There is nothing that makes me feel more ‘yes and no’ than the trailer for Season 2 of Big Little Lies. I specifically don’t mean ‘conflicted’, which at least to me means that you’re so full of all kinds of back and forth feelings that you can’t decide how you feel.
On the contrary, I feel very strongly for or against everything in this trailer, which has not dampened my anticipation for it even one iota.
My first thought was, YES - that that gorgeous, pinch-yourself-you’re-dreaming visual style was still there, even though the show has a new director this year, Andrea Arnold, who’s directed a bunch of Transparent and I Love Dick. But then I thought, no – the trailer includes a lot more shots of the women with their heads together, clearly not as separate and isolated as they were in season one. Which of course, made me go ‘YES’. This is what we were promised – that there would be more of them together, more of a storyline for Zoe Kravitz’s Bonnie, among other things, and it’s clear that this is what this season is poised to do.
I am gonna be in the minority on this, but the absence of kids made me say ‘no’. Yes, the first season was ultimately about the big secret Celeste had that ultimately became everyone’s big secret – but it was playing out for Jane and Celeste and Madeline and Renata (and to a lesser extent, Bonnie) in and around the constant gnawing anxiety that whatever dramas they had in their lives would affect their children. That they might be failing in bringing up those kids.
Which is such a huge part of what made this series so resonant for so many people. Not that the dark dramas don’t exist in the ‘real’ world because of course they do, but the residents of Monterey felt that much more real because they still had to get up and do the school run or show up to the fundraiser. Obviously this may just be a function of the one-minute trailer, but I hope they don’t lose it.
Similarly, hearing about ‘the Monterey 5’ initially felt like a no – not because I don’t want to see the fallout from the school fundraiser (and though nobody, including me, remembers this consistently, the first season was actually framed by the investigation into that very same fallout), but because I want to see their other dramas, the day-to-day custody sharing and helicoptering, that make up a charmed but flawed life. Obviously the show will still revolve around school (and the whispers and glances of the other moms) but I hope there’s room for more worry about kids and their evolving lives and personalities, and what that means for our stars. (One of the biggest reasons they might not have done that is, obviously, kid actors grow like crazy between seasons, so explaining away the ‘oh they’re two years older now’ is going to be more challenging than a trailer can accommodate.)
Finally, my biggest ‘no’ going into the second season was the addition of Meryl Streep as Celeste’s mother-in-law. Lord knows I adore Meryl Streep, but I thought she and her star power would overshadow the world of the series, and I wasn’t the only one who was nervous about it.
Cue the trailer – and I’m obviously making a snap judgment off a single sentence, but her one, quiet “I don’t think I would get the truth, would I?” is why she’s the greatest living actor of our time – her singular focus and muted energy made me realize that, of course, she’s going to blend seamlessly into this world. Of course she’s going to seem utterly perfect in this environment. She’s Meryl Goddamn Streep! The only thing better than having a no turned into a yes is feeling it done so skillfully like this – like Reese and Nicole and Meryl knew better than me.
So I’m rabidly here for this, and the extremes of my feelings only make me more excited for this to drop already. And I may revise my stance when the season finally premieres on June 9th, but Nicole Kidman’s wig still gets a ‘yes’ from me.
Attached - Reese Witherspoon out in LA yesterday.