It’s difficult to imagine a way in which “First Wives Club,” a show about a trio of best friends dealing with divorce, cheating and overall unsatisfying marriages, would avoid the use of the “angry woman” trope. According to star Ryan Michelle Bathe, the BET+ series doesn’t bother to avoid it but instead takes advantage of the opportunity to use it.
“I think one of the ways that they do that in this show is we really lean into it, you know? It’s not just anger for the sake of anger — which everyone would understand somebody being angry in this situation — but they lean into the anger,” Bathe told TheWrap in an interview, which you can view above.
Created by “Girls Trip” writer Tracy Oliver, “First Wives Club” is a sitcom adaptation of the 1996 film starring Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn. The series stars Bathe, Jill Scott and Michelle Buteau, as Ari, Hazel, and Bree, respectively, three women who have neglected their friendship and reunite to help each other through rough patches in their lives and marriages.
Bathe used the expression “hot as fish grease” (a term she learned from a friend) to explain how each of the characters’ anger comes out: “At three different points in time, we are all hot as fish grease — but it is very specific fish grease.”
“When the anger is specific and it’s coming from someplace, I think that that’s when it doesn’t become, ‘Oh, here we go again,’ you know? Because she’s ‘just angry,'” Bathe said. “There are a lot of women who I feel like we can just be angry (laughs). Really, I think we can be angry all the time for a lot of things. But in our show, they really lean into it because the people are specifically angry for specific reasons and specific circumstances and it comes out for all three of us in the way that is appropriate for our characters.”
Watch the full interview above to hear how Keaton is Bathe’s “spirit animal” and why her husband, Sterling K. Brown, tells her next to nothing about “This Is Us.”
“First Wives Club” Season 1 is streaming now on BET+.