Jenna Bans talks about writing a show about women for the network
Sometimes, you need to take matters into your own hands, and that’s precisely what the women of Good Girls decide to do in the show’s pilot. When childhood friends Beth (Christina Hendricks), Annie (Mae Whitman), and Ruby (Retta) each find themselves in desperate need of money, they rob a local grocery store in the hopes that one crime will solve all their problems. Of course, it’s not quite that simple, and what unfolds is a hilarious and empowering tale of friendship.
EW spoke with showrunner Jenna Bans about her idea for the NBC dramedy and what the audience can expect when the show premieres.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where did the idea for this series come from?
JENNA BANS: Weirdly and sort of not weirdly it came from my mom. My mom is a frustrated creative in Minneapolis, she’s a lawyer, and I had this show on a couple years ago on ABC called The Family and it was very dark. It was really fun to do but it was really dark and I was sort of looking for a palette cleanser to do something totally different than what I’d been doing, something fun and lighter with a little heart. It was in the height of the election when I was developing this. It was narrowing down to be Trump vs. Hillary and my mom, who is this diehard Hillary supporter, was like, “Just write something that makes me feel good; write something that makes me and my female friends feel great.” That’s really where it came from, just a desire to take people’s minds off of the ugliness in the air with the election and to do something that was a little empowering and a little inspiring but also really entertaining and fun at the same time. And my mom was pretty much the inspiration for it.
This is a show entirely about women, which I love.
Totally. They are the show. We have this amazing cast, even in the secondary characters, but when you watch the cuts of the show, those three — Retta and Christina Hendricks and Mae Whitman — just have this chemistry and they feel like those old friends you have when you go home. I’m from Minnesota and you have these friends in your hometown that have known you forever and know everything about you and are the most supportive of you and also the most judgmental of you, and to me, that’s what the three of them are.
I like that we get to see them be badass, but we also get to see them just trying to be moms and human beings.
The goal with the show is, yes, it has this heightened element in that they rob a grocery store because they need money and things devolve from there, but at its heart, it’s a pretty grounded show, or at least I attempt to make it pretty grounded to really sell that they’re real people with real problems and this is a real friendship that they have to fall back on. So it’s almost like the robbery takes a backseat to the dynamic between them and what’s going on in their lives. As the episodes continue, the show really is a balancing act between all of those things. It doesn’t become only this heist-of-the-week type thing; it really is about their relationships and their lives as they have this very insane thing going on in the background. It’s very fun to write.
What can fans expect on a week-to-week basis?
People should expect a really interesting balance of heart and humor and dark comedy and groundedness and just really living with these characters and seeing the struggles of their lives. I think what will surprise people about it, because you watch the trailer and you see this heightened robbery, is how relatable these women’s lives are. I’m hoping that will resonate with people.
Good Girls premieres Monday, Feb. 26 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.