Living the Dream is the third episode of the first season of Big Little Lies


Madeline organizes a trip to compete with Amabella's birthday party; Celeste succumbs to Perry's charms; Jane opens up about her past.[1]

Plot Summary

The episode opens with Jane and Ziggy standing by the beach. They're heading home from school. It jumps to Renata and Amabella setting up for Amadella's birthday party. Renata is explaining how not everyone from school may not be coming to her birthday celebration. Renata tries to reassure her that the party is still going to be the best party ever. Renata regrets having not invited Ziggy.

Perry is upset that Celeste let their twins go to Disney on Ice. He wanted to spend the weekend with them since he's been gone all week. He grabs Celeste by the neck and asks if she deliberately plans these things so that the boys cant be with him. He lets go of her and she threatens to leave him if he touches her like that again.

Madeline and Chloe are working on the school assignment which is making trivia cards. Abby says that Chloe has to do good or else she wont get into Stanford. Renata calls Madeline and says that she was right and that she should've invited Ziggy to the party. Madeline says that that's sweet but that they'd already planned to go to Disney on Ice in San Jose. Renata tries desperately to get Madeline to change her mind and when she can't she says that Madeline's dead in this town.

Madeline, Celeste, and Jane take a party bus with their kids to see Disney on Ice. Madeline is desperate for the trip to be better than the party. Ziggy ends up loosing Harry the Hippo. Despite her best efforts, Renata's party turns out to be a hit. She hands out Frozen giftbags as a jab to Madeline. Bonnie embarrasses herself by dancing provocatively. Abigail and Ed have a conversation about Abby's Dad. Ed says that he didn't threaten her Dad just didn't think that it was realistic that Madeline and Bonnie would ever be friends. He says that agitation is Madeline's preferred state.

Madeline is upset that they can't put on Avenue Q. She knows that this has to do with Renata. She believes that if they get a lawyer and a meeting with the Mayor than maybe they could save the show. Madeline gets called to Abigail's school since Abby's GPA has dropped. The principle says that Abby is feeling stress from her mother about being perfect. She feels that her mother is grooming her to get to a place that she couldn't. Abby wants to go live with her Dad for a while because she can't be herself at home. Ed tries to comfort her and says that she is an extraordinary person like her mom.

Perry confronts Celeste better. They proceed to have oral sex. Renata is shown visiting her husband at work. She wants to send Amabella to therapy. She believes that Amabella internalizes and that this could cause psychological harm. Gordon states that she's six and that she's too young to go to therapy. He accuses her of overthinking everything. He dares her to be spontaneous so they have sex in the bathroom.

Perry and Celeste go to therapy. Celeste says that there is emotional, verbal, and physical confrontations in their marriage. Perry says that afterward they always end up making love. That the line between passion and rage has been crossed many times. Perry doesn't know where this rage comes from. He says that he thinks he's afraid of losing Celeste. That one day that she'll realize that she doesn't love him anymore. Celeste says that she gave up her career, her family, and friends for him and wonders how he couldn't think that she doesn't love him. The therapist asks if Celeste ever fights back when Perry hits her. Celeste says yes and that she feels ashamed about their fighting.

Nathan Carlson and Madeline have a conversation about Abigail. Madeline takes the high road and says that whatever's best for Abby is okay with her. Bonnie oversteps and says that she knows that Madeline is her mother and that she'll never try to take her place. Madeline starts crying. Nathan says that Ed wants to fight him but Madeline says that Ed doesn't fight.

Jane and Ziggy go to t-ball practice. Jane wants him to try it out to see if he likes it. She wants to get more involved. Ziggy hits a home run and Jane is so proud. She picks him up and swings him around screaming, "You did it!" She wants to take him to pizza but Ziggy wants to go home and do homework. He says his family tree is due tomorrow and Jane completely forgot. Madeline helps Abigail pack up her room. Chloe gives her a USB and says that she made a playlist for her.

Madeline goes to help Jane with Ziggy's project. Ziggy is adamant that he wants to add his Dads name to the family tree. Jane says no that he doesn't have a Dad. Ziggy gets mad and raises his voice. Jane sends him to his room. Madeline asks if Jane's every looked him up. She says no that he gave her a fake name. They had a beautiful night but then he became aggressive when they started having sex. Once he finished, he left and that's how she got Ziggy. Madeline asks if she ever went to see a therapist but Jane says no. Jane assures her that Ziggy is going to have a good life but his father's name isn't going on that poster board. When Madeline leaves, she pulls over and cries for Jane.

Renata tells Gordon that the theme for the school party is Elvis and Audrey Hepburn. Renata thanks him for the sex as it was nice to be desired. He laughs and says that he always desires her. She says no that he wants to have sex all the time but today he desired her. Later on, Jane has a hallucination that the guy who raped her tries to break into her house. She shoots him but when she looks again no ones there and the guns still in the drawer.

Celeste tells Perry that she's sad because her husband doubts her love for him. But that she's also happy because she is finally hopeful that there is hope for their marriage. The two dance in the kitchen.


  1. IMDB