Friday, January 24, 2014

The Starter Wife (2008-TV series) [UR] **


The Starter Wife was originally planned to be a six part summer miniseries in 2007. However, viewer response was so positive that it was expanded into a regular season sitcom for the fall 2008 TV season, continuing the post-divorce adventures of Molly Kagan (Debra Messing) and her friends. The second season begins with the theft of Molly's private journal at a party, after which scandalous passages from it begin to appear on a Hollywood gossip website. Molly decides to write an account of her Hollywood divorce, titled Wife Goes On, so she joins a local writing group and begins an affair with the group's leader (Hart Bochner). Rodney (Chris Diamantopoulos) takes an interior decorating job for a videogame live action hero (James Black) and begins an affair with him. Joan (Judy Davis) takes a job at a nearby detoxification facility, and begins an affair with an alcoholic British film star (Daniel Gerroll). And Molly's new friend Liz (Danielle Nicolet) is sure her baseball pitcher husband (Reggie Austin) is having an affair. So much for what passes for creative screenwriting in Hollywood!

Peter Jacobson, who played Molly's lying self-absorbed ex-husband Kenny Kagan, was replaced in the major role of Kenny by the fuzzy-cheeked, self-absorbed David Alan Basche. Jacobson was superb in his ability to project the uncaring arrogance of a film industry executive who treated people like disposable tissues; Basche is not able to match his performance. Also gone is Molly's dear friend and confidant Cricket Stewart (Miranda Otto) who brought compassion and sensitivity to her role.

This is a story about a film industry executive's ex-wife, so the depiction of the film industry has to be believable; Molly's fantasies about her life being like scenes from Body Heat, Cast Away, Hello Dolly, The Green Mile or Basic Instinct are only name-that-film diversions. This is yet another example of a good concept being milked dry, and of the producers of a series not knowing when to pull the plug. 

Labels: comedy, drama, filmmaking    

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