Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pilot Review: Good Girls

Good Girls (NBC)
Premiered February 26 at 10pm

If there are three actresses I never would have thought to put together, Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman, and Retta would be great choices. Hendricks is best known for playing the old-fashioned head secretary Joan on “Mad Men,” Whitman stole many scenes as rebellious daughter Amber on “Parenthood,” and Retta was frequently hilarious as sarcastic employee Donna on “Parks and Recreation.” Putting them all on the show has very entertaining results, though it’s hard to know exactly what to make of this show just yet. It was heavily advertised during the Superbowl and since then, and a show like this which involves such a transformative start for its characters is going to require a bit of time to get used to. It is great to see that all three actresses have been cast in appropriate roles, with Hendricks getting to come alive and speak her mind in a way that she never could in her most famous part, though she’s also breaking out of her shell after being the compliant housewife for so many years who didn’t realize that her husband, played by Matthew Lillard, was cheating on her. Retta is more serious than she ever was in the parks department, and she’s also the one whose character has the best relationship out of the gate, with her husband only being guilty of too much ambition, and his latest career step is going to be a problem for his criminal wife. Whitman, who I remember as early as thirteen years ago when she was a spectacular part of “Thief,” as a teenager, is the outlier in terms of these women and where they are in life, but it’s a great role that she’ll surely do very well with. I recognized David Hornsby from “How to Be a Gentleman,” something that certainly does not describe his predatory manager here, but it looks like he’s not long for this world given his latest predicament. This was an intriguing and inventive start, and I’m hopeful that it will continue to be good as its plot progresses.

How will it work as a series? Opting to rob the store where Whitman’s Annie worked probably wasn’t a smart idea, but they also didn’t expect to grab mob money that’s now gotten them in very deep with the wrong people. I’m curious to see how they’re able to make their new situation work, and I think exploring their lives without featuring too many fabricated close calls will be what can keep this show strong.
How long will it last? It doesn’t look like the reviews for this one are as good as I had expected, though again it’s going to depend on where it goes from here and if it holds on to its audience. Thanks I imagine largely to the promotion and to being after the season premiere of “The Voice,” this show is off to a great start, one that I think will give it enough momentum to have a renewal announced very soon.

Pilot grade: B+

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