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‘She-Hulk’ Writer Drew Inspiration From ‘Fleabag’

Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters.

A new trailer for She-Hulk debuted at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, and with it came the news that this was going to be Marvel’s first 30-minute comedy TV series—which makes sense after we got a glimpse at the tone. Jennifer Walters is trying to navigate being a lawyer, being a super human, and also just trying to be a woman in her 30s, and it all looks pretty amazing. Now though, we’re learning more about the inspiration behind the series, and oh god, am I going to survive?

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Talking with Total Film, head writer Jessica Gao opened up about the inspiration that they took for the show, and it was pretty surprising who the writers’ room turned to for guidance—in that they are apparently bringing us a series inspired by two classic shows. Gao said that the series is “a little bit like Ally McBeal, but still exists within the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” before going on to both confuse and delight me with their other inspiration. “We talked a lot about Fleabag,” said Gao.

Star Tatiana Maslany went on to also talk about the influence that Fleabag had on the series.”The irreverence of [Fleabag] and the sense of humor … there’s a lot there that I can definitely see that they drew from as inspiration.”

So Fleabag. The show that to this day makes me cry because it found a way to lull me into a false sense of security and then brought in a hot priest and completely destroyed me? THAT SHOW? Granted, the quotes seem to focus on the sense of humor and context of being a young woman navigating life, adulthood, and relationships, but still. I don’t need to cry over She-Hulk!

Inspiration for She-Hulk

The interview goes on to talk about the difference between She-Hulk and what we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before. “Because the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe has already done a fantastic job of huge action, enormous stakes,” said Gao. “It’s always the fate of the universe, the fate of the free world. But that can’t be every single day. What happens in between those movies when these characters just have to live their lives, when they have to go on dates, when they have to go grocery shopping, when they have to see their family at a reunion?”

That’s not all, though. Director Kat Coiro talked a bit about how the series also explores a problem that many of us face in our lives: dating. “We definitely explore what it’s like to be a modern woman dating online,” Coiro said.

And for Maslany, that’s what brought her to the series and playing Jennifer. “It was just so embarrassingly human, and that’s what drew me in,” said Maslany. “I loved seeing that her dating life was just as much of a stress as potentially becoming one of the Avengers.”

It feels weird to think that She-Hulk, a show that features a character who can suddenly turn huge and green, might be one of the most relatable things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but at the same time, if it is a comedy à la Fleabag of a woman in her thirties struggling with dating, I’m … going to definitely relate.

(featured image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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