Many believe that Physical's story is loosely inspired by the life of Jane Fonda.  Photo courtesy of AppleTV+

when you give play the first episode of Physical there is something that resonates with you. And it resonates with you even more if you watched the brilliant documentary “Jane Fonda In Five Acts”. It’s that our protagonist -a young housewife with eating disorders, starts making aerobics videos to finance the political career of her ‘ex-hippie’ husband- has hundreds of connections with Jane Fonda, although… none confirmed.

A few weeks ago, the second season of Physical premiered. And while the conspiracy theories are still waiting for some kind of wink, we tell you why you have to encourage yourself to watch this incredible series.

Many believe that Physical’s story is loosely inspired by the life of Jane Fonda. Photo courtesy of AppleTV+

Sheila Rubin is the protagonist of this series. She is a traditional housewife who spends her days taking care of the housework and raising her daughter. What no one knows, however, is that she suffers from eating disorders and goes from eating four burger combos at a fast-food hip to throwing them up in some public restroom.

Fighting with her demons, she starts practicing aerobic dance and has the million dollar idea: to make videos so that all women can dance without feeling embarrassed in a public class. An initiative that she has in the face of her husband’s decision to launch his political careerwhich generates an imminent need to have monetary funds to achieve it.

Murray Bartlett joins the second season.  Photo courtesy of AppleTV+
Murray Bartlett joins the second season. Photo courtesy of AppleTV+

With the end of the first season, we leave the story at a very high point, what can you tell us about the second?

rose byrne. I think we’re in a very different place from when we started last season…in so many ways. Somehow, Sheila started her recovery from the eating disorder, something that was really what she had been ruling her life. And although it is a long road, slowly she will gain self-confidence and find a place in the world where she likes to be. Then I feel that that internal battle now becomes an external battle: your marriage, in your business, in your new relationships. Now she is really present in the world and she has to face the external.

But we find out that Sheila is someone who has an addictive personality. In this second season, does she change her addiction to food with something else?

rose byrne. Yes, I agree. But I feel like – in this second season – she still has a secret life… obviously with John Bream. And that is the great replacement that she found: that secret, that double life. We have to understand that this whole situation is complicated and it is not something that simply disappears..

Throughout my life I have met close people who have suffered serious addictions and this manifests itself in different aspects of their lives, beyond ‘giving up one and starting others’. With Sheila I think that aerobic dance can also be part of that, her obsession with this discipline replaces many other things that she is not dealing with..

The relationship between Greta and Sheila changes a lot throughout the first season, where do we find them with this second?

Dierdre Friel. I always say that I think Greta maintains that Sheila is her best friend, but I don’t think Sheila would say the same thing. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that they have a “much truer” friendship in this second season. They are much more honest with each other, able to be more equal and more empowered with each other. Plus I also love our relationship off camera (laughs)

rose byrne. I doubt that Sheila really has any friends. She doesn’t trust anyone, but she doesn’t trust herself either. Also, when you’re an addict, you don’t want anyone to expose you and your mental health issues make the world look scary. In many ways, Sheila and Greta are people standing at completely different opposites.

In the series we also have two entrepreneurs, right? Thinking about this: what do you feel the series can teach women around the world?

Dierdre Friel. I think the 1980s was a real time when female empowerment was starting to come to the forefront. At the same time, in 2022, we are still talking about all that we have yet to conquer. So I like the parallelism between these two times because we see these two women who are building a business with great strength, learning from themselves… and even Greta, in her own way, realizes that she has the intelligence and ability to help.

rose byrne. Help grow the business… yes, without a doubt.

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