In the HBO series, Divorce, Frances (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Robert (Thomas Hayden Church) have decided (at undecidedly uneven moments) that their marriage no longer works. It doesn’t help that Frances is having an affair and wants out first before changing her mind. It really doesn’t help when Robert finds out and decides reconciliation is pointless. Both believe divorce should be simple and once they’re out they can get on with their lives, but it’s never that simple. Both have hardships impacting their separation and together there are friends, property, and of course their kids. An emotional roller coaster of uncomfortable chuckles and very funny moments. What I liked best was neither side was favored or demonized.
Francis has her friends – one (Molly Shannon) tries to kill her husband, one’s been married and widowed (Talia Balsam) – neither can quite understand fully what she’s going through. Robert is disconnected from most people as he runs his business into the ground. Together they are getting over their hurt and pain, while trying to figure out the *best* way to divorce without irreparably harming their children and their lifestyles. Separately it’s killing them. Everyone experiences some level of betrayal – though not for the reasons you may think.
There’s a great plot point in Episode 1 when Frances believes she’s ready to end her marriage and makes a critical life decision. It goes exactly the opposite of how she’s prepared and everything takes a tragicomic left. Thematically, it’s 180 from how people imagine their lives going and how situations like this fly in books and movies. Wanting it all, having it all, and then having very little of anything comes at a price.
Especially nice – each episode is only 30 minutes long! Dramedy or not, it’s a heavy subject and I don’t think it could survive the weight of itself if it were any longer. Both Frances and Robert have qualities that would drive anyone crazy. I’m absolutely looking forward to Season 2 when it drops later this year.