My gut reaction to hearing about the new Bravo scripted series, Girlfriends Guide To Divorce (Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce) was to slam my fist down on my desk in exasperation that I wasn’t hired to be one of the writers of the show!
Come on! Divorce is my thing. Never mind that I write about it almost every day on Divorced Girl Smiling, but the plots of both my novels, Free Gift With Purchase and Divorced Girl Smiling heavily include divorce. I also have an unpublished manuscript called I’ve Got Issues, a dramady that is outrageously funny, heartwarming and in my opinion, my future best seller. (just waiting for a publishing to come knocking.)
So, last night, I sat down and watched the premiere of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, trying to put my bitterness and jealously aside and be an unbiased critic. Here is my review:
Abby McCarthy is the best selling author of a self-help series who seems to have the perfect life: a cute husband, two great kids who attend a prestigious private school, a beautiful home, and all the money she needs.
But the truth is, her marriage is crumbling, and she and her husband, Jake are trying to hide it from everyone, including the kids. While Jake is already dating (and sleeping with women), Abby is desperately holding onto hope of saving the marriage. One night changes everything…
Abby’s two new best girlfriends, Phoebe and Lyla (both divorced) take her out to a new club. There she meets (and later has sex with) the gorgeous, young manager of the place. When she gets home at 5 a.m., Jake goes ballistic and their fight leads to the kids walking in and finding out their parent’s marriage is over.
At her Barnes And Noble book signing the next day, Abby blows her cover of having the perfect life, telling the crowd it would be easier if her husband was dead, and basically ruining her career. The episode ends with her walking out of the store, probably relieved to have come clean, but in a way, broken (temporarily, of course.)
Maybe the producers of Girlfriends Guide To Divorce missed out on a great writer (me), but they certainly got it right with the actors—every one of them. I remember Lisa Edelstein all the way back from Seinfeld! She is beautiful, funny and very likable. I found myself rooting for her the entire show. Next, they went with Paul Adelstein, who was the pediatrician on Private Practice, a show I loved! The only thing I don’t really get is, why is Abby’s last name “McCarthy” when clearly they are a Jewish family?
What I Think
So, I have to admit, I was thoroughly captivated throughout the whole show, which might be because divorce is my business, but I don’t think so. As far as pure entertainment value, I’d rank it up there with Grey’s Anatomy (the early years), Desperate Housewives, Lipstick Jungle, and maybe even my all time fav, Sex and the City.
Did it paint a realistic picture of divorce? At times, I think it did, even though it was greatly embellished for the purpose of entertainment (which it should be).
Favorite scenes: Abby and Phoebe’s French kiss, Abby and the hot, young guy.
Very favorite scenes:
1. When Abby’s brother says to her, “Marriage is forever. It’s not like there was abuse or alcoholism.” Abby then replies, “I’m sorry I disappointed you in the fact that I wasn’t abused.” Very good writing.
2. When Abby gets home at 5 a.m. and Jake is sitting at the kitchen table waiting. The fact that she slept with someone drives him nuts, even though he has been sleeping with several women. So, what does he do? He tries to have sex with her! Very realistic of what a man would do. But, I was so glad she didn’t do it. She had just had sex with the younger guy an hour ago. That would have been kind of yucky. The scene was realistic in the sense that newly separated couples often go back and forth, indecisiveness every minute and things becoming explosive.
Very unrealistic scene: when Abby calls out “Jake” during sex with the younger guy. No way a separated woman would do that. Just wouldn’t happen (in my opinion.)
Also, I could have done without the scene where Abby runs into her brother in a coffee shop and is avoiding telling him about her divorce because he is so conservative. Who does that?! It’s your brother! When I was getting divorced, I called my brother crying and seeking support. That seems more realistic to me.
I will look forward to watching Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce next week, and probably for the whole season. Not just because of my business, but I’m curious and I really care about Abby (which is a credit to Edelstein and the producers of the show.)
It’s funny. I once pitched both my novel, Free Gift With Purchase and my unpublished manuscript, I’ve Got Issues to a well-known movie producer. He said to me, “Divorce movies don’t sell. No one wants to watch their divorce on TV or in a theatre. It’s just too painful.”
Really? First of all, the guy is married (never divorced) so how did he know that? Secondly, he is out of the business now. Here is my answer to him:
Kramer Vs. Kramer, The War of the Roses, Bye Bye Love, An Unmarried Woman, Heartburn, Enough Said, and Crazy Stupid Love. And depending on how the season goes, Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce has the potential to be the next megahit, and a show that has women having Tuesday night wine and watch parties like we did during the Melrose Place days!