Little Fires Everywhere Episode 3 with Grace Atwood and Becca Freeman

March 18, 2020 - Abbe and Emma are dishing about episode 3 of Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere adaptation, alongside Grace Atwood and Becca Freeman of the Bad on Paper Podcast!

On this episode of The Adaptables, Abbe and Emma dish about episode three of the Hulu adaptation of Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel, Little Fires Everywhere. They’re joined by Grace Atwood and Becca Freeman from the Bad on Paper podcast!

Abbe, Emma, Becca and Grace discuss awkward dinners at The Richardson household, the importance of that perfect dress for the homecoming dance, the stigma that every woman wants to be a mother, 90210, Joshua Jackson (duh), and more.

Grace and I both have talked on our podcast multiple times about the fact that neither of us probably want children. I feel like that's even a stigmatized thing to say even now...and if you rewind 22 years, I can only imagine what a stigmatized choice not having children would have been back then.
—Becca Freeman

Discussion breakdown:

– Grace Atwood and Becca Freeman talk about starting their hugely successful podcast, Bad on Paper (0:55–1:25)
– Emma recaps the episode and reviews this episode’s fire count (1:25–2:26)
– Bebe struggling to feed her daughter and the incompassionate store clerk who refuses her formula (2:48–5:17)
– The differences between the show and the book (5:17–8:20)
– A 90210 shout-out (8:20–9:03)
– Brian and Lexie fighting over the stolen essay idea from Pearl for Yale; using sex as a bargaining tool (9:05–10:48)
– Fake friendship between Lexie and Pearl and a cringeworthy shopping trip (10:50–12:22)
– Quote from Celeste Ng about bringing the internal thoughts, realizations, and motivations of the characters to light by the screenwriters “It was really fascinating to watch the screenwriters figure out how to dramatize some of those quiet moments.” (12:22–13:10)
– A dress for the dance. Did anyone else match with their friends? (13:11–14:20)
– Mia has been talking to Bebe about the baby she left at the firehouse and begins to help Bebe search for her baby (14:30–16:35)
– Elena and Mia meddling in other people’s business (16:35–17:25)
– The creepy, anxiety-inducing final fifteen minutes of the episode (17:25–18:10)
– Themes of motherhood throughout the episode (18:11–19:25)
– Quote from Celeste Ng about how becoming a mother made her look at her relationship with own mother differently: “I now start to understand why my mom did a lot of the things she did.” (19:25–20:09)
– The stigma that every woman wants to be a mother and the cultural attitudes of the mid-‘90s (20:12–22:15)
– Awkward dinner table chat at The Richardsons (22:15–23:16)
– Quote from Celeste Ng on reflecting on growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio and writing about race and class: “It was a neighborhood where race was something that we talked about—or at least we tried to talk about.” (23:16–24:26)
– Izzy trying to reinvent how others perceive her at the Homecoming Dance (25:10–27:00)
– Moody ruining everything and the set-up of a major love triangle (27:01–29:25)
– What happened with Izzy and April? (29:25–31:10)
– Mia learns where Linda’s adopted baby has come from (31:11–33:12)
– Favorite ‘90s moments: the music at the dance (Chumbawumba!), a slow, haunting Phil Collins cover, “Do you have any Grey Poupon?”, Tyson Beckford, and disposable cameras. (33:12–35:15)
– The heightened drama when Bebe sees Linda McCullough and her baby as she crashes Mirabelle/May Ling’s birthday (35:15–36:20)
– Joshua Jackson as a dad. Are we really that old? (36:20–37:15)
– What are Grace and Becca reading? (37:14–39:15)
– Grace and Becca’s favorite book-to-screen adaptations (39:15–40:55)

TV show recap:

– Flashback to December 1996, where we see Bebe struggling with her infant daughter
– Lexie steals Pearl’s experience for her Yale essay; Brian admonishes her
– Mia has been talking to Bebe about her infant daughter, whom she left at a firehouse. Bebe wonders if she’s even still the baby’s mother
– Lexie and Pearl grow closer, shopping together
– Izzy trying to rewrite the script about what’s being said about her at school
– The Homecoming dance!
– Lexie and Brian having sex in the limo
– A 1st birthday party for Mirabelle, the adopted daughter of Linda and Mark McCullough, thrown by Elena
– Mia invites herself to the party in order to figure out if Mirabelle is actually Bebe’s lost daughter, May Ling
– We learn something about Izzy and April’s friendship fracture
– Bebe crashes the birthday party and sees her daughter again, in the arms of another mother


1. 🔥 Mia’s lighter while she’s smoking weed
2. 🔥 The lighting of the 1st birthday candle at Mirabelle/May Ling’s birthday

The Adaptables is a podcast from Read it Forward and Penguin Random House that dives into your favorite book-to-screen adaptations. This season, we’re watching the Hulu adaptation of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. Join hosts Abbe Wright and Emma Shafer as we interview authors, insiders and Celeste Ng, herself, about what makes an adaptable great, why watching and reading are important self-care rituals, and the many other books and shows we are binging and loving right now. Because at The Adaptables, we love to watch what we read. (Warning: there will be little spoilers everywhere.)

Send us an email or voice recording to AdaptablesPod@Gmail.com. What did you think of the episode? Are you watching the show? Is Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere a successful adaptation of the book?

Follow @ReadItForward on Twitter and Instagram, follow Bad on Paper podcast on Instagram at @BadonPaperPodcast and listen to the Bad on Paper Podcast here. Follow Grace Atwood on Twitter and Instagram @GraceAtwood and Becca Freeman at @BeccaMFreeman on Twitter and Instagram, tweet your thoughts on episode 3 and other adaptations you love. Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

NEXT UP: We’ll recap episode four with Camille Perri, author of The Assistants and When Katie Met Cassidy, and Quan Barry, author of We Ride Upon Sticks.

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