NBC's upcoming series Good Girls has an intriguing premise: Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman star as three women at the end of their respective ropes who decide to commit an incredibly risky robbery. They need the money to get out of some difficult situations, but the choice will have lasting repercussions. It sounds a little too wild to be based on real life, but is Good Girls based on a true story? Fact is often stranger than fiction, so you never know what shows and movies might have gotten their initial inspiration from real events.
Each of the leading ladies definitely has relatable problems: Hendricks' husband lost all their money while flagrantly cheating on her, Retta is desperate to pay for her sick daughter's medical care, and Whitman is about to lose custody of her kid. Any of those stories could be snatched from real life, which might give the series a feeling of authenticity, but the protagonists' method of getting around their troubles is where it wades into the fictional waters. Good Girls isn't based on a true story, but it still might resonate with viewers. Miraculously snagging a sudden windfall of cash is a fantasy nearly everyone has had when their bank balance dips too low.
Series creator Jenna Bans talked to Variety about what inspired the show. While a true story didn't serve as the jumping off point, real events did influence Bans' development process. She was motivated in part by the 2016 election, as well as a desire to create something that offered a respite from trying times. "I wanted to write something escapist and fun and chock full of wish fulfillment and something that made my mom feel better about her life," Bans said. "It was a love letter to my mother, who was really depressed and down about the way the election was going."
She went on to explain that the way women were being viewed and discussed around the time of the election contributed to the show as well. The overt sexism had been shocking to her, but it was even more of a "wakeup call" to realize that these issues had never gone away at any point. As Bans said to Variety:
I remember my mom said something about the Hillary loss like, 'It was just our time.' I started thinking about this idea that you spend your entire life following the rules and doing everything right and being a good person. And you have this expectation that life should work out for you and if it doesn't, what do you do then? That's what made me start thinking about the characters as these rule followers to these different varying extents that are suddenly realizing that life has not turned out the way they planned, and they're in terrible desperate financial situations and driven to do something super bonkers because of it.
That led to the construction of the three main characters, who are all women with strong moral centers set on doing the right thing — until it just stopped working for them, and they had to figure out a new way to move forward. Things get harder before they get easier, but the course of their lives is forever altered.
As it turns out, the plot of Good Girls is too out there to be based in anything real, but that's the whole point. It's supposed to be! Though the characters and their particular issues are realistic and grounded, the situations they find themselves in are extremely heightened. That gives the audience an outlet they might not find in real life, but also keeps the show from turning into a gritty drama. It's a comedy at the end of the day, and that means edging into the ridiculous from time to time.
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