TV review: Physical
This new dark comedy currently streaming on Apple TV+ has everything that speaks to me - 1980s nostalgia, aerobics and Rose Byrne.
For those who enjoyed the visually dynamic vibe served up by Wonder Woman 1984, season three of Stranger Things and Glow, Physical similarly captures the look and feel, tone and space of the period in a way that is instantly transportative.
Set in the beach paradise of 1980s San Diego, Sheila Rubin (Rose Byrne) is a quietly tortured desperate housewife supporting her sleazy husband's (Rory Scovel) bid for state assembly.
Behind closed doors, she battles personal demons and bulimia - until she finds release through the world of aerobics.
Sheila's real road to empowerment comes when she discovers a way to merge this newfound passion with the burgeoning technology of videotape to start a revolutionary business and transform herself into a lifestyle guru.
The criminally underrated Bryne finally gets to show off her comedic and dramatic chops - as well as her lithe leotard-clad figure - and shines in her biggest role and first ever star vehicle.
It is testament to her performance that we can still find Sheila - who is far from endearing and highly flawed - such an entertaining, compelling protagonist.
However, things do get quite ugly.
Being privy to her snarky, self-loathing stream of consciousness and at times cruel inner monologue, on top of her bizarre compulsion to binge-and-purge while naked, does also make it a difficult watch.
With peripheral characters and multiple moments that do not add up to much, Physical really takes its time to warm up.
It is only in the third episode out of the first season's 10 that things start to move, so the show really needs to pick up the pace if it does not want us to lose interest.