Girfriends’ Guide to Divorce on Bravo
“You don’t just get divorced once. You get divorced over and over and over.” Marti Noxon
By Valerie Milano
Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 11/24/14 – Bravo played it smart when laying the slab foundation for its first originally scripted series, the sexy dramedy, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Remember the Bravo Network is the reality-show capital of the world. Launching pad for the oft imitated Top Chef and the ubiquitous Housewife’s of (fill in any major city here). And, when these reality shows finish their season, we have talk shows and panel discussions with the “stars’ of said shows to provoke more issues and tissues. So, how smart is it that Bravo unveils a whip-smart, sassy romcom that examines all the dark, domestic crawl-spaces we see on our favorite reality shows? Moreover, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce is smarter and funnier; and in some inexplicable way, more believable.
The series is trailered and teased as a ‘girls in the wood’ romp. And in a sense it is. However, it hits notes that are deeper and more resonant than you standard yak-pack comedy. The writers seem willing forfeit a laugh for a smile if it makes more sense. Lisa Edelstein stars as a successful (self-help) author Abby McCarthy, who supports her two kids, husband and housekeeper by writing pithy tomes on how well she is multi-tasking as a wife, mother and wage-earner. Meanwhile, Abby and her house- hubby Jake (Paul Adelstein) are desperately clinging to an unorthodox in-house separation in order to maintain a unified façade for the public and keep the book royalties flowing. However, the separation unravels into a more conventional lawyer war. Then, Abby alienates her fans at a book signing when she admits to gazing at her sleeping husband and imagining him conveniently dead, and further offers that the book she is currently flogging is horseshit.
With a fractured marriage and a cancelled book tour Abby leans heavily on her support group of two gal-pals who have recently split with their husbands and have plenty of advice and encouragement to offer their new recruit. Within this group lies the show’s secret weapon, Janeane Garofalo. Garafalo plays a razor-witted, foul-mouthed entertainment attorney who plays as dirty as she talks. Garofalo is a money-in-the-bank comic actress who has mysteriously settled into the B-list despite her propensity for being (of late) the best thing in a string of substandard projects. Indeed, on Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, Garofalo is the comedic tower of power that delivers the lioness’ share of out-loud laughs, and raises the game of those around her.
I came to this show expecting the male characters to be treated as little more than gag-lines and verbal dartboards. However, in Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, the men (led by Paul Adelstein) act their way out of this comedy ghetto and help deliver the darker, grittier 411 on the reversal of gender roles and what it’s like to be held prisoner in the war of the sexes.
Strong writing, strong acting and plethora of zany plot-lines suggest that Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce has a deep well to draw from. Girfriends’ Guide to Divorce breezes by with nary a dead zone or cheap laugh. And crucially, it plugs into the current relationship Zeitgeist without pandering to the lowest common denominator; a trick ‘real’ reality shows have yet to master.
TheHollywoodTimes.net and other publications recently had the opportunity to speak to Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce executive producer and creator Marti Noxon; Paul Adelstein, Abby’s future ex-husband; lead star Lisa Edelstein who plays Abby McCarthy; Beau Garrett who plays Phoebe,; and Necar Zadegan who stars as Delia, Abby’s powerful divorce attorney.
Creator Marti Noxon explained his personal connection to the premise of the new show and it’s overall mission, MARTI NOXON: “ I got a text from my business manager that today I paid my last alimony payment. So that felt like some kind of good sign. Five years ago my marriage split up, but this show is about so much more than that for me. And it’s not about my divorce. It’s about divorces, and none of it is autobiographical, but I was so inspired by the experience, but also I had been wanting for a long time to write about sexual politics, about what’s going on between men and women right now in relationships, especially when a woman earns a lot more than a man or when she gets more attention for being in the world. We’re all trying to figure out how to navigate so many new things.”
Paul Adelstein talked about his role and the sexual politics of Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, PAUL ADELSTEIN: “One of the unexpected and interesting things about the show is, like Marti was saying, it’s an examination of sexual politics today, and a lot of things that you think or the dynamic of the family or of these women or among them, amongst the relations, is not what turns out to be so. And I mean, for instance, Jake and Abby’s relationship, Abby’s been almost the sole breadwinner for quite a long period of time, and he wants half of everything, and he feels like he’s been the stay at home dad and put his career on hold. Whether that’s why his career is on hold or not is up for debate.”
MARTI NOXON talked about acting chemistry: “……. it was an unexpected thing for us when we got into breaking the season because there was such chemistry between you two actors (Paul Adelstein and Lisa Edelstein) and the scenes there was chemistry between the whole cast. It was really electric, but we really veered much more into the male experience, too, what it’s like to go through divorce. And Jake’s character I feel like the first season has a kind of will the/won’t they quality, because at least from my experience, someone said to me once, “You don’t just get divorced once. You get divorced over and over and over.”
Star Lisa Edelstein talked about working with Carrie Fisher, who had a cameo on Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce, LISA EDELSTEIN: “She’s amazing. I love Carrie Fisher. She’s so smart. She has such a wonderful, rich life that talking to her can be slightly intimidating. She’s one of those people that she’s been around everyone and everything, and so she sort of owns a room, and if the conversation trails off because a topic has completed, she doesn’t pick it back up again. She has to be okay being quiet or think of something else to talk about. It’s really interesting. “