A companion piece (of sorts) to the Real Housewives of Whatever reality shows, Bravo is producing its first scripted show about the breakdown of a woman’s seemingly perfect life.
Abby McCarthy (Lisa Edelstein, House) is a wildly popular self-help book author with her Girlfriend’s Guide series of books. Her readers and the general public think she’s got her perfect line in order. Her reality is quite different since Abby has separated from her husband, Jake (Paul Adelstein, Private Practice), but they haven’t told anyone (not even the kids). Her social circle is starting to suspect that her perfect marriage is breaking down when Jake is seen getting a hotel room with a young CW starlet. Abby adds fuels to the rumors when she starts to pal around with the newly divorced Phoebe ((Beau Garrett, Tron Legacy, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior) and a tough entertainment lawyer, Lyla (Janeane Garofalo, Reality Bites, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion), who’s in a battle with her ex-husband.
Abby’s life really begins to spiral when the news about her problems become public and suddenly her whole guru-career seems like a sham. She now has to navigate an “amiable” divorce, deal with her free-falling career and learn how to be a single woman with kids in her 40s.
Yeah, Abby has some problems ahead! The first episode has to set up the story and a ton of characters so it’s a little muddled under the strain. The show starts to hit a grove in the second episode as Abby starts to question if her marriage is worth saving and how to get the best awful out of the situation.
Clearly this is a scripted drama, but it’s not without humor. (The girls are attending a baby shower not to celebrate the expectant mother, but because Gwyneth is throwing the shower.) Lisa Edelstein plays Abby very honestly as her world falls apart. Janeane Garofalo is as sharp as ever as Lyla’s divorce escalates into full War of the Roses mode, providing laughs, drama and a nice counterpoint to Abby’s divorce.
It’s an interesting dramedy and this first scripted show jives nicely with Bravo’s other programming. During the season, look for a trip to Vegas, a bad internet blog and appearances by J. August Richards (Angel, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders), Julianna Guill (Crazy, Stupid, Love), Michael Weaver (The Joe Schmo Show) and Charles Mesure (Desperate Housewives) and a cameo by Carrie Fisher.
Marti Noxon is writing and running this show. She’s always been an interesting writer from her days as the showrunner for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the films I Am Number Four and Fright Night. You may also remember her for her cameo role as the parking ticket lady in “Once More with Feeling” (“I’ve been having a bad, bad day..”) or as a newscaster in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog. This show is definitely written with women in mind since we don’t get the full story from the men’s point of view. Example: Jake is jealous of Abby’s platonic relationship with a man, yet he’s sleeping around.
Ergo, I don’t think this is necessarily a show for everyone since some guys may dismiss this as a “chick” show. But its compelling and Abby is sort of a cousin to Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City if she and Big settled down and had kids. Yes, there are fewer shoes involved here, but the way Abbey deals with her challenges and consults with her gal pals (ie..Samantha and Miranda), seem familiar, but with a twist.
Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce premieres on Tuesday, December 2nd on Bravo at 10/9C!
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