Title: Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce: Season 1
HTS Overall Score:
Bravo has been pushing “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce” for quite some time, as just about every time I see a commercial for the channel, I see a commercial for this show. Starring Lisa Edelstein of “House” fame (where she is easily one of the best parts of the series), I was actually looking forward to the series. However, after watching the first season I’m really not exactly looking forward to anymore of the show. It’s “Sex in the City” lite, with a touch of mean spiritedness and just plain sloppy writing. The main characters are unlikeable as all get out, and even the side characters feel underutilized. Divorce is a messy business, but has been handled with much more delicate gloves and with much more humorous results from over less known channels. “Girlfriend’s Guide” is more of a blunt instrument, trying to capitalize on the ra ra girl power tone of “Sex in the City”, while trying very hard not to be as crude and in your face as the cable television counterpart.
Self-help guru, Abby McCarthy (Lisa Edelstein) has just put out her latest self-help book, only to end her marriage with her own husband after decades of trying. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, when you put out a marriage and relationship self-help book, and then end it all right in front of the public things aren’t exactly easy. It’s not exactly a secret that those same people who teach and have knowledge about things have a hard time applying those same secrets to their own lives. One of the reasons why you see failed marriages among therapists. They’re great at dispensing the advice, but have a difficult time with the application (which many of us do in reality). I can dig that, it creates a great plot device for the show, but soon things just start to fall apart. EVERY one of Abby’s friends are also going through a divorce or separation of some kind and they just feed off of each other. Friend and publicist Lyla (Janeane Garofalo) is dealing with her husband leaving her for a dominatrix and her younger friend, Phoebe (Beau Garrett) is doing the same with her man. Thus the angry, bitter, man hater club emerges with each girl doing their best to either make things work during their separation or just turn things into a backstabbing mess of a time.
Based on the bestselling “Girlfriend’s Guide to” series of books, “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce” is a mess of a series that struggles to find its footing. Hyped by Bravo!, the show does some things right, but many times just feels like a soap opera blended with “Sex in the City”. It tries to be edgy and “forward” thinking with the way the women get back into the swing of the single life, but the edginess isn’t real. Instead it’s just rehashed party girl stuff, or classic sobbing into your wine glass rich girl problems as they decide what $5,000 a month apartment to set their ex-husbands up in, or whether or not their loser ex’s need to get a job. I realize that as a happily married white male I’m not exactly the demographic, but I can’t imagine that even unhappy divorced or married women could relate to these women either. They’re all living in Hollywood mansions, with servants and WAAAAAAAAAAY too much time on their hand while they grumble to each other about their problems and trials. You know, the really tough stuff like how to deal with a new boyfriend who’s 15 years your junior, or having to fire the maid because you can’t afford to pay her AND keep your Audi.
There are some fun points to the show, mainly in the supporting characters. Janeane Garofalo is fantastic as always, with her sardonic wit and razor sharp wit (although she’s botoxed up to epic proportions around her lips, which is sad since she was such a natural beauty). We’ve got a few cameos by Carrie Fisher (pre Star Wars weight loss it seems) and Lila’s husband is actually quite a bit of fun (which he should be, being Michael Weaver or “Super Troopers” fame).
Not Rated by the MPAA
“Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce” looks nice enough on DVD, with very few flaws besides being only in standard definition. Up close shots look very nice, with good facial detail and crisp clarity, however longer shots definitely looks a good bit soft and sometimes a bit smeary. Blacks are strong and show good shadow detail, without incurring crush or washed out blacks. The color palette leans towards a bright and cheery look, with good color saturation and some hot contrast levels. Despite the warm contrast levels, the skin tones look good, with no major signs of blooming. I can’t really find any flaws with the transfer besides some macroblocking, as the rest of the video looks warm and inviting. A nice transfer all the way around.
The series comes with a long Dolby Digital 5.1 track that does exactly what’s required of it. Being a comedy/drama style of series, the audio is a tad front heavy, and really focuses in on the dialog. Said dialog is well detailed and comes with no issues that I can detect. Vocals are always crisp and perfectly intelligible at all times and well balanced with the rest of the track. The surrounds get some ambient noise usage, but really they aren’t exactly the main attraction. LFE is tight and impactful when needed, adding some oomph to doors slamming, cars roaring down the street, or the occasional club scene where the music gets bumping. I can’t say that this is a wildly dynamic track, but the comedy/drama genre doesn’t really demand that, so I can’t fault the encode in any way, shape or form. It does exactly what is required of it, and does it well.
• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scenes
I hesitate to recommend “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce”, even though I fully understand that I’m not the target audience. I just can’t find anything compelling about the subject matter or the mean spirited way that it’s portrayed. If the acting was better, or the writing better I might be able to give it a more resounding recommendation, but as it stands, the show is just plain unlikeable. The audio and video specs are what one would expect for a show of this genre, and while there isn’t a lot of extras, most comedies aren’t exactly known for hours and hours of extras. I would give it a tentative rental if you’re into the whole girl power, “Sex in the City” lite type of thing, otherwise I would have to say just pass on by.
Starring: Lisa Edelstein, Conner Dwelly, Beau Garrett, Janeane Garofalo
Created by: Marti Noxon
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 551 Minutes
DVD Release Date: October 13th, 2015
Buy Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce: Season 1 On DVD at Amazon
Recommendation: Rental at Best
More about Mike