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“The first season of Big Little Lies was a clever trap. The show took what would have otherwise been an easily satirized narrative about affluent women and complicated it with their trauma; The Week’s Lili Loofbourow succinctly called it “a kind of double helix of satire and sincerity” in her review. The success of this structure hinged in part on the use of flashbacks and flash-forwards, the withholding of information, and the inclusion of misleading police interviews with gossipy neighbors. By shining a light on the audience’s superficial presumptions about the “Monterey Five,” Big Little Lies, in the end, proved its own point.
The second season, then, might seem superfluous. We already know the backstory to the murder of Celeste’s husband, Perry, and it was long ago revealed that nothing in Monterey is as simple as it seems. No longer needing to twist the viewer’s presumptions against them, Big Little Lies has lost the earnestness that helped balance season one. In doing so — and as was especially evident in Sunday’s third episode — the series has caved into parodying itself.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Big Little Lies is not fun to watch anymore; it is maybe even more so because it surrenders at times into complete fan service, complete with a meme-ready Laura Dern and a mousey and dangerous Meryl Streep. Largely, though, Andrea Arnold — the accomplished English director who took over this season from Jean-Marc Vallée — dispenses with the structural tools of her predecessor save for a handful of flashbacks. Yet even these are returns to scenes that we’ve already seen and that (at least so far) have revealed nothing new. Instead, Big Little Lies’ second season is focused on the central question of if “the lie” is going to catch up to the women involved.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."
"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."
"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."
"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."
"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."
"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."
"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."
"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."
"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."
"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."
"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."
"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."