#FIRSTLOOK: “PHYSICAL” SEASON TWO
By David Baldwin
When we last left Sheila Rubin (Rose Byrne), she was on her way to the top of the Aerobics game. But success will not come easy with all of the new challenges standing in her way, including new management, new competition and a completely different home life now that her husband Danny (Rory Scovel) lost his election bid.
The first thing I noticed about Season Two of PHYSICAL was its scope. We are not confined to people’s homes and the mall anymore – we are out and about, being introduced to all of the returning characters in much larger, more populated settings. Covid-related or not, that increased scope speaks to how much more expansive Season Two feels versus Season One, and how much deeper Showrunner/Series Creator Annie Weisman wants us to travel on Sheila’s journey. The Show still has its bleak sense of humour and its streak of foreboding darkness (not to mention its central themes revolving around addiction, body dysmorphia and casual misogyny), yet it feels refreshing to have so much less focus on Danny and his political aspirations this go-round. Seeing him take a backseat to Sheila’s quest for greater success opens the world of PHYSICAL up to such greater possibilities and more interesting storylines for Weisman and Crew to explore.
And yes, the outfits, hairstyles and the inspired musical choices are still just as impeccable as they were the first time. If you love the ’80s even half as much as I do, you will be very pleased.
The Cast is rock solid all-around, settling into their characters with ease. Dierdre Friel’s expanded role as Greta is easily an early highlight, and Scovel’s interpretation of Danny after political defeat makes for an interesting antithesis to last season. Murray Bartlett (the Emmy-nominated MVP from last Summer’s deliciously devious The White Lotus), is the key new character in the Ensemble, playing Vinnie Green, a fellow self-made Aerobics Instructor and Infomercial personality. He straight-up steals the show anytime he pops on-screen. Byrne still stands high above everyone else though, with her vicious narration – which is often just as hilarious as it is harrowing – and her hunger for success and the power that comes with it. The Series continues to be her strongest work to date, practically soaring as she throws herself recklessly into every situation and tries to not overthink the consequences. Byrne was always the highlight of so many of her projects and seeing her continue to lead this cast in this bold, no-nonsense role is truly exhilarating.
Be sure to read our interview coverage with Rose Byrne,
Series Creator Annie Weisman and the rest of the Cast!
The first episode of Season Two of PHYSICAL premieres Friday, June 3, 2022 on Apple TV+,
with each new episode arriving every Friday throughout the Summer.