Bravo’s brand-new show, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, follows self-help author Abby as she is in the process of separating from her husband, Jake. But living in the public eye at the same time is very challenging. Fortunately, Abby has her friends to help her through this very difficult time.
BuddyTV visited the set in Vancouver, British Columbia, over the summer and spoke with the cast and creator about Bravo’s very first scripted show. We got the scoop on what to expect from Abby and the other characters, along with teasing some storylines we’ll see in season 1, including Abby’s first night alone without the kids, her husband’s new girlfriend, tension between two co-workers and Abby feeling pressure from her gay brother to stay married. Read on to find out all the details.
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Abby Does the Cat Daddy Dance and Jake’s New Girlfriend
Part of the premise of Girlfriends’ Guide is that Abby and Jake are in the process of separating. As the series starts, it’s a challenge for Abby to deal with, obviously, but even more so because she’s in the public eye as an author and that magnifies everything. “There’s whispers going on at school, they know something’s wrong, they haven’t seen us together anymore. It’s a very gossipy place,” said Lisa Edelstein, who plays Abby. “At some point, it comes to a head and … it has a huge impact on her career.”
Abby and Jake’s lives will always be intertwined because they have two children. But as they start their new lives as single people, it’s all about finding their identity and figuring out what they want. Since Abby hasn’t been in the dating pool for years, she’s wading back into it and unsure what to do at times.
Abby has been used to being with her husband all these years, so having a night by herself is a new experience for her. Creator Marti Noxon explained that an early episode will focus on that, with the kids being over at Jake’s house for the night. It starts off very peaceful. “[Abby] thinks, I’m going to stay home, I’m going to write, I’m going to take a bath, I’m going to nurture myself.” But she goes from not being able to write and her mind wanders, which leads to Internet shopping and visiting various other websites.
Something that everyone should look forward to is Abby doing a dance alone by herself. “There’s me saying it’s going to be really fun to learn how to do the cat daddy dance in my underpants,” Marti said. Lisa wanted to learn the dance and Marti told her to go for it. We didn’t get to see them film this scene as it happened the day before we arrived, but it sounds like a scene that will have viewers laughing from start to finish. From that dance, things continue to escalate from there. And it’s based off of a night that Marti had when she had a night alone. “All this stuff, it’s me by myself with too much time on my hands.”
For Jake, “There’s an aspect of mid-life crisis to” this situation. “He starts wearing [different] clothes, he gets the Porsche and he gets a maybe age inappropriate girlfriend,” Paul Adelstein explained about his character. His new girlfriend just so happens to be the star of a CW show. How will Abby handle that? And what about the children? As mentioned, there is an episode where the kids are spending their first night at Jake’s new house, and it will be interesting to see how he deals with that.
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A Rift Between Lyla and Delia
Abby’s life is starting to unravel, but her friends are there to help her along the way. The show does have the word ‘divorce’ in the title, but it’s about more than just marriage and divorce; it’s also about friendship and the bonds these women have.
Beau Garrett, who plays Phoebe, says that the show “is this one woman’s journey, Abby’s journey, through loss — a death, but not a death — and it’s a modern take on divorce.” But beyond that, “Those friendships that you inherit or gain are something that are really important,” and that’s part of the heart of this show.
But it doesn’t mean everything will be smooth sailing for them. There will be a rift forming between Lyla and Delia, who both work at the same law firm. As Necar Zadegan explained, Lyla is the named partner at the firm, and her character, Delia, is an associate. “Naturally, an associate will want to make partner. And to make partner, just like in any profession, you work hard and you want to achieve that. And sometimes when you’re working hard, things will come up and you have to assert your points.”
She didn’t give much away, but based on what I’ve seen of Lyla in the first two episodes, I can only imagine that this rift will escalate, especially when you have someone as strong these two women. Marti says they’re “mutually threatened by each other, and then that causes some hijinks to ensue.” She teased that over the course of the season, the show will explore this storyline and delve into questions like: why are Lyla and Delia competitive at work? What’s underneath that? Why are they threatened by each other?
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Phoebe’s New Venture
One of Abby’s friends, Phoebe, could be described as a hippie and a free spirit. And Beau Garrett explained that her character uses sex to try and solve problems. Not every problem, but it’s more of a fallback for her. “I think she’s a problem solver. She likes to try to find ways so that everyone’s happy. Sex is something she has used her whole life to make things work.”
But something that viewers can expect in this first season is that Phoebe will be looking to become more independent, especially when it comes to her career. She’s a former model, and has been handed money to her over the years when she was married. “She’s inspired by the other characters and how driven they are and how successful they are. … So she’s trying to really get focused on starting her own business.” In the first couple episodes, you just might see her come up with an idea. But whether she can turn that into a business, we’ll have to wait and see how that unfolds across the season.
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Abby’s Gay Brother is Very Traditional
One of the characters that is sure to get people talking is Abby’s gay brother, Max. Usually, the stereotype of someone staunchly in support of the tradition of marriage is straight people, but Girlfriends’ Guide flips that. Here, the person taking up that mantle is Max. Lisa Edelstein told us, “He’s spent how many years fighting for the right to get married? So I love that that point of view is coming from a gay couple. Instead of from a feeling of tightness, it’s from somebody who actually had to fight for the right [to marry].”
You can imagine that with this mindset, Max doesn’t like seeing that his sister is separating from her husband. “He is the one person in my [character’s] life that’s giving me a hard time about the decision that my husband and I are making,” Lisa went on to say. “And it’s very hard to hear because everyone wants the support of the people closest to them.” Creator Marti Noxon added, “Her brother is ‘judgmental’ about her marriage breaking down, and he’s the one who says you don’t leave.”
And Max also feels that Abby’s divorced friends are having a bad influence on her. Abby’s brother “feels like that’s influencing her decision and her reasoning to get out of her marriage,” Lisa said. “But that’s not what these women are. They’re much more than that.”
With a separation comes a situation of what do you do with your friends and family afterwards? Do you stay friends or do you lose some? On this topic, Lisa said, “[Max is] close with my estranged husband. … So what do you do? You do end up divorcing half your friends when you divorce. But he’s in a pickle; he’s definitely in a pickle, my brother.”
Through this process, Abby’s husband, Jake, ends up relying on Max for support. “Jake really leans on Max quite a bit,” Paul explained. “And that creates some tension with Abby as well. I wouldn’t say he has to choose, but there’s a lot of pressure with that relationship.”
Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce premieres tonight at 10pm on Bravo.
(Image and video courtesy of Bravo)