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The Journal Gazette

  • NBC From left, Retta, Christina Hendricks and Mae Whitman star in the new NBC comedy “Good Girls.”

Sunday, February 25, 2018 1:00 am

NBC comedy tackles moral dilemmas

Jay Bobbin | Zap2it

It's being sold largely as a lighthearted show, but “Good Girls” gets into rough territory, too.

Premiering Monday, the NBC series – from “Grey's Anatomy” and “Scandal” writing-producing veteran Jenna Bans – teams Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Retta (“Parks and Recreation”) and Mae Whitman (“Parenthood”) as suburban acquaintances who try to better their lives by staging a grocery-store robbery. Their idea soon appears increasingly bad, as fallout from the heist prompts them to commit even worse crimes.

“Because of the tone of the show, it definitely leans into the fun and the comedy and the chemistry between these three women,” Bans insists. “There really hasn't been anything that was deemed too 'not network' for us to do. I think we sort of pushed the envelope and, at the same time, really fit into our little unique tone and little unique space we sort of carved out for ourselves. We're kind of our own unique animal.”

Whitman cites “one thing I really loved about the show right away. It brings up the question of morals and justification, and what is good and what's evil ... and what would you do, how far would you go to protect your family, and what are the intentions behind these characters' motives in doing what they do. I look forward to reading every single script, because there's something in there that brings up a real question that's really a debatable situation.”

While Matthew Lillard and Zach Gilford are among male cast members, “Good Girls” logically stays focused on the women. Hendricks deems its premise “incredibly genuine, and it feels so natural when you read a script, when you say the lines and they just come out and flow out of your mouth. It feels like real people. The words are real. The emotions are real. The tone is tricky. We do go from very, very serious stuff into funny things, and we just try to make sure that we honor what Jenna's written and that we play every moment as real.”

“Good Girls” has special significance to the typically humorous Retta, who reflects, “I've obviously gotten great gigs in the last couple of years, but generally, it was (playing) a receptionist or a meter maid or the nurse. I was always aiding or helping someone else – or at least that's what I was offered. And then, when Jenna asked me to do this, I was like, 'Holy s***! I get to be a person.' It was the first time I felt I got to play a person with love in her life ... who, outside of dealing with the problems of her sick child, is happy. And that's nice.”