From Friends to The Morning Show: Reese Witherspoon’s best TV roles

Big Little Lies Season 2: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Jennifer Clasen/HBO
Big Little Lies Season 2: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Jennifer Clasen/HBO /

Reese Witherspoon can truly do it all. In addition to iconic movie roles (Elle Woods will forever be a legend, not to mention the fact she’s been nominated for two Oscars: one for Walk the Line and the other for Wild), she’s become one of the most powerful producers in the past few years. She and her company Hello Sunshine have helped make films like Gone Girl and shows like Truth Be Told and are currently producing much-anticipated adaptations like Truly Madly Guilty and Where the Crawdads Sing. But her talent doesn’t just stop there. Reese Witherspoon has also embodied some of the most memorable TV characters of all time. Read on as we rank Reese Witherspoon’s best TV roles.

4. Reese Witherspoon’s Best TV Roles: Jill Green in Friends

Though she only appeared in two episodes of the iconic sitcom, Reese left quite the impression as Jill, Rachel’s spoiled little sister. After her father threatens to cut her off, Jill flees to Rachel, attempting to start anew. However, she can’t resist shopping ‘til she drops and even starts dating Ross out of spite.

Reese Witherspoon has a knack for the funny in addition to the dramatic, and it’s a blast to see her get to use her comedic chops here. Plus, considering this arc aired in 2000 — after Cruel Intentions and Election but before Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama — it’s fun to see her in this role in the middle of her massive movie stardom.

Most iconic line: “Can’t have [Ross]? The only thing I can’t have is dairy.”

3. Reese Witherspoon’s Best TV Roles: Elena Richardson in Little Fires Everywhere

Reese Witherspoon's Best TV roles
Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu, photo courtesy Hulu /

A main character of the miniseries adapted from Celeste Ng’s novel of the same name, Elena Richardson is a complicated woman, to say the least. After renting a home to mysterious artist Mia Warren and her daughter, controlling mother of four Elena gets tangled up in a series of secrets and tragedies.

Reese Witherspoon is the queen of playing characters you can’t help but love to hate — people who get under your skin that you can’t pull your eyes away from. (And maybe want to punch in the face a little.) She’s also a master at embodying characters who are obsessed with everything appearing perfect — uptight women who slowly start showing the cracks in their facade until they completely break apart.

Little Fires Everywhere’s subject matter can get dark and heavy, and Elena’s attempt to keep everything proper and orderly can play almost like a horror show at times. Watching her go up against fellow powerhouse Kerry Washington week after week was a true treat that left us breathless.

Most iconic line: “Being right is better than sex…because it lasts forever.”

2. Reese Witherspoon’s Best TV Roles: Bradley Jackson in The Morning Show

Reese Witherspoon's Best TV roles
Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston in “The Morning Show,” now streaming on Apple TV+. /

The Morning Show’s Bradley Jackson is in a constant state of change. She goes from a local reporter to a national news anchor, from a tough-talking Southerner from a small town to a fish out of water in the Big Apple, from a person who pushes everyone away to someone who might just be in love — with another woman, even.

It was big news when it was announced Reese Witherspoon would star in the series — an ambitious project that promised to tackle the Me Too movement in the cutthroat world of morning news as well as Apple TV Plus’ first scripted series ever — and she’s hit the ground running from day one. Now in its second season, it’s been such a treat to see her in this glossy, star-studded show, not to mention her reunion with TV sis Jennifer Aniston after two decades.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who can showcase more layers to a character than Reese Witherspoon, and Bradley Jackson is a perfect example. Outwardly confident yet deeply insecure, angry at the world yet hurt by how it’s treated her, strong yet secretly sensitive, Bradley Jackson (and Reese Witherspoon) is an absolute chameleon, disappearing into various situations and surprising us with every episode.

Most iconic line: “It’s exhausting! And I’m exhausted!”

1. Reese Witherspoon’s Best TV Roles: Madeline Martha Mackenzie in Big Little Lies

Reese Witherspoon's Best TV roles
Big Little Lies Season 2: Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Jennifer Clasen/HBO /

Don’t lie — you just started singing “Cold Little Heart” in your head, didn’t you? We simply had to rank Big Little Lies number one on this list, partially due to the cultural impact it had, winning several Emmys, sparking countless memes, and desperately making us want to plan a trip to Monterey.

Madeline Martha Mackenzie was an icon the second she appeared on our screens, storming out of her car to scream at her daughter Abigail’s friend for texting and driving before promptly falling and rolling her ankle. And she had countless more memorable moments, from her laser focus on bringing Avenue Q to the town to her incredible beef with Renata to her friendship goals with Celeste and Jane. (And that’s just season 1 — let us not forget her and Meryl Streep’s Mary Louise going toe-to-toe in season 2.)

Big Little Lies, particularly season 1, feels magical, and Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline is absolutely pivotal in holding it all together and making the story progress and feel real, even through its sometimes larger-than-life storylines. Madeline is a role Reese Witherspoon was undoubtedly born to play, giving someone who could easily fall into caricature depth and authenticity. She made us laugh, she made us cry, and she made us want friends who would help us cover up a murder.

Most iconic line: “I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets.”

Next. The Morning Show Season 2 Episode 6 Recap. dark

What’s your favorite TV role Reese Witherspoon has played? Comment below!