Big Little Lies Series Delivers Superstars and Suspense

Woodley-Witherspoon-Kidman in BLL

Big Little Lies (HBO, 9 p.m.), a glossy, new 7-part series about rival moms in ritzy Monterey, California, would be notable if it only had Reese Witherspoon as its star and executive producer, but it also has Nicole Kidman, who co-exec produces, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgard, and Adam Scott rounding out the cast.

Told through the eyes of three mothers – Madeline (Witherspoon), Celeste (Kidman) and Jane (Woodley) – Big Little Lies paints a picture of a town fueled by rumors and divided into the haves and have-nots, exposing the conflicts, secrets and betrayals that compromise relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors.

Reese Witherspoon explained what drew her to the project in the first place: “With this piece I feel like it was such a unique opportunity to have women of every age, of every color, talking about motherhood … that’s the common denominator. Reese Witherspoon -- BLLMotherhood is the great equalizer. Parenthood is a good equalizer, socioeconomically, and everything brings these five different women together in a way that they clash but they also understand and discover each other.”

The pilot (which aired last Saturday the 19th) adapted from Liane Moriarty’s novel, has high-class bickering and behind doors marital tensions, but also at the center of it is a murder that is alluded to but not fleshed out for several episodes. Not only do we not know the culprit (it could be anybody of course); we don’t even know the victim. Woodley’s character is ostensibly at the center, since she’s a young, single mom and a newcomer to town, who is trying to fit in and get along with the privileged mommy group.

Kidman in BLLNicole Kidman was struck by the strength and quantity of female roles in the series: “This piece for me was the story of women that I know, and it was a way which we could go to other women with five great roles that were complicated and deserve to be told. It’s very rare to find five roles in one piece that we’d all jump at a chance to play.”

Co-Exec Producer David E. Kelley (The Practice) adapted the Moriarty best-seller on which the limited series is based, with the setting changed to Monterey from Australia, with Moriarty’s blessing. Big Little Lies is really into the marriage of apparent opposites: congenial and contemptuous, beautiful and ugly, loving and abusive, big and little. Everything with these characters is simmering resentment, very low-key microaggressions, and secrets—there aren’t the big epic takedowns and glasses of water in the face one might be conditioned to expect from a story about rich housewives one-upping each other. It’s all very subtle, and for every dig, there’s a thousand self-deprecating remarks, concessions, and compliments.

Moms with Kids in BLL

From the book:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal…
A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly?  
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

  • Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
  • Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
  • New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Zoe Kravitz in BLLBig Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

“It’s so refreshing to spend time with all of these women,” Witherspoon added, giving a nod to her cast for the “collective performance,” going as far to say, “I really feel more strongly than anything I’ve ever done, and this is the greatest ensemble experience I’ve ever had.”

Gorgeously shot, neatly directed and beautifully acted from start to finish, Big Little Lies is an achievement in almost every way. It should get lots of Emmys, unless its superstar leads cancel one another out.

Biggest Television Break-Ups: Couples We Never Liked Anyway


rossrachelBy Brianna Porter
There is nothing worse than watching two characters of a show (that you’re totally obsessed with, by the way) cruelly ripped apart by the writers before their relationship even flourishes. The thing is, the writers love the are-we-still-friends, when-do-I-get-my-stuff-back drama that can fill at least a few weeks’ worth of episodes. That’s because viewers really eat it up. For many, it’s easy to relate to and may even be a source of comfort, the “Been there, done that” kind of thing. But when you’re emotionally attached to a TV couple, as I’m sure everybody has been at least once in their life, it’s just cruel. So here’s a list of the biggest break-ups on television that we will pick apart until we have fully convinced ourselves that we really never cared for them, anyway.


1. Ross & Rachel — Friends

rossrachel2This Friends couple was easily in the running for cutest couple on the show, next to Chandler and Monica, of course. What wasn’t cute, though, was the amount of times they went back and forth in their relationship. Our weak Rosschel hearts couldn’t take much more of it. In the end, they got back together, but who is to say this time is the last? You burned us, writers!!

2. Buffy & Angel — Buffy the Vampire Slayer

buffyangelBuffy and Angel were literally polar opposites that ended up sorta/kinda dating. They eventually hooked up, which led to the inevitable release of Angel’s inner demon. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We just wish we weren’t put through the emotional strife in the first place . . . you had one job, Buffy! You should have just killed him!

3. Nick & Jess — New Girl

nickjessFrom episode one, it was easy to predict that these two would end up together. One could argue that it is our fault that we believed a relationship from the get-go would be endgame, but we would rather argue that the whole show just plain sucks. Rebut that!!

4. Chuck & Blair — Gossip Girl

chuckblairThe only thing less fun than this couple’s unforgettable break-up scene is their relationship name: Chair. Still, Chuck and Blair seemed meant to be up until this point, and even after they mended things, that reasonable doubt stuck around, leaving viewers with weary hearts.

5. Piper & Larry — Orange is the New Black

piperlarryIf we’re entirely serious about any of these couples, it’s this one. While at first we could sympathize with Larry and his situation, the conclusion most viewers have come to is this: Larry is an ass. We’re Team Piper & Alex, anyway.


(From Never Liked It Anyway, the number one destination for all things break-ups and bounce-back! It’s the place to buy, sell and tell all things ex! Sell your breakup baggage, tell your story and join the community of rock stars bouncing back better than ever! )