A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Good Girls has some violence (including sexual violence), language, and other mature content. First of all, the entire show is built around a trio of female friends who rob a grocery store -- with toy guns, true, but the screaming hostages believe them to be real and the women threaten to "cap" them or "shoot their face off." There's other sudden violence, such as when a witness tries to sexually blackmail a character and ultimately attempts rape; he is stopped when another character bludgeons him over the head with a bottle. Sexual content includes a man and a woman (not his wife) grappling on a desk after he kisses her thighs. Cursing is moderate: "damn," "hell," "ass"; a man is called a "son of a bitch" and a woman is called a "stuck-up bitch" after rejecting a man's advances. One character uses vulgar insults: "douche bags," "d--khead," etc. Adults refer to smoking pot in their younger days and joke about drinking heavily after an upsetting situation. This series centers around marginalized characters, including women, people of color, people with blue-collar jobs, those with gender variations, and those with larger body types.
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What's the story?
Beth (Christina Hendricks), her sister Annie (Mae Whitman), and their pal Ruby (Retta) have always been GOOD GIRLS, living the suburban mom life with its carpools and bagged lunches. But when each of our heroines has a complication that makes it necessary to come up with a pile of cash, fast, they try something desperate (and criminal!). Now they've run afoul of a local crime syndicate, and making the perfect getaway is going to be a lot tougher than they thought.
Is it any good?
Watching "good" characters break bad is a delight in this twisty, soapy comedy staffed with actors you already love, let loose on roles they're clearly relishing. Mae Whitman, who's perhaps best known for playing bland Ann Veal in Arrested Development, is a saucy cashier at the Fine & Frugal and mom to quirky Sadie, who may be in need of a private school. What about Catholic school, wonders her patronizing ex, who's battling Annie for custody. "She's an atheist who enjoys a jaunty bow tie -- Catholic school's not for her," retorts Annie. Retta's Ruby is given fewer snappy lines than Parks and Recreation fans may expect. Her daughter's sick, and needs medication that costs $10K a month; Ruby's going to figure out a way to get it, even if it kills someone. And for her part, Christina Hendricks' Beth is going to find the money she needs to stay in her suburban house with her kids -- even if she has to shed her faithless spouse Dean (Matthew Lillard) in the process.
Desperate women with desperate problems -- it proves an irresistible hook in Good Girls. Female-led comedies are rare on TV, much less a trio of women who viewers will quickly grow to sympathize with, particularly once their heist goes awry and the complications pile up. "Nobody's going to fix this," says Beth, getting tough in her gleaming kitchen on a quiet suburban street. "We're going to have to do it ourselves." Good thing they make being bad look like so much fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dysfunctional characters in Good Girls and discuss why writers so often turn to them for material. Why is a person with serious problems a more compelling character than one with a calm, "normal" life? What dramatic or comedic possibilities do life's challenges hold?
Is the audience supposed to sympathize with Beth, Annie, and Ruby? How can you tell? How are we supposed to regard their many transgressions? How are sympathetic characters presented, and how is that different from unsympathetic characters?
Criminal enterprises are often the setting for dark dramas. What other examples can you name? How does the show keep you invested in characters who do bad things?
For kids who love dramedy
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