Bravo is about to debut a brand-new show called Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. The dramedy centers on a self-help author named Abby who separates from her husband. It not only affects her personal life, but also her public life because her fans might think that she’s been selling a lie with her books. She finds solace in her friends who have gone through divorces, Lyla and Phoebe.
BuddyTV visited the set over the summer and had the chance to talk with the cast. We found out some great information about the show, so here are 5 things you need to know about Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce:
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#1 GG2D is Bravo’s First Scripted Show
Bravo is known for its reality shows, most especially the Real Housewives franchise. But Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce is the network’s very first scripted show. And creator Marti Noxon has found it a very pleasant experience working with Bravo as they venture into new territory. “They’ve been by far one of my best experiences and it’s certainly an honor to be the first scripted show for them — and terrifying, a terrifying honor,” she said. Many of the cast and crew professed their love for Bravo’s TV shows. I think Marti put it best: “I always say it’s like my version of a glass of white wine.”
And funnily enough, star Janeane Garofalo, who plays Lyla, wasn’t even aware that she signed on for a Bravo show initially. “I thought it was NBC Universal, I really did, because that’s always what was said. So the Bravo thing didn’t actually become apparent to me until the Upfronts … where it became clear to me, oh, we are on Bravo. … [NBC Universal] was always said in everything, so I thought, are we on NBC?
Lisa Edelstein, who plays Abby, is excited about that “terrifying honor,” as Marti put it. She said, “For a network like Bravo who in the past has specialized in so-called reality television, I think it’s a really interesting foray into scripted. In a way, it’s more realistic than reality. And at the same time, it’s still Bravo, so it’s inspirational, it’s aspirational. It’s all those things. Great fashion, beautiful moms, wonderful lives, gorgeous kids.”
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#2 It’s Not Just for Women — Men Should Watch Too
Everyone involved with the show stresses that Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce isn’t a show just for women, even though most of the lead characters are women — men can watch it too. “Everyone can connect,” Beau Garrett, who plays Phoebe, said. “Love is a universal theme, and this is what this show’s about, love and friendship. And divorce happens to men and women.” Paul Adelstein points out that the male perspective is definitely featured on the show.
Janeane is more blunt in saying that “It’s a show about people,” not just about women. She went on to say, “A show that has men in it, they don’t go, it’s a man’s show. … This is a show about people. It transcends gender.” What should matter most, she says, is if you can answer these questions: “Is the story good? Do I feel something? Am I interested to find out more next week?”
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#3 Some of the Storylines are Based on Creator Marti Noxon’s Real Life
The series is inspired by the Girlfriends’ Guide books by Vicki Iovine, but creator Marti Noxon’s life is embedded into the series as well. When we interviewed her on set, she had plenty of hilarious stories to share from her own experience of going through divorce and dealing with everything that comes with it. One story she told that will make it into the show is painful, but very funny in hindsight.
Marti lived in an old house and there was a window that wasn’t working properly. She went to unhook it but knew it would fall super fast. “I went to stop it and somehow it rolled my fingers in between. And I was in my underwear — not sexy, unfortunately — and I don’t look like Lisa [Edelstein] in my underpants. But I was stuck and all eight fingers were crushed between these two panes. And it was like this moment that was both really funny and really, really sad.”
She screamed loudly until her sleeping kids woke up. “They were terrified, but they couldn’t get me out either,” she continued. So they ended up calling 911 and the paramedics got her out. The paramedics and firemen looked “super hot” to her. But they left after confirming that she could move her fingers and advised her to ice them. “No flirting, no social attention. It was the most boring call of their night. Just some housewife stuck in her window, happens all the time,” she joked.
Expect plenty more stories like this to end up as storylines on the show.
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#4 Paul Adelstein is a Consultant on the Writing Staff
Private Practice alum Paul Adelstein is not just one of the stars of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce; he’s also a consultant on the writing staff. He wrote and sold a pilot last year to Lifetime, and he was talking to Marti Noxon about it, since the two of them have worked together before. And once the pilot got picked up, Marti offered him the chance to write an episode of GG2D. (He’ll actually be writing two episodes, one by himself and then one as a co-write with Marti.)
“So what I did was I went into the writers’ room for the first two weeks when they’re breaking the entire stories of the whole season. And then after those two weeks, they came to me and said ‘We’d like you to be a consultant so that you can stay on in addition to writing the two episodes.”
As an actor on the show, it could be easy to cater the episode to your own character, but Paul’s character, Jake, is not actually in the episode at all. As he puts it, “Jake is missing. … It was by design.”
One of the great things about this show, as mentioned earlier, is that some of the storylines are based on real life stories. When Paul started in the writers’ room, Marti had everyone go around and name off their worst date. “And then [Marti said] come in tomorrow with the worst divorce stories you’ve heard, whether it happened to you or somebody else,” Paul went on to say.
Once those stories are out in the open, the writers weave them into the show if they’re able to. One example is online dating. “There’s going to be some online dating that Abby goes through, and some people threw out some pretty crazy online dating stories that we’re going to roll into there.”
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#5 Laverne Cox is Guest Starring
Back when I visited the set, we were told that they had just closed a deal for Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox to guest star. At the time, it had not been announced publicly yet. But now that it has, this is definitely something exciting to look forward to. She will be appearing in episode 4, and then again in another episode, though we don’t know when that one will air.
Both Beau and Necar Zadegan said that they are “very excited” that Laverne is joining the show as a guest star.
As Paul mentioned, episode 4 is the one he wrote himself. “We had the idea of a character and we wanted to go out to different people, [Laverne] being one of them.” At the time, the characteristics of this character was a placeholder, but once they cast Laverne, they were “going to go back and make it specific to her.”
Laverne will not be playing herself, though. Her character is Adele Northrop, an award-winning journalist and LGBT activist who is a keynote speaker at a marriage equality event. Abby’s brother-in-law is also speaking at the event, and “there’s a whole comingling of all those people,” said Paul.
Other guest stars who will show up this season include Bernadette Peters in episode 5 as Lyla’s mother, Annie, as well as Carrie Fisher and Nora Dunn. During a conference call with reporters, Marti said, “We really want Carrie to come back, but she just kept shooting Star Wars all summer long,” though Lisa revealed that she will be coming back in a later episode(s).
Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce premieres Tuesday, December 2 at 10pm on Bravo.
(Image and video courtesy of Bravo)