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There's something about seeing suburban do gooders involved in the crime underworld that really resonates with TV audiences. Fans were delighted to watch Nancy Botwin start selling dime bags in Weeds, while Walter White's rise as a druglord in Breaking Bad was both fascinating and harrowing. Now it looks like NBC is trying their hand at this format, with its female-centric new dramedy Good Girls. While news of the show's production left questions regarding its tone, the finished product is full of laughs, twists, and a ton of heart.
Good Girls was created by screenwriter Jenna Bans, who is known for her contributions to major small screen adventures like Desperate Housewives and Scandal (to which she was also an executive producer). The series follows a trio of friends and mothers, who are just trying to keep their heads above water. This includes homemaker Beth (Mad Men's Christina Hendricks), her cashier sister Annie (Parenthood's Mae Whitman), and their waitress friend Ruby (Parks & Rec alum Retta). They each need to step up for their family to make some quick money, and they eventually decide to rob the grocery store where Annie works. As you can image, it all doesn't go exactly as planned.
Ultimately Beth, Annie, and Ruby end up getting a bit over their heads. What follows is a terrifying and hilarious journey that includes robbery, kidnapping, money laundering, and even international crime. The stakes for the show continue to escalate, as the ladies attempt to navigate their new world of crime. The show expertly two steps between drama and comedy, allowing audiences to be constantly surprised by what happens next.
While this plot seems reminiscent of movies like Sugar and Spice or Thelma and Louise, Good Girls has its own strong emotional core to lean upon. The fate of their family is at hand, and each of the leading ladies is just trying to keep their kids safe and happy. This keeps the story grounded, and explains why the trio are so determined and desperate to get through their ordeal alive. Simply quitting isn't easy enough- they've got tiny humans to take care of.
This allows the starring cast of ladies to each shine in their respective plot lines, while also functioning as a unit throughout much of the show's more action oriented scenes. The biggest revelation has to be Retta, who TV audiences will best know from NBC's beloved comedy Parks and Recreation. Her character Ruby's is just trying to help her sick daughter, and she's able to break hearts at least once an episode.
Christina Hendricks stars as Beth, who in some ways is the biggest character. After finding out her husband (a still very likable Matthew Lillard) was having an affair and putting them into a financial hole, Beth becomes a badass who takes control of her own life. This often results in her being perhaps the biggest wild card during more dangerous situations. Meanwhile Mae Whitman plays her character with the charm and vulnerability we've seen through her career. Although it can sometime be hard to see Parenthood's Amber as the mother of a preteen.
The cast has its share of slimy characters, as well. Joining the trio of ladies in the starring cast is Graceland's Manny Montana, who plays the terrifying drug dealer Rio. Annie's slimy manager Boomer (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's David Hornsby) also gets himself involved in the show's sloppy crime attempts, to hilarious results. Each of the women's kids also make regular appearances in the show, with the most remarkable being Izzy Standard as Mae Whitman's daughter Sadie. The show is making reference Sadie's gender queerness, which will no doubt be explored more as the show moves forward. Standard oozes vulnerability and quirkiness as the character, and is a definite highlight of the show.
Good Girls opens with the trio attempting to pull their robbery, and it wasn't originally clear how the story would continue following that first incident. But the series somehow managed to keep upping the stakes, allowing each episode to be fresh and exciting. Now the test will be how to keep the story believable and evolving as the show gets further into its run. Will they end up being suburban crime lords? Or will they manage to be there for their kids? Or both? We'll just have to wait and see.
Overall, Good Girls is full of fantastic performances and features a fresh story that will consistently surprise you. It certainly has the potential to be NBC's breakout midseason replacement, especially since the network has had a mixed history with comedies. Now is the perfect time to see the three women lead this cast, and hopefully continue the show's run through multiple seasons.
Good Girls will debut February 26, 2018 on NBC.