Divorce Premiere: Are You Committing to Sarah Jessica Parker's New Series?

Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker’s new HBO comedy Divorce is more like No Sex and the Suburbs. Her character Frances is stuck in a loveless marriage… and she’ll need more than a new pair of shoes and a Cosmo to feel better about it.

In Sunday’s series premiere, Frances is increasingly irritated with her husband, Robert (Thomas Haden Church); she scowls at him while he hums along with Coldplay in the car, then finally shuts it off. They’re headed to a birthday party for their friend Diane (SNL alum Molly Shannon), and her marriage isn’t in any better shape. When they arrive, Diane’s husband Nick (Homeland‘s Tracy Letts) greets them by saying, “I’d offer you some wine, but Diane’s already sucked most of it up.”

Diane is a bit of a party girl, sloppily pouring tequila and cackling loudly at the dinner table. She complains to Frances about Nick’s middle-aged weight gain: “He did it on purpose.” And later on, when she dirty-dances with another man, Nick hauls her away to the bedroom for a nasty argument. Then things get crazy: She pulls a gun on him (!) and fires a shot that nearly hits Robert. The scare is enough to give Nick a heart attack, and he’s carried away by paramedics while Diane is placed in handcuffs. You know, typical marriage stuff.

Divorce Recap Premiere HBOThe ugly scene forces Frances to take a hard look at her own marriage. Talking with Robert, she remembers a recent Christmas that the two of them spent apart: “It was the best Christmas I have had in years.” (Ouch.) She tells Robert she doesn’t love him anymore, and she wants a divorce. And Robert’s reaction? He promptly throws up.

The next day, Frances’ divorced friend Dallas (Mad Men‘s Talia Balsam) warns her not to get too excited about being single again: “If you think you’re going to find something better out there, you’re going to be disappointed.” But Frances already thinks she has something better: her art-professor lover Julian, played by Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords. (He makes his own granola!) We see the two share an afternoon tryst, but he’s not really ready for a commitment. When Frances tells him she loves him, he responds with, “Wanna get a pizza?”

In fact, she kind of scares Julian off by telling him she’s getting a divorce. So when she comes home to find Robert sulking in the dark, she softens her stance a bit. They come to a mutual understanding and agree to start fresh. (She still doesn’t like his mustache, for the record.) That fresh start doesn’t last long, though. The next morning, when Frances is out walking their kids to the school bus, she comes back to find the door locked. It’s no mistake: Robert has locked her out.

She asks him through the window to let her in, but he refuses. He tells her he found a mysterious number on her phone and dialed it — and it was Julian. He knows she’s cheating on him, and he wants her out of the house. The divorce is back on, and now Robert has the upper hand, he says: “You’re Jesse James, and I’m Sandra Bullock.” He vows to make this divorce as long and contentious as possible… and to make their kids hate her. Looks like this War of the Roses is just getting started.

What did you think of tonight’s Divorce premiere? Grade it in our poll below, then hit the comments to share your reaction.      

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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19 Comments
  1. Dave says:

    Awful.
    *
    1. Not funny. I didn’t laugh a single time. 2. Not serious enough to be dramatic. 3. SJP remains a godawful actress. 4. These two characters are horrendous people- who would want to spend 30 mins. a week with them? 5. Those music choices were way too on the nose in an attempt to be clever. 6. Boring. It felt like an hour long premiere.
    *
    Awful. F grade.

  2. Suso says:

    Wow that was shockingly bad. How did it get pst a pilot?

  3. Callie says:

    It needed an actress who could play the intellectual and the bitter, the rationalizations and the pleas. NYT suggested Sharon Horgan, who created the series would be good, and I agree, but I’d have been much happier with an ironic and fierce Cynthia Nixon in the role than the mopey SJP. Miranda should have ruled.

  4. Dave says:

    Lol @ all the bad reviews. I’m happy to see them. Does anyone want to admit to liking it?

    • Marilyn says:

      I did. After watching the debate and following the elections I am glad I could enjoy some light humour. The world is looking grim right now!

  5. GuessWhat says:

    I liked it enough.
    Gave it a B.
    Worth giving it a 2nd chance.

  6. Braf says:

    I liked it. I thought Molly Shannon was funny but SJP isn’t a likable character yet.
    The ending was hilarious to me.

    It has potential. But so did Under The Dome.

  7. jerrired says:

    Robert turning it all around on her was a fun way to end it, and I guess set up the dynamics of the series? But other than that, I didn’t really find much enjoyable, which is sad because I love Thomas Haden Church. I think I’ll give it a couple more episodes to see if it’s something to keep watching.

  8. I enjoyed it. It’s rare that you see a woman doing the things that a man would normally do. It’s a nice spin. I will give it a chance

  9. Tracy288 says:

    I liked it – I’ll come back next week for the second episode.

  10. TheloNaGrapso says:

    Average at best.

  11. MMD says:

    Just watched it and it was only ok and I really didn’t see any comedy. I expected better. But then again I don’t understand how Transparent is a comedy because it seems more like a drama to me.

  12. Sara T says:

    Why was HBO off almost 10 minutes for the Divorce, Insecure and Westworld shows later in the evening- I had endings missing on my DVR and now have to record Divorce again. Kind of like the networks and starting shows early so you miss the first few minutes of a recording.

  13. Maeve says:

    Loved it. Loved SJP wardrobe. About time a realistic tv series about Divorce. It’s comical but painful to watch as it’s so true that relationships can become brutal. Well done Sharon Horgan.
    BTW it’a a dark comedy in case someone people don’t understand.

  14. Hso says:

    Correcting your mistake – Julian called Frances (saved as “J”), she told Robert it’s “a work thing”. He calls him back and that’s how he realizes she’s cheating.