"Good girls" do bad things in grocery stores and in Hollywood

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After weeks of people swooping down hills, we're definitely ready for something new from NBC. It has a lot of shows to offer, some very good ("Rise"), some quite bad ("A.P. Bio") and one that's flawed but interesting. That's "Good Girls," which debuts Monday (Feb. 26); here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

There's no good
time, perhaps, to rob a grocery store.

Still, there's a
great time to write a show about ordinary women who rob a store.
That's now, in a Hollywood that's reconsidering its habits.

In the five months
since allegations about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein surfaced, TV has
pondered the roles of women onscreen and off. For “Goosd Girls,”
the timing is ideal.

“Three suburban
moms get tired of making ends meet and being taken advantage of,”
Jennifer Salke, president of NBC entertainment, said last month
(before being hired to head Amazon Studios). “So they decide it's
time to stick up for themselves.”

Their solution –
armed robbery – is ill-advised. It's “definitely illegal,”
actress Christina Hendricks grants. But it represents more; these are
“women being sort of backed into a corner and forced to take their
power back,” said writer-producer Jenna Bans.

Bans spent a decade
putting complicated women into moral dilemmas on ABC, from “Desperate
Housewives” to “Grey's Anatomy” and “Scandal.” Now she
likes the irony of her “Good Girls” title.

“It's something my
parents in Minnesota used to always say .... I would be mad about
some injustice at school or something and they'd be like, 'Just be a
good girl about it.'”

Like Bans (from
Minneapolis), these three women are Northerners; in Michigan
suburbia, their worlds crumble.

Hendricks has been
in complex moral turf before, in cable's “Mad Men.” Mae Whitman
(“Parenthood”) has tended to be pigeonholed; “I'm always like
the weird girl,” she said.

Retta (“Parks and
Recreation”) knows all about being typecast. “As a large black
woman in Hollywood, you tend to get stuck in certain tropes.”

Hollywood has had a
lot of lingering attitudes toward its female characters. Now may be
the perfect time for them to rob a grocery store.

-- “Good Girls,”
10 p.m. Mondays, NBC; debuts Feb. 26, after the opener of “The
Voice”