Over the weekend, Mare of Easttown — the instant cult classic HBO crime drama where Kate Winslet vapes with a Delco accent in a flannel shirt — ended with a devastating twist. The show captured national attention for the seven weeks that it was on, and while to some the finale was unsatisfying, this collective cultural moment finished with at least one conclusive takeaway: Kate Winslet was the show’s star but Wawa was its backbone.
During the press cycle for Mare, there was hardly an interview in which the show’s actors didn’t redirect the conversation to Wawa, the East Coast’s most cherished convenience store. “Wawa is like … It’s incredible,” Evan Peters, who plays the earnest too-soon-deceased detective Colin Zabel on the show, told the New York Times. “It’s a one-stop shop. It’s got everything in there.” Peters’s order of choice? The Gobbler, a hoagie that shows up around Thanksgiving with all the requisite turkey day fixin’s. “It’s incredible. They have great coffee. You can get ice. You can get all sorts of good stuff there.”
Winslet says she prepared for the role of Mare Sheehan by subscribing to the Delco Times and reading the paper every day. “There would regularly be some article about Wawa,” she said on the LA Times’ podcast The Envelope. “It almost felt like a mythical place. By the time I got there, I was like, ‘Ah, it’s real!’” Winslet — a vegetarian — mostly went to Wawa for the coffee, she said, but Peters frequently regaled her with tales of his hoagies. “Walking into Wawa ultimately felt like an honor in a funny way,” she said. “To me, that was the heart of Delco. I’m here, I belong, this is where it’s at.”
Director Craig Zobel said that characters in the show got their authentic feel — remember when Mare wore a garment-dyed Ocean City hoodie? — from the time Meghan Kasperlik, Mare’s costume designer, spent in line at Wawa. ‘“Our costume designer would constantly be texting me pictures from the Wawa convenience store, just of people in the line,” Zobel said. “Whenever we’d find something unflattering,” Winslet told the New York Times of the Wawa costume recon, “we’d be jumping up and down like, ‘Yes! We’re wearing this.’”
But it wasn’t just in preparation for filming alone that Wawa had an impact — there were several pivotal moments where Wawa showed up on-screen. Getting out of her car in episode one? Mare cradles a Wawa cup. An early sign of his love for Mare? Detective Zabel asks Mare if he can get her a Wawa coffee. Among a collection of suspicious objects on the coffee table in a predator’s dingy dungeon home? A Wawa hoagie wrapper.
Wawa’s public relations supervisor, Jennifer Wolf, told Eater that they were honored to have had such a prominent role in this spring’s most talked-about show. “We are so proud and humbled to be included in such an authentic and heartfelt show that honors our Delco region,” Wolf said. “And even prouder to call Kate a true Wawa customer!”
Mare of Easttown may be over, and our devotion to Wawa evermore cemented, but at least one mystery still remains: why so much Rolling Rock? Lacey Clifford, senior director of marketing communications at Anheuser-Busch, gave Eater the final word: “If you are asking if Anheuser-Busch has a paid sponsorship with the show to feature Rolling Rock, the answer is no.”
✨ KATE WINSLET SAYING WAWA FOR THE TIMELINE ✨ pic.twitter.com/ItvhyFzOAj— ashley ✨ (@SHUTUPitsASH) June 2, 2021