Little Big Annoyances

Yesterday, we watched the first two episodes of Big Little Lies starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman:

Screen capture of IMDB home page.

Within moments as the first episode opened, this program felt gratingly familiar. If you are new here, you might have missed where I explained (wow, almost 2 years ago now) how The Affair that was not exactly my favorite program – and why. I got through about 3 or 4 episodes of it before I gave up.

And The Affair has apparently been a success on Showtime in the U.S.

Big Little Lies must be HBO’s attempt at a response. Once again we’re dragged into a police interrogation room in apparent flashback, watching various characters non-contextually dangling previous happenings before us as if that is supposed to whet our appetite for more. Within “the body of the tale” built around discussions and arguments in gargantuan kitchens, outside on Niagara Falls observation-platform size home decks, and the terrifying school parking lot, we are regularly pulled back to footprints on beaches and waves crashing at varying intervals – which obviously signifies “deep things” are happening. Apparently to make sure we understand that, the background music is occasionally distorted to the point that would have impressed an LSD-using John Lennon.

The elementary school is like a cross between a politically correct nightmare (“We have a strong policy prohibiting non-consensual playground kissing.”) and a police headquarters (“Take him away.”). The car park drop off reminds one of approaching U.S. Immigration. (“Ma’am, please return to your vehicle immediately.”) Smart aleck, damaged kids and teenagers are everywhere.

And those pre-teens remind me of dolls in a horror film – I was waiting for possessed heads to start spinning. The yoga class is almost scarier than the school. And among other “adult” happenings … behind the scenes … naturally some outwardly upstanding provider and respectable guy slaps his wife, and she then hits him back … and then they have sex. And they aren’t “playing.” And they apparently do that a lot.

And once again I care not a whit about any of these people.

As a result, nor do I care what their “big little lies” happen to be.

But, judging from IMDB, like The Affair this too is probably a hit.

How sad, really.

I have nothing against flashbacks or flash-forwards, or a dream sequence, in a story. They are useful devices. I have used them.

But I find the increasing fad of “bouncing back and forth” rapidly in flashback and flash-forward and repeat in a perpetual loop for an hour or more to be irritating viewing. It gives me whiplash. I always suspect it’s someone’s way of looking to manipulate production values to attempt to hide what is a pretty thin story were it to be told instead in a largely unbroken, “beginning to end”, narrative format.

On that note, Happy Monday! 🙂