On June 3, Apple TV+ began airing Season 2 of Physical where Rose Byrne became an aerobics queen. A series full of scathing humor with brushings and neon clothes from the 80s.
Launched in 2021, Physical brings the 80s back to life and sets its scene on the California coast. Rose Byrne plays Sheila, a completely depressed housewife who has regained her mental and physical energy thanks to the very fashionable practice of aerobics at the time.
Meeting with designer and showrunner Annie Weisman, Rose Byrne who plays Sheila and Murray Bartlett, seen in White Lotus, who plays Vinnie Green, Sheila’s new enemy, Rory Scovel who plays Danny, Sheila’s husband and Dierdre Friel who plays Greta, friend son.
What can we expect from this new season, what is different with the first?
Annie Weisman: The first season, we met Sheila, in conflict with herself, with her inner demons. This season, she will express this conflict in an external and strong way. She will stop fighting with herself and start a struggle with the world in which she will expand.
The first season was difficult to shoot due to the pandemic. This time we had the necessary vaccines and everyone felt much safer. I think there’s a feeling of freedom that goes into the spirit of this season. Sheila felt alive again. I think the first season had a pretty dark tone, whereas this time it’s light that shines, episode after episode.
Murray Bartlett: In the first season, we introduced all of these characters and so now it’s about stepping up a gear. Sheila is in the secondary phase of her trajectory. I’m playing a new character, Vinnie Green, who’s kind of a fitness guru. I think it’s inspired by a lot of iconic people from the 80s when aerobics boomed. Beyond the physical connection, he also connects emotionally with you. Sheila will find it fascinating because she had probably not asked for this more spiritual approach which will allow her to face her demons, her doubts in depth.
Rory Scovel: This season I really feel like I’m going through a real transformation with Danny. He will finally come to understand what he wants out of life and how he can become a better parent. He will also face the demons of his wife Sheila and support her in the development of her business by making the sacrifices that go with it.
Rose Byrne: What is certain is that my character Sheila opens up to the world and comes out of her mental prison beyond the physical one. This time, we see her stand up more firmly in her marriage and in her business. It’s a season that shows the difficulty of rebuilding and how to get there. How easy it is to fall back into a period of depression and addiction before being able to recover and start on the right foot.
I also love that we introduce new characters like Vinnie Green. With him came the explosion of infomercials, those TV ads that tried to sell you all kinds of miracle recipes to get you back in shape. It’s interesting to see where we’ve come to since the 80s with so many apps available to you in this area.
How do you explain the success of the series? We are on season 2 and Apple has just announced a third season.
Annie Weisman: I think the honesty with which we approach women’s inner feelings speaks to every woman who watches us. It pleases me to see that many of them identify with our characters and their journeys. It is what they feel or have felt, themselves.
Our audience feels this way, listened to and put forward. What is interesting and rewarding for me is that men have also told me that they like the series because it helps them better understand and appreciate the women in their lives. Some men even feel well represented by our series, which was partly the bet of our initiative. It’s great to have that impact.
Rory Scovel: A large part of the public likes to see a series with a woman of great strength of character who fights by all means to achieve her ends and to accomplish herself accomplished. Politically I think the show reflects the mood of when everyone is still looking for self-realization, both physically and mentally. We always face the biggest challenge in life: ourselves.
Deirdre Friel: Audiences need to watch a series that reflects their own lives. Somehow I think the audience identifies with our characters because they are authentic; even if they come from another era, not so far from us.
Tell us about this season’s themes and what is Physical’s message?
Murray Bartlett: For me it’s a season that puts forward, and even more, the inner strength of a woman and how she manages to express it. It’s interesting for me because I saw my mother go through this phase of awakening. This series shows how we can break free from the mold in which society sometimes tries to keep us.
How to break down the barriers that prevent us from moving forward in life and accomplishing what we have within ourselves purified. It’s fascinating to me to watch this young woman, Sheila, fully open up the prison that her mind is locked up in and how she becomes the accomplished woman that was sleeping inside her. I think we all go through this journey in life, whether you’re a woman or a man.
Rory Scovel: We all have an inner voice that we don’t listen to enough, this show shows us that sometimes we have to dare to let this voice speak and help us to exist beyond ourselves. I believe that we all have a lot of doubts in us and that we must succeed in sweeping away these doubts in order to be able to really move forward, without hesitation. “Let’s get physical! This is the meaning of the series for me, never doubting yourself and always believing in the possible of the impossible.
Deirdre Friel: I think when we can let our bodies speak and stop living in our heads, then we really start to feel good about ourselves. We have seen it with this pandemic which has confined or slowed us down. Being able to move again really gives us the joy of living.
Rose Byrne: What is certain is that I have never been in such good shape as during the filming of this series. I give the best of myself with my choreographer who shows me the way. I hope the series, by watching it, will give you as much energy as it gives me by shooting it. I like to feel that adrenaline rush in my body when I shoot this series.
Annie Weisman: The first season, the subject was mainly focused on Sheila’s fight against her bulimia. It was the theme of nutrition. But this season, we realize that his problems aren’t really, and only, the food. It is deeper psychological conflicts that still shake her. We therefore explore the deep sources of a possible psychological fracture that can lead to physical and mental disorders.
This series shows how to have a positive and constructive relationship with one’s own body and mental health. It’s about finding that inner strength that gives you life balance. In my case, I found a balance in life and mental health when I realized that playing sports should not be an excuse to put myself forward in the eyes of others but that it should allow me to feel good. just in my skin.