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»Physical« on Apple TV: Only the outside counts


Suffering in California: The poisonous society satire "Physical" makes use of body cult and greed that it is a real pleasure. American critics were rather shocked - completely wrongly.

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Mendacious life in paradise: Rose Byrne in the series "Physical"


Jessica Brooks / Apple TV +

Scenes from a marriage: After the party is over, the landlord presses his wife.

There is still this beautiful girl sitting in the living room who is probably just waiting to be led into the bedroom by her.

An experience for three, wasn't that what she always wanted?

And didn't she want to prove to him after the baby was born that she was open to sexual exploration again?

The series »Physical« begins with violence that seems no less brutal because it is exercised gently.

And it ends up as such a poisonous society satire that some US critics complain that one does not want to spend time with these characters.

The housewife Sheila, played fearlessly by Rose Byrne, is so incredibly exciting, precisely because she timidly takes up the fight with an egocentric husband, a devastating inner voice and the toxic cultural climate of the eighties - and yet she is not suitable as a heroine.

"You ugly, fat, greedy cow," her inner voice insults the willowy Sheila when she has locked herself in a motel again and ate three servings of burgers with fries only to vomit afterwards.

Her eating disorder and the incessant commentary are Sheila's constant companions in an everyday life filled with inner emptiness.

Sheila and her husband Danny (Rory Scovel) live with their young daughter in conservative San Diego.

He mourns his increasingly thinning hair as well as the oh-so-progressive sixties.

While Sheila, filled with inner disgust, refills the coffee mug that he holds under her nose, he is planning a career as a local politician.

He wants to compete against big business and environmental degradation.

Sheila pretends to support him in his plans.

She has long since discovered something else in order to fill her days with meaning - or at least no longer have to think about what that meaning could be.

The fitness boom has broken out and has found a willing student in Sheila.

And because she has accumulated debts that Danny has no idea about, aerobics should not only keep her fit and slim according to the ideal of beauty, but also fill the bank.

Sheila secretly records a video that soon finds great sales among well-off housewives.

From there, "Physical" thankfully does not develop into the edifying but lying self-empowerment drama, as the convention would require - and some critics apparently expected it to be.

On the contrary: in Annie Weisman's script, the heroine is part of a superficial commercial culture in which only external values ​​count.

The Reagan era has begun, and All Sheila wants is to swim with the river.

The sun shines incessantly, the sea rushes, but everyone carries on with their mendacious life, everyone suffers silently under the mask of an unbearable Californian friendliness.

California suffering.

In addition, Weisman has nothing but bitter mockery for the self-loving, stoned old left - and then also shows heart for an evil entrepreneur.

In »Physical« she refuses to accept expectations and, in return, does not save on unreasonable demands, especially for a liberal audience.

In other words, she's doing everything right.

It is precisely in the courage to willingly sit between all the chairs that the thieving pleasure that this series provides lies.

It is only surprising that it ended up with the streaming provider Apple of all places.

One had already given up hope that Apple would produce a relevant material.

Previous films and series with consumer-critical approaches appeared hollow, everything was always a bit too good.

Quite different from the biting satire of "Physical", which also covers the American shopping addiction with caustic ridicule.

Would be interesting to know how Tim Cook thinks it is.

Unlikely to get an honest answer to the question.

Ten episodes of 30 minutes each, from June 18 on Apple TV +.

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2021-06-22

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