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S01.E02: Serious Mothering

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On 2/27/2017 at 1:08 PM, iMonrey said:

Having an unusual name can really give a kid a complex, speaking from experience. You can never just say "Hi, I'm so-and-so" and that's the end of it. You know you're going to have to repeat it, and spell it, and explain it, people are always going to pronounce it wrong when they're looking at it. It gets to the point where you dread telling people your name or giving it for a form or something.

My niece is named Cadence. It's not unheard of, but she's gotten Candace a lot.

I loved the scene with Abigail and Madeline, with them working things out before Chloe comes in and starts playing the piano. The mom and her oldest have their moment, before the baby comes in. There was something about that moment- like you can see in Abigail's eyes that on some level she realizes that Chloe and Madeline are both so much alike and Maddie kind of favors her for being the perfect little daughter.

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On 2/27/2017 at 5:34 PM, Mabinogia said:

Even before I thought it was one of the twins I assumed Amabella picked Ziggy because it was easier to blame the new kid. Only for a moment did I think maybe Ziggy did it. But that seems too obvious. So I'm going with a twin, because of their abusive asshole father. I hope Celeste finds out it was one of them and that makes her realize that her relationship with Perry is hurting more than just her. She might actually leave him for her children's sake if not her own.

I assumed she just pointed at the new kid too. This is supposed to be a small community so it's likely she's known most of the other kids in her class (and more importantly their moms) since she was a baby. She's put on the spot and panics and just points to the new kid. That seems like something a scared 6 year old would do. It avoids all kinds of conflict in her own life. And in all honestly, some kids still don't have the best sense of object permanence at that age. It's totally possible she just thinks Ziggy will go away sort of magically and no one will find out she lied.  

Edited by FozzyBear
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  • 7 months later...

She knew he was rearranging travel plans, did she really think he was doing that with the expectation that he'd be in the drop-off line?  

Yes?  On the first day of school you make a big deal about their first day by making a good breakfast and lunch and taking pictures in their new outfits.  Then you put them on the bus or, if driving them there, maybe take a quick picture in the front of the building.  I have never seen parents hanging out in the classroom on the first day.  I thought he was dumb for not knowing that and would have assumed he rearranged his schedule for the celebratory breakfast.

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  • 1 year later...
On 2/27/2017 at 11:55 PM, Ms Blue Jay said:

I think generations become more open-minded and tolerant with time.  Yes, it has been proven if you have an "ethnic-sounding" name in Ontario, Canada for instance and you try to apply for a job, you get less chances for an interview because racism exists, but I am not pro-people erasing their culture under any circumstance.  I guess I am an idealist.  I'm sure thin, pretty people also get better chances in life than fat, ugly ones but I also have an idealized view of the world where I hope people will become more tolerant of difference, in all circumstances.  To bring this back to weird names.  Not everyone is pro-conformity.  Everyone in society having similar names because we're so scared of difference--that idea makes me pretty sad.  Barack Obama did pretty well with his.

Somebody recently liked this post of mine so I thought I should say - I've completely changed my mind on this now. I  feel like I was insensitive to people with non-white sounding names and that they should be able to change their names to whatever names they want to get the jobs that they want 🙂  I totally get why they do it now.  It's a fucked up societal thing, but it's real.

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  • 7 months later...

Madeline's first outfit of the episode... that workout gear was so cute. Like, I'm a Lululemon model cute.

I find the dialogue a little precious and overwritten. Sometimes there's a great line but it's in a sea of lines that are too self-consciously trying to be clever or profound.

Skarsgard is distractingly pretty. Like, when he was in sunglasses in the pilot, it looked like a sunglasses ad. When he was driving in this episode, it looked like a car commercial. 

I don't think there's enough menace but otherwise, I appreciate how they depict Perry's abusiveness. The physical abuse is followed by this gentle, conciliatory behavior. Agreeing to go to counseling, being affectionate, making conversation, etc. His controlling, abusive behavior is always followed up by something sweet and loving. 

Why would first graders want a 10-year-old stuffed animal? Also, you'd think there would be hygiene concerns.

There was something off about the fight in the closet (gorgeous walk-in closet, btw). The foley work on Perry's slap was way too loud and artificial. And then choosing to pull back to a wide shot when he shoved her was so distancing. I liked how he was immediately apologetic and gentled himself and even went down on his knees but it just was not filmed properly to take advantage of the staging. There wasn't a proper sense of POV shots to make him feel menacing or to ally us with one character's perspective. It's so strange to watch a scene like that at an emotional distance. There's no intimacy. Half the screen is taken up by the window looking onto the water. The most menace was when they were grappling later and he barely had to exert himself to overpower her. I don't know. I really don't like the direction or editing on this show.

It would have been toxic either way just to go from physical abuse to sex but it was interesting that even when they transitioned to a sexual encounter, Perry still felt the need to turn her around and shove her against the door. It was dominant and aggressive when it didn't need to be. I do appreciate that Celeste hit Perry back and fought his hold and that she seemed into the sexual encounter and that the abuse is more complicated than her just being completely terrorized by him. But I think that could have all been conveyed with better camera angles and filming. The wide shot was a non-choice. 

I liked the big fight between Madeline and Ed and him calling her out on her BS.

I continue to believe Renata isn't that bad. Her philanthropic efforts are actually for a worthwhile cause. They aren't frivolous. And Madeline comes across badly championing Ziggy who, from Renata's perspective, choked her daughter. Excluding Ziggy from Amabella's birthday party is not a disproportionate response to an assault that wasn't properly addressed or resolved. Madeline picked the fight by threatening that Chloe and her posse wouldn't go if Ziggy wasn't invited, thereby ruining Amabella's party. Madeline is the asshole, not Renata.

The red roses were just... chef's kiss. The epitome of a lazy but expensive gesture. Not even orchids or a unique favorite flower. 

I understand Madeline's point about Bonnie not telling her about taking Abigail to Planned Parenthood. She's right about there being a level of respect there. Everything else about her perspective was wrong. It's better that Abigail have pills if she does plan to be sexually active sometime in the near future. They're not going to have some major permanent impact on her body.

The Ed/Nathan face off was well-written. Very tense in a realistic way. I feel like TV loves that shitty Nathan character. I'm only surprised he wasn't played by Will Chase.

I've seen the "I said thank you" Renata clip before. But it was still hilarious.

It's really hard to sympathize with Madeline's apparent position that any behavior is acceptable from the people she likes and any behavior is terrible if someone she hates does it. Yes, they're children and it's all fairly innocent but Chloe and Skye and Ziggy can't go around thinking that what they did was appropriate. Part of young children being in school is learning boundaries and how to socialize. I don't know. Madeline feels like the kind of girl's girl who seems to have a curious number of fights with other women. And as much as many characters on the show call her out, I do get the feeling we're supposed to take her side more than Renata's since Renata is depicted a little more broadly and cartoonishly compared to the other characters on the show.

Celeste, Perry, and Renata are the most interesting characters to me right now. It's not just that Kidman and Skarsgard are fine going there with nudity and sexual content. But along with Laura Dern, those actors feel like they bring this indie movie energy. They seem more comfortable taking the kind of risks that really make something a worthwhile HBO show. They feel like wildcards. There's no storytelling or acting risk in the other characters (as of now). I feel like the only thing that feels like a paid cable show about them is all the cursing.

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Heh, it would be kind of hilarious if it turned out that the murder victim was Madeline and the murderer was the new traffic guy at the elementary school who had just had it with her blocking traffic every damn morning.

Hilarious. I know it's not going to happen but I'm going to watch the rest of the season thinking about this. 


Someone I know opined that women who give their children florid, extremely feminine names--Isabella was her example--are usually just trying to compensate for their own lack of femininity. Given Renata's insecurities about being a working mother, that may very well apply to her, although Amabella is also an exquisitely pretentious name.

I go back and forth on names. I try to learn non-English names. I feel like I'm generally good with respecting names as long as they're not completely ludicrous celebrity baby names or something stupid you picked for yourself in your 20's. Amabella is not the craziest name and if she becomes a notable person, people will just learn to accept it. See: Reese and Shailene.


The girls' names are Isolde, Persephone & Anastasia.  Several of the moms were ga-ga over these beautiful, fancy, rich-sounding names.  One mom asked how she decided on such lovely names, and Snooty McSnoots told everyone she wanted strong and memorable names, so she "looked to classic literature and historical" figures for inspiration. 

 I feel like that's the kind of idea I would have had when I was younger. I do know the stories and the history but when you're a moody teenager, there's something appealing about all the melodramatic romantic tragedy. People name their daughters Juliet, Cassandra, and Scarlett (Scarlett O'Hara) too even though you'd have to be an idiot to not know those stories end unhappily. Anyway, each name isn't crazy on its own but, taken together, woof. 

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Apparently Abigail is just a piece of property with no rights. Seriously, all she did was get birth control, which is actually a really responsible thing to do. I don't blame her for not wanting her helicopter mom to know. It was just easier to do it on her own. Her only mistake was not picking some random friend to drive her. Why would she pick Bonnie? And more importantly, knowing how her mother feels about Bonnie, why oh why would she admit that Bonnie drove her? WTF girl? I thought you liked Bonnie. Why would you set your pitbull of a mother on her?

That being said, I also completely get why Madeline is beyond pissed! If they were friends, that would have been a really shitty move. Considering Madeline pretty much hates Bonnie, I don't blame Bonnie for not giving her a ring and chatting about her daughters decisions. She, being more of a free spirit, probably didn't think it was a big deal.

All of this. Abigail was wrong to involve Bonnie but she's 16. It's ultimately better for her to have access to birth control if she thinks she might become sexual active in the near future. I wonder if people would feel differently if Bonnie had bought her condoms or if she'd gotten condoms instead of birth control pills at her appointment. 


Best thing about the show so far: The soundtrack! There are some really amazing musical choices being made here, and the whole thing sounds incredible.

I actually hate the music and find most of it intrusive. But then it's not my style. 


I have been thinking about the choking. Does anyone thing that the bruise looks more like an object (like a belt) as opposed to a young boy's small hands? Hand prints tend to look different. Can a young boy get his hands all the way around a neck?

I don't read too much into anything that involves special effects makeup, props, etc. The number of times I've watched something where someone gets hit and in the next scene they have intense bruising... Obviously some makeup artists do great work and try to be very accurate but in most cases, I don't try to glean anything from how that makeup has been applied unless it's something over the top obvious like there's an imprint of a star where someone has been punched and another character is wearing a star-shaped ring.

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On 4/27/2020 at 8:27 PM, aradia22 said:

I feel like TV loves that shitty Nathan character. I'm only surprised he wasn't played by Will Chase.

Just started watching this show, and I laughed out loud when I saw this comment. Yep.

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