Sharon Horgan, author and actress of “Bad Sisters” on Apple TV+: “Being funny is political”

Figure of the small screen across the Channel, the Irish Sharon Horgan is not afraid. And proves it once again with the “Bad Sisters” series, a biting family story, between London and Dublin.

The irony of the title is imperceptible, but obvious to anyone who knows Sharon Horgan. The five Garvey sisters, heroines of Bad Sisters, are not so “bad” what does his new series for Apple TV+ want him to believe. Admittedly, they try for episodes to kill John Paul, the (toxic) husband of one of them, “but they are the best sisters possible, caring and protective”, smiles the Irish screenwriter, actress, producer and director.

With this remake of the Flemish series Clan, broadcast last year on Arte.tv, it does not quite leave its comfort zone. “Thematically, I find myself there. It’s a story of family relationships first and foremost.” admits Horgan, discovered by international audiences with the formidable Disaster, in 2015. She embodied a somewhat lost single woman in her forties who, after a seemingly hopeless night with an American publicist, found herself pregnant and trying to build a couple. A daring but tender comedy, the second part of a trilogy begun in 2006 by Pulling (unpublished in France), on the eventful cohabitation of three Londoners in their thirties.

Two works with sharp dialogues, in balance between the joy of being immature and awareness of responsibilities — “I have long avoided being an adult”, she breathes — which led to her being cataloged as a specialist in bold comedies about love and sex. A third series should have followed, inspired by the evolutions of his own existence. “I am 52 years old, I am divorced, my children are growing up, my parents are getting old… There is something to tell, but I am not ready”, she explains, also acknowledging a fear of going around in circles.

“Working in the United States is the same as in Great Britain. The same shit.”

It could have relaunched in the United States, but its two creations shaped across the Atlantic, the passable Divorce (2016-2019), around a couple in full separation, and the mediocre ShiningVale (2022), about a novelist who moves into a haunted house, did not have the desired effect. “Working in the United States is the same as in Great Britain. The same shit, she said before blurting out: “Let’s say I did my British series with a little less people on my back. » But no question for this asserted Stakhanovite to slow down. By opting for a remake today, she is giving herself a slight creative break, a little space to think about what’s next. For the first time, she is also trying out the thriller genre and the long format of one hour per episode.

Less swearing, more emotion

But this interlude in no way deprives Sharon Horgan of her sharp eye on British society. After having launched her career late, at the age of 30, by writing sketches on the news for the BBC, she continues to capture, with humanity but not without derision, the progress of the world. Bad Sisters catch the topic of domestic violence “by the balls”, in his words, and dismantles, between laughter and dread, the behavior of these men who attack women to feel they exist. Whether she is a creator or just an actress, as in This Way Up, moving comedy where she plays the sister of a depressed young woman, her philosophy is identical: “To be funny is to have an original and surprising point of view on the world. So it is by nature to be political. » Over time, however, she softened and traded some of her swearing for a surplus of emotion. She’s even ventured into some hardcore drama and will soon be in the credits of Best Interests, a BBC miniseries about the euthanasia of a seriously ill child. “It’s going to make people react” she promises. Like all the works of this figure of the British small screen, as impertinent as it is touching.


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q Bad Sisters, available on Apple TV+.

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