#GG2D! #GG2D! Bravo’s first scripted show Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce starts TONIGHT! The New York Times calls it “surprisingly entertaining” saying “It’s a funny, at times snarky, look at the absurdities of Divorce, California Style, but also one that tries to show the real pain that even the most pampered couples inflict on each other and their children.” The Hollywood Reporter calls star Lisa Edlestein’s performance a “tour de force” adding: “there’s really no overselling how outstanding she is in every scene, which is essential to convincing viewers that the show is not only worth a look, but a full commitment.” Every review, so far, is a RAVE. (see Deadline, Time, NY Daily News etc etc). I saw a special screening last week and can attest to its absolute brilliance. Lisa is AMAAAAAAAAAAZING. I can’t gush enough. There aren’t enough adjectives in the WORLD to describe her. She’s brilliant, compelling, incandescent, heartbreaking, hysterical, and just breathtakingly beautiful. Omg. And I’m not saying that because she’s one of my oldest friends. I’m saying that DESPITE her being one of my oldest friends. When you’ve known someone as I long as I’ve known Lisa (30 YEARS!), you look for chinks in the armor, for the tell-tale little tics or mannerisms that you know. There are NONE of those here. She disappears COMPLETELY into this character. She IS Abby McCarthy. I’m just going to say it: LISA IS EMMY-BOUND.
Promise me you’ll watch and tweet your every thought @JSJdarling. The pilot episode really builds. It’s funny and disturbing and sad and squeamish. There’s a scene where the 40-something Abby goes home with a 20-something and – spolier alert – it is EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER FELT ABOUT GROWING OLDER in one scene. But I’ve already said too much. Watch it. Watch it. Watch it. Tonight 10PM on Bravo.
What stands out about Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce is not just that all the humor — and there’s plenty of it, a la Sex and the City — is nailed with precision by (writer and creator) Marnie Noxon as someone who really gets the funny nuances of a multitude of relationship scenarios, but how that humor never undercuts the emotional realism. That’s a deft trick, difficult to pull off. And it’s especially important because Girlfriends’ Guide resonates (and will likely succeed creatively) for its heavier moments. You want to watch more episodes of this series not just because it’s funny, but because it understands that the emotionally complex elements of loving someone, marrying them and having kids with them are probably the reasons marriage tears two people apart over time.
Noxon has a lot to say on the subject. She cleverly uses Abby’s gay and married brother, Max (Patrick Heusinger), as her sometime sounding board, but also to show someone who, having fought for the right to even be married, is willing to fight to hang on to a marriage when it gets rocky. It’s another reminder that Girlfriends’ Guide isn’t as flippant as its title suggests.
It’s also unique how the series shows two successful women — Abby and Lyla — with men who are not their financial equals; it’s a twist on television’s decades-long overreliance on a dated trope.
None of this might be relevant, however, if not for Edelstein’s performance. She’s been memorable in almost everything she’s been in, but Girlfriends’ Guide is her tour de force — not just in flaunting impressive range as an actress, but also in making a new series, in a crowded field, on a channel not known for scripted fare, feel absolutely essential.