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Nov 30 2014

Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce – “Rule 23: Never Lie to the Kids” Review. Things Are Not What They Seem.

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Season 1, Episode 1

Air date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 10/9c on Bravo

Rating:

 

L-R: Beau Garrett as Phoebe, Lisa Edelstein as Abby, Paul Adelstein as Jake, and Janeane Garofalo as Lyla

L-R: Beau Garrett as Phoebe, Lisa Edelstein as Abby, Paul Adelstein as Jake, and Janeane Garofalo as Lyla.

When Bravo first announced it was heading into the realm of scripted series, I had my doubts about how successful the shows would be. After all, Bravo is now known for its reality shows like The Real Housewives [of Anywhere], Top Chef, their respective spin-offs, and more. But if Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce (GG2D) is any indication, it’s safe to say Bravo has a real hit on its hands. GG2D is full of sharp, witty dialogue, great acting, is funny when it needs to be, and dramatic when necessary. It’s also sexy, intelligent, and dark. GG2D is the complete package; you’ll be missing out on something special if you don’t have this new dramedy on your list of appointment TV.

GG2D revolves around the life of Abby McCarthy (House’s Lisa Edelstein), the successful author of how-to guides for women, as she ventures into a brave, new world. Abby is a self-help guru; an expert, if you will, on love, relationships, and family. Or, at least she used to be until she suffers a major breakdown on national television. In “Rule 23: Never Lie to the Kids (“Rule 23”),” we learn Abby’s marriage is in trouble; her husband Jake (Paul Adelstein) maintains a separate residence although he comes home at night to keep up the charade of a successful marriage; and her children—teenage daughter Lilly (Conner Dwelly) and grade school son Charlie (Dylan Schombing)—are suffering for it. Enter Abby’s best friends, entertainment lawyer Lyla (Janeane Garofalo) and former model Phoebe (Beau Garrett), who are all too happy to have Abby in their ranks. They’ve already been through divorces of their own and are eager to help Abby navigate the waters of meeting, greeting, and mindless “sexing.”

What I love most about GG2D is how intelligent the humor is. I don’t need to be spoon-fed to know when something is funny so I appreciate the excellent job creator/writer Marti Noxon does of not treating her audience like mindless robots. The texts Abby and Jake send each other about the state of their marriage are humorous since we realize how hard they’re working to keep their problems from their kids.

Edelstein absolutely shines as Abby. Noxon gives her great material with which to stretch her acting chops—from the most hysterical to the most heartbreaking—and Edelstein does an excellent job with it. She easily portrays Abby as truthful, vulnerable, strong, daring, uncertain, and exposed—all within one single hour—and has impeccable comedic timing.

All dressed up, ready to party.

All dressed up, ready to party.

These days, it’s difficult enough to write a show that has one strong female character, so congratulations to Noxon for creating and writing a show with three. You see, as strong as Edelstein is, co-stars Garofalo and Garrett more than hold their own. Although in “Rule 23,” Garrett does her best to steal almost every scene she’s in, especially when her character Phoebe takes Abby to her ex-husband Raph’s (Charles Mesure) club after Abby calls and says, “get me laid.” I could characterize Phoebe as the dumb blonde to Garofalo’s Lyla, who is the exact opposite, but Phoebe is anything but. She may be vapid at times but the girl knows how to get what she wants and is definitely not stupid. And Lyla, what can I say about her other than I adore the way Garofalo plays Lyla as a brilliant feminist. She thinks nothing of playing a mind game with her ex-husband Dan (Michael Weaver) in order to get full custody of their kids. And the mind game? The subject may be serious but what Lyla does to Dan is unequivocally hysterical.

I want the same "younger man experience!"

I want the same “younger man experience!”

Speaking about Dan, the men in GG2D are no slouches either – with their acting and good looks. With a series about a woman who is undergoing a divorce, you might think the men would all be douchebags. Quite the contrary, although Dan does see a dominatrix, Mistress Veruca Salt (Leah Gibson). Abby’s brother Max (Patrick Heusinger) is gay, “traditional,” and married to a handsome black man (J. August Richards); Drew (guest star Warren Christie) is young and hot, hot, hot. He proves himself to be an all-around nice guy and potential good fit for Abby in more ways than one. I must admit, I cracked up when Drew tells Abby, “I’m gonna give you the younger man experience.” If I ever enter the dating scene again, heaven forbid, I want the same “younger man experience” from someone like Drew! <*wiping the drool from my mouth*>

It's never easy to tell the kids you're divorcing.

It’s never easy to tell the kids you’re divorcing.

As comedic as GG2D is, it certainly has its dramatic moments. In “Rule 23,” it is painful to watch Abby and Jake as they come to the realization a divorce is in the cards. But even more heartbreaking is the resultant conversation they have with Charlie and Lilly when they burst into their parents’ room in the middle of an argument, and the awful reactions Charlie and Lilly have when they learn the truth about their parents’ marriage.

I know some people are already painting GG2D as a Sex and the City (SATC) clone, and to an extent it is. After all, both series revolve around the lives of a writer and her girlfriends. But in SATC, the ladies were single and pursuing life in the Big Apple, trying to find a boyfriend, having one night stands, and furthering their careers. In GG2D, the ladies are either divorced or going through one, established in their careers in Los Angeles, and re-entering the dating pool after years of marriage. That’s a huge difference, folks. I know; I’ve lived both shows and both lifetimes. The only real similarity between the two shows is how the women lean on each other to get through all manner of problems. So if a comparison is to be drawn, let’s just say GG2D is a grown-up version of SATC. But you know what else? SATC was a great show that lasted for six years and won several Emmys and Golden Globes, not only for the show but its stars as well. That’s not a bad thing to be compared to.

With such upcoming characters as “The Hat Lady,” “Bird in the Cage,” “Unctuous Waiter,” “Busty Mom,” “Fish,” “Loin Cloth Guy,” and “Fashionable Idiot,” as listed on IMDb, I just know we’re in for a long and funny ride. Plus, we only briefly meet Abby’s divorce lawyer Deila (Necar Zadegan) in “Rule 23,” and she’s quite a character. I enjoyed Zadegan in 24, Rake, and The Event so I can’t wait to find out what she has up her sleeve for Deila.

After you watch the series premiere of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, hit me up on Twitter @SeasideTV or leave me a comment below to let me know what you think of Bravo’s new series. Do you like it as much as I do?

Tune in to Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Tuesdays at 10/9c, only on Bravo.

For more on the show, visit GG2D’s official website at http://www.bravotv.com/girlfriends-guide-to-divorce.

LIKE GG2D on Facebook.

Follow GG2D on Twitter @BravoTV using hashtag #GG2D, as well as Lisa Edelstein @LisaEdelstein, Paul Adelstein @adelsteinPaul, J. August Richards @jaugustrichards, Beau Garrett @beaujgarrett, Necar Zadegan @zadegan, and writer/creator Marti Noxon @martinoxon.

 

 

All photos © 2014 Bravo Network, a division of NBC Universal, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

© 2014, Linda. All rights reserved.

Linda

Love TV, movies, and books--mostly mysteries, with a good love story thrown in every now and then. I have four adopted dogs who I adore. I love trying new recipes, and enjoy eating what I make. English language perfectionist. Reading in bed, Italian food, warm weather, the beach, all types of games = favs!
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About the author

Linda

Love TV, movies, and books--mostly mysteries, with a good love story thrown in every now and then. I have four adopted dogs who I adore. I love trying new recipes, and enjoy eating what I make. English language perfectionist. Reading in bed, Italian food, warm weather, the beach, all types of games = favs!

5 comments

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  1. Amanda

    Love the younger guy! I want THAT guy! And thanks for listing his real name, I was curious!

  2. Layla

    Here’s hoping it’s not just about sex.

    1. Linda

      Hi Layla,

      I don’t think that will be the case. GG2D is more about finding yourself during and after a divorce. Although, a little sex never hurt anyone!

  3. Riley

    LOVED your review! Very excited about the show. But Abby’s new Beau is called Will, not Drew.

    1. Linda

      Hi Riley,

      Thanks for your comment. I took his name from the screener I was sent by the network. Many times, names, music, and other things are changed for the final copy.

      Linda

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