Girlfriends’ Guide returns for Abby and Jake’s official uncoupling

Girlfriends’ Guide returns for Abby and Jake’s official uncoupling

B+
Photo: Bravo
Photo: Bravo
B+

Girlfriends' Guide To Divorce

"Rule #43: When One Door Opens, There's An Icy Draft"

Season 3 , Episode 1

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One thing that Girlfriends’ Guide gets is that divorce is never an easy, cut-and-dried process. Jake and Abby started out the series about as far apart from each other as two people can be, emotionally, and have spent subsequent episodes redefining their relationship, such as it is. The highlight of season two was the episode in which they tried their hardest to reconcile, and finally accepted the fact that the two of them were just not meant to work out. The pair ended the season at a form of detente, still missing each other, but realizing that they have to move on.

It’s a sentiment Jake and Abby are still working on in this season-three opener, as they juggle Becca’s abandoned baby between them. Meanwhile, Delia is dealing with the fallout from her runaway-groom wedding, Jo gives it a shot with hot baker Scott, and Phoebe settles into newlywed bliss with Ken Cosgrove, troubled artist. Of all of these, Phoebe’s rings the falsest (continuing the tradition of the name “Phoebe” as shorthand for “flaky TV character” that started with Friends). She believes that a goddess ceremony will help get her friends back on the right karmic path, while conveniently forgetting that her entire lifestyle is fueled by hefty alimony payments from her ex. Marrying a penniless painter negates those income stream, and Phoebe muses as she looks at her last ($40,000!) alimony check, “I didn’t think this through.” Cosgrove just thought she had her own money. This is what comes from impulsive elopements, people. Phoebe will likely still get hefty child support payments from her ex, but it would be interesting for the show to explore what Phoebe will be like when she has to get an actual job (at Jo’s bakery, say), instead of her occasional flighty business ventures. When she won’t be able to dismiss a friend’s ask for a favor with, “I have to get ready for the goddess ceremony.”

That’s always been one of Girlfriends’ Guide’s best attributes that the (now five) women at the helm have a variety of different lifestyles. At the polar opposite of Phoebe’s transcendent joblessness are small-business owner Jo, and powerhouse attorney Delia. After her life-changing stumble that ended last season, it’s a relief to see Delia march back into her law firm office and take her old job back, but if the show ever reconciles her with Albert, the man who sold her out to her fiance, I may have to stop watching. When we first met Albert, he was sweet and supportive; now he’s just creepy and proprietary, talking about their future children and saying that Delia’s anger is making him hard. Screw that guy.

Jo also, refreshingly, sets her life back in order, kicking out her lush of an ex, and opening the door for actual conversation with Scott (Will Kemp), my favorite guy on this show after Paul Adelstein’s Jake. Even Barbara finally gets a byline after sticking up for Abby after her firing, and apparently hooked up with that cute DJ at the wedding.

Within our five main players, that’s usual the way the balance falls on Girlfriends’ Guide: some surge, while others falter. Not without the occasional conflict, however, like this episode’s squabble inspired by Phoebe’s theory that everything happens for a reason (already debunked in the season two episode title, “Everything Does NOT Happen For A Reason”). Yes, Abby goes to some really dark places almost immediately, but she’s right: We can’t rely on the balance of the universe to even everything out for us, whether there’s a full moon on the solstice or not. The world may not always make sense, and the real strength is in going forward and fighting for what you want regardless. Phoebe doesn’t make sense much, but she does when she says that her friends should choose what happens to them, instead of just letting life happen.

Abby’s attempts to figure out her current situation—even in the face of cosmic dissonance—continue to be the most engaging part of the show. Her instant bonding with Becca’s baby Christopher doesn’t take too much analyzing to figure out: As Abby enters menopause (indicated by her hot flashes), Christopher represents the last time she will be taking care of an infant. Which may be what leads her to the insane idea brought on by the goddess ceremony, that she and Jake should raise this baby together. But he reminds her that they need to be moving further away from each other, not closer together. They may be my favorite uncouple, and at this point, seemed to have moved past all the negative feeling with divorce, and onto the sad part of separating their lives. That said, Jake’s offer to support Abby while she figures things out is commendable and also logical. Abby now needs to reinvent herself in her forties, 20 years after most people set out to do that. But life changes all the time. The exciting part, looking at her now-blank computer screen., is that Abby’s life can now lead her absolutely anywhere.

Stray observations

  • The case of the disappearing children was rampant this week. None of them showed up at all. And if Jake takes the kids to Vancouver, pretty sure we’re looking at a kidless show, except for Jo’s genius girl. Have we ever even seen Phoebe’s ghost children?
  • Abby’s house: Still my favorite house in all of television.
  • The “high-powered exec who can’t deal with a baby” has been done to death, didn’t need to see that, show.
  • Abby and Jake always seem like Becca’s parents, then I remember that she used to sleep with Jake. Ew.
  • Loved the coffeeshop girl Quinna and the specifically empowering way to order beverages there.
  • Welcome to coverage of Girlfriends’ Guide season three! Since this show picked up an unprecedented long order for Bravo (although it looks like this season, at least, is only eight episodes), we’ll be hanging out here awhile. When I started watching this show in the winters, it was because there wasn’t that much else on. Just a few years later, it seems like there is absolutely no shortage of shows at any time, so I wonder how that will affect Girlfriends’ Guide’s future chances.
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