Bravo is premiering a brand-new show tonight called Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, and incidentally, it also just so happens to be the network’s very first scripted series. Bravo is known most especially for the Real Housewives franchise, which is now cemented so much into pop culture that the network is essentially the Real Housewives Network. And of course, there’s also such shows as Below Deck, Game of Crowns, Million Dollar Listing, Shahs of Sunset and Top Chef.
But now Bravo is branching out and venturing into new territory — at least for them, anyway. Are they taking a risk with Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce (GG2D for short)? And regardless of it being the first scripted series for them, the bigger question might be: is the show any good? Why should Bravo fans watch it? Having watched the first two episode, let’s delve into those questions and see why Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce is Bravo’s next big hit.
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Abby’s Personal Life Unfolding in the Public Eye
On all of the Real Housewives shows, fans watch what goes down in the personal lives of these women. There’s tons of drama and scandal and secrets. And because there are cameras filming all of this, the cast members are not just regular people anymore. They’re public figures in the entertainment industry. And sometimes that drama spills over into being watercooler news, and talking heads and viewers and even non-viewers are talking about the controversies making the headlines. How do you cope with that personal and public life balance?
For Abby McCarthy on Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, she is dealing with something very similar. She’s a self-help author who has a certain image in the public eye, but all that might come crumbling down when she and her husband separate. Will her fans think she’s been selling them a lie?
When the series opens, Abby is trying to keep her personal business between her, her husband Jake and her best friends. But obviously something as big as this won’t stay a secret for long. And when it does, yes, she can rely on her friends to help her though it, but there’s also her gay brother, Max, who “is incredibly traditional about some things,” as Abby says. Max has had to fight so hard for the right to marry, so he’s of the mindset that you don’t give up — and he says as much to his sister: “Shit happens, but you don’t give up.”
Abby’s friends have their own issues they’re dealing with, both having gone through divorces. Lyla, for example, is in a feud with her ex over custody, but are they over for good? Maybe not, but that won’t stop the two of them from trying to hurt each other as much as possible — whether it’s by calling the police to report him, or hiding the other’s car or making sure the credit card will be declined at a restaurant. Some juicy stuff there. Why do I get the feeling that these things could happen on the Real Housewives?
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“Go Find Yourself”
The tagline for Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce is “Go Find Yourself” — a spin, it would seem, on “Go eff yourself,” which fits right in with the poster that shows Abby holding up her ring finger as if it were her middle finger.
But if you get beyond those marketing ploys, the tagline does have a lot of merit for this series. On a surface level, you can say GG2D is a show about marriage and divorce, but it’s also about friendship and about figuring out your identity, especially when you’re starting a new chapter in your life.
For Abby, she’s entering the dating pool again, and she has to figure out what she wants in life. In the premiere, her friends take her to a club to meet guys. She wants to explore her sexuality, but she’s also hesitant about the whole thing. And Jake has a new girlfriend who is much younger than him, so dealing with that is interesting.
Abby’s friend Phoebe is figuring herself out too. She’s a former model who had always depended on her husband for everything, including money. So she wants to start a new business. We see the discussion on this begin in the first couple episodes, and it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. I’m sure she’ll struggle at times, but that’s part of the exploration process and learning new things.
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Balancing Comedy and Drama
What genre is Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce? I’d have to say it’s a dramedy, which again fits right in with the shows already on Bravo, since those reality shows have plenty of drama, but also a lot of humorous and silly moments as well. There are some good one-liners that’ll get laughs out of viewers, like when Abby says to Lyla, “My vagina is not dead; it was just in a coma,” and when Abby says to Jake during a mediation meeting, “I’m not schtupping a girl who thinks 27 Dresses is a classic.”
But then there are definitely heated situations as well. Abby and Jake have some pretty intense arguments that fuel all sorts of emotions, both by the characters and the viewers. It’s hard not to get absorbed while watching scenes like these.
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Does Bravo Have Another Hit on Its Hands?
If you a fan of all things Bravo, whether it’s the Real Housewives or any of the other reality shows on their lineup, you’ll want to check out Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. It’s got a lot of the comedy and drama that you can find in those reality shows, but in a scripted, fictional format. And it’s because of these similarities, and the familiarity that viewers will find with the shows they already watch on this network, that I believe Bravo has another hit on its hands.
Being the first scripted show for them, that’s added attention, of course, but when you focus on the characters, storylines and dialogue, you’ll see a show that has a lot going for it. Bravo has picked the right project to begin this new chapter.
Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce premieres tonight at 10pm on Bravo.
(Image and video courtesy of Bravo)
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.