Little Fires Everywhere: full season
April 4, 2020 2:04 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Based on Celeste Ng's 2017 bestseller, "Little Fires Everywhere" follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.
posted by jeather (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Kerry Washington has done a great job playing a complicated character. I'm still speculating on her backstory, but the end of Episode 5 gave us a jaw- dropper.

Also, evidently Mia is not specifically a POC in the book? Because that definitely adds another layer in the series. ("White women always want to be friends with their maids.")

Elena off trying to travel back in time with an old BF while one daughter's getting an abortion and the other's literally playing with fire.

The adoption fight is so heartbreaking.

Moody seems preferable to Tripp, but you do you Pearl.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:55 PM on April 4, 2020

Kerry Washington is doing an amazing job. I don't remember which lines were added for the show, though Ng said "You didn't make good choices, you had good choices" was added. (I can't find the citation for this.) I do find Kerry Washington's character highly . . . dislikeable? She's fascinating and compelling and I'm sure we will eventually find out why she keeps moving, but wow do I not want to know her in person. I don't like any of these characters, really, except Pearl and Izzy, but I am fairly sure this is deliberate.

I don't remember how the book ends, either.
posted by jeather at 7:41 PM on April 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

With Kerry Washington, I get the distinct impression that she's acting twice at the same time - delivering a set of lines, but acting a completely different story with her face and body. It's really powerful. She never lets you forget that she's being torn apart, and I think this provides a really valuable part of the explicit racial layer that the miniseries added to the novel.
posted by entropone at 12:55 PM on April 5, 2020 [4 favorites]

Whoa, was Mia *not* a poc in the book? This is very weird because I coulda sworn she was black (specifically - not hispanic, not mixed, not whatever - but black).
posted by MiraK at 10:26 AM on April 6, 2020

Backstory ep! The younger actors did a very good job.
posted by jeather at 6:15 PM on April 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Agonizingly painful penultimate episode. Reese Witherspoon does privilege so well. I am always struck by how kind Mia is to Lexi and Izzy, in the ways they need. All the secret keeping truly hurting everyone -- though really, cutting your daughter out of the Christmas pictures after telling her she's hard to parent? I feel so much for Pearl -- can you imagine finding out you didn't have to live on mattresses on the floor but instead your mother gave that money away to a stranger? And to find out your background from someone who is telling you in order to hurt your mother.
posted by jeather at 7:07 PM on April 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Well, that finale. Overall pretty good, although it felt a bit overacted/OTT when Reese & the three older kids were fighting after Izzy left. I was dumbfounded at who started the fire. That whole family is nuts.

When Elena went rushing into the rental looking for Izzy, I thought wait didn't she just confess to arson, why isn't she in custody? Oh yeah, rich white woman.

You knew what was happening when we heard the baby cries on the monitor. But I had a moment of alarm at that parked car, I thought maybe Bebe had killed herself and the child. There was a glimpse of a sign that said Niagara Falls. So we're led to believe she had good enough credentials to try to get across the border in 1997.

We are left wondering about the futures of so many characters, especially Izzy. In a way Mia and Pearl had the happiest ending.

Bill driving around listening to oldies was very relatable.
posted by NorthernLite at 7:13 PM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

ha, all the all-out screaming between the kids and elena was very cathartic to me (all the naked, ugly emotions finally out on the table! i could see me and my siblings deciding to do what the kids did in a wilder timeline), as well as the fact that the lifelong relationship foundation building mia and pearl had was strong enough to weather shaker heights, as well as the sheer joy of watching elena unravel the last two episodes. this show gave me and my roommate sooo many post-ep conversations. so engaging.
posted by gaybobbie at 9:42 PM on April 22, 2020

I reread the novel this week after finishing the series and... oof. They really added a lot of drama for TV. Some of it really worked for me (like Mia's & Izzy's queer backstories), but man, some of it really did not. The 3 older Richardson siblings burned down the house? Okay. Sure. That scene was so ridiculous I was just shy of bursting out laughing; I liked Elena taking ownership of it, though. After all - she did in fact burn everything around her down. Overall there's a lot more I liked than I didn't. I would've loved to see the toothpick prank on screen though.

One of the things I was specifically seeking in my reread was clues to whether the Warrens were POCs, because it fit so perfectly in the show. What's interesting is that almost every other character/family does seem to have their race explicitly stated in the book (Richardsons, Bebe & May Ling, her lawyer, the Mcculloughs, Serena Wong) but I'm 99% sure Ng doesn't ever specifically identify the Warrens, though there's definitely a light vs. dark dichotomy between the Richardsons and the Warrens in their physical descriptions. Pearl's whiteness does seem to be pretty clearly suggested when Lexie introduces her as her sister at the clinic, and Pearl scoffs at the absurdity of them looking like sisters, but describing herself as "small, frizzy haired" and Lexie "willowy, sleek" and not, you know, white and black. I feel like Lexie probably wouldn't call Pearl her sister if she were non-white, but as I write that, I also wonder of Lexie's (unearned) sense of wokeness and "colorblindness" from her relationship with Brian might make her feel like she has permission to make such a claim.

Anyway, loved the series but definitely still love the book more.
posted by obfuscation at 12:17 PM on May 6, 2020

That's interesting, obfuscation -- I watched the series (holy crap, we could only watch 1 ep per night, it was good but so hard to watch) and then read the book in like 2 days. Overall I liked the series much better than the book. I feel like the added racial tension between the Warrens and Richardsons/Shaker Heights as its own character added a lot. I loved the lesbian thread with Izzy and Mia. I actually liked who set the fire in the series and I 100% love Elena taking the fall for it.

Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon -- both of their acting was ON POINT. I agree with jeather -- I do NOT want to know Mia or hang out with her, or Elena for that matter. What's that saying, Hurt people hurt people? And HOW.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:52 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I will say overall that this show came down fairly heavily on blood = family, and I'm not really keen on that. I really liked it -- and it does feel fairly open for a season two, in a way that (for instance) Big Little Lies did not.

I felt for Izzy, who obviously felt much closer to Mia than Mia felt for her (Mia being the only adult who apparently ever took her seriously as her own person divorced from the family). And I think that Lexie did actually learn a bit over the course of the show -- I'm fairly sure I was that kind of racist at that age (I would have been a few years older than Lexie during the time the show was set), and I have since learned a lot and grown, and I think Lexie is in the position where she would learn more. Or maybe I just want to be able to say it of myself.

Ng has said in the book she pictured Mia and Pearl as white.
posted by jeather at 6:51 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

It seems like the only people who got out of this series ok were Mia and Pearl, and even then I think their relationship has been permanently changed by Pearl finding everything out, and from Elena. (There's no way kidnapping May Ling is going to go well for Bebe, and obviously it's a disaster for her adoptive family.)
posted by jeather at 6:53 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Lol I thought I was doing some great detective work and of course Ng had just come out and addressed it explicitly.
posted by obfuscation at 3:03 PM on May 8, 2020

I'm only on the second episode and I'm very amused that the show turned Mia, a virgin in the book, into a super sexpert. I don't know that I'm going to finish the series, but I think it was a wise choice to lean into the suburban melodrama.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:49 PM on May 26, 2020

This entire series was like if Tracey Flick grew up and then gave up her career and became a Karen.

Really enjoyed Kerri Washington. I agree with the person above that said it like she's acting twice: the words vs the body language.

Anyways, I give it an A and would recommend. Maybe I'll give the book a try.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:42 AM on May 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

I read the book 2 weeks ago (in 3 days) and just now finished the series on Hulu. It is a rare occasion when I prefer the TV/movie to the book, but this is one of those times. The series explained more to me than the book did about exactly what this was about: motherhood.

As a middle aged person with an beloved adult child who has not yet found his way, I found myself questioning my past, how the decisions I made have affected (and continue to) affect him. I feel it viscerally after watching the last 4 episodes. I did not feel this way after reading the book.

Just my 2 cents.
posted by sundrop at 5:52 PM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

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