01 July 2008

The Starter Wife

I watched this a year too late.

The Starter Wife ran as a mini-series last year. The other day, it's been confirmed that the show is getting a second season and will air this by October.

Based on a book by Gigi Levangie Grazer, The Starter Wife stars Debra Messing as the Hollywood wife who, after devoting years of her life to her movie-producer husband, finds out he's divorcing her for a 'Britney Spears'.

The Starter Wife is... "the wife a man starts out with, until he hits big time, cuts her out and replaces her with a much younger woman".

It's pretty much a lifestyle in Hollywood.

I didn't think I'd enjoy this series at all. I was in for a disappointment. But, unexpectedly, the show was quite decent, especially after I got over the idea that yes, crazy Grace Adler is playing this very polished but very grounded Hollywood wife. The real deal is --- Debra Messing did alright. There wasn't a trace of Grace Adler in her portrayal as Molly Kagan. (Trivia: in the book, the main character was actually named Gracie but they changed it to Molly for her.)

The supporting cast, lead by Judy Davis and Joe Montegna, did great as well. Regardless of the MANY and very tired stereotypes here, it's one talented casting coup. Portrayals weren't over the top nor forced. No wonder some of them were nominated for Emmy awards last year.

I thought the storylines were smart and better written than I've expected. Molly does cope with the divorce, it's her husband who is a mess. In the wackiest storylines I've seen in a while, Molly falls in love with a really good-looking...homeless person.

If I was reading the book instead of watching the series, this is what you'd call a "page-turner".

EW says it has clever writing
LA Times says its good mean-spirited fun, yet reflects sexism and classism
Boston Globe says we've seen this too many times before

Watchin' it or ditchin' it? For the second season --- I'm definitely going to be watchin' it.