Have you been wondering what exactly Little Fires Everywhere is, the new television show that everyone seems to be talking about? Well, look no further for your answers. Here is the scoop on Little Fires Everywhere:
What is Little Fires Everywhere?
In 2017, author Celeste Ng wrote the critically acclaimed, New York Times Bestseller Little Fires Everywhere. Actress Reese Witherspoon selected the novel as her book of the month in September 2017. She then teamed up with actress Kerry Washington and television producer Liz Tigelaar to create a mini-series adaptation. In 2018, Hulu gained production rights. The eight-episode series premiered in March 2020. The first three episodes were available on March 18th. However, the remaining five have been airing weekly on Wednesdays. The series finale will take place on April 22, 2020.
What is Little Fires Everywhere about?
Little Fires Everywhere opens with a fire. Flames engulf the Richardson’s beautiful house. It slowly burns to the ground. And this is no accident; someone intentionally started it. Was it Izzy, the Richardson’s troubled and rebellious youngest child? Or could it have been Mia, the mysterious tenant with whom the Richardsons have a complex relationship? At first, none of these names make any sense to the confused viewer. They are immersed into this chaotic world. There is zero context or background. To understand what led up to this grim moment, the show travels back four months in time. Episode after episode, the layers of drama that culminate in this mysterious act of arson slowly begin to unfold.
Set in an idyllic suburb in Ohio during the nostalgic 90s, LFE follows the complicated lives of three families with three fiercely distinct backgrounds.
First, there’s the Richardsons:
Elena (Reese Witherspoon), the mother and one of the two protagonists of the show, thrives off of organization and structure. She maintains her gigantic mansion and white-picket fence surrounding her beautiful yard perfectly. And she times her entire family’s schedule to a T. This suggests that mornings at the Richardsons include fresh pancakes and home-made lunches. However, it also means that there is also a color-coded, nit-picky schedule of every family member’s lives posted on the gleaming fridge.
Then, there’s the Warrens:
Laid-back Mia (Kerry Washington) is a single mother and a radical artist. She and her daughter Pearl (Lexi Underwood) are constantly moving from town to town, cobbling together money from various jobs and art sales. Although Pearl does not like the constant changes, she and her mom have a tender, loving relationship.
Finally, there’s the McCulloughs:
The series centers around the overlapping stories of these two families. However, the series introduces a third family in the third episode: the McCulloughs. After years of struggling to get pregnant, the wealthy McCulloughs took in a child that had been abandoned at a fire station. It just so happens, however, that the birth mother (Bebe Chow, played by Huang Lu) is an employee at the local Chinese restaurant where Mia works. Bebe confides in Mia that she had been unable to provide for her daughter. Consequently, she had to give her up. Months later, Bebe now wants her daughter back. Therefore, when Mia discovers that Bebe’s child is in the hands of the McCullough’s, she informs her. A custody battle ensues over who is the rightful guardian.
You may be wondering how the lives of these three families coincide…
Well, wonder no longer! The Warrens and Richardsons come face to face when Mia becomes Elena’s tenant after deciding to settle down in Ohio. Mia then begins working as Elena’s “house-manager.” The two form a complex employer-maid relationship that teeters somewhere between friend and enemy. Pearl (Mia’s daughter) befriends the Richardson kids. She becomes the subject of the youngest son Moody’s romantic attention (Gavin Lewis). She flirts with the oldest son Trip (Jordan Elsass). And she idolizes Homecoming Queen Lexie (Jade Pettyjohn). Meanwhile, Elena’s youngest daughter Izzy (Megan Stott) becomes enamored with Mia and with her artwork. Mia pulls Bebe into this already complicated picture by prompting her to crash the McCullough’s adopted-child’s birthday party (who is Bebe’s birth child). The Richardsons are good friends of the McCulloughs. They get involved in the custody battle. While they attempt to help, they end up mostly just making matters worse.
Whew! The show is complicated. The never-ending drama and twists will keep you on the edge of your seat. Like me, you will be anxious to learn more about each character and to discover how their intertwining stories will answer the burning question (no pun intended) of who started the fire. It turns out 90s suburban life is not as simple and straightforward as it might seem!
Why should I watch Little Fires Everywhere?
First of all, there are the A-list main actresses. Both Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are superb in the series. Witherspoon is able to perfectly capture the quintessential “perfect on the outside but broken on the inside” suburban housewife. And Kerry Washington flawlessly portrays the mysterious but loving artist and mother.
Even before the show started, both actresses were already familiar with how to perfectly play their roles. If Witherspoon’s Little Fires Everywhere character Elena Richardson and her Big Little Lies character Madeline Martha Mackenzie met, they would certainly note their uncannily similar personalities and behaviors. Likewise, Mia Warren’s intensity is also not so different from Olivia Pope’s rigor (Pope was also played by Washington in the television series Scandal). In other words, the actresses are well equipped to handle these characters. They seamlessly slip into their new but accustomed roles. And, by the way, if you enjoyed either of those shows, there is a pretty good chance you will love LFE too!
If the opportunity to watch these two actresses for eight hours isn’t reason enough to start the series, the engaging plot sure should be. Little Fires Everywhere contains all of the classic drama of small-town life. There is forbidden romance, Homecoming anxiety, college applications, etc. However, that is not the main focus of the series. The show continuously highlights and raises questions about everything from motherhood to race, class, and gender. For a show set in the 90s, Little Fires Everywhere definitely feels refreshingly up to date about current politics and culture.
Where can I watch?
Little Fires Everywhere is available to stream on Hulu. All eight episodes will be available by April 22.
I binge-watched the first three episodes the day they premiered and I have been eagerly waiting (perhaps not so patiently) for the remaining ones to air. Therefore, I would recommend this show to anyone who is looking for a new captivating miniseries to immerse themselves in. Whether you are searching for a mystery, some suburban family drama, or a pointed piece about race relations in the United States, Little Fires Everywhere has got you covered!
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