Big Little Lies was a smash hit for HBO from the moment of release. Excellent writing, breathtaking camera work, and a killer soundtrack, all backed by massive star power. It’s enough to impress and enchant anyone watching – all except for one reviewer, it seems, who the leads of Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon weren’t too happy with.
A certain review for ‘Big Little Lies’ was less-than-glowing
AceShowbiz discussed a certain Q&A with the Big Little Lies cast at the Television Critics Association, during which Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon talked about the negative review in question. Without naming names, they mentioned a specific review when asked about any they’d gotten that were “unfair or sexist.”
According to them, the review aimed at many parts of the show, criticizing the abuse subplot for one of the main characters (derisively comparing it to Fifty Shades of Grey) and dubbing it a “chick show.” TV Guide managed to track down the review as belonging to Mike Hale from The New York Times in 2017, just before the show came out. It certainly lived up to its reputation, with choice quotes about the show being a “glossy new melodrama” with “a compendium of clichés about upper-middle-class angst.” Hale made multiple references to the series Desperate Housewives throughout in ways that positioned it as better than Big Little Lies while still implying it to be trash TV. Overall, it’s not a charitable reading of the material.
Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon fired back
In that same interview, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman didn’t pull punches in their response. The negativity itself wasn’t so much a problem for them, but rather the misogynistic edge to the review itself.
Witherspoon focused on one aspect, thinking that the reviewer might not have finished the show before reviewing it as harshly as he did. Based on the review itself, this seems to be the case. Hale makes comments about the fact that the inciting murder of the show keeps the victim’s identity a secret, speculating that it will be revealed (future tense) at the end of the season.
While there’s something to be said about a media review of media that the reviewer couldn’t bring themselves to finish, one can’t help but wonder if Hale would have been so harsh if not for how female-focused the show is. Witherspoon closed out by again mentioning how Hale hadn’t seemed to finish the show before making sweeping judgments about it, urging him and others to “make the show whole” before doing so.
The show could potentially continue in the future
As of this moment, Big Little Lies has concluded its run. However, that may not be the end of the story, at least according to Nicole Kidman.
Kidman has said on many occasions that she would love to come back for another season. As far as HBO is concerned, they feel the same way. Given that the show was initially planned to only last a single season, adding yet another wouldn’t even be that out of the ordinary.
Unfortunately, though, that third season might take a while to produce. The biggest barrier to the show’s renewal happens to be the cast themselves, as all five of the principal stars are some of the busiest women in Hollywood. Clearing their schedules again for another unplanned season, even for a show they love, isn’t feasible most of the time. While that shouldn’t be taken as saying Season 3 is impossible, it will take a perfect storm to bring back the Monterey Five for one last story.