HBO’s Divorce-Raw and Funny

HBO's Divorce Raw and Funny
image source HBO

HBO’s Divorce, the new show starring Sarah Jessica Parker, is both raw and funny.  I read a few reviews that weren’t favorable so my expectations weren’t exactly high. I’m happy to report though, that this show based solely on the Premier episode, has a ton to offer. There is a great deal to sink our teeth into. It is full of irony, wry humor, double talk, deceit and brutal honesty but at the same time, it’s subtle.

Sarah Jessica Parker (or SJP as she is affectionately known) and Thomas Haden Church are both tremendous actors playing a couple who are facing a dying marriage. In addition, Frances and Robert are parents of two young teens. Although we only meet the kids briefly in this episode, it’s well established that Frances is dealing with typical teen rebellion on top of her marital difficulties. She’s a very relatable character from that stand point.

“I want to save my life while I still care about it.” Frances explains to her husband, with a cold stare.

SJP and THC will certainly live up to the hype the show has received. Molly Shannon plays the best friend role adding color and flamboyance as a nice counterbalance to Frances.

The setting is appropriately winter in New York. The season of chill both inside and outside the home of Frances and Robert. The opening scene is Frances getting ready for an evening out and studying her face in the bathroom mirror. Her moment of contemplation is shattered when her husband, Robert shouts at her from the hallway. Enter Thomas Haden Church carrying a Folgers coffee tin. He announces to his wife that because she is hogging the bathroom, he had to take a shit in the garage in the coffee can he is currently holding in front of her. She barely looks at him and simply shrugs with indifference. As he turns and walks away, she gives him the finger. Does this not sum up marital ‘bliss’?

Although this first episode begins quietly it picks up quickly, ending with a bang and a bomb. When I say ‘a bomb’ I mean ‘the bomb’. I’m referring to the ‘D’ word uttered by SJP’s character when she tells Robert that she wants a divorce. It’s equal to a bomb going off.  If I recall correctly, it was the same for me all those years ago.

In a nutshell, there’s a 50th birthday party, a gun, a heart attack and infidelity all within the first 20 minutes. You won’t necessarily love SJP’s character or any of the characters for that matter. They are flawed people.

As for the set details, SJP’s Frances has a lovely sense of fashion I’m already falling in love with. Their home is also a cozy backdrop to a chilly marriage. I know most people don’t take notice of such details but I love to take it all in as part of the overall show. Oh, and the music? It’s a fantastic mix of classic rock.

The take away from the premiere is this: HBO’s Divorce is going to be raw, uncomfortable, gross, funny and not pretty (except for Frances’ wardrobe). I guess that makes sense since divorce is all of those things. In comparison, Divorce is a refreshing change from the recent and glamorous Bravo series, Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce.

This new series is one to tune into, for better or for worse. I have a feeling we’re going to see both sides of Divorce in this unique and refreshing take on a stereotypical topic. Even if you are not interested in the subject at hand, you will find something in this show that entertains. Ultimately, if you’re a SJP or THC fan you won’t be disappointed.

Have you seen the premier episode? What are your thoughts?

Enjoy this topic? More divorce pop culture posts:

Lisa’s Divorce Movie Countdown

Best Divorce TV Shows

The Good Wife

Divorce Plural Style

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28 Replies to “HBO’s Divorce-Raw and Funny”

    1. Hey Chrys, eventually, if the show is successful it will likely get picked up on a major network (like S & TC was). What I love about HBO is everything is unedited. Maybe it will hit Netflix?

    1. Oh, I think you’ll get the humor in it too, Jane. Some people who have never been through divorce might find it extreme but we’ve been there and know how outrageous it can get—LOL. Let me know what you think!

      1. Lisa, I was finally able to watch the first two episodes, holy moly. !!!
        They did an excellent job, the highs and lows and in betweens were incredible. I think my divorce is too painful and too close given that I’m coparenting still yet with such a difficult ex. I think i may have to wait and save this for when my kids are older and i’m in a better, more solid, less PTSD-mode with my ex!!! I can appreciate the artistry, but boy did i get triggered by that line “and i’ll make sure the kids hate you’ 🙁 🙁 🙁 arggggghhh.
        <3 I love SJP though and am in awe that they are tackling this story with such realism and no holds barred approach.

        xoxoxo love and hugs!

        1. Oh, so sorry Jane. I can understand how the show could be a trigger. When I heard that line I cringed as well. I think I got goosebumps. He is quite unlikable in the second episode especially.

  1. Wow, I had not heard of this show.I must be living under a rock. Though I love most things with SJP in it – so I will surely check it out.

    1. Hi Ellen, you will get a kick out of the humor since you’ve been there 😉 If you’re an SJP fan, you’ll surely enjoy her here. She plays flawed characters so well. As Carrie, in S & TC, even though she was often the voice of reason she often made mistakes. Same with Frances. Yes, I think her fashion will be interesting.

  2. I just saw an interview with SJP and Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live (don’t laugh)–I’ve always adored her. Her fashion sense, her character portrayal… I am really excited to watch this show, especially since it appears to show divorce in the negative light in which it’s meant to be portrayed. I think that’s why I never really was able to sink my teeth into Girlfriends Guide to Divorce; sure, it was entertaining, but REAL? Authentic? RAW? Certainly not.

    XO

    1. I’ve heard about that talk show. It’s supposed to be great—I don’t think we get it up North here. This show is definitely more realistic than Girlfriends Guide… In fact, the characters are almost unlikable until the humor kicks in. Then I find myself laughing out loud. Let me know what you think of it, Charlotte!

      1. Uhm, I LOVE it. I actually maybe mentioned it in a recent blog post — every time the husband is on I want to strangle him. But I understand and I don’t always think SJP is right either. That’s the thing with a relationship; it’s never so clear, cut, and dry is it?

        Anyway, I really appreciate you introducing me to this show–I am about three episodes in and can’t wait to see what unfolds!

        XOXO

        1. Hi Charlotte, so glad you’re enjoying it! So true about relationships. NOT cut and dried and they really do a good job of showing that in this show. The husband is kind of annoying but then you stop and think about what she’s put him through (recently) and you kind of get it. Her character borders on unlikeable but just when I think—what? she shows her sensitive and caring side. It’s refreshing to have characters with real human flaws and not the perfection of regular television shows.

  3. SJP’s character having a sense of fashion?? Unheard of! Totally kidding. The cast alone would make me watch it. The first 20 minutes sound heart-stopping. I met SJP at a mall in Pleasanton, CA. I find her to be so talented. And this delicate issue.. I’m in.

  4. Thanks for posting about this… I loved SJP in Sex and the City and it will be interesting to see if she transcends that character that she is so well known for.

    I think a humorous wry clever sitcom about the subject of divorce coupled with the challenges of teenagers is much needed. I am tired of people referring to divorce, still as “broken marriages”… I know many people that do NOT get divorced, that really probably should have. It sure is NOT in the interest to stay together for the children when the love has long died. It is damaging.

    All that said, am looking forward to watching this…

    Peta

    1. Hi Peta, I agree <3. There are intact, broken marriages all over the place. Maybe that's what will be reflected in the character played my Molly Shannon. She's the best friend and remains to be seen if she and her husband will stick it out...and if she will judge Frances and Robert. It's a pretty realistic scenario but with some subtle humor thrown in for good measure.

    1. Hey Kim, she really is talented. Looking back at her career, she always played unusual characters in films. The second episode was definitely slower.

  5. Hi Lisa,

    I just seen a commercial for this and was on the fence weather to watch it or not. You got me hooked already! This sounds amazing. One thing..I have to get my husband to do something else while I watch it. I know he will start shaking his head lol.

    -Donna

  6. I was wondering too is that would be a good series, so thanks for the heads up. I am way behind in my series viewing though, but if this one lasts, I’ll probably eventually add it to my Netflix queue.

  7. Hi Lisa,
    I first time visit your blog. I am saying to heart you and your blog so beautiful. My blog in hindi language & I’m reached in your blog to other blogs linking.

    Thanks & Regards
    Sanjay

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