TV

TV review: Big Little Lies – Curse of the yummy mummy

Sky Atlantic's Big Little Lies – produced by and starring Reece Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman – explores the dark underbelly of being a ‘soccer mom’ or a ‘yummy mummy’. Sam Delaney has another name for them...

Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman produce and star in Big Little Lies

In the States they call them ‘soccer moms’. The à la mode term is ‘yummy mummies’. My own mother used to refer to them as ‘PTA wankers’. Whatever you call them, the busybody full-time mums who prowl the school gates, fussing, gossiping and asking you for two quid towards some bullshit jamboree they’re planning for the end of term are not a tribe to be trifled with. In fact, some say they are the world’s most powerful lobby group.

Middle-class, neurotic mothers with too much time on their hands are the sort of people who have the energy and determination to shape the world we live in: they write to councils and MPs; they pester and cajole schools; they organise cake sales and quiz nights to raise money for charitable causes; they do shitloads of yoga and drink gallons of soy latte. They’re terrifying because they care. And most of them have a university education but no day job to channel their intelligence and capabilities into once the kids are at school.

I guess society would probably collapse without them. So who am I to mock them with my cruel stereotyping on the pages of this otherwise tolerant and forgiving journal? I’m just a lazy, sneering dad who can’t really be bothered doing all the stuff that they do to help the local schools and community function properly. But I am, of course, all too happy to reap the rewards of their crazed social interference. That said, all the stereotypes I have mentioned are bloody true and I stand by them. My mum was basically right – they are PTA wankers.

“I bet they bake their own fucking bread!” was one of the things she used to say about them as she dropped me off at school in the mid-’80s. I never really understood why that was such a bad thing but she spat the accusation out with such venom I got the sense that home bread baking was something akin to paedophilia in my mum’s book. Yep, school mums are dickheads alright – but we’d all be fucked without them so we better just grin and bear it I suppose.

If you want a more insightful and altogether less mean dissection of this global breed then you should be watching Big Little Lies on Sky Atlantic. Reece Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are both producers and stars of the show. This is the complicated, dark and fraught underbelly of yummy mummy-dom laid bare, with equal measures of cynicism and sympathy.

The performances are brilliant: they successfully scrape beneath the brittle veneers of overbearing bourgeois mums and examine their lives and characters with more empathy than you might ever get from, say, a column like this written by an idiot like me.

Catch up with Big Little Lies on Sky TV on Demand

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