We have said it before, and it remains true: Husbands — a liability! It’s true particularly on HBO, and especially on Big Little Lies.
Renata, Bonnie, Madeline, Jane, and Celeste have hitched their wagons to a nuts group of guys: The men of Big Little Lies are either busy being unfaithful, busy embezzling money, or busy passive-aggressively practicing yoga. The women are the stars of this show, but lately their husbands have been extra messy: Of the husbands, the now-dead Perry is clearly the worst. But who is the best? Barring boyfriends (sorry, sorry Corey!) and based on a series of strict criteria — who’s cheated on his wife, who’s a good father or a good husband, what would his own Sunday night show be — Vulture has decided who is Big Little Lies’ best betrothed.
Has he cheated on his wife? Last season, I would’ve said no. How wrong I would’ve been! Because Gordon insists on making a fool of his family and himself, he has been sleeping with the nanny.
Is he a good father? I’m not sure I’ve seen him spend more than two scenes with Amabella, but he does at least sense that Renata’s raging makes their daughter anxious.
Well, is he a good husband? Well, he lost all their money, so …
What’s his Sunday night show? Gordon doesn’t watch TV; he has his trains. But he has been known to laugh a little too loudly at the Wags scenes on Billions from time to time.
Will he ever be rich again? Maybe, but not as Mr. Renata Klein!
Anything else? I absolutely cannot explain it, but I’m obsessed with Gordon wearing that dumb backward cap. Just childish. I love it. No further questions at this time, your honor.
Is he the best? He’s the brokest.
Has he cheated on his wife? Unclear. BLL never specifies the timeline between Nathan divorcing Madeline and marrying Bonnie, but it does feel more than a little nuts that he and his ex-wife both have two daughters at the same school, in the same grade.
Would he cheat on his wife? Outside of something really difficult like being an emotionally mature partner, I think Nathan is capable of anything. Look at how he wears those rings!
Is he a good father? Eh … I guess.
Well, is he a good husband?
What’s his Sunday night show? Nathan watches and likes Game of Thrones but never knows any character’s name. When he watches, he’s always asking Bonnie to pause it while he double-checks how exactly everything went down in the Battle of the Bastards, and what Melisandre’s powers really are. Bonnie begins to tell him, but he says something like, “Baby, no, just pause it and let me double-check.”
Anything else? Any man that comes up with a diss as weird and brilliant as “nutfuck” has earned my undying love and affection.
Is he the best? He is certainly the sloppiest.
Has he cheated on his wife? Yes! He cheated on his wife last season when he slept with Madeline. Love in the time of a highly contentious local theater production of Avenue Q.
Is he a good father? Unclear.
Well, is he a good husband? Absolutely not!
What’s his Sunday night show? He binged Homecoming — Amazon’s, not Netflix’s — in one day because he is the strong, sensitive type.
Anything else? He saw sexy Oklahoma! on Broadway, and is probably planning to “shake” “up” Monterey’s next community theater production.
Is he the best? Definitely not.
Has he cheated on his wife? Yes, he raped Jane.
Is he a good father? He was a good playmate to his and Celeste’s twin sons, but that does not make him a good father!
Well, is he a good husband? No! He was abusive! Emotionally and physically.
What’s his Sunday night show? I don’t imagine Perry watched TV, honestly. Maybe one of those decade specials on CNN?
Anything else? Important to note that he is dead and abusive and the worst Big Little Lies husband.
Is he the best? Clearly no, he is the worst.
Has he cheated on his wife? Ed hasn’t cheated on Madeline … yet. He’s been eyeing Tori Bachman, the wife of Joseph Bachman, Monterey’s own star director, whom some have likened to the Damien Chazelle of the local theater scene. (Full disclosure: Only I have drawn this comparison.)
Would he cheat on his wife? No, but he has had quite the attitude this season. So maybe he would try to cheat on Madeline but then become too guilty.
Is he a good father? Yes, even to two daughters that are both wanton agents of chaos.
Well, is he a good husband? Yes!
What’s his Sunday night show? Usually 60 Minutes, but lately he has been dramatically internalizing The Affair.
Anything else? It is still stunning to me that Greg Kinnear, after all his laboring as perfect husbands and perfect boyfriends, was not selected for this role. Alas! Also worth noting: He looks better without the beard.
Is he the best? He’s a great father, good husband, he shaved that beard … come on. You knew it was going here.
Principal Warren Nippal
Has he cheated on his wife? I don’t know a lot about Principal Nippal’s private life. According to Renata, he “hasn’t been laid in 15 fuckin’ years!” I have no evidence to prove or disprove that claim.
Would he cheat on his wife? If Principal Nippal were married, however, I don’t think he would cheat on his wife! Not for any good reason like “loyalty” or “vows,” but because the dating pool in Monterey is too small.
Is he a good father? He’s a bad principal.
Well, is he a good husband? No, but only by a technicality. Warren isn’t actually anyone’s husband, but he gets an honorable mention here by virtue of being permanently around and getting into everyone’s business. Whoopi Goldberg said she doesn’t want to be married because she doesn’t want to share information with anyone, and that’s basically all Principal Nippal does: get in other people’s business.
What’s his Sunday night show? Absolutely and without a doubt Veep.
Anything else? He had the season’s best burn in the first episode, after Madeline calls a mandatory assembly a “beautiful service.” “Well, thank you, Madeline,” he scowls. “I like to think of it as more of an assembly. A service is for when someone dies. You know, like a school fundraiser.”
Is he the best? Best husband, no, due to the aforementioned technicality. But best generally? Principal Nippal is my favorite character on Big Little Lies this season. He is all chaotic good: a chain-smoking principal of an elite private school who is not afraid to make an auditorium of high-school moms chant like otters. Bliss!