Act Your Age: Is the Show Inspired by Real Life?

Combining humor with heartfelt moments, ‘Act Your Age’ is a Bounce TV comedy-drama series that follows three accomplished women in their 50s — Bernadette, Keisha and Angela — who decide to reunite and face their lives together, opening up a world of opportunities and plenty of comedic situations. Bernadette is a real estate developer, while one of her best friends, Keisha, is a divorcee from Miami, and the other, Angela, is the former First Lady of Norfolk, Virginia, who recently lost her politician husband.

Created by Alyson Fouse, the show kicks off with Keisha and Angela visiting their mutual best friend Bernadette, who has finally decided to move and live in Washington, D.C. The two learn that Bernadette has lied to them to bring them to town, and she might be planning to elope with a man neither of them has met. Their night out for Bernadette’s high-profile bachelorette party causes complete mayhem, leading to all three women becoming roommates in Bernadette’s penthouse. ‘Act Your Age’ made a name for itself with its depiction of the challenges that an adult faces over all stages of their lives, prompting questions about whether any true events were utilized to form the basis of the story.

Act Your Age is Not Based on Reality

Though the story of ‘Act Your Age’ is stuffed with sufficient realism and subtle painful moments for them to directly hit one’s nerves, it is a fictional show. As evident by its title — an expression that definitely has its roots in reality — Alyson Fouse’s show doesn’t shy away from putting pressure on its characters for the sake of what age group they belong to, striking chords with millions of viewers. While it shares countless similarities with age-old sitcoms— most notably ‘The Golden Girls’ — ‘Act Your Age’ stands out for its truthfulness and mature exploration of midlife challenges and friendships.

One of the first impressions of realism the sitcom hints at is the relationship between Keisha and Angela. The best friendship they share on the surface mimics how some friends might perceive themselves as third wheels among their friend circles. ‘Act Your Age’ searches through a realistic portrayal of adulting in midlife, which can only come with trust, betrayal, and the complexities of long-standing relationships. After they move in, the trio faces a number of difficulties — including but not limited to — learning to live without romantic partners.

The interactions among the three become even more awkward after Angela begins to dissuade Bernadette from going through with the marriage, believing her fiance is unsuitable. This subplot resonates with thousands of successful women who are single and more often than not feel depressed or suffer from loneliness, which sometimes leads to them blaming themselves for putting careers ahead of their personal lives. The show occasionally crosses genre boundaries, arriving in the tragicomedy territory, best exemplified by Bernadette’s affair with Angela’s late husband, Davis, a former mayor.

The secret prompts her to keep judging all her actions, giving rise to excessive guilt.  In addition to the emotional turmoil, she must also prevent these revelations from coming to light. Conceived by the talented writing team comprising creator Alyson Fouse, Tracey Ashley, Sa’Rah Jones, Jai Joseph, Capri Sampson, Ranada Shepard, Lanie Siegel, Myles Warden, Arayna Eison, Lynn Maleh, and Kahlil Maskati, the sitcom’s ability to balance comedic elements with genuine emotional moments brings out a much-needed authenticity, often overlooked in several comedy shows. ‘Act Your Age’ raises curiosity about its inspirations and origins.

The factual representation of life’s ups and downs suggests a deeper understanding of the human condition. In an interview, showrunner Alyson Fouse and one of the writers, Myles Warden, discussed the inspirations, confirming the project has indeed been partially taken from their observations of the often overlooked aspects of everyday life. Myles shared that he instantly connected with the story world and characters from the pilot onwards. As an only child raised by a single mother, he related deeply to Jacob and saw reflections of the women who shaped his life in the other characters. Backing Fouse’s idea, Warden said, “Alyson knew the world needed to see fun, relatable, Black women in their 50s who could show the world how much fun that time of your life is and can be and thankfully the audience pulled up for us.”

He further remarked, “While the show is full of Black leads, the comedy and topics are universal so anyone can tune in and appreciate it too. This show serves an audience that needs more comedies that reflect people they know and a world they relate to.” Fouse pointed out that the three leads — similar to their characters — have been best friends for over 30 years in their real lives as well, which indeed fueled their chemistry, adding another reason to the truthful appeal of ‘Act Your Age,’ which, though not based on a true story, derives very real elements from life as we know it.

Read More: Best Adult Shows on Paramount+