Physical (TV Series, 2021 – Present)
Creator: Annie Weisman
Starring: Rose Byrne, Rory Scovel, Deirdre Friel
Annie Weisman was writer/producer on a few good series, Desperate Housewives, About a Boy, and Almost Family among others.
Rose Byrne of course, a tour de force, Bridesmaids, Get Him To The Greek, X-Men First Class, This Is Where I Leave You, and many more.
So Rose has proven over and over again that she knows what a good idea and a good script is when she sees one, and apparently this is one of those good ideas.
Set in the 80’s Sand Diego, Rose Byrne plays Sheila Rubin, a housewife with a child and an eating disorder. Her husband is a weird, weak loser weirdo, and to say she wants more out of life would be a massive understatement. With her husband getting fired from his job he decides to go into politics and being a good wife, Sheila decides to help.
Seeing how easy it is to raise money, and with her husband messing up at every turn, Sheila takes the bull by the horns and decides to focus on what she wants. Just so happens she wants to become a fitness guru, specifically, an Aerobics teacher.
This show is darker than I ever thought possible. I mean, I didn’t expect much, but this darkness just grabbed me out of nowhere. Sheila’s inside voice, is brutal, insulting and condemning and if all woman have this voice, I can see why they can be a bit grouchy.
The show’s dialogue is well written, in fact, most of this show is well written, characters well formed – and the time period is very nicely represented. This project has some great people behind it and the half hour shows go by fast.
There are no big reveals here, or big cliffhangers, this is a character driven show, with a very interesting main character played brilliantly by Rose. It is a period piece, and the outfits are spot on as is the decor. You have BETA v VHS still embattled in a war to see which video format would win the day and be in very household. In fact, a geek at a store makes a great case for Betamax, and he’s not wrong, just so happens that VHS wins the great war. You have Aerobics, like Jazzercise, just starting out and soon would become an American phenomenon. Also remember, early 80’s was still mainly the 70’s and the houses, decor and tv sets show that.
It is quite delightful to follow Sheila and all her flaws deal with her inadequate husband and their kid while trying to focus on getting what she wants, and trying to stop binge eating. Yes – the 70’s and 80’s were full of eating disorders and Sheila, a gorgeous middle aged wife, had one. She would go to a fast food place, order 3 meals, go to a hotel, eat them all naked while sitting on a bed and then go throw them up. Weird – but what eating disorder is normal?
Sheila is a great character with many flaws and many positive points, reflects the time period beautifully and is very likable. You root for her to overcome her demons and deal with pesky neighbors with every episode and it is a joy to do so. She wants to cut through all the malarkey in her life and we root for her, because really, who doesn’t? She is fighting to do what she wants to do while family and spouse seem to be holding her back at every turn.
A great character to root for and a very well done series – Physical is definitely worth the work. Available on AppleTV.
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