Good Girls' Retta Reveals Her Trick For Crying On TV

retta as ruby hill in good girls nbc

Actress and stand-up star Retta made a career out of making people laugh and cheer, sometimes while crafting a catchphrase that comes back to haunt her later in life. As Good Girls' Ruby Hill, Retta has a larger emotional spectrum to pull from. She was super-confident that she'd be able to fake-cry for creator Jenna Bans and director Dean Parisot during the pilot process...until she couldn't. Here's how she told it to the press at the TCA winter tour.

I remember Dean coming up to me and saying, 'I thought you said you had this.' And I was, like, 'I don’t know if it’s anxiety or what.' And I realized I hadn’t drank any water. So that’s how I prep for my crying scenes. I drink a lot of water. Because I literally I was dry to the bone. And I drank some water, and I was, like, 'Oh, I got this. This is my lane.' So, for me, the first step is to drink water.

Perhaps it isn't the strangest revelation in the world that keeping oneself hydrated is the first step in getting one's body to produce extra fluids upon command. I suppose there's also some kind of elective surgery involving tear-bags, but that choices is for far more desperate times.

Retta displayed some fortuitous thinking in remembering that she hadn't been hydrating herself enough that day. What started off as a potentially awkward situation turned what was assumedly a revealing experience for Jenna Bans and Dean Parisot. Just add water, and Retta can go from dry-eyed struggler to tragedy-stricken scene-stealer.

Naturally, getting Retta to bring on performative tears isn't ONLY about her daily water intake. Beyond the elemental push, Retta told the TCA press this about how she gets prepped to cry for a particular scene.

And then usually when I read the script, I get triggered by it, by what is happening. And like I said, I’ll cry when I read it. So when I go to shoot it, the dialogue triggers me.

Retta gained major network fame as Donna Meagle on NBC's Parks and Recreation, and when that show had to call it quits in 2015, she landed a recurring role in the Bravo dramedy Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce. Good Girls has put her right back in front of broadcast TV audiences, and the crime-laden series has brought in not only a vocal fandom, but also some pretty consistent numbers.

Though there was some question over whether or not Season 2 would happen, NBC indeed ordered up a sophomore season, so there was no reason for Retta to get genuinely tearful over anything. Good Girls Season 2 is set to premiere on Sunday, March 3, at 10:00 p.m. ET.

There are plenty of other new and returning shows on the way to primetime, so be sure to keep up with the midseason TV premiere schedule to see when everything is showing up.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.