Here’s Why Meryl Streep in ‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Is a Terrible Idea
Big Little Lies took the world by storm when it premiered on HBO in 2017. The ensemble drama about small town secrets wowed fans and critics and reminded us all that its stars are among the most talented in Hollywood. And that will become even truer when the series returns. Because Hollywood icon Meryl Streep has joined the cast for Big Little Lies Season 2.
On paper, it sounds like an incredible idea. But a case can be made that Streep’s addition to the cast may not actually be the best idea.
1. Streep will play a very intriguing role in Season 2
It will probably come as no surprise that Streep’s character will have a big impact in Big Little Lies’ second season. After all, they wouldn’t bring her in just to play a substitute teacher at Otter Bay Elementary (though, it would be awesomely bold if they did). Streep will take on the role of Mary Louise Wright, Perry’s mother. She’ll arrive in Monterey, checking in on her grandchildren and searching for answers about her son’s death.
She’s sure to stir up some trouble. According to Big Little Lies’ author Liane Moriarty, Mary Louise and her daughter-in-law, Celeste, have a “fraught” relationship. And the unresolved secrets surrounding Perry and Celeste’s volatile relationship could lead to new tensions in no time.
Next: Fans were frantic when they learned Streep would appear in Big Little Lies Season 2.
2. Many fans are excited that Streep has joined the cast
When news first broke that Streep will appear on Big Little Lies Season 2, the response fell mostly between shock and elation. While there was a bit of backlash from fans who don’t like her politics, most were enthusiastic — some so much that they claimed they were trying to remind themselves to breathe.
And when you consider what Streep brings to the table, it’s easy to see why fans are so excited.
Next: Big Little Lies will be a big change in Streep’s career.
3. Streep on TV is a big deal
To date, Streep is the most honored actress in American history. She’s been nominated for an Academy Award 21 times and won three. And that’s just one kind of award.
But while she’s a silver screen legend, she hasn’t spent much time on TV in the past three decades. Sure, she’d made the odd voiceover appearance on The Simpsons and King of the Hill. And there was her stunning turn in HBO’s Angels in America miniseries.
But she hasn’t committed much time or effort in the medium — because she’s never had to.
Next: Streep has given Big Little Lies Season 2 a boost before it’s even started.
4. With Streep on board, Big Little Lies Season 2 is already a hit
Big Little Lies raked in some big prizes for its first season. With Emmys and Golden Globes under their belt, they probably already felt confident about the prospects for Season 2. With Streep on board, there’s almost no chance that the second outing will fail. At least, not from a ratings’ perspective.
The fact that Streep has chosen to join the Big Little Lies cast says a lot about the powerful storytelling happening on TV today, and its ability to lure big talent. But her presence may also change how Big Little Lies’ Season 2 story gets told.
Next: Why Streep’s star status could end up hurting the show.
5. Big Little Lies could become the Streep show
Certain actors just command your attention. No matter what else is happening on screen, your eyes are drawn to them. Streep is, more often than not, one of those rare performers. It’s what’s helped her rise to the top and stay there for so many years.
Her role in Big Little Lies’ Season 2 will most certainly mean more attention for the actress, especially given the complex role she’s taken on. Critics and fans will be focused on her presence, and maybe more than anyone else’s. And that could diminish our ability to focus on the intricate storytelling and nuanced details Big Little Lies is known for.
Streep’s presence could disrupt the story, rather than enhance it — and in more ways than one.
Next: All eyes on Streep
6. The focus on Streep could take away from Big Little Lies’ ensemble feel
Some fans have already more or less reserved the Best Actress statues at the Emmys and Golden Globes for Streep, before she’s shot a single frame. Her name alone, coupled with this prestigious show, almost guarantees some serious accolades. But part of what was so refreshing about Big Little Lies’ first season was seeing well-respected actresses finally get their due.
Nicole Kidman, who’s fought for years to find well-written roles for her age group, used her time in the Big Little Lies spotlight to praise the series for creating a strong ensemble of female characters. Laura Dern, who’s delivered dozens of incredible performances over the years, was finally recognized for her brave portrayal of a complex woman.
With Streep in the mix, all eyes will be on her. And that could mean less attention for the rest of the cast and their characters. When so much of what made Big Little Lies work in the first place was that ensemble feel, it’s easy to imagine how Streep’s presence could change the series’ chemistry in Season 2.
Next: The Big Little Lies cast has weighed in on Streep’s casting.
7. The Big Little Lies Season 2 cast is thrilled to have Streep
Regardless of how Streep’s presence will affect Big Little Lies’ second season, the cast is ready to welcome her with open arms. Reese Witherspoon and Kidman joined other castmates in sharing their glee at having Streep on board. Kidman, in fact, was instrumental in convincing Streep to take the role — via email, no less.
It’s too early to know for sure how Streep’s role, and presence, will play out in the Big Little Lies landscape. But at least for her new co-stars, acting alongside her appears to be a dream come true.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
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