It’s Desperate Housewives… with guns!
NBC’s super-timely, female-powered dramedy Good Girls premiered Monday with an episode that cut right to the chase — the chase being the supermarket heist that has served as the cornerstone of the show’s months-long promotional blitz. It’s a provocative hook to be sure: Three down-on-their luck suburban moms — played by Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Retta (Parks and Recreation) and Mae Whitman (Parenthood) — decide to reverse their fortunes by robbing a grocery store.
The episode quickly presses pause on the broad-daylight burglary and rewinds three weeks to show us the dire circumstances that led the trio to become outlaws.
* Hendricks’ Beth is a mother of four whose husband (Matthew Lillard) is an adulterous car salesman not to mention the world’s worst financial investor.
* Whitman’s Annie — who is employed as a cashier at the aforementioned food mart and is also Beth’s younger sister — is being sued by her ex (Zach Gilford) for custody of their gender-fluid daughter.
* Retta’s Ruby needs $10,000 a month to pay for her ailing daughter’s experimental drug.
In a nutshell, these Good Girls really are good. They’ve just been driven to do a bad, bad thing.
That’s not the series’ big twist, however. The real curveball is that their stint as lawbreakers proves too successful and they manage to loot a half a million dollars — money that actually belongs to a drug cartel, the members of which are not happy about their sudden loss of income. They’ve also been made by the supermarket’s gross manager, who, at the end of the episode, attempts to rape Annie, but is knocked unconscious — and possibly killed — by older sis Beth.
Despite the some jarring tonal shifts, the series — from ex-Scandal EP Jenna Bans — provides a strong showcase for its three leads, all of whom get multiple moments to shine. Their chemistry elevates Girls from good to great.
What did you think of the Hendricks-Retta-Whitman hour? Grade Monday’s premiere below and then elaborate away in the comments.