secrets & WivesIt’s been a long wait, "Love"-starved fans, but after what seemed like an eternity (really, it's been some 15 months) "Big Love" has finally returned. And lucky for us, the extended hiatus has been worth the wait: The underrated family drama heaped out great big loving spoonfuls of fun twists and startling turns in its action-packed Season 3 premiere, reconfirming that this "Love" not only delights and sharpens, but endures.The part that concerns us:Patriarch Bill is attempting to seal a deal with a Native American tribe in order to get his hard-won Weber gaming off the ground.And:Third wife Margie gamely stepped up to become a real partner to Bill in the Weber negotiations, diffusing the tense standoff between Bill, Native American tribe rep Jerry Flute, and Jerry’s whippersnapper of a wife (another show of a strong, intelligent woman) with her placating words of peace…delivered in Shoshone, no less. I admit I thought it was a little baffling and out of touch when I caught Margie so studiously reciting her Native American phrases earlier this episode. This show is so smart to let me go on believing it was just ditzy Margene being ditzy Margene before springing this most pleasant Shoshone surprise at the meeting.Comment:  Jerry Flute is played by Robert "Chakotay" Beltran, a Latino. Once again Hollywood is unwilling to cast a Native actor to play a Native role.

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.


Anonymous said...

Beltran, I believe, claims Indian heritage.

Indian and Latino aren't mutually exclusive. Ask those who mourn some of the dead in Chiapas. Or those who have 'indio' hurled at them as a slur. Though, you may already know this and may know something about Beltran's heritage that I don't.

Rozmin said...

Do you have a translation of the Shoshone phrase? Thanks!

Rob said...

I discussed Beltran's ancestry in my Chakotay posting, SkywardProdigal. His shifting identifications were suspicious, to say the least.

As far as I can tell, he's a typical Latino--i.e., someone who has European and Native roots. That makes him a better choice to play this role than someone with no Native roots. But not as good a choice as an actual Indian.

I haven't seen the episode in question, Rozmin. I've watched the first two seasons of Big Love on DVD via Netflix. It'll probably be a year or two before Season 3 is available. Then I may discuss this episode further.