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Brokaw: The claws come out in ‘Palm Royale’ on Apple TV+

By Francine Brokaw - Special to the Daily Herald | Mar 27, 2024

Courtesy Apple

“Palm Royale” premiered Wednesday, March 20, 2024, on Apple TV+.

An A-list ensemble comes together in this new, wacky dramedy set in Palm Beach, Florida. “Palm Royale” was filmed in Florida and focuses on the richest families — primarily the wives — in 1969 as they compete with each other to be the biggest fundraisers and charity donors and keep up their social standings while lounging around the uppity club where they snub outsiders and posers.

Maxine Dellacorte Simmons (Kristen Wiig) is the center of the show as she connives, steals and lies to achieve her dream of being one of the elite social group. Her airline pilot husband Douglas (Josh Lucas) grew up in Palm Beach but moved to Tennessee to marry Maxine. Once firmly ensconced in Palm Beach, Maxine insists they drop the “Simmons” and simply go by the name Dellacorte. After all, Douglas’ aunt Norma (Carol Burnett) is at the top of all the social circles; however, at the moment, she is in a semi-coma and unable to move, speak or do anything.

It’s up to Maxine to find a way into the tight-knit group of snobs and convince Douglas to move to Florida where they will be rich, beloved and the cream of the crop, once Norma passes away. Or will they?

Leslie Bibb plays Dinah, a wife with a sketchy life. Allison Janney is Evelyn, a highly regarded socialite who’s usually at the top of the proverbial food chain of Palm Beach. Julia Duffy is another one of the group with a holier-than-thou attitude. Laura Dern is Linda, a feminist with a past. Mindy Cohn is Ann, a journalist intent on digging up the truth about people. Jordan Bridges is Perry, Dinah’s scheming husband. Ricky Martin’s character is interesting in that he always seems to show up in unlikely places. He is the bartender at the club and he also sees after Norma’s mansion. But with Maxine around, his status at the house might be in danger. Kaia Gerber is Mitzi. Bruce Dern comes into play as Skeet, Evelyn’s husband who is in a nursing home and his room is adjacent to Norma’s.

With all of these society big wigs, there are bound to be a lot of secrets. And when Maxine enters the picture, some of those might just hit the fan. How far will these snobby society people go to keep their positions? It’s anyone’s guess as to who is pulling the strings in that tightly wound community filled with Rolls-Royces and designer clothes.

There are 10 episodes in this season. The story is taken from the novel “Mr. and Mrs. American Pie” by Juliet McDaniel; however, it is not a complete remake of that storyline. With the fashions, hairstyles, mores and music of the late 1960s, this is a high-stakes dramedy.

When asked why she wanted to be in this show, Burnett simply said, “All I had to do is hear who was going to be in it. Kristen, Laura, Ricky — it’s just an incredible cast. I didn’t even have to read the script. I just wanted to work with these people and get to know them, and go out to dinner, and you know, and have some fun. Of course, in the first few episodes, I’m in a coma, and I still got paid. So, I mean, it was a slam dunk.” She later stated, “Well, I did read the script. I was kidding before but — and, to read that and to know that I could have the fun and, with the directors and the way it was written, they let me kind of do what I do.”

It is obvious Burnett had a ball making the show. “And, also, I have to say, too, just the look of it is incredible, the scenery and all. And then with all the costumes … it’s better than any great big motion picture that you would see. It is eye candy.”

This high-society soapy drama is a fun look at the high and mighty. The characters are shallow with greed, status and money on the top of their lists, not to mention back-stabbing if that is what it takes to keep their status and wealth. With this stellar cast, it will be a fun escape for viewers this spring. And when the final scene of the 10th episode airs, viewers will undoubtedly anxiously await the next season as there are plenty of cliff-hangers.

“Palm Royale” premiered March 20 on Apple TV+.


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