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Divorce - Pilot - Review + POLL

Don’t you just love a show that gets right in your face from the get go - “I was forced to take a shit in this coffee can”. Immediately I fell in love with Thomas Haden Church. Coupled, and about to be uncoupled, with Sarah Jessica Parker they star in the new HBO comedy “Divorce” which premiered on our screens last night in an attempt to satirise one of the bleakest moments in a human’s life - Divorce.

It wasn’t easy viewing, but if you like dark comedy, drawing on life’s denuded moments then you would’ve enjoyed watching this opening episode. Comedy doesn’t have to be happy. It doesn’t have to provide life affirmation. Sometimes it’s enough just to remind us that there are others stuck in some kind of life hell hole. This premier took a marriage opened it up for the world to see the many flaws within. Many people will have recognised themselves, their partner, their family or friends in Frances (Parker) and Robert, (Church) the middle aged couple who have discovered that there is no love, barely any like, and little trust left in their threadbare marriage.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s Frances is a very far cry from Sex and the City’s emotional, romantic Carrie, Parker’s previous HBO stalwart. On the surface it appears Frances is a victim of her circumstances with a husband who is entirely apathetic. By the end we realise that both husband and wife are victims of each other having let their marriage wither without nutrient or love.

Frances realises that she no longer wants to be with her husband and after a shocking and scary incident at her best friends’s 50th birthday party asks Robert for a divorce. Not only is Robert apathetic about his wife, he is also indifferent to her request to end the marriage. Only evidence of Frances’ steamy affair with Julian sends him into a tailspin where he finds his strength to challenge her back.

The comedy is dry and cutting with the most notable performance from Church himself, his dead pan delivery of Sharon Horgan’s script a master class of comic timing. Indeed despite his highly objectionable traits Robert comes out as the only really likable character. I suspect this might be the shows undoing. Sold as a Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle it is Thomas Haden Church who excites the most. Only at the end when Frances is locked out of her house do we see that far from being apathetic Robert is really rather cross. I suspect however that we will not be allowed to take sides, both are equally awful and potentially very funny.

The pilot ends where the divorce proceedings start and the battle lines were drawn. With a strong supporting cast Divorce has promise if you brace yourself for a rocky road. But it’s not for everyone. And if you’re in the dog end of a bad marriage you may want to avoid.

About the Author - Brouhaha
Maxine (aka Brouhaha) is a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and writes episode reviews and occasional articles. Her other TV favourites include Foyle's War, Criminal Minds, Bones, TBBT, Broadchurch, Catastrophe and despite her better judgement Madam Secretary. In real life she's a mum, self-employed and can often be found arguing about politics or current affairs, attempting to write fiction and buying hair products. Got a question - go to Tumblr ask!
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