Physical on Apple TV+ tells the narrative of Sheila, a sardonic bulimic housewife. Rose Byrne’s character is from a bygone period, evoking feelings of nostalgia in those who watch.
The angry wife began by suffering from an eating disorder and depleting her husband’s financial account, but she later went on to use her husband’s busy schedule in political campaigning to carry out her goals of seizing power. It all started with a single switch from ballet to aerobics. She was inundated with endorphins, enlightenment, and a new perspective on life after making the switch.
Sheila’s likeness to actress Jane Fonda must be uncanny to those who grew up in the 1980s.
Some Things Are Distinctive
In the 1960s, Fonda was a movie star. Her face was on decade-defining films like Klute and Coming Home, and she had a famous last name and acting prowess that earned her two Academy Awards. By the 1980s, the actress had discovered a new love.
She was still selling out theaters with hits like 9 to 5 and On Golden Pond, but she had developed a physical fitness passion that would eventually replace her food obsession.
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Her passion for aerobics was so strong that she created several facilities around California, including one in Beverly Hills, where she worked as an early morning instructor. The actress-turned-fitness-trainer then released Jane Fonda’s Workout in 1982. Her videos were an instant hit, and they’re still spoken about half a century later.
She followed up the original hit with numerous more videos and even a book that would go on to become a two-year New York Times bestseller. She also frequently told stories about the women she had aided in the process.
Most of them are very similar though
Physical is more concerned with Sheila’s own compulsive tendencies and the voices in her head than with those stakes. Her story does not include any altruistic feminists. At the same time, there are numerous overlaps. Sheila and Fonda, for example, both struggled with eating problems, and their workouts finally helped them overcome their unhealthy relationship with food.
Their families follow their own paths, which include politics. Danny, Sheila’s younger son-in-law, is a hippy professor turned politician, played by Rory Scovel. Despite her dislike for him, she continues to support him and assist him with his campaign. Fonda, on the other hand, was married to Tom Hayden, a California State Assembly member in the 1980s and early 1990s who was an activist and politician.
Following his loss in the senate campaign, he and his wife formed the Campaign for Economic Democracy, a political action group that backed progressive people and issues.
The CED was mostly supported by Fonda’s fitness endeavors, as they controlled the entire facility. She didn’t get a penny from the multi-million-dollar videos. Her engagement in the organization eventually caused a rift in her relationship with Hayden, and things began to fall apart.
Sheila and Danny’s relationship is also explored in Physical. Her workouts are a method for her to reclaim control and reclaim the power she had previously lost in the outside world.