This post contains spoilers for Big Little Lies Season 2, Episode 5.
So, it finally happened: Reese Witherspoon vs. Meryl Streep, featuring a devious, well-sprinkled ice cream cone. In the latest episode of Big Little Lies, we, at long last, discover the origin of those incredible, viral paparazzi photos of Witherspoon hurling ice cream at Streep on the shows set. But though the pap photos showed Witherspoon, in character as Madeline, throwing the ice cream at the back of Streeps head with all her might, it turns out that the show wound up cutting that specific moment out of the episode—to the devastation of millions, surely.
However, we do finally know why Madeline threw the ice cream. Heres how the scene is set up: over the course of the episode, Mary Louise (Streep) ramps up her suit against Celeste (Nicole Kidman), determined to get guardianship of her grandchildren. Celeste confides in her friends, noting that if the case goes to trial it could turn into a perjury trap designed to get the other women on the stand and thus uncover the truth about Perry Wrights death. Bad news! A few scenes later, Madeline and Abigail (Kathryn Newton) are strolling down the street and eating ice cream when they run into Mary Louise.
They exchange a few (extremely tense) pleasantries—and then Madeline brings up the lawsuit. “Whats wrong with you, huh? Huh?!” she shouts after Mary Louise, who takes the topic as her cue to quickly walk away. It would have been the perfect time for Madeline to throw that ice cream—but instead, the episode cuts to the next scene, robbing everyone of what would have been an extraordinarily gif-able moment.
So, what happened? Its unclear why the powers that be cut that scene short. Maybe it would have been too powerful of a moment, or it was ultimately deemed a little too over the top. Whatever the reason, according to Witherspoon, the cut probably had nothing to do with her ice cream throwing skills. In an interview with Vanity Fair last August, she joked that she “practiced really hard” for that moment.
“I nailed her, and I felt really good about it,” the Oscar winner said. “Once you watch the show, youll understand why I did it. Youll be happy, too. Its one of those moments when you got to do it, even if its Meryl Streep . . . I did the wind-up, and I made sure to have proper mechanics and really focused on my target. And I got her. My softball skills paid off.”
Alas, the world may never know how that scene could have unfolded. Well just have to take Witherspoons word for it.
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