Bravo has entered the scripted television game with its new series Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Is the show accessible to Bravo’s audience?
Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, which airs at 10pm Tuesdays (and repeated ad infinitum) on Bravo.
Best-selling self-help author Abby McCarthy (Lisa Edelstein) has made her career on dishing out advice on raising a family and wedded bliss. The problem: her marriage has crumbled and keeping up the charade isn’t working anymore. News of the impending divorce goes public at a disastrous book-signing event while Abby tries to navigate the world as a newly-single woman in her forties.
This is Bravo’s first foray into scripted programming, ordering a 13-episode season. The show was developed by Marti Noxon, who was a writer/producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Private Practice and Glee. Girlfriends’ Guides is a book series about pregnancy and parenting by Vicki Iovine.
Who is Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce For?
This is the question I found myself wrestling with throughout the pilot. The show hits a number of the Bravo bullseyes: upscale, Los Angeles, generalized fabulousness. The show’s marketing describes the series as a comedy, but a more accurate description would be a drama (lowercase d) with humorous moments.
The casting for this is quite good. Along with Lisa Edelstein1, Janeane Garofalo and Beau Garrett play her best friends and advisors through this current crisis. Garofalo’s character has gone through her own toxic divorce, which we get to see played out in some b-plot scenes. Garrett is a free-wheeler who plays the dating game (plastic surgery as it conveniences her, for example) but isn’t on a quest to find a permanent partner. The show feels a bit like a parallel universe version of Sex in the City where the main characters aren’t unrealistic depictions of monsters.
What Doesn’t Work…Yet
The difficulty I had while watching was trying to connect my own experience to what was happening on the show. I live in the midwest, I have never been married, I do not have any kids, I haven’t reached midlife yet—connecting to the emotional points of the show did not resonate with me. Part of this may be the table-setting found in most pilot episodes. The show has a large cast and establishing relationships and the inciting incident took up the bulk of the first episode.
Despite the difficulty of connecting with the subject matter off the bat, this show has bones. Since Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce is on basic cable, it is able to go places in terms of language and content that would never fly on broadcast but isn’t as gratuitous had it been on premium cable. The show feels on-brand with Bravo, despite the absence of fights about nothing and drunken screeching. The first two episodes are available on the Bravo website and are worth checking out. I want to give this a few more episodes to see if there is a way for an outsider to find accessibility.
- So glad she is back on TV. ↵