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SilverStormm

Divorce

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Gah, I'm in the middle of a divorce from a malignant narcissist right now. The fact that three separate people in a single day told me my situation was the stuff of a Lifetime movie pretty much sums up my current situation. The humor, it is gallows. Based on Catastrophe, Horgan knows how to go dark. Maybe I'll watch this? Let's see how I feel next month, after the trial's over.

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Frances and Robert — a middle-aged couple in the suburbs of New York City — try to figure out if their marriage is worth saving after a shocking event at their friend Diane’s 50th birthday party makes them take a hard look at their own lives.

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I seriously can't wait for this. I'm not interested in watching anything with horrific violence, so a lot of prestige TV is off limits for me. I'll watch anything Sharon Horgan has written. I like SJP so that's not an issue for me.

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Maddie Corman

I remember her from Some Kind of Wonderful. I didn't know she was still acting.

 

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But delivering a threat like this to his children's other parent is actually kind of monstrous, right?

Yeah, this is a big no no.

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But delivering a threat like this to his children's other parent is actually kind of monstrous, right?

Yes, it's not nice, but I'm certain that in the heat of the moment, things like this (and worse) get said between divorcing spouses.  I'll have to watch to see if he's really that horrible.  

It's what they say to the kids about the other parent that wreaks the most havoc.   

Not sure I have the stomach for this, but I will probably give it a watch. 

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I hated SaTC but am still a little in love with "A Year in the Life" SJP, and I think this show sounds like it has potential. I imagine writing for a talented cast like this is kind of a dream, so I hope all the pieces fit together well.

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How old are the kids? If they're adults already or even late teens, I'd see it more as an empty threat, even if sincerely meant.

I have no interest in watching but am curious to see how the forum comments shake out!

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I spent most of this review worrying for Tara and Dave, and most of the rest of it wondering if there's a project where Thomas Haden Church can play Hal Holbrook playing Mark Twain.

Also, this does resonate somewhat: "If you like Catastrophe but wish it had more fights and less baby business, this is the show you've been waiting for."

Except I still have the SJP aversion, so I'll probably wait to see end-of-season write-ups to decide if I'll watch the whole thing.

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I can personally attest that if you're divorcing a sociopathic narcissist, threats about kids are the norm, as are frequent attempts to alienate them from the sane parent. As a matter of fact, just this evening my soon-to-be-ex threatened (via text) to sue for sole custody. He's also tried to manipulate the kids out of seeing the family therapist and he's trying to get 50/50 custody so he won't have to pay child support. He's just a winner all around. The hell that is my divorce makes me not want to touch this with a ten-foot pole. But that same hell also makes me think it might be therapeutic. SJP isn't my favorite, but Sharon Horgan is, so there's a strong possibility I'll give it a try.

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I hated SaTC but am still a little in love with "A Year in the Life" SJP, and I think this show sounds like it has potential. I imagine writing for a talented cast like this is kind of a dream, so I hope all the pieces fit together well.

I loved "A Year in the Life" and SJP because of it.

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Okay, I just finished episode 1. Ugh, I hate these women. What a bunch of whiners. I hope they soften up soon, cause I cannot relate to any f them. 

And, as someone who found out about my spouse's affairs after he told me he wanted a divorce, I gotta say, I have sympathy for Robert, and wish I had changed the locks. At this point I'm rooting for him. 

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I watched episode 1 and I don't like any of these people.  I don't know if I can watch any more.  I hope the dog is okay.  

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I love Sharon Horgan's writing too, but was not completely sold on Ep 1. The tone seemed a bit inconsistent. Molly Shannon and Jermaine Clement seemed to think they were in a multi-camera sitcom, while SJP and the 70s music on the soundtrack felt they were stuck in a Paul Mazursky movie. And some of the lines, like Robert's threat noted in Tara's review, slightly shot past "charmingly caustic" into "psychotically vicious." Perhaps they sounded more charming and funny in British English.

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I wish that I was seeing more positive comments about this show.  I love most of the cast, so was looking forward to getting HBO and checking out, but now.....I'm not so sure. Maybe, it's not worth it.  

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I was underwhelmed.  I think in part because I would love a real comedy at this point in my life.  The real world sucks and sucks hard and I want some simple fun with a heavy dose of the caustic and even a dollop of black humor and instead I get this.  I could well like it, but I am tired of self-important wryness by writers  (television, movies and books, oh especially books, if I open one more lauded debut that is dubbed hilarious that isn't I'm going to thunk the next author of such with his or her own work at the next booksigning I stumble across at Strand) being deemed comedy.  Maybe we need something new since dramedy seems to be out of style and still seems vague.  Self-amused navel gazing?

That said, I'm not completely hating this.  I think there could be some redemption interest wise depending how they go with the wife and her paramour.  I'm not feeling Molly Shannon's character at all and I so wanted to.   It seems too glib and too flat a characterization right out the gate.   Maybe some complexity would be added but the over the top introduction makes that hard and awkward for me as the audience when that is usually tried. 

The heavy handed atmosphere of "oppression" in everything also is a bit much.  I would have liked it more if we saw from both sides.  Why the blithe husband thinking everything is okay even as he clearly doesn't think so on one level would have been nice.  Instead it was a bit of a pile on from the heavy winter, to the lighting to the surly disaffected children.  It would have been nice for the wife to be unhappy even as she also has bits and pieces of life within her family that she does love.  Maybe that will come out with her kids, but instead it got the typical weird almost manic shifts in emotion from the angers to the almost pleading love moments.  It might not give me the laughs, but it needs to be sharper and a bit less ready to fall into the trite to keep me watching. 

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I thought Frances talking about how her heart sank when she saw that he was home was convincing.  But there were jokes like her bringing up the mustache.

The dialog is definitely out of Catastrophe.

I guess her kind of groveling later that night is suppose to be funny but maybe that's suppose to show that she's insecure about being alone at her age.

It seemed odd that she was walking her kids, who both appear to be teens, to the bus.  But of course Robert's later threat to make the kids hate her is meant to show that she's maybe a little too desperate when it comes to the kids.

The formula seems to be similar, beneath the jokes is a serious look at the dynamics in the relationship.  But SJP may not be as suited as the leads of Catastrophe to carry it off and there seems to be no counterpart for Rob Delaney, unless Church really brings it.

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On 10/7/2016 at 8:21 PM, cardigirl said:

Okay, I just finished episode 1. Ugh, I hate these women. What a bunch of whiners. I hope they soften up soon, cause I cannot relate to any f them. And, as someone who found out about my spouse's affairs after he told me he wanted a divorce, I gotta say, I have sympathy for Robert, and wish I had changed the locks. At this point I'm rooting for him. 

I watched this knowing nothing about it and was pretty shocked at the end when I really hated all the characters and had sympathy for Robert.  Though almost every woman I know feels like this about her husband (I wish they had addressed that harder issue without someone cheating) I don't know if I want to see it. And the first episode annoyed me because they didn't do any of the obvious reasons WHY marriages get to this point.  An obvious one would have been a messy house that the husband didn't seem to care about cleaning but the "firearm" couple lived in a palace. Kind of couldn't see why the wife would have been so unhinged. 

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6 hours ago, BooBear said:

And the first episode annoyed me because they didn't do any of the obvious reasons WHY marriages get to this point.  An obvious one would have been a messy house that the husband didn't seem to care about cleaning but the "firearm" couple lived in a palace. Kind of couldn't see why the wife would have been so unhinged. 

I thought the dynamic between the birthday party spouses was that each resented the other becoming a different person than they had expected, but instead of communicating this is reasonable ways to each other, they let it bubble up in ugly public ways.  Add alcohol, and an explosion may well happen. 

I was only half-watching the pilot this morning, but it interested me enough to turn in again and see where this goes. 

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I watched this because I'll give anything with SJP a try, but I was really disappointed. How stupid was Frances to think that her man-child Flight Of The Conchords fuck-buddy would stick around through the divorce and let her move in with him (even temporarily). He seems like the kind of guy who specifically sleeps with married women because he can't handle any kind of expectations. And then to go "psych, I wasn't really serious about the divorce" to hubby, she must have thought that he was stupid, too. Threatening to make the kids hate her was low, but I can't blame him for being angry under the circumstances.

The Molly Shannon character did nothing for me, but if I keep watching, I'd like to find out more about the Talia Balsam character. *If* I keep watching.

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Frances rushes to intercept Robert before he tells the kids that she’s divorcing him. Everyone gathers at the hospital to support Diane as she waits for news on Nick’s condition. In the midst of the chaos, Frances considers finally signing a lease to open her long-planned art gallery.

 

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13 hours ago, BooBear said:
On 10/7/2016 at 5:21 PM, cardigirl said:

Okay, I just finished episode 1. Ugh, I hate these women. What a bunch of whiners. I hope they soften up soon, cause I cannot relate to any f them. And, as someone who found out about my spouse's affairs after he told me he wanted a divorce, I gotta say, I have sympathy for Robert, and wish I had changed the locks. At this point I'm rooting for him. 

I watched this knowing nothing about it and was pretty shocked at the end when I really hated all the characters and had sympathy for Robert.

Okay so it's not just me. I thought I may be biased because I couldn't stand Carrie in SaTC (she was so self-absorbed). I was sympathetic toward Robert from start to finish but it wasn't fun to watch. I vaguely laughed at one joke but can't recall what it was. I was mostly wondering why the director agreed to showcase turquoise in almost every scene. I'll try one more ep.

Edited by numbnut
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This was a one and done for me. No thank you. Not funny and the characters are not people I would want to spend any time with.

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I was mostly wondering why the director agreed to showcase turquoise in almost every scene.

I've noticed this on a couple other shows and moves. I guess production thinks it's pretty to look at and flatters the actors.  Definitely a production trend.

I sure wanted to like this, but the veering between manic black comedy and serious drama was distracting.

Anybody recognize the suburb? What is Frances' occupation?

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I loved it.  Maybe because I recently went through a rough breakup that had a lot of similarities...and certain aspects of it were very similar to my divorce...but I thought it was kind of appropriate in tone and comedy. (THC dropping his cell phone at the end had me rolling!)

I am totally biased and love SJP and THC...but gotta admit...I was a big fan.  Sure...it has room to grow...but I thought it set up a good story base.

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I like Thomas Hayden Church, and semi-like SJP, but these women were just horrible.  Oh poor them, their husbands were fat, they didn't understand them, they wanted equal time in the bathroom.  UGH!!!  Meanwhile, they have money galore, live in very nice surroundings and don't seem to have any real world problems.  Self-absorbed doesn't even begin to explain them. If they are that unhappy with their lives, maybe they should look at themselves.  

I dunno, it's hard to have sympathy for someone who seems to have it all.  I realize that money doesn't bring happiness, but none of them seemed to be abused.  They just seem spoiled.  Hopefully, as the season progresses, they will become more sympathetic.  

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I was so excited for this, but after watching the pilot, I'm So disappointed. This great cast was dropped into a confused mess of a show. The comedy is forced. The drama is hackneyed. And the two don't blend in well together. The characters are incredibly unlikable--and not in an intriguing way--and when I'm feeling sympathy for a THC character in a project, there is something wrong.  Bad writing. 

On the bright side I enjoyed what I think was a Supertramp song at the end. 

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Oddly, my favorite color is turquoise but I didn't even notice this 'production trend' in this show.

I've mixed feelings about this one, but pilots are often uneven, so I know I will continue to watch. I have always enjoyed SJP, even when Carrie made me want to Elvis my tv screen with a revolver, and though I think she's a somewhat limited actress, I think she can be really effective. I like Thomas Haden Church. I have a very hard time seeing these two as a couple, however. Perhaps that will change. For this to work, even if they do proceed to divorce, I think we should believe they were ever actually a couple, and why, and how.

Church and SJP have very different acting styles, as well, tho occasionally they meshed last nite. SJP seems melancholy and restrained, while Church's style, even his dramatic style, is more broad, more sitcommy. They seemed to be in two different shows at times.

I have very rarely appreciated Molly Shannon, and this is not going to be one of those instances where I do. SHE almost always makes me want to shoot out my TV.

 

I'm dismayed by the 'all the wives I know feel like this about their spouses' comments, tho I definitely recall feeling that way about MY ex in the last few years of our marriage. I've been with my significant other for 12 years and honestly never want to shoot him, call him names or flip him the finger, so I don't think it's inevitable or anything, but it sure does happen. But this was all some really ugly stuff. That dinner party was something out of a Boschian nightmare.

Frances believing her fuckbuddy would be there for her, believing he was a future for her...made me want to smack her a little. Idiot.

Still, I'm interested. I'll keep watching.

Edited by luna1122
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1 minute ago, luna1122 said:

Frances believing her fuckbuddy would be there for her, believing he was a future for her...made me want to smack her a little. Idiot.

Still, I'm interested. I'll keep watching.

That's how a college girl - maybe even a 25 year old might think.  I guess some people never grow up.  And I wonder what Frances' relationship with her daughter is.  I mean, not brushing one's teeth is NOT grounds for grounding!

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I thought the grounding comment came after the daughter back-talked.  I recall her saying something pretty obnoxious that I wouldn't tolerate.  I dunno, I'm not a huge fan of SJP, and I understand all the criticisms above, but as others have pointed out, pilots are often a bit uneven.  I'm interested enough to watch the next one or two episodes.

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Yeah, to be fair, I think she grounded her after the daughter called her a bitch. My mom wasn't one for corporal punishment, but that might have gotten me a rap in the mouth.

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I was surprised this was labeled a comedy.  I found nothing funny about it. It was bitter and ugly and hard to watch. If not for SJP, I would have turned off the TV after the first 10 minutes.

I put a lot of the blame on the husband. Whenever he was onscreen, I just wanted Frances to kick him out, so we'd never have to see him again.  I'm not sure what the actor is trying to do. He's just reciting his lines and he's not appealing in the slightest. He's not vulnerable and he's not interesting. That moustache didn't help, as Frances said. 

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I think this was a comedy like "Togetherness" is a comedy. 

I didn't mind the pilot. I am going to watch a few more eps before I make a decision. I did like SJP's speech about how her heart sinks when she sees he's home. And the whole "I had to poop in a coffee can" thing would have enraged me if I were her. You're a grown-up. You can wait 10 minutes for someone to get out of the bathroom. If I'm in the shower, I'm not going to hop out just because someone is banging on the door. He was condescending and nasty throughout so much of the show. The whole "gang bang" thing and "I'm going to make your kids hate you" killed any sympathy I might have had for the character. Even the way he came into the room when Molly Shannon had the gun. He could see all of the windows from where he was sitting, why he felt the need to walk into the room when someone has a gun is beyond me. But it seemed like he's maybe the kind of guy who makes everything about himself. Yes, he could have quietly called 911 from another room. But instead he barged in and was like "Oh my God I've almost been shot!" 

And yes, she's no prize either with the affair. I realize that.  But my sympathies still are with her for right now. I wish we could see a flashback to counseling. The fact that they'd been in counseling before is interesting. I guess neither of them changed what they were doing for the problems to still be there. Or they're just that incompatible. 

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I didn't recognize Germaine from Flight of the Concords.

Oddly, IMDB didn't list the actor who played Julien.

I would imagine (and hope) we'll see more of him.

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I just hate how so many pilots I watch are out of the Cliche 101 book. (I watch a LOT of pilots.  I've seen some good ones this season.  This one, however, hit a lot of cliche marks.)

1.  Open up the pilot with a shocking scene.  (THC talking about shitting in the coffee grounds tin.)

2.  Vomit scene.  (THC vomits more than once, too! Wow, how shocking and so cool....... No.  Been done so many times before.)

3.  I knew that Molly's character was looking for a gun.

I hope the subsequent episodes are less cheap.  By this I mean going for low-brow gratuitous shock moments instead of earned, organic action or dialogue. I'm not too hopeful.  I love SJP so I'll see what happens in the next few episodes.

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I'm meh on it. I agree that it often takes a while for shows to hit their stride and for the cast to really mesh so that it all doesn't seem so forced, so made for tv. My issues with it:

- unlikable characters - I'm rooting for the dog. Frances comes off a bit like Carrie Bradshaw would have turned out if she had chosen a slightly different path. Maybe it's because she's SO identified with her SATC character (which I think has to be tough), but the "I don't love you/my fallback boyfriend isn't in to me/I think I'll stick with you" is a bit too much Big/Aiden/Big/Aiden. As well, why on earth did she have to decide to tell him at the party, before the paramedics had even carted the guy off to the hospital? I mean, what the ever loving hell with that? Time and place, you know? Her annoyance at Robert throwing up after she told him, as well as telling the cop he had to wait because she was having an important conversation was a little eerily reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw levels of self-absorption. I can't say I like or don't like the kids, but based on the "you're grounded/you're not grounded" episode at the bus, it wouldn't be a surprise if they turn out to be a little bratty/entitled/spoiled because mom gives in to them so they like her. Of course, they're at the age where it's easy to find them to be a bit insufferable, so I tend to give kids a pass. Molly Shannon and her husband - ugh. That whole party had me cringing for everyone involved. I'm on the fence about the other girlfriend and Robert right now (and part of my ambivalence about Robert may be due to the casting).

-acting/casting - I think this sums it up:

7 hours ago, luna1122 said:

Church and SJP have very different acting styles, as well, tho occasionally they meshed last nite. SJP seems melancholy and restrained, while Church's style, even his dramatic style, is more broad, more sitcommy. They seemed to be in two different shows at times.

They have a lot on their shoulders with this and I wonder if they can pull it off based on how differently they come across.

When I see Frances and Robert together, I get nothing, which may be the point. The closest I got to any warmth at all was when she took the takeout into the kids and asked them to "leave some for Dad" - not "your father," which is what I would have expected given how I read her feelings for Robert. "Dad" seems much more personal and I didn't catch any spark at all between them. Even sex seems to be distant, which would explain why she had an affair and wanted out.

I'm not going to give up on it yet but I don't know how long I'll devote to it. It's only 30 minutes, which isn't much but there has to be some kind of compelling story or one of these characters needs to become interesting. I don't have to like them all that much but they need to do something more than sit around and whine about fat husbands, fat friends, ungrateful children, ungrateful spouses, etc. I'm not up for that. I loathed thirtysomething and over the years I've found my tolerance for the whining, complaining upper classes hasn't expanded.

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I had so much hope for this show, but it was a total disappointment.  Other than THC, none of the characters were likeable or ones that I can feel any compassion.   And, boy, SJP really needs to eat a side of beef.  She's emaciated. 

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5 hours ago, scrb said:

I didn't recognize Germaine from Flight of the Concords.

Oddly, IMDB didn't list the actor who played Julien.

I would imagine (and hope) we'll see more of him.

Julian was played by Jemaine Clement, who I guess was on Flight of the Conchords.  IMDb listed him in the credits for episode 1, which suggests

Spoiler

he won't be showing up again

.

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10 hours ago, luna1122 said:

Oddly, my favorite color is turquoise but I didn't even notice this 'production trend' in this show.

I've mixed feelings about this one, but pilots are often uneven, so I know I will continue to watch. I have always enjoyed SJP, even when Carrie made me want to Elvis my tv screen with a revolver, and though I think she's a somewhat limited actress, I think she can be really effective. I like Thomas Haden Church. I have a very hard time seeing these two as a couple, however. Perhaps that will change. For this to work, even if they do proceed to divorce, I think we should believe they were ever actually a couple, and why, and how.

Church and SJP have very different acting styles, as well, tho occasionally they meshed last nite. SJP seems melancholy and restrained, while Church's style, even his dramatic style, is more broad, more sitcommy. They seemed to be in two different shows at times.

I have very rarely appreciated Molly Shannon, and this is not going to be one of those instances where I do. SHE almost always makes me want to shoot out my TV.

 

I'm dismayed by the 'all the wives I know feel like this about their spouses' comments, tho I definitely recall feeling that way about MY ex in the last few years of our marriage. I've been with my significant other for 12 years and honestly never want to shoot him, call him names or flip him the finger, so I don't think it's inevitable or anything, but it sure does happen. But this was all some really ugly stuff. That dinner party was something out of a Boschian nightmare.

Frances believing her fuckbuddy would be there for her, believing he was a future for her...made me want to smack her a little. Idiot.

Still, I'm interested. I'll keep watching.

I tuned into this because I do like SJP, and I may just be the only one who still doesn't mind Carrie Bradshaw. In any case, the bolded part of the post is why I decided to contribute my thoughts. 

The way I took that comment wasn't so much that they are saying that all wives feel that way about their husbands but more that they're so wrapped up in their own world views they believe it must be the same for every other wife...if that makes sense. It's similar to when people pull out these random percentages that--surprise!--hew to their arguments (e.g., "Listen, I guarantee you that 99.99% of blah blah blah feel the same way"). It's like their way of convincing themselves that their poor views of their partners isn't sad or bad because, well, everyone else *must* feel similarly. That kind of approach gets them off the hook for sounding like really shitty people. 

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15 hours ago, PRgal said:

That's how a college girl - maybe even a 25 year old might think.  I guess some people never grow up.  And I wonder what Frances' relationship with her daughter is.  I mean, not brushing one's teeth is NOT grounds for grounding!

You would be surprised how many mature, otherwise grown up women fall for the idea of a new beginning outside a long marriage. Marriage can be very lonely. 

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I just watched the pilot and I really liked it. Reading the comments above before posting, I'm surprised this was billed as a comedy, so that could explain why so many posters were disappointed if they were expecting a barrel of laughs.

What I particularly like is the gender reversal. I'm sure I'm not the only one who watched or witnessed in real life dozens of cases when the man has someone on the side, thinks the grass is greener etc., decides to end his marriage, then has a reality check that he's not welcome in the alternate universe he fantasized about. Well, here, for once, it's the reverse. I usually feel equally disgusted and sorry for the poor sod who wreck his and his family's life for not much on the other side, and that's what I feel here for the character played by SJP (sorry it will take me a while to get their name). The reaction of the mustachioed husband was exactly what we typically see a wife doing (including turning the kids against the spouse, it's almost a trope).

About the cast: it was so weird seeing Thomas Haden Church in this role - I think I've only seen him play cocky bastards :) so that was a nice change of pace. I thought SJP was good and credible in her role. Waiting to see more of the rest - I like Talia Balsam (and like her character so far), am neutral on Molly Shannon, we'll see where it goes.

Back to the story, random observations:

- the character played by SJP sure has a taste for odd guys

- I think kids' behaviour reflect their relationship (or lack of) with their parents. In that respect, it would seem that while it's not perfect, it's also not that dark

- I don't particularly like any character, but that is never a problem for me, it's more important that I like the story, and I like this one

 

On 10/9/2016 at 10:39 PM, BooBear said:

I watched this knowing nothing about it and was pretty shocked at the end when I really hated all the characters and had sympathy for Robert.  Though almost every woman I know feels like this about her husband (I wish they had addressed that harder issue without someone cheating) I don't know if I want to see it. And the first episode annoyed me because they didn't do any of the obvious reasons WHY marriages get to this point.  An obvious one would have been a messy house that the husband didn't seem to care about cleaning but the "firearm" couple lived in a palace. Kind of couldn't see why the wife would have been so unhinged. 

- (bolding mine) I like that there were no obvious reasons why these people don't love each other anymore. I don't need a sitcommy reason, this feels quite close to life. Sometimes it's a massive thing, sometimes, as here, it's a hundred mild cuts... 

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I agree that the role reversal is the most interesting aspect of the show, and the one that might keep me watching at least a couple more episodes.

A question upthread about where this was supposed to take place - looks like one of the Hudson River suburbs in Westchester County, since you can see the river and what looks like the far shore of the river in a few scenes. I'm not familiar enough with them to narrow it down.

I thought that in this Starbuckian age, it would be highly unlikely that a family like this would have a container of Folgers around.

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I, too, thought it looked like Westchester County. In which case, who wants to have to drive somewhere for coffee in the morning? Though I'd expect the in-house coffee supply to be Zabar's or another specialist Manhattan coffee beanery, not Starbucks.

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1 hour ago, wendyg said:

I, too, thought it looked like Westchester County. In which case, who wants to have to drive somewhere for coffee in the morning? Though I'd expect the in-house coffee supply to be Zabar's or another specialist Manhattan coffee beanery, not Starbucks.

Reviews confirmed it was Westchester, I was trying to figure out what part. I wasn't implying they would drive out for coffee, only that these days, Folgers would be unlikely to be in an upper middle class household like this one.

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