Creators discuss Metro Detroit-based ‘Good Ladies,’ back for 4th season | Arts & Entertainment
Although Good Girls creator and executive producer Jenna Bans was not from Detroit, she wanted the show to represent the area in a real way, rather than the stereotypes people outside of Detroit see.
“I’ve always liked Detroit,” says Bans, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. “I wanted a Midwestern environment. However, when you portray Minnesota it feels like Fargo. I didn’t want that for this show. Michigan seemed like a good compromise.
“Then we have two writers from Michigan – that wasn’t even something we were looking for. It was a lucky accident (Bill Krebs and Carla Banks-Waddles) are from Detroit. They like to add things that make it authentic, ”like Coney Island. “They always try to make it real even though we’re shooting in California.”
Both writers are co-producing the show, and Krebs is a co-showrunner.
“I was born in (area code) 248 … Carla’s legitimate 313. We represent both sides on the show,” says Krebs with a laugh. Krebs is a graduate of Seaholm High School in Birmingham and the University of Michigan.
Returning to season four on March 7, Good Girls revolves around three suburban mothers, Beth Boland (Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”), her sister Annie Marks (Mae Whitman, “Parenthood”) and Beth’s BFF Ruby Hill (Retta, “Parks and Recreation”) in the fictional town of Ashfield in Oakland County. They have financial difficulties and decide to rob a grocery store in what turns out to be a money laundering front for local criminal Rio (Manny Montana, “Graceland”).
To repay him, the three raids on Rio. They are so incompetent but they manage to succeed with fun results. Once the debts are paid off, the circumstances lure the three back into crime. Beth even cheats on her philandering husband Dean – played by Matthew Lillard from Lansing – with Rio.
“We’re exploring a lot of character dynamics that fans really crave when it comes to Beth and Rio’s relationship. She has this very twisted, sometimes romantic, sometimes sexual, often controversial relationship with him. We’re exploring this dynamic and adding a third character that creates a love triangle, ”says Bans. “A lot of fans like that he’s that dangerous guy who always defies belief. … We will (tell) his origin story – how he got into criminality and where his graduation formed and how he can escape (justice). “
Bans and Krebs wouldn’t reveal the third character’s identity, but it’s not the killer Fitzpatrick – played by Andrew McCarthy, who directed three episodes of the show – whom Beth hired last season to murder Rio.
“It takes forever for him to sign his contract because he fell in love with Beth,” says Krebs. “This is a complication that Beth needs to figure out to get the job done, too.”
McCarthy’s “Weekend at Bernie’s” co-star Jonathan Silverman is playing a recurring role this season as the Secret Service agent investigating Dean, who is laundering money with Beth through a new hot tub deal. The secret service agent Phoebe Donnegan (Lauren Lupkas) targets Beth, the real mastermind.
“Phoebe fights her own personal demons with the likes of Beth, whom she previously met in high school,” says Krebs. “Beth is a trigger for her – the problems she faced growing up and going through puberty. She has gotten into conflict because she’s not sure whether she’s breaking Beth for the noble cause of the law or because she’s trying to sort out a bitter, angry past with someone who Beth could represent to her and treating her badly. “
“Good Girls” found a new audience on Netflix during the coronavirus pandemic.
“People think they know what our show is until they see it,” says Krebs. “During the quarantine, a lot of people gave it to Netflix. They say, ‘Wow, that’s not what I thought of this show.’ So we’re finding a whole new audience that builds on the audience we already have.
“It took a while to find yourself,” he adds. “Season 1 is different from Season 2. Season 2 is different from Season 3. It just kept growing. We always say it’s a tonal high wire. It’s a comedy and a drama, but if you lean too far left or right on either of these, it just doesn’t work. We tell our directors, “Don’t reach for the joke. Let the joke come out of the awkward situation these mothers found themselves in. Don’t reach too far for the drama because when it gets serious, it’s not funny. ‘“
Bans agrees that the show naturally grew.
“It’s a constantly evolving thing. We push back in certain areas and forward in others and find out how we’re going, ”she says. “What sets the show apart is the development of the tone. We really do span the line between dark comedy and drama and crime series. It’s a strange stew of different genres. “