‘Big Little Lies’ Is True Modern Day Soap Opera

‘Big Little Lies’ Is True Modern Day Soap Opera

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies

Like traditional soap operas of the 20th century, “Big Little Lies,” which began on Feb. 19, 2017, and ended on April 2, was all about stories of affairs, intrigue, and drama. Nonetheless, amongst lives filled with wanting everything immediately, all tied up in a nice package, complete with a big finale, the HBO series “Big Little Lies” squeezed what would have been years of storyline in yesteryear, into a tidy seven-episode series to please today’s sensibilities. 

‘Big Little Lies’ Is the Soap For a New Generation

With technology and busy existences, the simplicity of watching an ongoing serial, with seemingly never-ending stories that go on for decades, no longer fits into today’s lifestyle. Consequently, most people today want shows tied up in neat packages with exciting introductions, middles, and stupendous finales like ones once only seen in the movies. “Big Little Lies” did just that as a modern day soap opera packed into a tidy episode series.

Considering watching on-demand and binge watching, as one wishes, it is all about getting it done fast, with big named stars to keep viewers attentions. Evidently, movie stars are heeding fan’s wishes by showing up in episodic TV shows where they get fan appeal. Not only did “Big Little Lies” give viewers a wonderful modern day soap opera storyline, written by David E. Kelley, but it also brought with it movies headliners.

Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern gave “Big Little Lies” a trifecta of star-studded performances, that once would have been relegated to mere known TV actresses, or actors just getting their feet wet. The story takes place in suburbia and basically centers on the lives of mothers of first graders. The first episode dives right into a mysterious murder during a trivia night at the Monterey school.

‘Big Little Lies’ Delivers Big Finish

From the “Big Little Lies” initial episode on, viewers were introduced to young and adult bullies, as well as a backstory that served as the reason the women bonded. With each new episode was a fresh tease about that fateful trivia night. Celeste, Kidman’s character, threatens to leave her abusive husband, Perry, to shield her twins from his outbursts. By the “Big Little Lies” finale it is learned that her son Max was the bully going after Amabella, the daughter of Dern’s character, Renata.

Perry searches for Celeste after she leaves to find safety with her friends Madeline, played by Witherspoon, and Jane. Once Perry finds his wife, all is revealed as Jane becomes conscious that it was the husband of her friend who had raped her and fathered her son Ziggy. As Perry starts to slam Celeste the women join as a singular powerful force to stop him. Ultimately, it is another mother, Bonnie, who puts an end to Perry’s abuse by pushing him to his death.

What is remarkable about the final scene is that, through Vallee’s direction, the story was told all by brilliant acting and no spoken words. Vallee succeeded in truly showcasing how formidable the mothers were, and how their strong and powerful bond was in protecting each other. The “Big Little Lies” finale also demonstrates through the special connection that the mothers had, was a safe place to unleash truths in order to relieve the weighing down of painful secrets.

Fans Beg for More ‘Big Little Lies’

The problem with giving viewers what they want in limited series is that when the show is a smash it leaves fans wanting more. Clearly, this is certainly the case for the HBO seven-episode show, “Big Little Lies.” With the season finale airing on Sunday night, April 1, fans are now mourning the loss of yet another beloved show.

Well-played shows like “Big Little Lies” are far and few between. Viewers recognize this and certainly speak up in unison on social media. As a result, forums have been formed to discuss “Big Little Lies” in depth, while also speculating on how they could progress the characters and story for another season or sequel.

Lovers of the HBO series clamored to get petitions out to beg the “Big Little Lies” director, writer, and the team of actors to go on with the show. Still and all, the director has spoken up against another season. Vallee wishes for the audience to work using their imagination to decide the fate of the characters.

Nonetheless, Witherspoon has hinted that there have been talks for a second season in the works, with the book’s author, Liane Moriarty, noting that she has formed ideas. Despite this, Vallee insists that he wants the audience to determine for themselves why the detective in “Big Little Lies” resists letting go.

The end is for the audience to talk about. Imagine what you want to imagine and that’s it. We won’t give you a season two because it’s so good like this. Why spoil it?

Efforts from fans for popular limited series have worked before. “Under the Dome” extended from its one season storyline to continue for three more seasons. Unfortunately, by its end, “Dome” was overdone and fans were ready for its demise.

The old soaps that took up afternoons with ongoing, never-ending stories, are pretty much long gone. Nevertheless, fans want to have their cake and eat it too. The director understands that one cannot have it both ways when it comes to a quality production. “Big Little Lies” was formed into a tasty package, complete with layers and delicious icing, that entices watchers to want to lick it off to determine what the cake tastes like for themselves.

By Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Cathy Milne


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Featured and Top Image by Georges Biard Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License