“Marriage, it’s messy and it’s hard. It ebbs and flows… and when the fantasy is behind you, you look your spouse in the eye and you say, ‘I do.’ Again and again.”
Marriage is a commitment… it’s a kind of crazy commitment, but one that society stands firmly behind: one person for the rest of your life. Unless, of course, you decided at some point that the plan you made for the rest of your life was a really huge mistake that you need to unmake as soon as possible. That’s the conceit that Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce is dealing with. Abby is trying to reenvision a future for herself that she thought she already had planned. Like when you’ve formed your entire Saturday around getting dinner with someone and then they cancel—except, y’know, apply that to your whole life.
Since her separation from Jake, and even during their marriage, Nate has been a crutch for Abby. He was a different future to imagine herself in; a better future where people are spontaneous and creative; where they can have exciting conversations about Sidney Poitier and pooping their pants at important awards shows. It was a smart move (or, more probably, a financial move) to not feature Jake in this episode, because this is what her life might be like once she’s divorced and able to pursue a full relationship with Nate.
Except, spoiler alert, Nate is a bit of a Grade A-tool. He says so himself. Yeah, he can email like a mo-fo, and I guess he’s funny if you’re into that self-obsessed neurotic type, but mostly he’s just always been everything Jake isn’t. And Abby thought that was what she needed, when the truth is, she has no idea what she needs. It’s not Nate. Her future is now wide open, and it’s a good thing, because everyone she loves is in about as much trouble as she is.
Tonight’s visit to Fantasyland kicks off with everyone gearing up for the honoring of perfect married couple, Max and Ford, at the Family Equality Council Gala. I’m not sure it’s intention—I hope it is—but I really enjoy the meta and totally ironic aspect of Girlfriends’ Guide that is it’s tendency to seem like a scripted version of the Real Housewives shows, if we actually got an unscripted account of their lives. Galas are the bread and butter of a Bravo life, and while Ford is thrilled about the upcoming night, Max seems to be dreading even buying a new suit for the occasion (in that annoyed sort of way Max seems to deal with most everything).
Abby, though? Abby is flying high because she and Nate are going to be on cross guard duty at school… it’s the little things, I guess. But her fellow divorcée girlfriends remind her that even though she’s getting a divorce, he’s still married. An interesting theme that this show continues to hit on is how much worse “emotional infidelity” is than a physical affair. I’m not married—I don’t know if this is true (seems like both are pretty terrible), but it’s Abby constantly telling everyone that she and Nate haven’t “done anything,” and Lyla, not about to let Abby get away with anything, informing her that they absolutely have. I’m enjoying how Lyla walks the thin line between wanting her friends to be the best version of themselves, while trying to not be judgmental, and often failing.
She’s a complex little character, and even though she’s not made of character parts to root for, her failures and inability to get out of her own way make her entirely relatable. Sometimes it’s easier to see what everyone else is doing wrong than to just figure your own issues out. That’s why Phoebe offers to send her massage therapist to Lyla’s house, so that she can release some of the anger that’s threatening to help Dave take their children away from her.
NEXT: Not so happy endings…