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2024-03-22 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine

How Palm Royale Captures Every Ounce of Palm Beach's Bitchy Social Scene

How Palm Royale Captures Every Ounce of Palm Beach's Bitchy Social Scene

PALM BITCHY The cast of 'Palm Royale' at a recent screening in New York. From left: Mindy Cohn, Kristen Wiig, Josh Lucas, Abe Sylvia, and Leslie Bibb
Photo by David Benthal/BFA

Welcome to Palm Bitch. Apple TV’s new campy series Palm Royale, stars Kristin Wiig as Maxine Dellacorte, a bubbly former beauty pageant contestant desperate to bust into Palm Beach high society by joining the exclusive country club of the show’s title (which seems to be partly based on PB’s infamously exclusive Bath & Tennis Club, shown in aerial footage in the opening credits).

Maxine has some serious social obstacles: the Palm Royale’s resident South Florida acid-tongued swans played by Leslie Bibb (as Dinah, a cheating housewife) and ice-cold Evelyn, the self-appointed Queen Bee of the scene, played by Allison Janney. With bitchy barbs and a high school-esque cliquey hierarchy, Palm Royale is like Mean Girls but with pill-popping, martini-swilling socialites in pink and green Lilly Pulitzer shifts trying to steal the spotlight at charity balls instead of the prom. To camp it up even more, Ricky Martin plays Robert, an oft-shirtless club employee living in Carol Burnet’’s pool house. Burnett’s Norma is a rich grande dame in a coma, but thankfully comes back to life in feisty flashbacks: “Shake me another martini and let’s play doctor” she orders Robert from bed. There’s also Laura Dern (who originally was going to play Maxine) as a feminist activist with a secret, Kaia Gerber as a nail technician (and surprise, surprise, aspiring model), who hears all, and Josh Lucas as Maxine’s devoted plane pilot husband.

Last night Wiig, Lucas, Bibb and Mindy Cohn (Natalie from the Facts of Life!) who plays Ann, the editor of the Shiny Sheet, the social column the women will do anything to be in, were at The Crosby Street Hotel for a special screening of Palm Royale.

Wiig’s Maxine, who is holed up in a dumpy motel and steals jewelry to pay her way into Palm Beach society, is a grifter with big blonde hair and a perma-smile. “Ultimately it was important for us to have a character that the audience was rooting for,” Wiig said. “But she does want something seemingly shallow and materialistic — she wants to join the club and high society and be friends with all these people. But we wanted her to be likeable.”

With all the madcap hijinks and glamorous gowns, there is more to Maxine than meets the eye. “There’s a tag line with what this show is about: this woman who is trying to get into high society,” Wiig explained. “But it’s more: why does she really want that? It’s not just the money. It’s about her past. And it’s not what you think. But I can’t give away too much.”

No spoiler alerts here. Stay tuned.

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