Physical - Review


Apple TV Series
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Rose Byrne takes the lead in Physical, an Apple TV+ original, about a housewife in the 80s who discovers aerobics as a way to escape the frustration and drudgery in her life. Brilliant dark comedy drama.

Is it just me or has tv become a lot more dumbed down recently? Shows come and go, some are good, others are meh but almost all are no deeper than a puddle.

Few really grab your attention and engage you to the point where you genuinely want to watch the next episode and not because you just can't be bothered to find something else to watch.

Well, that is all about to change if you start watching Physical on Apple TV. Few shows are as exceptional as this dark comedy drama starring Rose Byrne.

The tag line pitches a tale about a woman who discovers aerobics in the 80s but it is so much more than that.

It's San Diego in the early 80s and Rose Byrne (Juliet, Naked) plays Sheila Rubin, a mother and housewife who is married to Danny Rubin (Rory Scovel) a college professor. That is until he loses his job.

Believing he has a higher purpose in life he decides to run for office and being the dutiful woman that Sheila is, she outwardly supports his ambitions.

But what Danny doesn't know, but the audience does, is that Sheila is a woman on the edge. With her internal monologue running at 100% we, the viewers, are privy to every thought in her head.

From her own self-loathing and personal demons that have caused an eating disorder, to how she sees other people, to the way she truly feels about her life and friends, she holds nothing back. It is a heady mixture of hilarious and poignant.

As each episode rolls on, Byrne's character becomes more and more magnetic as a woman desperately seeking any relief from the life she finds herself trapped in, especially her husband Danny. And that's when she discovers aerobics.

With her new aerobics partner Bunny (Della Saba) and her surfer boyfriend (Lou Taylor Pucci), the three really start to make a go of the class and even manage to get a successful exercise video made.

But with her truly unlikable and self-centered husband constantly consumed by his own narcissism, can she carve out a niche in the market and even a little piece of happiness for herself?

Is Physical On Apple TV Worth Watching?

From creator Annie Weisman, the best thing about Physical are the characters. They are nuanced and complicated and while some of them are so awful that you want to hurl the remote control at the tv (I'm looking at you Jerry Goldman) you can't help but be totally drawn into their world.

Just when you start to lose hope for Sheila she finds the aerobics class and suddenly there's a chink of light in her life. Now that's not to say that she doesn't have her own moments of poor judgement, but overall you do really root for her.

There are interesting dynamics between characters that develop slowly, like the friendship between Sheila and Greta (Dierdre Friel), but they evolve really naturally and by the end of the ten episodes you have the full measure of all the players.

Sheila's life may be at the core of Physical, but smaller storylines are just as impactful such as John Breem's (Paul Sparks) struggles with stress and Greta's desperation to repair her marriage.

Some have criticised what they consider the overuse of narration but that's the whole point of Physical. Who Sheila pretends to be on the outside, versus the self-hating, cutting, ambitious but frustrated woman behind closed doors, is key to making the show work.

If you are looking for a comedy in the traditional sense, this show is not it. Rose Byrne doesn't play for jokes or cheap laughs so fair warning! But if you're looking for a half hour dark comedy then you've found it.

But if the first season of Physical (Apple TV) is just the start then I cannot wait to see what comes next. Let's cross our fingers that Annie Weisman can continue to work her magic and we get to see Rose Byrne, Della Saba and Lou Taylor Pucci back to take on the aerobics world.

Is There A Second Season Of Physical?

Currently, there are only 10 episodes of Physical on Apple TV.

However, in August 2021, the show was renewed so we should see that very soon. As soon as we have a definite date for a second season we will let you know!

Cast Of Physical On Apple TV

Physical is a show that you are either going to love or hate. You will find the dialogue hilarious or just plain mean. It's completely subjective.

All the glitz and glamour and colourful outfits befitting an 80s San Diego aerobics studio is very much offset by the quiet desperation of the women in the show.

But to play those roles you need a stellar cast and Physical has it in spades.

Rose Byrne as Sheila Rubin, a frustrated 80s housewife

Rory Scovel as Danny Rubin, Sheila's husband

Geoffrey Arend as Jerry, Danny's stoner friend who helps with the campaign

Paul Sparks as John Breem, stifled owner of the local mall

Della Saba as Bunny Kazam, Sheila's aerobics partner

Lou Taylor Pucci as Tyler, Bunny's boyfriend and all round surfer dude

Dierdre Friel as Greta, Sheila's friend (sort of)

Ian Gomez as Ernie, Greta's husband

Ashley Liao as Simone, Danny's grad student campaign helper

Who Created Physical On Apple TV?

It takes a lot of effort to accurately re-create the 80s so kudos to everybody for doing such a good job and taking us on a trip down memory lane in Physical.

And those people are…

Created by Annie Weisman, she is also an executive producers along with Craig Gillespie, Liza Johnson, Stephanie Laing, Alexandra Cunningham, Marty Adelstein, Becky Clements, Sera Gamble, John McNamara and Rose Byrne.


  • Rose Byrne Is Superb
  • Narration Gives Real Character Insight
  • Truly Engaging


  • It's A Love It Or Hate It Show


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