*Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode 1*
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is undoubtedly a comedy, but that doesn't mean the latest Marvel series doesn't have something serious to say between gags. In an interview with Total Film recently, director Kat Coiro opened up about using humor to highlight how female rage is often interpreted – most notably in a moving monologue delivered by the titular character in episode 1.
In the opener, which was released on August 18, lawyer Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) breaks the fourth wall and explains to the audience how she became a Hulk. Turns out, she and her cousin Bruce Banner were road tripping one day when a Sakaaran spaceship emerged out of nowhere and caused Jen to swerve off the road. In the crash, some of Bruce's blood got into her system, leading to her transformation into a green, 6-foot-7-inch superhero whenever she's stressed out.
Determined not to let his cuz ostracize herself like he did when he first changed, Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) whisks her away to his secret laboratory in Mexico, where he sets out to teach her how to manage her alter ego. He's shocked to learn, then, when he finds that she can turn "She-Hulk" on and off whenever she pleases.
"Well, here's the thing, Bruce, I'm great at controlling my anger, I do it all the time," Jen says. "When I'm catcalled in the street, when incompetent men explain my own area of expertise to me. I do it pretty much every day, because if I don't, I'll get called 'emotional' or 'difficult', or might just literally get murdered. So I'm an expert at controlling my anger because I do it infinitely more than you!"
"I think the best way to drive things home is through humor and to not feel like we're teaching everybody a lesson, but rather expressing something that is true in an engaging way that makes people think about it afterwards," Coiro states when asked about the speech. "The conversations about rage and what it means to be a woman walking through the world were front and center for all of us at the helm.
"What does it mean to be a woman walking down a dark alley at night? What does it mean to be a woman getting hit on at a bar by someone you have no interest in, but feel like you have to be polite because you're scared for your safety? What does it mean that we have all this history of superheroes reaching rage level 10? What happens when our girl shows rage? How is that perceived by the world?' These conversations were definitely a part of the show from its inception. But the fact that it's a comedy and it's entertaining, and all of this is explored through undertones is what I think makes it effective in showing people the world through the female lens."
Also starring Ginger Gonzaga, Josh Segarra, Benedict Wong, Jon Bass, Jameela Jamil, and Tim Roth, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law continues next Thursday (August 25). While we wait for the next episode to land on Disney Plus, check out our breakdown of the Marvel timeline to get you up to speed on the MCU.