THE RUNWAY – YOUR 2017 PILOT SURVIVAL GUIDE: ABC COMEDIES

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jenna fischer

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Splitting Up Together

Logline: The story of a couple whose marriage by their divorce. Based on the 2016 Danish series.
Cast: Jenna Fischer, Oliver Hudson, Diane Farr,
Creators: Emily Kapnek (W / EP), Ellen DeGeneres (EP), Jeff Kleeman (EP), Mette Heeno (EP), Mie Andreasen (EP), Hella Joof (EP), Dean Holland (D)
Studios: Warner Bros TV, Piece of Pie Productions, A Very Good Productions

Jenna Fischer basically got screwed last pilot season. She was cast in Matt LeBlanc’s Man With a Plan, then replaced when the show went to series. Re-castings are certainly not unheard of, but when it’s one of the two leads, and you’re as big a name as Fischer, you have to wonder what went wrong? Happiness is the best revenge, so Fischer returns in this family comedy about a divorced couple.

Lena and Martin are up late at night, reviewing all the chores they did on the day for their household of three kids. They finish with a high five. Flashback to their earlier life, when pure passion and impulse drove their decision-making, not a care in the world. By the end of the cold open they tell their friends and family they’re amicably divorcing but still living together.

But all isn’t quite as amicable as once thought. It turns out Martin hadn’t been preparing the kids’ breakfast or lunch, and the dehumidifier is a point of contention. For act two, we have Martin and Lena talking to their respective relatives about the difficulties of the new arrangement. And despite Lena’s friends insisting she should try to get back together with Martin, Lena protests. Cue Martin’s date accidentally walking in on their ladies night. Act three reveals the date was really a dance teacher, and Lena might have a date of her own — with her kids’ doctor.

Splitting Up Together is a perfectly fine pilot. Everyone felt believable, and there were some moments of levity. The situation seems like a fairly common and understandable one in families. My biggest complaint is that four characters have first names that start with “M”. But there are some inherent challenges in getting a greenlight, including an outside studio (Warner Brothers) and a feeling that there’s not a ton unique here (Gary Unmarried had a similar set-up). I think we’re going to have to label this one with the dreaded “execution dependent.”

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