‘She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law’ explained: Bruce Banner, Nikki Ramos

This story contains some spoilers for Episode 1 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

In the first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, viewers not only learn how Jennifer Walters gains her superpowers – they also discover that she’s a bit obsessed with Steve Rogers’ sex life. It’s something she bothers her cousin Bruce Banner with until he reveals if Rogers ever lost his virginity.

One of the things that impressed Mark Ruffalo about the Disney+ series, as he quotes head writer Jessica Gao, is “how awesome [the story] is” compared to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he shares with a laugh. Ruffalo, who has played Banner and his alter-ego Hulk since 2012’s “The Avengers,” also enjoys how “She-Hulk,” which launched Thursday, “has a lot of superhero macho stuff and stuff like that just pranking the toxic male Reddit culture that sometimes permeates certain fandoms.

It also helps that the show is genuinely funny.

“My favorite kind of comedy is taking these big, high-profile things like a Hulk — who can save the world and is one of the strongest beings on earth — and then really ground that in our reality,” says Gao, who also acts as executive producer. “What I love about our show is that we take the time to really turn the camera just a little bit to the left and see what’s going on inside [their] everyday life.”

Created for television by Gao, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law follows Jennifer Walters, played by Tatiana Maslany, after an accident leads to her exposure to Banner’s gamma-rayed blood. Despite gaining the ability to transform into a powerful, giant, green version of herself, Walters insists that she will continue to live the same life she led before the accident.

“Unlike her cousin Hulk, she retains her confidence and awareness,” says director and executive producer Kat Coiro. “Whether she’s Jen Walters or She-Hulk, she’s the same person. And yet, when you present so differently, when you’re suddenly green and huge and all eyes in the room turn to you as you walk through a door, you modulate your personality.”

The series examines Jen’s learning to navigate a world that treats her differently depending on who she was in the past, and the different perceptions and expectations through which our culture sees women and their bodies. And from the first episode, “She-Hulk” doesn’t shy away from addressing how women like Jen live with constant pressure to control their anger and fear in a way that men like Banner don’t have to.

One of the other differences between Jen and Banner is that Jen isn’t interested in giving up her life – including her job and her friends – to become a superhero. Below are some of Jen’s key relationships featured on She-Hulk so far.

Two women sit on a couch surrounded by takeaway food and alcohol

Nikki Ramos (Ginger Gonzaga), left, and Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) are best friends and co-workers on She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

(Chuck Zlotnick / Marvel Studios)

Who is Nikki Ramos, Jen Walter’s BFF?

Jen’s best friend is Nikki Ramos, played by Ginger Gonzaga, who also happens to be her paralegal. Gao describes the couple as “true ride-or-die friends [who] have this very pleasant lightness about them.”

For Maslany, Jen and Nikki, the relationship is “the heartbeat of the show.”

“I love Ginger Gonzaga,” says Maslany. “She was effortless to be friends with… We just found this joy in playing together, which I think really set the tone for those human moments that you want to keep coming back to on this show and I think they really do.” make it special.”

Gonzaga himself is grateful that “She-Hulk” “shows herself [this] loving friendship” which is not always portrayed on screen.

“With so many things, even if they have loving friends, eventually someone stabs someone in the back, and it’s so unnecessary,” says Gonzaga. “I don’t want to see that for women and I’m so grateful that our characters truly love and care for each other as friends and have all the dynamic layers that go with a mature adult friendship.”

Unlike other characters on the series – including Jen’s other legal peers – Nikki has no obvious Marvel Comics counterpart. And Gonzaga dodges the answer like a true MCU pro when asked if Nikki has any secrets or powers of her own.

“Right now, I’m not sure if Nikki has any special skills or not, other than somehow she can avoid a lot of credit card debt when it comes to her really cool outfits based on her paralegal salary,” says Gonzaga.

a giant green man holding up a pair of spandex shorts

Bruce Banner, aka Smart Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), shows Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) how she needs to add new clothes to her wardrobe in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

(Marvel Studios)

How fun is the Bruce and Jens dynamic?

As Jen’s origin story is about Banner, “She-Hulk” allows the scientist genius to show new sides of his life through his interactions with his cousin. Ruffalo was thrilled that the series revealed how Banner does “everyday things that people do to live” and answered some questions he had about the character in the process.

“As does does he come around How does he keep his furniture from collapsing under him? How does he keep himself from banging his head when walking through doors? … How does he keep from tearing all his clothes?” lists Ruffalo. “All those things that we never really consider when we watch big superhero movies.”

Maslany sees a kind of brother-sister dynamic in their relationship.

“I think he was always trying to teach her how to live, and she was like, ‘Yeah, whatever, Bruce, you’re an idiot,'” says Maslany. “There’s a really fun antagonism there.”

And Ruffalo appreciates the fact that Banner doesn’t have all the answers.

“He thinks that somehow he’s going to explain to her what it’s like to be the Hulk, and she ends up teaching him as much as he’s trying to teach her, if not more,” says Ruffalo. “Those surprising relationship things are really what the show is about and it was great fun. [Tatiana]is kind of a comedic genius and there was a lot of improvisation between us.”

Coiro, who directed six of the nine episodes, enjoyed watching the playfulness between Ruffalo and Maslany.

“As actors, they agreed on all these technical aspects that they have to deal with,” says Coiro. “But the characters also have to deal with all these things that their superpowers throw at them. This relationship between two actors, sharing a very unusual way of acting, translates into two characters dealing with very unusual circumstances.”

a giant green woman in a costume

She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany) can’t help but turn heads in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

(Marvel Studios)

What else can we expect?

Though the show’s trailers and other promotional materials teased the appearance of characters like Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), Wong (Benedict Wong), and the return of Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), the She-Hulk team has been cautious about revealing spoilers. But one thing that Gao, Gonzaga and Coiro definitely need to mention is Maslany’s skills as a dancer.

“She’s also a very good dancer, Tatiana,” says Coiro. “That’s a little hint.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-08-18/she-hulk-marvel-jen-walters-best-friend-nikki-ramos-bruce-banner ‘She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law’ explained: Bruce Banner, Nikki Ramos

Sarah Ridley

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