‘Big Little Lies’ Biggest Flaw Was Its Treatment Of Bonnie

The HBO miniseries Big Little Lies aired a final partial on Sunday, Apr 3, and brought closure to a seven-episode widen of some of cable’s best television. At a core, Big Little Lies is about a complex interiority of women’s lives — from a approach domestic assault and rape fractures trust of self to how we comport ourselves to shun restlessness in loveless relationships. Although Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, and Zoë Kravitz exquisitely brought these difficult characters from a page to a screen, Big Little Lies still has one vicious flaw: It promotes colorblindness during a responsibility of its solitary black womanlike character: Bonnie.


In a series, Kravitz portrays Bonnie Carlson, a usually manifest black lady in a wealthy, coastal California town. She’s married to Nathan Carlson (James Tupper), ex-husband of Monterey, California’s black bee Madeline Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon). Bonnie is a disciple of Erykah Badu: She teaches yoga. She encourages her step-daughter to welcome her sexuality instead of stealing it. She believes in fueling her physique by healthy foods. She even creates her possess jewelry.

In a village that’s spooky with appearances and wealth, Bonnie is many endangered with gripping herself, her husband, and their daughter offset and peaceful. Yet, Madeline spends a whole array pinning a passing of her matrimony on Bonnie. It manifests in her resentfulness toward her ex-husband’s newfound happiness. She attributes all of a certain aspects of his life to Bonnie, including his remarkable embracing of yoga and his eagerness to find conversing to learn how to effectively co-parent.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

Being in a same room as Bonnie and Nathan creates Madeline seethe, though even in their biased rivalry, competition appears to be an afterthought. For instance, when Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgård) son, Max, is suggested as a category bully, function he’s schooled from his father’s sharpening abuse of his mother, Bonnie and Nathan’s biracial daughter — one of a usually churned children in their circuit — is spared. If she is bullied about carrying a black mom or carrying darker-skin, a uncover fails to discuss it.

Yet, biracial children are mostly subjected to bullying. Clemson University’s 2013 “Status of Bullying in School” report found that 31 percent of a 160,000 children bullied in propagandize any day are biracial. Choosing not to residence Bonnie’s race, and so her child’s multiracial background, is one of a innumerable ways competition is invisible on Big Little Lies.

It’s also partial of how colorblindness operates on television. Rather than addressing a omnipresence of race, generally in a city that’s populated by rich white people, Big Little Lies ignores Bonnie’s competition altogether.

Ajume Wingo, executive of a Center for Values and Social Policy during a University of Colorado during Boulder, told The Denver Post that color-blindness is “the thought of an central process of insusceptibility in courtesy to competition in a devise of secular politics.” It’s not usually on television. Colorblindness is also prevalent in law, politics, and larger media. Rather than being unwavering of competition and disproportion and accounting for it, colorblindness calls for a deletion of competition altogether.

In this way, competition becomes an afterthought. Instead of Bonnie’s dark and womanhood being constituent to her temperament in Monterey, it’s deliberate separate, distinctive, and undeserved of acknowledgement. She’s a impression who usually happens to be black.

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

Colorblindness operates as a form of silencing in this way, according to Alyssa Rosenberg, a renouned enlightenment censor during The Washington Post. As she explained in an letter for ThinkProgress, colorblindness doesn’t acknowledge how competition factors into a bargain of any other and systems, like racism.

“Not all stories are usually about race. But nothing of a lives are inexperienced by a secular identities,” she wrote. “Colorblindness is a form of privilege, of refusing to bond with people by conference about their experiences, and of refusing to advantage by bargain a purpose competition plays in your own.”

Colorblindness as payoff is best exemplified in a final scenes of Big Little Lies. In a series’ shutting sequence, (SPOILERS AHEAD) Bonnie is suggested as Perry’s killer. Earlier that evening, she notices a succinct review between Celeste and Perry that appears to be some-more than a slight evidence between spouses. With a assistance of a therapist, Celeste has combined an shun devise that Perry discovers on a night that he dies. Their evidence escalates outward where a other women, including Madeline and Jane (Shailene Woodley) are gathered. The women fast comprehend Celeste is in risk and combine to frustrate Perry’s flurry of punches and kicks directed during her. Their efforts aren’t adequate to overpower him, though Bonnie runs toward him and fatally pushes him down a stairs.

Quickly, all of a women confirm to tell investigators that Perry mislaid his balance and fell back as he attempted to flog Celeste. The investigators don’t trust their common tale, though are incompetent to infer that one of a women killed Perry. Instead, they let them all go and hold Perry’s genocide an accident. His genocide brings a previously-feuding ladies closer together. The final stage shows all of a women enjoying a beach day together. There doesn’t seem to be infighting. Instead, they’ve connected over a dangerous tip that could risk a ideal lives they’ve built.

While a finale full viewers, it also belies reality. In genuine life, how many white women would risk themselves and their perfectly-constructed lives to strengthen a black woman? Colorblindness presupposes this halcyon outcome, regardless of how most it differentiates from a strained, racially-conscious practice black and white women have had.

The miss of secular recognition is Big Little Lies’ singular flaw. It is also a slightest surprising. After all, if domestic assault is dark since it will moment a veneer of a seemingly-perfect marriage, secular tragedy is, unfortunately, standard for a course. Addressing competition would’ve given Bonnie’s impression additional depth. It competence have changed her from a periphery of a story to a center, and unfortunately, that wasn’t deliberate critical to a near-perfect arc of Big Little Lies.


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