Sarah Jessica Parker has returned to HBO with her new series Divorce. Obviously, this new series is not going to be anything like Sex and the City. This is not Carrie divorces an older man that isn’t Mr. Big and moves back to manhattan, but I find that SJP is a phenomenal actress that has a way of portraying complex characters so that they’re relatable. And I’m here to support my girl.
Credit: HBO/Craig Blankenhorn
This first episode is just an introduction. I believe we will find out way more along the way as the season progresses. If i had to give a quick summary, I’d say Frances (SJP) and Robert (Thomas Haden Church) have been married with children for more then a decade and living in Westchester, NY. A complete marriage disaster during their friend’s dinner party, causes Frances to realize that what she has with Robert isn’t it.
The way they all go about this is raw, but real. This is where I can insert my Sex and The City comparison. SATC’s appeal came from lifestyle and fashion, but also because of the candid way they talked about topics that matter to women including sex. SATC continues to be one of the only shows that is just that real.
The characters on Divorce are quite comparable. They say exactly what their thinking and it isn’t always pretty. Fortunately, it’s incredibly comical. I think this will be my new favorite show.
Divorce Episode One
Frances and Robert are getting ready for a dinner party and you right away get the feeling their relationship is hostile. Robert has been knocking on the bathroom door for twenty minutes and Frances has ignored him. Their daughter had taken over the other bathroom in the gloriously massive house and Robert was forced to head to the garage to use the bathroom.
Frances doesn’t care. But Robert has brought a plastic coffee container to show her that he had to take a crap in it. I was relieved when he admitted that he didn’t crap in the container and was only trying to make a point. If this is how they handle the bathrooms, I can only imagine the mess they have in the rest of their relationship.
Birthday Party for Diane
The couple shows up for their friend Diane’s (Molly Shannon) birthday party at an even more exclusive house. Diane’s house is the type of house I would live in if I hit the lotto. Frances mingles with the girls, while Robert heads towards the fondue to burn his fingers and engage in awkward conversation. Frances, Diane, and Dallas (Talia Balsam) have drinks while discussing Dallas’s possible hook up with one of the guest’s named Malcom.
Dallas had been widowed and divorced by her two previous husbands and finds Malcom to be a bore. All he talks about is his recently deceased wife. As grim as that may seem, you have to remember that Dallas is a woman in need of a breath of fresh air in her life. A man who is still grieving his wife’s passing is not the type of man she should be going for, The girls toast Malcom either way, because this widow/divorcee is going to try her chances anyway.
Once their all seated for dinner at a long table, Diane ends up telling Frances her dog passed, when Frances asks for Beatrice and her weepy butt. The dog loved to press her butt against Frances when she saw her. Diane uses her own animosity towards her husband Nick to explain how the dog died. She claims Beatrice killed herself and wrote in a note that she hates Nick. But really, Diane is at the point where her husband disgusts her and beatrice died of old age at 24 years.
See, Diane is a little bit drunk and is saying exactly what she’s thinking. She continues to poke at her husband by also mentioning that he’s gained a lot of weight. She thinks he did it on purpose to revolt her. Nick is spooning food into his mouth as Frances looks over at him and then Diane isn’t even talking about him anymore. She’s still saying look at him, but now she’s talking about Robert. Diane says Robert looks like a weeping pussy.
What? Frances looks at Robert conversing awkwardly again down the table and then looks back at Diane in confusion. It didn’t look like Frances wanted her husband criticized but she didn’t say anything to defend him either. Maybe she was as shocked as I was. Diane has some nerve talking about someone else with the same disgust she has for her husband.
Nick clinks his glass for a toast, but it might as well have been a roast. It seems Nick openly feels the same way Diane does. He tells her Happy Birthday although he knows she doesn’t like turning 50, she truly does look 50. Then he takes it back and ruins it again. He says she looks great because she has the benefit of not having children due to her biological dysfunction. And if their was even a sliver of a doubt amongst guests that he was joking, they would have changed their minds with his gift to Diane. A giant of a dog that is nothing like Beatrice. You could just tell that the massive dog is going to rip through that aesthetically pleasing house and leave deposits of massive crap everywhere.
Did i mention that Diane is wearing a purple dress that looked borrowed from the Samantha Jones collection? She looks damn good in it, so I truthfully don’t see anything wrong with it. Only, she ends up grinding on one of her guests in her little dress in front of everyone. Nick pulls her to the side to scold her and they end up in a big argument about control, while Dallas and Frances watch from the sidelines.
Robert was also watching the entertainment from an outside bon fire on the side of the house. Diane takes the argument to the other side of the house and starts searching through a drawer feverishly. She pulls out a gun and points it at Nick. Frances and Dallas intervene but duck, when Diane starts swinging the gun around. Robert comes in from the outside and Diane shoots in his direction, missing him and getting the standing lamp instead. Nick, however, gets a heart attack and falls to the floor. They call for an ambulance, while Diane proclaims how sorry she is.
Still a little tipsy, Diane excuses herself from each guest as she’s escorted out in handcuffs. It’s the most embarrassing display of having no shame, but i couldn’t stop laughing. She’s over here asking her guests to have cheesecake before they go because their too skinny and excusing herself as if she’ll be back within the hour.
Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church (Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO)
Frances and Robert are sitting at a table just processing. I couldn’t understand how laid back Frances was with the fact that her husband could have been shot. But that’s cause her mind is racing with the realization that one of her bitter arguments with Robert, could end up with her wanting to shoot him. She could be just like Diane.
Robert admits he would never want to shoot her. But Frances says that when he threw her laptop out the window she thought of breaking a ceramic cat decoration and cutting him with one of it’s shards. Then she remembers that he spent last Christmas in Alaska and she felt relieved. She also realizes her heart sinks when she gets home and he’s there. These realizations have been piling up with time and this shocking occurrence has brought about the big picture. If she continues to be married to someone she is unhappy with, it may end up badly.
Robert ends up throwing up into his cup and the shoe of a cop who was looking for a statement. Robert is not ready for divorce. I understand this because it feels like the disconnection has been solely happening on Frances’s side (so far), and he’s just been dealing with it.
When Frances wakes up, Robert is sitting in a chair like a creep. He left that night and went to the strip club and returned with patching his marriage in mind. His solution? He wants to lick Frances’s vagina and lounge dart her anus. If there is no passion between them, he figured an orgasm would fix the problem. Not going to happen.
Sterling Jerins, Sarah Jessica Parker, Charlie Kilgore (Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO)
Frances makes breakfast for the kids and then walks them to the school bus. At first glance, they seem like incredibly detached children that are ungrateful and rude. Frances is left to nag her daughter about brushing her teeth and asking her son to stop dragging his book bag on the floor. Neither of them pay her much attention, even after she apologizes at the bus window.
The Single Life
Frances and Dallas take the Metronorth to work. Dallas gives Frances advise on the single life. The kids will use the divorce as another thing to hate her for and it will be impossible to find someone worthy of dating. That’s when we discover that Frances already has a solution to that issue. She’s been cheating on Robert for a year with Julian, a man that makes his own granola.
In fact, Frances had already called in late to work to meet up with him. But Dallas warns that Frances is not in love with her fling, she’s just into the orgasms he’s been shelling for the past year. Frances meets up with granola man and he’s quite a disappointment. How she sees this man as an upgrade frothier current relationship, other then the sex, is beyond me. They have some afternoon delight and then she tells him of her plan to divorce.
Julian doesn’t welcome the idea of making their relationship more permanent. He likes that he’s the dirty little secret and wouldn’t want to change anything from their current role playing.
Frances heads home with a heavy heart and I can’t imagine what she’s thinking. I’m hoping she has plans to find someone new and kick Julian to the curb. But she comes home with special food for the kids and I’m guessing a fresh bag of guilt. Robert is sitting in the dark waiting for the divorce to start unraveling.
But Frances takes it all back, as if she had gone through a temporary phase that caused her to want a divorce. I wanted to go through the screen and smack her for lying. The only thing that made her suddenly change her mind was the realization that she would be alone. Fear of being alone forces her to try to make her marriage work, instead of sticking to her guns and going through with the divorce.
Had she really wanted to try, she should have done so a year ago. My fears that she’ll force this change and later regret it.
They have sex that night, even though she had sex with Julian just earlier that day. The next morning Julian calls her phone and Robert passes it to her, but Frances doesn’t pick it up. Everything starts looking up between them. And suddenly, her daughter is willing to wave a goodbye from the bus, instead of treating her like crap. Are the kids taking sides during the breakdown of their relationship?
The Hard Way
Frances goes to see Diane when she gets home from the slammer. Nick is in critical condition and Diane is selfishly contemplating what she’ll do if he recovers and comes home. She’s more worried about how mad he will be at her then the prospect of him dying since his condition is worsening.
Frances doesn’t even get to share that she was planning on divorcing Robert. Even though it seems that after getting arrested, Diane has changed her mind about all the negative things she said about Nick too. She even comments that he loves his french fries as if it was something casual. Just a few days ago, she would have been going off about how he was eating french fries on purpose to get fat and make her life miserable.
What I see here are two women that experienced sobering circumstances that made them realize what the consequences of the choices they have been thinking of would look like. Now that they’re scared they are looking at the bright side of everything that led them both to hate being with their significant others.
Diane even mentions a remark about Frances talking badly about Nick, as if Frances initiated negative comments about him and he knew about it. So far, Frances has never made a comment about Nick. That could only mean Diane is going to use her as a scapegoat. Diane is a master manipulator who gossips more then a little bit but finds a way to shift blame.
To make matters worse, the dog Nick bought is as annoying as I predicted. She’s stubborn and barks loudly. Frances is muscled into doing Diane a favor by taking the dog and agrees to give testimony if Diane ever needs to go to court. I must say that Diane looks like a fun friend to hang with for the day, but I wouldn’t want to be called on for any favors. She’s as inconsiderate as they come.
When Frances gets home, dragging the dog, she can’t get the door open. She calls Robert on the phone to get him to open the door, but he’s inside and unwilling. He changed the locks. It seems that Robert decided to call the number that called Frances earlier and spoke with Julian. Julian admitted to the year long affair and even disclosed that they had had sex the night before.
Robert wants a divorce now, even if that’s not what he wanted before. And he promises that it won’t be a clean divorce,the way she had suggested, but a grueling and painfully long divorce. he even threatens to make their kids hate her.
Robert has every right to be this angry. Frances F-ed this whole thing up royally. However, I don’t like that he’s using the kids as a means to hurt her. That’s just not right. The episode ends with Frances stuck on her snowy porch with a dog that can’t stay still and no where to go.
What did you think about this first episode? any thoughts on the realness of suffering consequences that Frances is dealing with? comment below or message me here to talk more HBO Divorce ->
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