‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’: Why It’s the Horny, Woman-Forward Comedy Marvel Needs

Premiere

“I like to say that the show is horny-forward,” quips head writer and executive producer Jessica Gao of Marvel’s latest TV series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

The sex-positive half-hour law comedy is a huge departure from the other Marvel series we’ve seen in recent years, from the genre-hopping, heart-breaking WandaVision to holiday-set buddy action-com Hawkeye. The series follows over-achieving lawyer Jennifer Walters (Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany), who acquires Hulk powers after receiving a blood transfusion from her famous cousin and former Avenger, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), aka the Hulk. Before discovering her newfound She-Hulk strength, Jen is an ordinary 30-something single woman, with a hilarious, supportive best friend (Ginger Gonzaga‘s comedic relief Nikki), and a dating life that is, well, unsurprisingly sub-par. Basically, she’s the most relatable female Marvel’s given us in recent years.

“I wanted this show to be a realistic slice of life of this woman,” says Gao. “And of course sex is a part of her life. So, we didn’t want to ignore it and we wanted to incorporate it into her life in the same way that work and friends would be a part of her life.”

Aside from swiping left and right, Jen’s story — though still a light-hearted comedy — doesn’t shy away from the other aspects of being a modern-day woman, too.

She-Hulk addresses themes that all women understand, that we don’t necessarily see reflected in storytelling often,” director and executive producer Kat Coiro notes. “We’ve all been in a bar and some guy we don’t like is hitting on us and we’re afraid, so we act really polite. We’ve all been walking home in the dark at night and been terrified for our lives. She-Hulk is this manifestation of a wish-fulfillment that you don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to be polite.”

Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer "Jen" Walters/She-Hulk in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,

Will She-Hulk be angry? Sure, but mostly because she doesn’t want to embrace her new identity. She just wants to stay Jen. Her superhuman powers also lead to her acquiring a new gig as a superhuman lawyer (which ushers in MCU actors like Tim Roth, who stops by the courtroom as Emil Blonsky/Abomination). Jen doesn’t feel like she’s earned the job, though.

She-Hulk’s adversary Titania (The Good Place‘s Jameela Jamil), notes Maslany, prefers to embody the opposite of Jen’s modesty towards her powers. “Jen wants nothing to do with the superhuman element of who she’s become, but Titania absolutely courts it,” Maslany teases. “She’s got a huge Instagram following based on her superhuman-ness. She really uses it and commodifies it. She’s the antithesis of what Jen wants to be and how she sees herself, but at the same time, Titania moves through the world with this ease that I think Jen also wishes she could have.”

Really, Maslany sees the She-Hulk story as actually being ironically small — and that’s what drew her to want to play Jen, not the lure of taking on the MCU’s large-scale fight scenes or intense technical challenges. “It was this incredibly small story that we’re telling about a woman going through this big shift in her identity and this outward perception of who she is, in this very internal way,” she says. “That, to me, was just this great surprise in what I’d always imagined was this big pyrotechnics piece that is the MCU shows. It was just so small and so mundane, and I really loved that.” And we’re loving watching it.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Series Premiere, Thursday, August 18, Disney+