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NBC’s "Good Girls” premiered Monday, and within the first 30 minutes, it revved up like the suburban version of "Ocean’s 8”: Three moms — played by Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman and Retta — band together to rob a grocery store for extra cash.

Characters Beth, Annie and Ruby rob a grocery store. (Steve Dietl/NBC)
Characters Beth, Annie and Ruby rob a grocery store. (Steve Dietl/NBC)

But there are hiccups, of course. Nothing goes exactly as planned in this horrific yet fun revenge comedy.

Mae Whitman (Invision/AP/Lily photo illustration)
Mae Whitman (Invision/AP/Lily photo illustration)

Over email, we reached out to Mae Whitman, who plays Annie — a young, reckless and doting mother — to hear more about how she gets Spanx sent to her by a certain “Gilmore Girls” star and eats “trashcorn” made by Christina Hendricks.

THE LILY: What initially attracted you to the project?

Mae Whitman: I sat down with [“Good Girls” creator] Jenna Bans and totally fell in love with her. She seemed like somebody that I’d known my whole life and somebody I’d really want to work with. It’s rare that you feel really seen and heard and trusted by anyone, but especially a show creator. She was so excited to make these characters strange and flawed, and tell the story honestly. It felt to me like nothing could go wrong.

Jenna Bans, creator of "Good Girls," wanted to "show that there's no limit on what we can do as women." (Maarten de Boer/NBC)
Jenna Bans, creator of "Good Girls," wanted to "show that there's no limit on what we can do as women." (Maarten de Boer/NBC)

TL: You’ve played a lot of precocious kids and wise teenagers, so what is it like playing your character, Annie, in “Good Girls”?

MW: I’ve always played the wise-beyond-her-years brooding teenager who is really clear about life, and it’s exciting for me to sort of swap that and play someone who is older — a mom — and has had a certain amount of life experience. She still has a very childish outlook and a very spontaneous way of reacting. I think it’s actually really fun because it’s brought out my wilder side.

Actors Mae Whitman, Christina Hendricks and Retta became instant friends in real life. (Steve Dietl/NBC)
Actors Mae Whitman, Christina Hendricks and Retta became instant friends in real life. (Steve Dietl/NBC)

TL: What’s it like playing a TV mom? Does previously being a child actor help you in your relationship with your TV kid?

MW: Playing a TV mom is very amazing, strange and sentimentally wonderful. I’m so used to sitting in the passenger seat of a car looking up at a TV mom, and now I’m sitting in that seat with this wonderful child [Izzy Stannard]. … So I do definitely feel like I have a leg up as far as knowing what it feels like to be in that place. I’ve had such amazing TV parents, including Lauren Graham [from “Parenthood”]. She’s someone I take a lot from. She’s always been such a mother figure to me. I take all of her advice blindly and I tell her everything. She’s also my best friend, and our relationship has really flowered. I have the same kind of connection with Izzy, so I’m excited for him to be in my life.

Annie is an irresponsible yet loving mother. (Steve Dietl/NBC)
Annie is an irresponsible yet loving mother. (Steve Dietl/NBC)

TL: Can you tell us more about your friendship with Lauren Graham? Does she normally send Spanx to your hotel room, like we saw in one of your Instagram posts?

MW: It’s true, she did send Spanx to my hotel room once. Not only that, she sent me a dress because I’m completely inept at being able to dress myself in the mornings, frankly. Lauren is literally someone whom I’ve had write break-up texts for me. She is an all-purpose, amazing resource that is this magical treat. She’s always there for me and it’s so hard to be away from her, but the fact that I get to have her in my life forever is something I’ll be thankful for the rest of my life.

The moms debate what to do with all their cash. (Steve Dietl/NBC)
The moms debate what to do with all their cash. (Steve Dietl/NBC)

TL: Why is your Instagram handle @mistergarf? What does it mean?

MW: I was in Jamaica on vacation, and there was a guy who was tending the plants. He was always hiding in the plants, and I found him so intriguing, but he wouldn’t speak to me. Finally, one day he came up and gave me a cactus and told me to wash my hair in the ocean with it. I did, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. His name was Mister Garf. I have a complicated relationship with Instagram, but I just felt that I loved this Mister Garf guy. He knew how to be open and honest at the right time, but also chill when it’s time to be chill.

Christina Hendricks (Invision/AP/Lily photo illustration)
Christina Hendricks (Invision/AP/Lily photo illustration)

TL: There’s a photo of you on Instagram eating “trashcorn” made by Christina Hendricks. I’m so curious about this. Does she make this snack for everyone?

MW: Christina Hendricks, man, she’s really the coolest. She’s extremely good at making popcorn. We were in for a really long shoot day, and when I got to work, I was starving. I was craving the corn, and she said, “I’ll bring some to work.” She didn’t have a receptacle to put it in, so she put it in a trash bag. So I walked around set with a trash bag, eating directly out of it. The name “trashcorn” seemed perfectly relatable.

Retta (Invision/AP/Lily photo illustration)
Retta (Invision/AP/Lily photo illustration)

TL: How do you, Christina and Retta hold it together between takes?

MW: It’s funny, we actually talked about this today. … There are times where it’ll cut to us for our line, and we just have a blank look on our face because we’ve been watching the other actor. … There are also little triggers we knew would make the other person crack up, like every time I would say “Okaayya.” If I add a “ya” at the end of anything, Retta finds it so amusing, she just can’t hold it together. I would definitely hammer that home a couple times to get a reaction out of her, and it almost always worked.

Illustrations by Amy Cavenaile for The Lily.

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