Skill, mental, mystery, physical

Published August 14, 2021

Physical TV show

Apple TV+ has a great strike rate so far when it comes to their TV original releases. We’ve watched a really good percentage of them and enjoyed almost all with just a couple of near misses along the way. That means we try and give everything come up a go because the chances are more than good that it’ll be worth watching.

Thus, we watched Physical, a series staring Rose Byrne as a budding home video workout star trying to break through in the 1980s, whilst also supporting a family and a husband who has his own political ambitions. It sounds like an odd premise and actually the more you dig into it, the weirder it gets.

Byrne’s character Sheila isn’t all that likeable, she’s also dealing with a pretty long-lasting eating disorder, steals from her friends and makes backstabbing comments about almost everyone she meets inside her head (which we are privy to). Along with that, there’s a side plot circling around the political opposition, a religious family man who has a darker side that we are only just beginning to see.

Through the entire series I couldn’t really see where it was going, what the actual point of it is… other than spending time with some pretty reprehensible people. It turns out, that pretty much was the point of it, and also along the way, I fell in love with all of them and didn’t want it to end! It’s very hard to describe the show to other people, or to sell it, you just have to go in with an open heart and an open mind. For those who have struggled with eating disorders or social anxiety problems, it can cut quite close to the bone, but if you’re in a strong enough place to endure those, then live the battles with Sheila as she gradually gains confidence in herself and her abilities.

Despite myself, I’m really glad this has been renewed for a second series – partly because I feel we’re nowhere near the end of the story yet but also because it was always a fascinating adventure into the unknown to visit Sheila, her ambitious and blinkered husband, her gorgeous but self-conscious friend and the two surf-bunnies who have made this whole thing possible. There are more wonderful times to be had in 1980s California.

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