No one should be tasked with ranking the award-winning actresses of Big Little Lies. It’s far too difficult and complex. But I’m gay, it’s Pride month, and I’m tenacious as hell. This is something I have to do for posterity, and for my people: I must rank the women of Big Little Lies based on how badly I want them to step on me.
The long-awaited second season of the Emmy-award winning series premiered on HBO on Sunday, which means both my excitement and horny levels are at peak level. I’m a huge fan of the women of this show, from the inimitable Laura Dern, to Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman; the slate of female stars on Big Little Lies is a force to be reckoned with. My rankings are based on meticulous consideration of their characters’ quips, social savagery, and ferocious mothering—a combination that I, as a lesbian, find to be extremely erotic. Here’s every woman on Big Little Lies, ranked by my willingness to let them take me down via annihilating glances, cutting retorts, and sheer bloody will.
1 Madeline (Reese Witherspoon)
Madeline Martha Mackenzie doesn’t sound like the name of someone I’d like to step on me—it sounds like the name of Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ arch nemesis. Yet Reese Witherspoon infuses this abrasive character with charisma and likability. Madeline tops this list because she’s the quip queen of Big Little Lies. She always has a one-liner in her back pocket, and has delivered such roasts as “Get laid, bitch” and “What a cunt.” But she’s also offered such profundities as “I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets,” which pretty much sums up the entire tone of the show. Remember that photo of Witherspoon throwing an ice cream at Meryl’s head? Not even a thrice Oscar winner can extinguish this flame. I’m hoping for way more gossip, scandal, and flagrant eruptions from Madeline Martha Mackenzie in season 2. And I want her to strut toward me in slow motion, spit in my face, and step on me with a strappy, sandy stiletto.
2 Mary Louise
Meryl Streep is the perfect addition to this already A-list cast. The Academy Award–hoarder plays Mary Louise, mother to the late Perry, who comes to town after her son’s passing—to help take care of Celeste’s boys, but also to get some answers about what really happened that night at the fundraiser. She’s the most savage character to ever grace the Big Little Lies Cinematic Universe. Like, I thought Madeline Martha Mackenzie had some roasts up her sleeve, but that was before I saw Mary Louise cut through Madeline’s ego like brie cheese, calling her “very short” and then opining that short people are “untrustworthy.” In the season 2 premiere, Streep releases a blood-curdling scream at the dinner table, and all I could think was: Screech at ME, you coward!
I’m a Jane, but I wish I was a Renata. Renata is iconic, not just because she’s played by Laura Dern, but because she’s extremely extra, respectably mean, and throws her first grader, Amabella, an over-the-top lavish birthday party—one that probably cost more than any party I’ll ever have or be invited to. In the first episode of the show, Renata told Madeline that she joined the board of Paypal over the summer with the nonchalance of “I got boobs last month.” In the season 2 premiere, she spent a whole scene forcing one of Amabella’s teachers into submission, using both her personality and the biggest hand gestures I’ve ever seen. She’s a CEO, a wealthy monster, and I want her to yell at me in front of a pack of whispering mothers.
Zoë Kravitz might be physically tiny, but she has such BSOME (Big Step On Me Energy) that she even unbalances queen bee Madeline. Bonnie is a peaceful yoga instructor who most likely grocery shops exclusively at Erewhon, but she’s full of hidden depths—as we are only now beginning to see. Bonnie is dealing with a lot this season, and I’m just saying, if it would help, I would let her twist my stiff hips into a pose way beyond my skill level.
It’s not that I didn’t like Nicole Kidman before Big Little Lies, but I will say that her wig and her performance in this show really tipped the scales into adoration for me: Celeste is a master class in female strength, durability, and persistence. (Also, in season 1, Kidman smashed Alexander Skarsgård’s prosthetic dick with a tennis racquet—a now-infamous moment in TV history.) Now that Celeste is free of Perry (though not, perhaps, the police investigation), I look forward to a powerful season of healing and growth for her. Celeste and her bangs are beautiful and good, and they are the boss of me now.
Played by Shailene Woodley, Jane is a young single mother who finds strength in motherhood after surviving a harrowing sexual assault. Jane wasn’t the quippiest or most audacious of the characters, but she did smack Renata, so she’s somewhat of a Montereyan legend. I have high hopes for Jane’s equilibrium in season 2: Last season was about grappling with trauma and the mystery of her rapist. Now that she has that answer, it’s a whole new chapter for her. Jane has been through a lot, and I want her to do whatever the hell she wants, which is probably to have an extremely long nap and be a good mom, supported by her loving friends.
Let’s be 100 percent clear: I don’t want Abigail (Kathryn Newton) to step on me, because she is a teenager. But I would definitely let her bully me in a locker room with her goth friends or something. Abigail is the eldest daughter of Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Witherspoon). She’s sassy, cutthroat, and an angry feminist—which is exactly how I hope I’ll be eulogized at my funeral. In season 1, Abigail wanted to auction off her virginity to raise awareness for sex trafficking and raise money for Amnesty International. However, she decided to drop the stunt in the final episode because she realized her true mission would get buried in the scandal of it all. She’s moody and wise, plus she’s played by Kathryn Newton, who’s currently starring in Netflix series The Society, in which she’s doubly as fierce.
Big Little Lies returns June 9 on HBO.