Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO as Frances, a soon-to-be divorced woman to Thomas Haden Church’s character, Robert in DIVORCE. This story shows us the divorce process up close and personal, from its beginning to its assumed end. It’s appropriate that this subject matter is told through the lens of dark comedy. Divorce, as I’ve heard, is like a death. There’s nothing immediately funny about death, but there are by-products surrounding it that certainly are.
One of those by-products is the relationship between Diane (Molly Shannon) and her husband Nick (Tracy Letts). Diane damn near shoots Nick to death, but she misses. Nick has a heart attack instead. Their relationship is the epitome of two people who just hate each other’s guts but refuse to part ways. Perhaps they just really believe in their vows? It is apparent that they love each other, but they don’t like each other. Yes, this is possible. This incident forces Frances to think about her relationship with Robert.
Frances is not only not in love with her husband anymore, but she doesn’t even like him. It seems like she is even disgusted with him, and I am perplexed as to why. He seems lovely enough. He even offers her cunnilingus after she declares that she wants a divorce. How sweet. Despite her rejection, he’s dedicated to making it work.
There are several mysterious things happening with Frances, one of which is answered in this pilot. One is – why does she want a divorce so badly? The answer- she has a lover. Isn’t this the reason some people divorce? Because they believe the grass is greener on the other side? Turns out it’s not as her lover gets fully annoyed that she’s planning to divorce her husband. He says that what they “had” was special because it was secret. In other words, her lover has no intention of bringing their affair to the light. Boy, does Frances show her naivete here.
Because her lover only wants to see her at sketchy hours of the day and preferably in a bed, she has a convenient change of heart. She says that she asked for a divorce because she was in shock after Nick had a heart attack. I didn’t know that someone else’s heart attack could cause such a stir in someone, and neither did Robert. But Robert, being the seeminlgy sweetie pie that he is, marches forward, hopeful that the two can come to some common ground – until he realizes that she’s having an affair. That, to him, is unforgivable, and it’s the straw that breaks his back. Frances finds herself locked out of her home facing a man that’s firm about divorcing her. Oh, how the tables have turned.
“Divorce” represents a new way that we see divorce on TV. It’s not pretty. It’s confusing. It’s schizophrenic. It’s ugly. It’s funny. It’s annoying. When you’re in close quarters with someone, even someone that you consider your best friend in life, things get tough. You argue about big, small, tiny, and miniscule things. You make up and then you repeat. That’s the nature of committing yourself to one person. However, when someone isn’t willing to do that for a lifetime, it can create a firestorm that not only affects their lives but the lives of children, friends, extended family and God knows what else. I am looking forward to seeing the disintegration of this relationship, not because I’m into that sort of thing, but well, that’s the focus of the show.
Season 1, Episode 1 (S01E01)
Divorce airs Sunday at 10PM on HBO
Jennifer spends her nights writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @reneseford
Keep up with all of Jennifer’s reviews here.
Jennifer Ford | Contributor