Exclusive Excerpt: Our New Favorite Thriller ‘The Hunting Wives’

For anyone that loves Big Little Lies, Mean Girls, and Desperate Housewives, May Cobb’s upcoming suspense novel The Hunting Wives is our newest obsession, as it’s being hailed as a Desperate Housewives set in Texas. In the novel, out May 18, 2021, protagonist Sophie O’Neill moves from her big-city life in Chicago to a small town in east Texas with her husband and young son. After settling down, she realizes her life is now quiet and boring, and she looks for a little more excitement. Sophie meets Margot Banks, who is a part of an elite clique known as the Hunting Wives. She immediately feels drawn toward Margot and her mysterious world full of late-night adventures and reckless partying. As Sophie’s involvement intensifies, she starts slipping away from her family as she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation, and loses control over her own life.

Based in Austin, Texas, May Cobb is a novelist and freelance writer. Back in 2015, she won the Writer’s League of Texas Manuscript Contest. Her debut novel Big Woods (2018) was awarded as an Independent Publisher Book Award for Suspense/Thriller. Her writing has also been featured in Austin Monthly and the online edition of Jazz Times. The Hunting Wives comes out May 18, 2021, which I know feels like it’s a million lightyears away—but not to worry, because Betches readers can read an exclusive excerpt below. Preorder The Hunting Wives here.

(Brief setup: This takes place after Sophie’s first time skeet shooting with the Hunting Wives group and their Regina-George-esque leader, Margot, wants to keep the party going.)

Back inside, the lake house feels glaring after the darkness of the trail. Margot sinks the wine into a silver ice bucket and twists the bottle around, chilling it. Callie fetches wineglasses from the cabinet, and fills each glass to the brim.

We toast and sip, but I only take the smallest of sips so I can safely drive home. Margot tosses back half her glass and sets it on the bar.

“So…who wants to go hunting?”

“Always,” Callie says, winding a lock of coarse hair around her finger.

“I’m in!” Tina trills, rocking back and forth on her feet, her coal-black eyes squinting in a smile.

“Where?” Jill asks, demure, her face half-hidden behind her huge wineglass.

“I was thinking Rusty’s,” Margot says.

Jill sets her glass down, crosses her arms.

“Oh, please, Jilly! It’s been forever. Don’t pout. I’ll behave, I promise.” Margot goes over to Jill, puts her arm around her. There’s a perceptible shift in Jill’s demeanor, a small succumbing to Margot’s power.

I have no idea what they’re talking about, but suddenly they’re all looking at me. I take another small sip of wine, swish it around in my mouth.

“Who wants to tell her the rules?” Margot asks, her hip cocked against Jill’s, her exquisitely-shaped eyebrows hiked in a question mark.

“I will,” Callie says. This is the first time she’s addressed me directly, and there’s a trace of a sneer in her expression.

“Rules about what?” I ask, nervously giggling, clasping my wine glass.

“Oh, please,” Callie rolls her eyes. “Don’t act like you’re not bored in your marriage.”

“Maybe she’s not,” Margot says, her voice playful. “Her husband’s a hottie.”

The flush of alcohol and Margot’s hooded eyes on me make my face flame.

“I think everyone here is a little bored, except for Jill,” Callie says.

“Yeah, Jilly, what did Amazon bring you this week? Do tell.” Margot’s unwrapped herself from Jill and crosses over the bar to refresh her wine. “I want to hear all about your latest toy.”

I catch myself gawking at Jill and quickly look away before she notices.

“Ooooh, a new toy,” Callie says. “What role is Tom going to play? Will he be the police officer this time or the victim?” Callie snickers.

“You only wish you still had sex with your husband,” Jill fires back.

For some reason, Callie answers to me, “He chases me around the house, but I’m over it.”

She stretches her long legs across the length of the sofa, takes another mouthful of wine.

“So anyway, we’re all a little bored and have to let it out somehow.”

“Monogamy is so…monogamous,” Margot chimes.

The cold blast from the air conditioning has fogged up the windows, so I can’t see the lake anymore behind Callie, only the clouds of condensation frosting the glass.

My stomach registers a red-hot signal of danger; I don’t know how I feel about all this. Graham and I have never been anything but monogamous and I’m certainly not bored with him. Am I? I’m just bored, I think. But if that’s the case, why am I so drawn to Margot and why can’t I get her out of my head? If I’m honest, there’s part of me that, despite the sense of alarm that looms in the air, likes listening to them. It excites me. Makes me feel alive. Maybe the most alive I’ve felt since moving back. No, not maybe. Definitely.

“So. The rules.” Callie sits up now, rests her elbows on her knees. “There’s only two, really. We only use our first names. And, we don’t go all the way.”

I nod dumbly as if being read the instructions to a board game.

“So, you’re in,” Callie says matter-of-factly.

Again, that pinprick of danger at the back of my neck. And before I have a chance to respond, Margot fishes a set of keys off the wooden coffee table, stashes her Louis Vuitton clutch under her arm, and heads for the front door.

“I’m driving. Everyone load up,” she says and everyone rises and trails her to the entryway.

I take out my phone and check the time. 8:45. I should go home; I know I should.  I certainly don’t want to get trapped all night by riding in Margot’s car. But then, I don’t want them to think I’m a scaredy-cat, either.

“I’ll follow in my own car,” I hear myself saying. My voice squeaks out of high-pitched and thin.

Margot freezes, turns around, and frowns at me.

“Early day tomorrow,” I say, casting my eyes toward the floor.

She twists back around and steps out the open door. “Suit yourself.” The others trickle out behind her. I follow.

Everyone is weaving towards Margot’s Mercedes but Tina spins around.

“I’ll ride with Sophie! In case she gets lost.” 


Before Tina climbs in the Highlander, I dust a constellation of Cheerios off her seat. How Jack manages to scatter them everywhere, I’ll never understand. Tina’s perfume, powdery and floral, fills the cabin and she’s so buoyant, she seems to spring into the seat next to me.

Her husband, Bill, she tells me with a lick of pride, lifting her voice, is a home-builder. One of the biggest contractors in Mapleton.  They live in a sparkling new development north of town. I’ve driven by and it’s all castle-like homes with spires and arched windows.

As we wind through the lake roads, tracking the red eyes of Margot’s taillights, I’m struck by how utterly dark it is out here and I notice, as we approach the country highway, that Margot is turning away from town, not toward it.

“So, what’s Rusty’s?” I ask.

“Oh, it’s a little honky-tonk on the outskirts of town. Margot likes to pick out-of-way spots. For obvious reasons.” She flicks down the mirror on the visor and applies a fresh coat of pink lipstick. “We don’t go much, though.”

“Hunting or to Rusty’s?”

She scrunches her curls with her fingers, studies her hair in the mirror.

“I was talking about Rusty’s specifically, but we don’t go hunting that often either. Maybe twice a month. But sometimes more. Depends on Margot’s mood,” she adds, snapping the mirror shut and darkening the interior of the car. “Margot’s appetite for men is insatiable. You’ll see.”

I instantly like and feel comfortable with her but chew my bottom lip as I ask the next question. “So, do you, you know,” I’m fumbling, can’t spit the words out.

“What? Cheat on my husband?” she asks, her voice bright and cavernous. “No. I mean, I kissed another guy once, the first time I went out with them, actually, but I hated myself for it. Bill and I are high school sweethearts. I can’t imagine being with anyone else. So, no. I’m just here to watch the train wreck.” She rubs her hands together in excitement.

The highway is empty but well-lit. Giant trees surf past us, cut by the strobe of fluorescent streetlights.

“Anyway, Margot’s in some kind of constant war with her husband, a who can one-up each other battle. Have you ever seen him?”

I shake my head no, though of course, I’ve seen him on Facebook. Just never in person. Those scorching eyes, his bronzed complexion.

“Well, he’s gorgeous. I mean, dead hot. But Jed cheated on her once in such a stupidly-typical way, with his secretary. Got caught, too, in a stupidly-typical way: sloppy texting. Margot paid the poor girl a visit to her apartment and ran her out of town. This was three years ago, but Margot does everything she can to punish him still,” she snorts, shakes her head. “She keeps him under lock and key.  I’m pretty sure he hasn’t stepped out of line since, but Margot surely has.”

Tina’s fingers dance over the screen of my satellite radio. “Oooh, I love this song, mind if I turn it up?”

It’s “Brass Monkey” by the Beastie Boys and after she cranks the volume, she lowers her window and warm night air oozes through the car.

“Nights like these,” she shouts over the music, “I feel like I’m eighteen again!”

I roll my window down, too, and we both dance in our seats to the music.

As the song ends, I realize we’ve lost sight of Margot. I turn down the volume.

“Ummm, I don’t see them anymore.”

“No sweat, we’re almost there, just one last turn.”

I roll my window up, smooth my hair down, re-adjust my bra.

“So, what’s Callie’s story?”

Tina pauses for a second, seeming to consider as she fingers the silver hoop dangling from her ear. “She doesn’t like anyone who Margot might like. If you’re getting chilly vibes from her, that’s why. I think it was a full six months before she even acknowledged me. Just ignore her.”

We’re approaching a light. Tina waves for me to turn left. We head down a two-lane road.

“She’s all Single-White Female with Margot. Lives on the opposite end of the street from her, and drives the same make and model car. She wants to be her; she’s a bit obsessed with her. Her husband Trip is just a big oaf with a lot of family money. Fishes all the time. Manages the family finances. Could pass for okay-looking, though, if he dropped some weight.”

(I’ve seen him, too, on Facebook. Sort of a heavy, pasty Ben Affleck.)

I see the lights of the bar flickering in the distance. I slow the car and pull into the gravel parking lot.

“Callie and Margot went away together senior year of high school. Left Mapleton and went to that chi-chi boarding school in Dallas called Hockaday. Jill told me once that there were rumors that they were “together” while they were away. Not sure if there were ever a thing between them but Callie sure acts like it.”

Has Nicole Kidman Gotten Work Done? An Expert Weighs In

If you were watching Big Little Lies this season, then you may have noticed that something looked well… different. And no, I’m not referring to Shailene Woodley’s wack-ass hair or Meryl’s terrible wig. Rather, I’m referring to Nicole Kidman’s face. Now, she’s always been beautiful, and that will never change, but I couldn’t help but notice that something looked a little off. At first, I really couldn’t pinpoint what exactly it was. I asked around, and one of my friends thought something was off with her jaw, commenting that it looked “uneven”. Another avid BLL fan noted that her face was “very sharp-looking”, specifically pointing out her nose and chin. 

For reference, here’s a picture of Nicole at the 2018 Oscars. I know it seems like a million years ago, but it was objectively not that long ago.

Nicole Kidman

And for contrast, here are some screenshots from Big Little Lies this past season.

Nicole Kidman

And just to clarify, I by no means am throwing shade at Nicole, or anyone, for possibly getting something done. Look, I got Botox for my jaw, and I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I didn’t ask for an extra shot or two in my forehead as well since I was already there. (Just don’t tell my insurance that.) I’m trying to say is that I’m down for whatever makes anyone feel more beautiful, and I know from experience that Botox for my jaw and forehead have definitely made me feel more beautiful and confident.

So while I’m not shaming anyone for getting a little extra *ahem* enhancement, I’m pro being up front about it. Like, it’s not enough that celebrities are using Photoshop, Facetune, and contouring to (appear to) look the way they do—they’re also getting injections and surgery on top of it and acting like their faces are all natural. It doesn’t benefit any of us for celebrities (or anyone, really) to pretend their perfectly engineered faces are just due to a little puberty, and in fact, putting forth this false narrative is harmful to all of us, who didn’t magically gain pouty lips and a new nose during puberty (because that’s not at all how that works).

With that being said, a girl can wonder if the face she’s viewing every Sunday night has had a little extra help. To get to the actual truth of whether Nicole Kidman had something done or not, I consulted with Dr. Manish Shah, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Denver, Colarado.

Dr. Shah says, “I’m a firm believer in the idea that Nicole has probably had a facelift and brow lift.” Which gives me hope because it means Nicole Kidman isn’t just some mutant human who magically doesn’t age. According to Dr. Shah, as we age, we lose bone support in our faces. He says, “When you have a facelift, you are tightening the loose skin that develops with this bone loss.” He assures me that we all have natural asymmetries in our face that can be hidden by the loose skin. Therefore, when the skin tightens, the asymmetries are more easily seen. And, he points out, this is more likely in slim women, like Nicole, who doesn’t have extra fat to hide bone loss.

So like, are these asymmetries the sign of something gone wrong? Dr. Shah insists, “Not at all. It is entirely normal and expected in 100% of people getting facial plastic surgery.” I don’t know how comforting a response this is, though—like, if I’m trying to tighten my skin, it’s because I’m trying to look better. So tightening the skin just to look less even doesn’t necessarily sound like a win to me. Dare I say, I may just have to age naturally?


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The goal of plastic surgery and in-office aesthetic treatments is to look younger, right? Well, in the wrong hands, you might end up looking older! In this article, Dr. Shah demonstrates all the reasons you might have the wrong outcome if you select the wrong provider! #plasticsurgery #aesthetics #Filler #botox @vivaglammagazine Link in bio. http://ow.ly/j2D950uHeR1

A post shared by Manish H. Shah, MD, FACS⭐️⭐️ (@thefacesurgeon) on

If you do decide to get a brow lift or facelift sometime far off in the future, how can you make sure that you won’t have asymmetries? Dr. Shah says, “When patients have large asymmetries, it is important for the plastic surgeon to try and reduce the amount of difference,” which often requires the use of filler, fat, or facial implants. Or, you could just not stress too much about it. In general, Dr. Shah says, “Our eyes can overlook minor asymmetries—large asymmetries are hard for our brains to ignore.” If it’s a minor asymmetry, chances are nobody will notice.

When it comes to facelifts, there are a few things to keep in mind. Number one, Dr. Shah says people should not have a facelift too prematurely. He says, “There is so much that can be done with fillers nowadays with what is known as a liquid facelift. There are times when a woman has a facelift too early (such as early 50s) and this can actually serve to age her if her face is pulled too taut and some of the natural fullness is taken away.” We’ve all seen a bad facelift, right? Good, so I don’t need to explain to you what it looks like. Somebody tell Kylie Jenner that getting plastic surgery too early in life can actually make you look older…

For brow lifts, Dr. Shah expresses that the same rules apply. “We’ve all seen women who have that perpetually surprised look because the brow has been raised to an unnaturally high position.” (See every Real Housewife, for example.) He urges those considering a brow lift to find a skilled plastic surgeon who knows just the right place to inject Botox in order to give the brows the right amount of natural lift. Also, according to Dr. Shah, there are techniques women can do with brow shaping to achieve youthful, nicely arched eyebrows without injections. So maybe I do need to find my way around a brow pencil after all…

All in all, it’s not shocking that celebrities are using things other than expensive face creams to slow down the aging process. We just wish they’d be more open about it.

What other celebs are you positive have had work done, but they won’t admit it? Let us know in the comments and we will get to the bottom of it.

Images: Shutterstock; HBO; thefacesurgeon / Instagram

‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Finale Recap: Big Little Blue Balls

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Well, we made it. It’s the series finale of Big Little Lies and I just woke up from a frosé- and heat stroke-incuded nap to watch how all of the insanity of this season plays out. Is Renata going to leave her piece of sh*t husband? Will Celeste go full Ted Bundy in court? WTF is happening to Bonnie? By the end of this recap, we’ll hopefully know all. Some of us have hated this season, but we can all come together and agree that we want Reese Witherspoon to adopt us and my skin will just never be clear, cleared up. Whatever, follow me on Instagram (@kashmeredanny) and let’s get into it. 

I’m sorry, WHO was this season for? I feel like the majority of the actual fans were happy with it being a perfect and wrapped up mini series. We had ribbons on everything, justice was served, and everyone still had their gorgeous houses. It swept its limited series categories, our favorite gals got some Emmys to add to their mantles, and Reese had HBO wrapped around her fingers to produce hundreds more novels by female writers. Honey, that’s the dream! Well, if that was a dream, then season two, and this finale, was a nightmare. 

Usually, when a show or movie gets a continuation it’s because there’s unfinished business or a great new story to tell. Welp, we truly had the opposite of unfinished business. There was no business to talk about. Other times, it’s because fans were BEGGING (Veronica Mars style), but nah, we were good. Maybe it’s because the stars were a little greedy and wanted more spotlight? None of these women needed Big Little Lies to pay for their SUGARFISH bills. So we ask why, and let me just tell you: much like this finale, you won’t get an answer as to why. What you will get? #BigLittleBlueBalls. 

I’m watching this one with my mom, who hasn’t watched a single episode of the new season, which should be fun for me, and she asked: “I think you put on the first episode—they’re showing the murder scene and playing Janis Joplin” and I had to tell her no, that’s just kind of how every episode starts. Celeste is shocked at an iPad and Ed is trying to get ready for his workout class at Rumble, great. 

Ziggy, adorable as ever, is basically being the muses to Jane’s Meg in Hercules. She won’t say she’s in love, but she should! This is about the time that, in hindsight, I should have just started watching that YouTube video. Mistakes were made. 

Is this STARBUCKS PROMO? The actress that plays Chloe better get a cut of this ad money. Shout-out to Americanos. Also, when they went into this scene Meryl was 100% like, “Starbucks? Oh, it’s like a La Colombe?”

Oh, now Ms. Madewell Jacket is worried about her client. Katie, where was this strength two episodes ago? My mom also just said: “I completely forgot Celeste was a lawyer,” which we all did until this trial. 

It’s showtime. I think I’m going to start shading people by just saying it’s my observation. THE JURIS DOCTOR IS JUMPING OUT WITH CELESTE. Oh, she got her with a K.O. and the car flashback of Mary Louise and Perry with her dead son is crazy. What’s crazier? How THIS WAS JUST BROUGHT UP NOW WHEN THIS COURT SESSION HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR WHAT FEELS LIKE DECADES. Literally, do lawyers know how to lawyer?

What’s even more insane? Celeste had video proof of Perry not only abusing her, but that her kids had knowledge of it. Girl, these are things that should have been brought up, I don’t know, any time earlier than 30 minutes before the show ends?

We all know a Madeline in the world who will take your trial and saying, “OMG I should have known!” Glad she was able to make the conversation about her for at least .8 seconds. Okay, I really can’t go from that intense court scene to the f*cking Fault In Our Aquarium. Jane’s bangs are splitting at the equator and her 19-year-old boyfriend has bags under his eyes, probably because he has an Intro to Communication final today that he’s been studying for all night. Glad they got to hug, though. 

Mary Louise is now snooping around, but Celeste had the best come back of all time: you lost your boys, you don’t get to take mine. While it’s not a Renata flip-off, wow that stung. 

Is it just me, or is it really hard to pay attention to any storyline besides Celeste’s? Followed by Renata’s. Bonnie’s storyline went from her jogging, to her doing yoga, to now her trying to kill her mom for the past three episodes? What kind of half-off pillow is she using? Meanwhile, Madeline’s storyline went back to feeling guilt about starting the lie, because even she lost interest in trying to see where she and Ed were going to go to brunch to talk over feelings. Also, glad we didn’t really wrap up Tori and Ed’s storyline. Everyone got mad at me because I didn’t remember her name, WELL THIS IS WHY. CAUSE MY SOUL KNEW BIG LITTLE LIES WAS GONNA DRIVE OFF THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY.

Okay, we now know where Jane gets her bang goals from: Max and Josh. Hair is everything, Anthony. (If you don’t get that reference, watch Fleabag immediately. Talk about a satisfying finale). Oh, that was a quick blip because Ed is now trying to get his Barry’s on. Shocked Ed didn’t start singing ”We Are Never Getting Back Together,” since they love to end these seasons with him doing karaoke. JK, he wants to renew their vows? I will never understand rich people. A shot at a new beginning, The Hills: New Beginnings. Basically, Ed and Madeline are going to LA and helping Mischa Barton run lines. 

While court starts, Bonnie has an issue of her own: her mom suffered another stroke. Honestly, this season (and maybe series in general) doesn’t know what to do with Bonnie. They just have her walk through Lululemon depressed. Justice for Zoë Kravitz. 

Is this how courts work? Why do I feel like this is now becoming a spoken word battle, when in reality it should just be closing statements and a decision. CELESTE HAS THE KIDS. I literally started to cry? This is why you don’t drink frosé at 2pm.

Cut to the hospital again, and Bonnie’s mom passed away, and now B is wasting no time in bringing in the realness. Finally, Zoë gets a monologue that shows off her talent. Damn, justice is served in a sense for Madeline: she gets vow renewals, he gets hospital coffee and divorce papers. 

Renata being told to calm down is probably the last thing she should ever be told. THIS MONTAGE IS WHAT WE NEED FOR HER. LET THE RAGE OUT. This episode really could have just been this scene and I would have been satisfied. Oh God, I really thought she killed him and that the series finale of this show would just be them doing “Cell Block Tango”. 

This wedding is secret Pinterest sponcon and I won’t be told otherwise. And here is where the wheels really fall off. Mary Louise is going back home, like Swiper after Dora tells him to now swipe? Okay, drive safe. Jane is slow dancing again. Wow, I could not be more over a character in my entire life. Happy she can finally have sex with her secret life of an American Teenager boyfriend. 

HIM SHIRTLESS DOESN’T MATTER because we have Bonnie’s final showcase, or WHAT WE THOUGHT was going to be her final showcase. She goes to the police department to confess, only for the Fab Five to arrive by her side. Honestly with the way this episode went, I’m f*cking shocked JVN didn’t just appear to glam them all up before confessing. Poor teenager got blue balls, prob. Wow this last scene is pretty gorgeous…until I REALIZED THAT WAS THE DAMN ENDING. No wonder this song is playing at the end because TAKE ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART AND SEVEN MORE HOURS OF MY LIFE, BIG LITTLE LIES. WE DON’T EVEN GET TO SEE THEM ENTER THE DOOR? 

In the words of Ally Maine: why did you do that, do that, do that, do that, do that to me? Is anyone satisfied with this ending? Or are you like me and Jane’s middle school boyfriend and suffering from major Big Little Blue Balls over that ending. Damn. Do we do a third season to find out what happened, or just blast thank u, next while obsessing over Euphoria? 

Images: HBO; Giphy (5)

‘Big Little Lies’ Recap: Be Cool, Don’t Be All Uncool, Monterey Court System

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The show is starting, and Jane is giving us Worst Uber Driver Energy blasting music. Ah, it’s her “I might kill a man” playlist—a much needed one for 2019. Turns out, her 17-year-old lover was brought into questioning about Perry’s death. Apparently it’s now like Mean Girls, where the first one who cracks gets a deal and everyone else is f*cked. Now I guess she’s on crack.

 Ah, a flashback to season one Celeste in this cop interview, back when she didn’t annoy me constantly. Looks like Mary Louise is watching these old tapes with the detective because I guess there’s nothing fun on local Monterey TV. 

Wait, I thought her mom was killed last episode? I can’t hear her dad whispering because he’s truly talking under his breath in a way that would make me afraid to sit next to him on a subway, but I’m assuming it was something about him being awful.

Ed and Madeline are drinking wine and having cheese and crackers which seems like a normal, good step for them—the important part of any healing in a relationship is to be drunk, at least that’s what I think before getting dumped. Meanwhile, across the multi-million-dollar streets, Celeste is watching the ocean with her kids.

Madeline is thinking of telling Ed about the drama, for which Renata emotionally tried to slap some sense into her. I personally feel like Madeline is just ready to try and Olivia Pope her own life and save herself. Endorphins make people happy—and happy people don’t want to go to jail. 

Speaking of endorphins, it seems like they’re not working for Bonnie because she is miserable. Ah, so she TRIED to kill her mom but didn’t work. Lifetime, where you at?

It’s the court hearing and The Good Wife fan in me is jumping out. I’m drinking pinot noir so I’m ready to object at any time. Wait, Celeste’s lawyer is not wearing her jacket. What’s happening!? She asked a question and immediately got shut down, which is very on brand for this lawyer. But yikes—Celeste is testifying and now it’s fair game to ask her anything. Nicole Kidman, do you think my hair looks sexy pushed back?

Bonnie asking her doctor if it’s okay to kill her mom is peak Season 2 of Big Little Lies. Renata is pensively angry in half a ball gown while firing her nanny/maid, which feels like super California. Juliet, we hardly knew ye. 

Since when do you wear a wet suit… with gloves… to bodyboard? I guess they go great with her wet bangs. 

Madeline is apologizing to Bonnie and Bonnie is still serving her hungover stare realness. I love that everyone is going to watch her testify—it’s basically like her one-woman show, but they all could wind up in jail. Feels like Chicago! F*ck this lawyer for mocking her abuse. And then getting her one night stand broadcasted in front of everyone. If I had to testify for every time I slept with someone whose name I didn’t know, I’d have a full on grand jury appearance. This was hard to watch. FULL GEOMETRY COMING IN WITH THESE STIMULATIONS OF PERRY’S DEATH. WHERE IS MS. MADEWELL JACKET TO OBJECT MORE THAN ONCE?

It’s insane that Celeste’s every move has been watched — like, what’s next, the detective is going to know what bike she was on at SoulCycle? I like get that it’s this private investigator’s job to do this, but honestly she is such a bitch. LET MY PRETTY RICH FRIENDS LIVE. 

Ed meeting with Jess/Jenn/Josie and the Pussycats on a Starbucks date is one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen. All of this is done over oat milk lattes and rent-a-shrink diagnosis about what cheating on your spouse who cheated on you can do. You so know this woman went to her manicurist and asked for red gels being like, “I need a dark color to try and steal a husband”. His standing desk infuriates me also for some reason. I think I’m 100% at a Big Little Lies boiling point. 

Jane goes to Mary Louise and is ready to attack. This is why older woman should take up knitting or go to a communal home, they have too much free time on their hands. 

I KNOW SHE’S NOT BUT I REALLY THOUGHT CELESTE WAS DRINKING SKINNY GIRL MARGARITA FOR A SECOND. GIVE US THE CROSSOVER. Yikes, it’s a drinking-from-the-bottle kind of night, aka a night you definitely shouldn’t have after being attacked at trial all day. 

Looks like everyone is falling apart because Madeline is full-on dancing in a wedding dress. Ed telling Madeline she can’t wave a wand and fix things is kind of hysterical because exclusively Reese Witherspoon can wave me to do anything she’d like me to do. 

Calling it now: Bonnie killes herself with a suicide note that fesses up to everything and leaves the other girls off the hook. 

We’re going back to court, but before that, Celeste is filming a makeup tutorial. Hey guyz, I know a lot of you have been asking about my Chic Court Look

This judge doesn’t know the difference between a sexual addiction and being horny, cause I see nothing wrong with Celeste. Be cool, don’t be all uncool. Class with the Countess Celeste. Luckily Celeste was able to take better control of the court questioning this time around with only 5% help from her lawyer.

Bonnie confesses to her mom… but not about Perry. She opens up about the awful childhood she had—it starts very Ten Things I Hate About You but turns into an awful, dark look into Bonnie’s life and how unhappy she is and then she finally confessed about killing him… in a public space. Like, where is the night nurse that is like “what the fuck did I just hear?”

UH, I SPOKE TOO SOON. JULIET IS BACK IN A BIG WAY. Turns out, she was sleeping with Renata’s husband and she’s getting $160,000 from it. Wow, I need to start sleeping with better people. Give Laura Dern THE GOD DAMN EMMY PLEASE. 

Sidenote, can I make people rise for me when I enter into a room? Turns out Celeste is calling the SHOTS cause Ms. Madewell didn’t think of anything and she’s going full Ted Bundy going to court. DAMN THIS CLIFFHANGER. And yet again, we’re hooked. 

Images: Giphy (3)

‘Big Little Lies’ Recap: Where The Hell Was The Ice Cream Throw?

Another day, another flashback to start things off. Honestly, I’m loving this season so far—but you can’t tell me that it doesn’t give you Pretty Little Liars energy. Everyone is waking up and pondering things while looking at the water, because apparently what else do you do in Monterey besides look into the ocean and kill people?

We’re kicking things off with a husband-on-husband scene, and not in the PornHub way. Ed and Nathan talk it out while they’re working out in the morning—another reason why I never jog. Nathan has gotten so annoying, no wonder Bonnie is checked out. 

The child custody hearing is off, and Mary Louise is giving her best Iron Lady while also acting like every girl at brunch who wants to sh*t talk their friend who is not there. “No she’s like, literally crazy.”

Celeste hired a lawyer who, while she may not be doing her job, is doing a damn good job at pulling off that jacket. Rent the Runway unlimited, I’m sure. 

WHY IS EVERYONE JOGGING? Okay nevermind, Bonnie was just dream jogging—my favorite form of working out. Weird that I still only fit in jeggings. She’s still at the hospital staying with her mom while her dad basically just gives her death glares 24/7. Weird, how did HBO get this tape of my Thanksgiving from last year?

Madeline, desperate for a storyline, is taking Ed on a retreat to bond their relationship that may involve bondage. I can so f*ck with a Carole King sing-along, though.

Celeste is a lawyer, a fact that I’m pretty sure we all forgot about (including Celeste herself), and she went to see Renata to trash talk her lawyer. Dreams. This is the first time Renata has been working all season though, right? I guess the Women In Power article caught on to that, because they pulled her from the article, which actually made me genuinely upset but genuinely not surprised. 

Some weird kid came to bully Ziggy and the twins came to his defense—but unfortunately, that defense came with an extreme offense. Both Jane and Celeste’s kids are suspended for three days, so at least they’ll have more time to stare into the water. 

Wait, is Bonnie psychic? She’s basically like the Long Island Medium, except not Italian. And not in Long Island.”

Yup, that was definitely a sex cult, but at least it go them to communicate (and communicating in California is just shouting in a car). Ed dragged Madeline (as the kids say) and damn, I do try so hard to feel bad for him in all of their scenes. But, is it just me, or is it impossible to ever blame Reese Witherspoon for anything ever? Let her screw all the theater directors she wants! Every month is Pride!

Renata’s “spent her entire life with a bullseye on her back,” which is a C-minus in terms of all of the lines she’s said this season. She met Mary Louise for tea, in every way that word is used. Mary Louise is shocked this isn’t just a “tea party,” which, no sh*t—that’s like when I invite someone to a workout that winds up just being a brunch. No one drinks tea and no one JOGS IN THE DAMN MORNING. 

Celeste is parenting her kids in the best way she can, which is by screaming and crying while also whispering with her whispy bangs. It’s kind of weird that in an alternate universe, her kids would be played by Dylan and Cole Sprouse. Shout-out to Dylan Sprouse’s meadery in Brooklyn.

Ed has a sweet but heartbreaking moment with Chloe that is 100% ruined by Bonnie leading an adult Kidz Bop lesson that’s mixed with an overpriced Brooklyn barre class. “Singing for Sleep Apnea” is definitely a charity party from The Hills. Yikes, looks like Bonnie’s dad is a beyond confirmed piece of sh*t. 

Celeste’s lawyer is doing nothing but wearing a coat, round two. After Celeste breaks down at a custody hearing, she sends a group chat to her girls to meet her at the beach (it’s going down). Turns out she’ll have to testify during her settlement, and when she’s on the stand she’s fair game to ask about anything aka the murder. Basically, the lawyer could be like you when you’re in a fight with a friend and try to bring it up casually but you have no chill:

Me: How was your day?
Me: What the f*ck did you say about me in the group chat the other day?

MAJOR shout out to this A+ line from Renata, maybe one of the contenders for best line of the series. “That’s perjury, babe.”

Ed and Chloe, Bonnie and her dad… this is a huge Father’s Day card of emotions going down. He talks to her about how he wanted to keep the peace between all of them, which is what I say to everyone every time I’m in an Uber Pool. Yup, the mom is magic and she can sometimes see things that are right—very That’s Kinda Raven

Cool, we were all fully weeping when Celeste and her boys were talking, right? Meanwhile, Renata forced Ammabella to play hooky with her, because she’s not a regular mom, she’s a cool mom. 

THE ICE CREAM SCENE THE ICE CREAM SCENE THE ICE CREAM SCENE. The moment we saw GIF’d and meme’d since Meryl was first announced as a cast member. AND IT DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN. Instead we got left with Jane slow dancing with her 15-year-old coworker AGAIN. I’m sorry, but why is HBO doing this to us? If I wanted to see someone awkwardly kiss on a couch with blunt bangs, I’d log back into MySpace.

Jane is still struggling to connect sexually with her trauma, and fine, the 15-year-old has grown on me by being so nice with Ziggy. I did realize that Nicole Kidman in a baseball cap is my sexual orientation, though.

Okay, did I just get high, because so much is happening at once? It’s like a dressing room montage, but with kayaks and wine and… assisted suicide? AND TORI FROM THE FIRST EPISODE OF THIS SEASON? Fine, I remember her from there, but in no way shape or form was she in any episode in season one. The bartender gave them shots, and I guess when you’re over 30 that is code for we gon’ bang. 

So this episode ends with Jane’s man leaving the police department, Bonnie walking to the police department after probably killing her mom, Madeline’s husband about to have a … threesome… with TORI, and Celeste’s lawyer prob at Marshall’s finding a new jacket. Big Little Lies, what are you on?

Images: HBO; Giphy

‘Big Little Lies’ Recap: The Slap Heard ‘Round Monterey

We’re driving back up the PCH to Monterey tonight—let’s get into it. This recap was a day late mainly because I spent all of Sunday drinking $5 Cosmopolitans for pride, which means I spent all of Monday asking myself why did you do that do that do that to me?


It’s Madeline’s turn to have a nightmare, which I guess makes sense cause a) murder and b) it’s apparently Halloween! I forgot that weather isn’t a thing in Monterey. She’s also now smoking, serving us big end of Grease Sandy Energy. On top of that, Renata is simultaneously planning her bankruptcy court hearing and also her daughter’s birthday. ¿Por qué no los dos?

Naturally, Mary Louise arrives with a cake and her chompers—in no way are those her real teeth, right? Uh oh, Mary Tyler Moore has a new Rhoda in town, and it’s M.L. who is moving into Jane’s building. Survey says she’s doing that to be closer to Ziggy and not cause it’s the only property in Monterey. Kind of like when Taylor Swift bought a house in Rhode Island to be closer to the Kennedys. Throwback! 

Giving Madeline a break, Celeste is now verbally sparring with Mary Louse until IT BECOMES PHYSICAL SPARRING WHAT IS HAPPENING. Celeste hits with a slap heard ’round the world after Mary Louise says she feels Jane wasn’t raped and Perry just was looking for anyone outside of their marriage. 

This scene of course ends with Madeline in her gorgeous kitchen, complaining to Ed about how people should be more considerate when planning parties (“we all have calendar apps on our f*cking phone”) and can I just say, preach?

Longing Looks At the Water: 2

In between scenes, we see Bonnie also staring at the water and Jane inviting her school yard crush to the disco party, an era he 1000% learned about during AP U.S. History last year. 

Celeste, Bonnie, Madeline, and Renata all have the same calendar. pic.twitter.com/s4igIkd7Jm

— bobby finger (@bobbyfinger) July 1, 2019

All The Tense Coffee Dates

Mary Louise meets with Celeste and calls her unwell, expressing concerns about her grandchildren. I’m sorry, but is Celeste’s style inspiration Taylor Swift’s Red era with these whispy framed-bangs and coat? Mary Louise brings up that her husband left her and she had to learn how to cope—a fact that hmm…I’m not that sold on. 

Over at Madeline’s, she tries to plan a couple’s workshop while Ed is still giving us Sulking Kid Who’s Grounded. Chloe, still being a 28-year-old social media manager in a child’s body, makes an ‘opposites’ project for school where she says her mom is the opposite of a door because she’s unhinged. Snaps for Chloe and her future career on Thought Catalog. 

Bankruptcy Is So In Right Now

The assets are being drawn up to get put on the line. Renata is still giving us all the lines that would end up on T-Shirts for the Women’s March: “I’m self-made.” She then gets judged for getting botox, which, hey, not fair. On top of that, she needs to give up her Rolex and wedding ring right on the table — which I guess shows the practicality of belly rings in times like this. Impossible to see! And now their Tesla is traded for a taxi outside of the court house. Ouch.

Who Is This Theme Party For?

Amabella’s party is here and it’s disco themed, which I can’t imagine she picked. The moms have gone all out for this party, because when you’re 40 all you want to do is get ready for a theme party, apparently? While Renata is serving a disco bash, Mary Louise is planning on filing for guardianship of her grandkids—and making sure Celeste doesn’t have a lawyer to choose from to get her back. Back at Studio 54, Celeste and Bonnie are regretting the lie and saying Madeline is to blame for starting it. Very happy my major lies only including eating the rest of my roommate’s hummus and saying, “hmm no clue where it went.”

While they fight over gorgeous champagne flutes, we see Ammabella having a slow dance and her dress is… literally the same as Renata’s. This is truly some Gypsy Rose Lee sh*t up in here, but I guess the Roman Empire was having a BOGO deal. Ugh, it’s hard to see Renata addressing how all of this will affect her daughter—and can I just say F*CK GORDON. 

Jane is dancing with her date, which is kind of weird because the dance floor is like, only the kids—but then again, he prob is in the same history class as most of them. She’s happy, but then the second they get a little closer, she gets a flashback to the night of her attack. 

Bonnie gets #ConfrontedOnTheDanceFloor by her mom, with her mom saying she doesn’t like the energy around her. Raise your hand if you have gone up to one of your friends at 2:30 AM after a vodka Redbull and said the exact same thing. 

Nathan and Ed then do what any man would, which is fight in ’70s costumes at a child’s birthday party. THIS IS ABOUT HAPPINESS!! Coincidentally, that’s exactly what I shout at my brunch waiter when they say the two hours of the unlimited option is over. 

No eight-year-old’s birthday party is complete without a disco dance show by who I can only imagine is Boyz II Monterey. They’re setting the mood for Bonnie and Ed, though. 

Jane opens up to her boy about her past trauma, and he is super supportive of her…which only makes me feel like he can’t be trusted, because this is Big Little Lies

Alexa, Play ‘Fallingwater’

Bonnie’s mom has flashes of water visions and then faints. We’re at the hospital, and it turns out Elizabeth had a stroke, and we find out that the last thing she saw before were flashes of water. 

Madeline and Ed are home, and he’s drinking the classic Sad Boi Night Cap: an IPA. Jane and Celeste are now out at a bar, and I do love how their bond has been strengthened. Celeste stays for another drink alone, cause she’s a girl after my own heart. 

Back at the hospital, Bonnie is looking over her mother as her dad asks if she said anything to her mom to induce her stroke—nice dad! 

Mary Louise is now eating stretchy cheese pizza that straight up looks like it’s from Chuck-E-Cheese—a place that Meryl Streep 200% doesn’t know exists. Honestly, she looks like a mess right now too. Why did the wardrobe department decide to give her a J.Jill cardigan, but then a men’s Old Navy top?

Jane goes to meet Bonnie at the hospital, which is perfect because she caught her just as she was about to rip into the detective on their case. Does this detective have anything else to do but walk around Monterey drinking coffee? Dream job TBH. 

Ambien Cool, Not All Uncool

Mary Louise brings the kids home first thing in the AM and Celeste seems…off. At first you can’t tell if she’s high, drunk, or sick (I can relate to that every Sunday morning), until you realize that she definitely took another Ambien. She’s being very Countess LuAnn, owning it! I’m happy Heather Thomson wasn’t in their house because OH YEAH, CELESTE TOOK THE BARTENDER HOME. Wow that might have been one of the most awkward scenes in history, mixed in with a hot af flashbacks of them hooking up. 

She confesses to Madeline that she did in fact take Ambien and didn’t remember he was in the house, which is so scary. Celeste, just try melatonin or chamomile tea, please. Madeline is the true MVP of friends because her first response was “she shouldn’t have dropped the kids off that early, you have your own life.” And just like clockwork, Mary Louise reappears. 

She confronts Celeste about how she feels she is a mess and shouldn’t be watching over the kids. This is going to get messy. Yeah, they’re at risk with Celeste, but were totally just fine with their abusive father. 

Renata’s Sweater Is Off The Deep End

What would happen if Ann Taylor had a one-night stand with Hot Topic and then found its way to California? The answer is Renata’s sweater. What is happening here? I guess when she tried to give this one to the bankruptcy court they were like… actually you can keep that. They’re sharing avocado toast (who shares toast?) and catching up about Celeste when, you guessed it! Our detective is back, drinking coffee, and just…theorizing! Nancy Drew could never be this caffeinated. 

Jane then goes to see Mary Louise because she’s worried that she’s just being a Pokémon Grandma, catching them all. She calms her down by voicing concerns about Celeste, which Jane pauses to consider. Instead of borrowing sugar from your neighbor in Monterey, you borrow theories about your friends. Kinda into it. 

THE THERAPIST IS HERE!! And she’s assuring Celeste that she has doctor-patient confidentiality. Of course the true star of this show would have her back. 

Elizabeth finally wakes up and we see that she has a vision of Bonnie killing herself in the ocean, which, sadly,  could definitely be where this season is headed. Hopefully she’ll be able to help her and they can all go to another yoga retreat. Until next week! 

Images: HBO; Giphy (4); bobbyfinger / Twitter

‘Big Little Lies’ Recap: Less Showers, More Tofu

Another weekend coming to an end means another Sunday spent watching gorgeous, rich women in California fight with each other while drinking wine. No, I’m not talking about The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills—this season was too slow to watch week-to-week, right?—but rather, it’s BIG LITTLE LIES TIME.

In an insane turn of events, I’m watching and writing this Monday morning. Aka this morning, aka while you were probably still asleep or getting ready to go to a Rumble class. This is not because I’m suddenly a morning person—it’s because I was swimming in a sea of pinot noir and pasta Sunday night before a concert. If you want to judge my semi-tipsy concert filming, by all means, go ahead to my Instagram (@kashmeredanny) and see for yourself.

ANYWAY, enough about me (my HBO show would not be BLL but rather BMI, and all about me giving up carbs for half a day to lose weight) and back to our favorite ladies. First, can I just say that this show should teach every other show about how to properly do a “Previously On”? Thank you for actually giving a recap to help us, fans (and people eating hummus for breakfast while having to recap it).

We open up with Bonnie still replaying the murder in her head before going to see her grandma and daughter connecting. The sweetness of this scene was immediately cut with Reese and her husband driving in silence. OH YES, MORE THERAPIST TIME. “Adultery is one form of betrayal, indifference is another”—honestly, that is something that they would say on The Real Housewives. I’m not sure if I 100% agree with it, but I do 100% know that I’m getting that tattooed on my lower back. The appointment is spent trying to figure out why she cheated and it turned into a read on Madeline which… tracks. I wonder if Mary Louise got coffee with her therapist before.

Bonnie is back and I’m worried all of these flashes are going towards her attempting to kill herself while drowning. Madeline then opens up to Celeste about how she caught her dad cheating when she was younger and never told anyone, which rightfully so would f*ck someone up for marriage. Honestly, I would much rather open up to Nicole Kidman in a car than to a therapist. Celeste also says that her life is colorless without Perry, saying that she was better to her kids with him around—probably because she was trying to compartmentalize and also compensate for the abuse. Nicole, you don’t need that, GIRL.

Mary Louise confronts Jane at work and demands Ziggy take a paternity test. She doesn’t want to believe that Perry was both a rapist and an abuser, saying that maybe Jane was just drunk or drugged and doesn’t remember it. Great look, ML!

Okay—this show has to calm with the metaphors. Now Charlotte’s Web is a metaphor for the show? Thank you, Ziggy, for calling bullsh*t even though I still want to date your teacher. Kind of insane that Charlotte, to little kids, means web and not a woman who converts to Judaism to marry her divorce lawyer. Wait, now they learn about “personal brands” and sustainable farming in elementary school?! I’m re-enrolling. I’m sure their math class is just about the Instagram algorithm and your ratio. TOFU FOR CLASS PRESIDENT. 

Oh no, Annabella (Renata’s daughter) was admitted to the hospital with an anxiety attack. Maybe rebranding is too much for the young mind. Renata is rightfully so losing her entire mind and also still being Renata AF: I’d like her transferred to Stanford please, because it’s STANFORD.

Madeline is exhibiting GMB (Great Mom Behavior) with her older daughter and opening up with her about her therapy appointment. I guess we needed that normal scene to make up for the fact that Renata hired a therapist who got a BFA instead of a PhD and is dressed as Little Bo Peep? Turns out, Annabella is terrified of the world ending, which now makes her the most relatable character. I mean, have you read the news? Climate change and a dad going to jail is a hard combo, especially when you think something is up with your mom.

Jane is dating the 17-year-old she works with who just asked if a fish was grown on a farm, and is now rattling off all his pre-dinner ordering questions. I’m vegan and ask less questions, but mainly because I just order french fries. Apparently, some fish test positive for anti-depressants (same), so I guess they are also just concerned with the end of the world.

Mary Louise is going to the dectecive in charge of Perry’s murder case and is trying to basically become Dorinda the Meddler of Monterey. On the flipside, Celeste is talking with her therapist and struggling to separate the good from the very, very bad of her husband. “You miss the war, Celeste,” this therapist has the best captions—I mean, sayings—of the show. She feels that she may be suffering a form of PTSD or withdrawal from the pain and abuse.

“Are you passionate about things?” wow, I now remember why I don’t date. Jane with the ultimate BOMB DROP by answering that with, “I used to paint but now I have a kid, I should have mentioned that.” Then the teen tried to kiss her and she almost got hit by a bus trying to avoid it (same x2)—she’s “idling on neutral.” Okay, I can’t do car references, HBO.

Mary Louise and her grandkids are watching a collection of home movies with Perry. Yikes, and now Mary Louise is stalking Jane and Ziggy—but honestly? Jane’s sweater was the scene stealer in that episode. Shout out to the girl for finally finding the Madewell in Monterey. They now are coffee girls and look at pictures that show how much Ziggy looks like Perry’s brother. She wants to be in Ziggy’s life, which is sweet, but knowing Meryl’s degree of acting talent, you know something is up. She’s now questioning about the night of the assault and is asking if Jane tempted Perry to get him in a moment of weakness, basically trying to cling to any hope that her son wasn’t a complete awful person.

Of course, Madeline finds Bonnie and Ed (I REMEMBERED HIS NAME, ARE YOU HAPPY? Okay, I Googled it) having lunch and prob talking about how much their spouses annoy them. Love a charcuterie board moment with a cup of coffee. At least someone is finally asking Bonnie how she is. Bonnie said she needed to laugh, which can I suggest just looking at Jane’s bangs.

Now Ed is trying to be a bad guy to Madeline, I guess this is his Reputation era. Madeline is now questioning her entire life and talking about how she feels guilty she didn’t know sooner about Celeste’s abuse. Cut to Renata coming in with plastic straws and blow torches to shout at the school for teaching about climate change. “I will rise up and buy a f*cking polar bear for everyone in this school”—I just always need to scream “YAS RENATA, YAS.”

Renata takes her one-act play to Madeline’s office, only to be interrupted by Mary Louise. Jane and Bonnie run into each other at the beach. Bonnie tells her to open up about everything on the second date, which feels very Bonnie.

Wow, Gordon is drinking beer with a backwards hat and pissing me off. I hope I get invited to Annabella’s birthday party. Now we’re at a conference about climate change for the school and Ed is still trying to be a bad boy, texting in the back. Dude, no one wants to stand. I love that these parents are screaming about how they don’t want their kids to learn about climate change—could I have done this about Algebra?

Madeline is talking about why climate change is a tough subject to teach kids and is serving me a mix between Carrie Bradshaw and Elle Woods. Now she’s quoting a song from the 70s, someone get her off stage ASAP. Oh no, she’s crying. Everywhere like such as. Is this interaction the first time Celeste and Ed talked?

Abigail is doing the best thing a kid could do: grabbing wine. In Celeste’s house, people are looking for stronger stuff. Mary Louise is snooping for clues and Advil PM.

Love when an intense scene is changed up with Jane and her awkward boyfriend hugging in a parking lot. Oh my God now they’re just slow dancing. Is this The Fault in Our Stars?

Cut to Celeste in bed with a video chat of Perry trying to have Skype sex? Sure. Now we cut to a depressing montage of everyone crying—FINE, I’m crying too. Oh I spoke too soon. Celeste isn’t crying, she’s masturbating. Por que no los dos? Oh, and that’s how this episode ends. Climate change awareness and proper clitoris stimulation—honestly, what 2019 is in need of.

Images: HBO; Giphy (4)

Confession: I Don’t Know Anything About Meryl Streep

This week, in honor of Meryl Streep’s 70th birthday, I was asked to pull together a “Which Meryl Streep Movie Are You Based on Your Zodiac Sign” post. I didn’t blink twice at this request. As a red-blooded woman in 2019, I love astrology. As a human with any discernible taste, I love Meryl Streep. This topic sat so distinctly in my wheelhouse that my hubris didn’t even for a second let me believe that I might run into any kind of obstacle. But then the unthinkable happened.

What follows is an admission of my deepest shame. I come to you a broken woman, laying myself bare before the pitiless judgment of the internet, in the hopes that I may be a beacon for others wandering down the same despondent path.

I couldn’t name 12 Meryl Streep movies. In fact, I couldn’t even name more than six without the aid of a list, which bumped me up to eight after going through and only selecting the ones I felt confident I could write about with any kind of conviction. That list was 62 movies long.

This revelation resulted in what I can only describe as a crisis of identity. I am a pop culture writer, for God’s sake. I have been covering awards season for this very website for the past four years, an arena that is arguably owned by Meryl Streep. It is literally my job to be able to be able to create content like this, and yet here I was, grasping at straws, not just incapable of deciding which of Meryl’s roles was most like an Aries, but unable to even identify some of her most pivotal characters to date. Who am I? An imposter? A liar? A straight white man? None of it made sense.

But after some shameful reflection and a quick confession to our Betches Editor-in-Chief, I realized something: I don’t think I’m alone here. I think there are more of us out there, more entertainment aficionados with gaping blind spots that exist not out of willful ignorance, but because the knowledge was just assumed through cultural group-think.

You see, I came of age in a time when Meryl Streep’s supremacy was not an opinion, but a fact of life. I don’t remember the first time I consciously recognized her, for it seemed that she was always just there, existing in a different realm than any other actor. Meryl Streep transcends our mere mortal understanding of celebrity, and thus she transcended my own cognizance. Much like with God, I was not raised to understand why she existed, just to accept her status as sacrosanct, an actress revered above all others.

In this way, I think Meryl and Beyoncé are similar. Both cultural juggernauts in their own right, revered to the point of fanaticism. To dislike them is not just to be in possession of a controversial opinion, but to be fundamentally wrong. Art may be subjective, but Meryl Streep and Beyoncé are not. Voicing any opposition to their obvious dominance in their respective fields would result in alienation at best, but more likely outright ridicule—and with good reason. You don’t need to grapple with the whys and hows of their omnipotence, but merely just accept that that is the way it is.

That was the error of my ways: being content with knowing but not understanding. There is no honor to believing without truly understanding, to being a mouthpiece for an opinion that you yourself cannot effectively support. Forever my life will exist in two parts: before and after my own personal Meryl Renaissance.

Recognizing my own complacency is only half the battle, and now I must move on to actively remedying this transgression against the very thing I hold near and dear: pop culture. If you, like me, seek to mend the error of your ways, join me on this journey of self-enlightenment: I call it the Meryl-thon.

After combing through countless lists of the most essential Meryl films, I’ve landed on five that seem to be, indisputably, her most timeless roles. You will not find The Devil Wears Prada or Mamma Mia on this list, although I hold them near and dear. Instead, we’ll be diving into the archives, into Meryl’s beginnings, and the roles that made her the powerhouse that she is today.

  1. Sophie’s Choice
  2. Kramer vs. Kramer
  3. The Bridges of Madison County
  4. A Cry in the Dark
  5. Silkwood

I would give you a synopsis of each of these films, but I can’t. And at this point, I don’t want to. In an era of instant gratification and internet spoilers at every turn, I am ready to embark on a journey with almost zero understanding of where it will take me. I am going into each of these movies a blank slate, and I plan to return to you with my thoughts on each. Not reviews per se, because clearly each of the films on this list is above critical reproach, but the musings of a naïve fool who really loves voicing her opinions on such things.

This list, presented to you in no particular order, will undoubtedly be contested. And to that I say, good!! Teach me the error of my ways! Educate me in my hour of need! Make your case for the best of Meryl! But please do it in a way that doesn’t destroy my already horribly bruised ego.

It wasn’t easy to admit this flaw to you all today. Vulnerability, no matter how superficial the source of it, is difficult to display in any environment, but especially on the internet—a place that breeds total apathy at the best of times, but is typically more prone to thinly veiled contempt. By sharing my story, I hope that some of you are inspired to come forward with your own tales of entertainment-based disgrace. Haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books? Step forward, my friend. Still haven’t watched Game of Thrones? You’re safe here. Unable to understand the allure of the Netflix obsession du jour? Don’t worry, this too shall pass.

There’s enough content in this world to last a hundred lifetimes, and it’s impossible for any one person to consume it all. Don’t let others belittle you for not having seen something, even if it’s something you definitely should have seen by now because it’s your job and also you have a tendency to brag about your extensive knowledge about such matters. Idk. Just a thought.

We are all people, constantly evolving into better versions of what we were yesterday. I am not exempt from this rule, for yesterday I was someone who didn’t know what Kramer vs. Kramer was, and yet today, against all odds, I am but a humble student, finally ready to learn at the altar of Meryl Streep.

Images: Giphy (3)