Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce recap: 'Rule No. 174: Never Trust Anyone Who Charges By the Hour'
Unlike your recapper for Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce from last week, the great Lanford Beard, I am not a Bravo TV connoisseur. Other than knowing it is responsible for the addiction my former roommates had to the Housewives shows, and my very limited knowledge of Top Chef, I was blissfully unaware of the channel until I decided to take a leap and watch this series’ pilot. So I am probably not the best person to compare and contrast the channel’s first scripted show’s tone against its other un-scripted fare. But I shall say one thing about Tuesday night’s second episode of Girlfriends: It definitely tried to balance showing the highs and lows of attempting a peaceful and mutual end to marriage. Whether or not it succeeded is a separate question entirely, and one that should probably be answered by someone who has gone through said scenario in real life.
What I do know is that the likability factor of each character Lanford discussed in length last week was changed in Tuesday night’s episode, and that feels like a step in the right direction. At least even with the characters that are hard to find redeemable (like Paul Adelstein’s Jake), we finally get the chance to see a little development and growth of their personalities. Jake might be a gigantic idiot who is very clearly wallowing in his failures and taking them out on Abby, but he does start the episode agreeing that he and Abby need to try and end their marriage on the best terms possible. They even share a fun moment together while looking for a new apartment for Jake. And he does later admit to his own career failings, albeit he does it to his new CW girlfriend.
Then again, he also gets unnecessary fluffing up, physically and mentally, by said girlfriend who tells Jake that his lack of financial contribution was not his fault as he was taking care of the kids. Her theory seems to be that this makes him entitled to the apartment that costs Abby $4,500 a month.
Abby’s mood about her relationship with Jake also seems to change by the second, influenced by her friends, her brother Max, who seems to still have a relationship with Jake, and of course her general confusion over how to handle their separation. Then there’s the reemergence of Abby’s email-lover, who finds out about her upcoming divorce and may want to rekindle their emotional affair, which is exactly what it is because he’s still married.
So who do we really root for in this series? The series is still in such early stages, but I’m leaning toward no one at the moment as there is so many stereotypically “divorcée” personalities exhibited. For example, bitter (yet hilarious) Lyla and her ex Dan’s escalating prank war, or Beau Garrett’s hippie divorcee Phoebe—who I’m assuming is partially based on Samantha from Sex and the City and Liz Danes from Gilmore Girls—attempting a new business from the jewelry she’s been given by her ex-husband’s postcoital-gifts. So in honor of last week’s likability ratings, let’s see where everyone falls this week, starting with most likable.
NEXT: Most Likable? Hint, it’s no one we’ve talked about so far.
Did you know all of California could be consumed by a super fire? That’s what one of Lyla’s kids taught me in this week’s episode. And it’s the only thing I learned in the episode so both kids get points from me.
Abby and Jake’s Kids
Obviously both sets of kids are the best. Abby and Jake’s children were so excited about doing the Shabbat in their house. It was cute, and so are they.
Sure, she hasn’t actually appeared on the show, but they keep referencing her so much that I feel like she deserves a place on this list.
Abby’s new editor appears in the series for a few minutes and tells Abby she can try and save her career by going to rehab for a few days and apologizing for her recent viral video breakdown, but Abby refuses. Clearly she’s trying to help her clients; she also helped publish a book called Henry the ADHD Hippo, which I most definitely want to read.
The episode is titled “Never Trust Anyone Who Charges By The Hour.” Dan’s dominatrix proved why as she no longer was willing to trade her services to Dan and be his trusted ally now that her side business was being supported by Lyla.
Other than telling both Abby and Jake that they should essentially stay together (he’s wrong about this), Max had little to do in this episode.
It’s nice to see Phoebe trying to step away from pining over her ex-husband and using the jewelry he gives her (that also makes her and the audience feel cheap) to start a new business and life. An independent Phoebe is more interesting than cliché Phoebe.
She knows to be diversified. Aside from falling for Jake, she seems relatively smart for her age. She didn’t do much in this to be hated.
NEXT: The Top 5
I didn’t think it was possible, but despite the hilarious dry wit Jeneane Garofalo brings to Lyla, I ended up kind of disliking her. What began as a way to deem Dan unfit to care for their kids with a DUI, escalated and ended when Dan was humiliated by the lack of payment he could deliver for his kids’ meals. Even though I understand that Dan is an idiot who should be responsible for his own life, he has a point about Lyla’s extreme escalation of the prank war. She did take a step too far when she put her own desires and hatred toward Dan before the kids’ well-being.
Abby is thrown into a meeting with Delia by Phoebe and after trying to convince Abby that mediation is not the way to go, Delia says this about marriage: “I see it all the time, Abby. A woman earner comes out of a failed marriage and she feels guilty. She’s full of apologies because she’s been the man and that is not natural. I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m saying it’s not natural. Think about it. In the span of human history, how long has a woman been allowed to have more power than a man? It’s a sliver, it’s nothing… We may say we want a man who will wash the dishes and change the diapers but God, we do not want to screw him. And he’s not too thrilled with us either. That’s why marriage as we know it is dead… And your ex might be reasonable now. But if he was comfortable transitioning instead of working, he would be comfortable taking you for all he can get… Divorce makes people crazy.”
I can’t tell if she’s being sexist or feminist. Bitter or realistic. I’m very confused by these statements, and thus I’m very confused by her.
Dan is an idiot. He clearly does seem unfit to take care of his kids considering his money comes from Lyla providing him with financial support every month. And instead of working hard for a living, he’s blowing the money on a dominatrix who leaves him for her own business. So not only is he an idiot, he’s kind of pathetic.
Abby is clearly completely confused by her marital status and situation and rather than taking in all of the suggestions she’s being given and then coming to her own decisions about her own life, she’s allowing people to walk over her and manipulate her—she’s generally just not standing up for herself. We finally see a semblance of smart Abby who’s ready to evolve at the end of the episode when she realizes that Jake has signed a lease to the expensive apartment without running it by her and kicks him out. But we need her to do more. She needs herself to do more.
Double standards, lack of motivation to work despite knowing he needs to, his desire to live off of other people… all of these things and more continue to make Jake the least likable character of the bunch. And this is a pretty hard list to top on this series right now.