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HelenaExMachina

Big Little Lies: Throwing Shade with Style [season 2 spoilers]

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First episode of season 2 was this weekend. I enjoyed it a lot, the Celeste character work and continuing struggles over her relationship with Perry were the core of Season 1 and continue to be a highlight here. Absolutely excellent work and her therapy sessions are brilliant.

Meryl Street is an absolutely fantastic addition as Mary Louise. She stole every scene she was in and I loved her subtle throwing shade at Madeline and everyone else. Hiding the fact she was totally vapid beneath that exuberance. She reminds me of you :lol:

Zoe Kravitz put in an excellent performance as Bonnie. Broken, full of guilt and grief. Just excellent.

Reese Witherspoon as Madeline was hilarious at times but the performance is probably Witherspoon's best work imo. The cast continues to be utterly brilliant.

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Yeah, great start. Meryl streep and her character are fantastic. Passive aggressive yet forward/slightly scary at the same time. Hard to get a handle on her. I'm pretty sure her son was a victim of domestic abuse but was his mother a victim too, or complicit? Too soon to get a call on her.

Madeleine is such an irritating/horrible person most of the time on screen but most if the tine her heart is in the right place and she does come through for her friends. Again, it's a case of the actor making the part work so well and Witherspoon is fantastic. It's painful to watch her implode with her daughter and ex-husband over college when she essentially feels like her life was ruined not going. Complicated character.

The other main cast all did well with smaller roles but tge suggestion is everyone has their own story going on.

I take it the actor who played the coffee shop guy has a new gig as it seemed pretty pointed they were using a new coffee shop and introducing a new guy.

Oh, the bit where Madeline's ex asked her husband to talk to his wife was priceless. The other guy can be snide but I don't see how else he was meant to respond to that proposition.

I noticed the author is still working with the writing on the second season despite not writing a sequel to the book (yet). This approach worked well with the leftovers and ut maybe is the best way to handle extending beyond the books 

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6 hours ago, Nictarion said:

My only complaint was the episode was too short. 

I did think it seemed short too, it was only like 40-45 minutes without the adverts. Completely flew over though.

is this season only 6 episodes too?

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1 hour ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I did think it seemed short too, it was only like 40-45 minutes without the adverts. Completely flew over though.

is this season only 6 episodes too?

I think it’s 7. 

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15 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Meryl Street is an absolutely fantastic addition as Mary Louise. She stole every scene she was in and I loved her subtle throwing shade at Madeline and everyone else. Hiding the fact she was totally vapid beneath that exuberance. She reminds me of you :lol:

Ha, Mary Louise came out throwing bombs at Madeline every time they talked. Streep did deliver them in the subtle way that only she could do though. And that screaming scene was wild. Great acting by a mortified Kidman there.

So all my uncertainties about having a second season at all were definitely for naught. These characters are just too interesting. I’m glad I rewatched the first season right before too as I would’ve forgotten some of the minor things. Poor Bonnie, knew she was gonna be a total mess about this(and rightfully so). 

Ed and Nathan continue their weird little feud... snide fuck.

I got a kick out of Adam Scott’s reactions to the conversation with Tori in the supermarket too. So awkward.

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I haven't watched it yet.  I'm kinda leaning toward not watching it until I can do the eps back-to-back, which is my preferred way.  A week in-between lessens a lot of impacts and connections for this watcher anyway.  We all watch differently and look for / enjoy / admire different aspects.  Though I am watching Gentleman Jack, week by week.

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Not to pour cold water on the hype train, but that episode felt a little disappointing to me. I'm trying to put my finger on why it disappointed me. I really enjoyed the first season, though I didn't really sit with the episodes as I'm doing now ( I watched it all in 4-5 days as opposed to watching it week by week this time). 

Firstly, there was a bunch of things I enjoyed - A bit like the first season, kidman's character/ struggles are the strongest parts of the show for me, as is Witherspoon, who basically starts up from where she left off in the first season. Witherspoon's performance is great, but I don't know if they're really giving her the best stuff to work with ( The scene with her daughter is good, but kinda more of the same from the first season - I'm willing to give this more of a shot to see where it ends up). 

I'm interested to see how the show moves forward with the Kidman/ Woodley dynamic, I think it will be interesting to explore that relationship given Perry's impact on both of them and hopefully we see some more of that. 

Things I didn't like - I think a lot of scenes just felt a little strange or out of place. The first is Adam Scott in the supermarket - that scene felt like a parody of the show. I don't really know what was up with the writing there. Sticking with Scott, his scene with Madeline's ex husband is also strange, and I totally don't buy them having that conversation. Also, the scene with Laura Dern's husband with the train and the baseball bat - again, why? What is this telling me? All of that felt pretty superfluous to me. 

Lastly, and I know this isn't really a new issue but man, this show seems just so...white to me. Kravitz is good, and perhaps the new teacher will have some sort of impact on the show but it sorta drove home the point of how white this show is - I dunno, this didn't bother me in the first season but somehow it's all I could think about during the latter half of the episode ( I think a couple of reasons why this is bothering me so much this time around is the fact that I've recently been watching a lot of shows in which people of colour are really well represented ( the Good Fight, The Leftovers) . In addition, the last season of GOT left a really bad taste in my mouth re: the treatment of POC, which I think has had an effect in my enjoyment of the show) 

Edited by Raja

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Raja, i think you might be better suited to binge watching.

Supermarket scene. Obvious set up for a potential affair. There was implied history between the two of them and his insecurity eith Madeline was pretty much his entire storyline last season. If he finds out about Madeline's affair there will be issues

The two husbands encounter. Again there's a lot of hostility between the two. There's also chemistry between Madeline and her ex - especially with bonnie beung closed off. Sparks could fly there.

Dern's husband. Clearly setting him up as a bored/frustrated/emasculated husband who is developing a drink problem (and worse, a model train enthusiast). I'm sure this will be explored.

So i feel a lot of your complaints are frustration at not seeing the pay off for a first episode set-up show?

Regarding the whiteness of the cast. Is that not caught up with the rich demographic of that town? And the west is still set up so that being white dramatically helps with being rich. It should be addressed though even if it's clarifying it's intentional.

It would be interesting to have a more diverse cast as i suspect some of our core cast might have some unsavoury views. I could easily imagine Madeline being a bit cringe worthy either assuming non white kids could be trouble or overcompensating by trying to embrace a non-white family.

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Yes i think the whiteness of the cast serves an actual purpose here. We are looking at the richest of rich, the elite and exclusive residemts of Monteray. It makes perfect sense to me to have an overwhelmingly white cast.

Laura Dern’s hubby feels totally natural as red snow said. Hell, even i’m referring to him as Laura Dern’s husband rather than character name. This episode has set up to explore his status as husband of a power wife.

i think red snow is right, you seem to want pay off after the first episode so you might be better off binge watching

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I’m really trying to like this show, but after two episodes it feels like Desperate Housewives with a future murder twist.

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Surely a great part of what isn't working for you all for whom things aren't really working is due to the first season was adapted from a novel, that takes place in Australia, not the US.  Now they're working from scratch (and still the original author has received a lot of welcome, surely, 'scratch' for this season too) -- and so it's an imitation of an adaptation of something that happened somewhere else -- and particularly the whiteness of it all.

As mentioned, lately we've been able to see programming in which diversity is natural and right -- Bosch's ensemble cast, for instance.  This takes place in Malibu, and yet we aren't seeing even black or hispanic housekeepers and cleaners!  It's not fiction but feature length, live action House and Garden photo spreads, which, like, the paintings of the 18th and 19th century of southern plantation homes of the Old South, show the white nuclear family, all alone, seated in the beautifully manicured and planted garden-lawns, with ne'er a slave in sight.

 

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6 hours ago, red snow said:

Raja, i think you might be better suited to binge watching.

Supermarket scene. Obvious set up for a potential affair. There was implied history between the two of them and his insecurity eith Madeline was pretty much his entire storyline last season. If he finds out about Madeline's affair there will be issues

Oh no, I totally got that it might go that way ( it's not exactly subtle), I just think it's a super clunky scene. I don't think the writing is good at all, specifically the dialogue, but ymmv. If y'all enjoyed that scene then good for you! What works for you doesn't necessarily work for someone else. I think there is a way to get the intention across without the dialogue sounding like a very rough draft that no one edited. 

Regarding the two husbands scene - again, it's a lot in the execution for me, I understand that that is a dynamic from the first season, but do I think Madeline's ex would ask scott for help based on their interactions in the first season? Not really. 

I don't want pay off from the first episode, I just want to watch dialogue that is well written & characters acting in a way that would make sense to me. 

I think the above scenes can work for you or not, people don't have to react to the same thing in the same ways, and it's all personal opinion ( I mean, look how many people thought GOT's writing in the latter seasons was good).

If this stuff lands for you then that's totally fine! Though I'm a little disappointed in yours & Helena's posts regarding the whiteness of the cast

I think *everyone* knows we're seeing the most affluent parts of California, but I think it's a pretty facile argument to say that that's why it's a majority white cast. It's really not an excuse, imo. Maybe this is a personal thing as a brown dude in predominantly white spaces, but I think it's a little disappointing to see posters here give the show a pass on it's predominantly white cast by saying 'this is the demography of the town' - it's a fictional tv show, I think saying it's reflecting the demography is a fairly poor excuse ( I would totally be open to seeing it the other way if the whiteness of the cast is *specifically* used for some other purpose, such as a story or narrative beat ( there is a little bit of this in season 1 with kravitz, but not much)  but so far I haven't seen that yet) 

As a person of colour, this stuff bothers me ( and is compounded by the fact that Kravitz is the least developed out of the bunch so far), if you're totally on board with it then that's fine, I realize that not everyone is bothered by the depiction of people of colour in what they watch.

People have used the 'there aren't that many black people/ brown people during this time/ place' as an excuse for decades, and it's a little disappointing to find that same thing brought up here. 

Edited by Raja

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Edit: Nevermind

Edited by Raja

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1 hour ago, Zorral said:

This takes place in Malibu

Monterey, not Malibu, but your point stands. (Used to live near Monterey as a kid and remember the natural beauty of the bay and the rest of the coast in Central California very, very fondly, so I admit seeing the opening credits and occasional glimpses of places I knew triggers a lot of nostalgia. That said, I think the casting is basically on David E. Kelley here.)

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As i posted earlier it should be more of a plot point or at keast acknowledged in some way. It's interesting that zorral mentions the book was set in Australia as it may not be something that was a focus of the book. Now they are charting their own ground it's something i hope would be brought up in the writers' room.

3 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I’m really trying to like this show, but after two episodes it feels like Desperate Housewives with a future murder twist.

I had this thought too but i actually thought season 1 of desperate housewives was pretty good so took it as a positive. When it starts resemling other seasons I'll start to worry.

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

Monterey, not Malibu, but your point stands. (Used to live near Monterey as a kid and remember the natural beauty of the bay and the rest of the coast in Central California very, very fondly, so I admit seeing the opening credits and occasional glimpses of places I knew triggers a lot of nostalgia. That said, I think the casting is basically on David E. Kelley here.)

Ah!  Thank you.  I don't know southern California -- not in the least one of my frequent stomp grounds, oddly enough -- and I'm such an Atlantic Coaster!

What we're criticizing though, is probably a big part of why the series is so popular?

That all said, I liked the book, as far as it went -- I like the author's novels, as far as they go -- these are books about well-off white people's problems.  And I enjoyed the first season too.  But I don't know about this one -- but! Meryl Streep, etc.!  So things might well be put up with, you know.  :D

Edited by Zorral

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On 6/12/2019 at 7:15 AM, Raja said:

Things I didn't like - I think a lot of scenes just felt a little strange or out of place. The first is Adam Scott in the supermarket - that scene felt like a parody of the show. I don't really know what was up with the writing there.

The woman in the supermarket is married to the man Madeline had an affair with, which she discovered at the end of last season. I thought as funny as that scene was in its awkwardness, it was also super sad to see how she'd been affected by her husband's extramarital affair to the point of changing her own body. It's also a possibility that she's looking to get back at Madeline by trying to seduce her husband.

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See - that episode was more like it. At least this episode showed an element of self awareness amongst the writers re: the whiteness of this cast. It was good to see that acknowledged by the writers, because frankly it is a very obvious and deserved criticism of the show, and one that *MANY* POC critics have made against the show. Meeting Bonnie's mom helped, as did the small scene with the black teacher in school.

Do I wish these POC were more realized & we had more of them? Absolutely. But it is a good thing for the show to both acknowledge its whiteness and also attempt to flesh out the only person of colour in the cast ( even though I think they could maybe do a bit better) 

The biggest reason why I'm so much more in favour of this episode over the first one is that every scene in this episode felt like it actually mattered ( Not just in a plot sense), every scene seemed to either tell us more about the characters/ give us an insight into their state of mind or move the plot forward, as opposed to episode 1 where I found a couple of scenes pretty superfluous or with poor dialogue ( I still think the Ed scenes with Madeline's ex don't really click for me, even in this episode).

Good TV to me is episodes where I feel like every scene feels important ( The best Mad Men & GOT episodes did this), and I feel like episode 2 was much better in that regard that episode 1. 

Big little lies is at its best when it's exploring the relationships between these women, their marriages, and *ESPECIALLY* the relationships between children & their parents. The children felt like such a big part of season 1, and it's nice to see not just more of them, but the story exploring their relationships with their parents in new ways. 

Edited by Raja

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