Ugly, but un­doubt­edly en­ter­tain­ing

De­spite Di­vorce bag­ging mixed re­ac­tions, lead ac­tress Sarah Jes­sica Parker loves the sur­real nar­ra­tive, writes De­bashine Thangevelo

Sunday Tribune - - TELEVISION -

THE tra­di­tional way of watch­ing TV has been de­railed by live stream­ing and binge watch­ing. That view­ers have be­come more dis­cern­ing has put added pres­sure on writ­ers, who have seen the mer­its of weav­ing real-life sce­nar­ios into their sto­ry­telling.

Di­vorce, while laden with dark hu­mour, ex­plores the break­down of a cou­ple’s mar­riage, where com­mu­ni­ca­tion has been re­duced to the bare min­i­mum and the roots of bore­dom have be­come firmly em­bed­ded in the foun­da­tion.

The sec­ond in­stal­ment sees Jenny Bicks join­ing the writ­ing panel after the un­timely exit of the pre­vi­ous writer.

Com­ment­ing on the show’s re­cep­tion, Sarah Jes­sica Parker, who plays Frances Dufresne, says: “I was sur­prised at how much peo­ple, um… liked it. I guess what I mean is, peo­ple were watch­ing it with part­ners. Some peo­ple weren’t. Some have said on In­sta­gram: ‘I just can’t. It’s too painful, I don’t want to see it, and it’s not fun’.”

Di­vorce is by no means an easy watch. The se­ries un­earths is­sues that are un­com­fort­able and con­tentious.

In sea­son 2, Frances finds her stride in her ca­reer and the dat­ing world, which is no easy feat, since she has been with Robert since col­lege. Al­though, he seems to be more in his el­e­ment ex­plor­ing the lat­ter.

She notes: “I heard this is what men do; par­tic­u­larly men who are ac­cus­tomed to be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship. And I’m sure it felt com­pet­i­tive for Frances all of a sud­den, that some­how she had to find part­ner­ship, too. But, I guess women are, per­haps, at the end of the day, more like cats. I mean, maybe they’re just sim­ply more in­de­pen­dent. I can see that Thomas’s char­ac­ter wouldn’t want to be alone. That he would feel ill-equipped to be in the world and dat­ing. Like, he just wouldn’t know how to do that, which he kind of says, but to be alone is… just not com­fort­able.”

And that’s a very telling state­ment be­cause, as a cou­ple, they got com­fort­able – a lit­tle too com­fort­able.

A very sig­nif­i­cant scene is where she asks him what he would think if they had met now.

She of­fers: “I think she fi­nally sees him be a man now that he has this per­son in his life, and she is see­ing him exhibit things that were ap­peal­ing once. His re­la­tion­ship with Jackie high­lights all the things that she had for­got­ten about and dis­missed. It’s that thing about see­ing a per­son through some­one else’s eyes.”

Skip, the art dealer, is a guy she al­most dates.

When asked if he was based on any­one, she re­sponds: “He’s not, to my knowl­edge. Now, Jenny might have some­body in mind, but I think he’s sort of an archetype of the vil­lains of the art world.

“But we have to be care­ful, be­cause you can’t just paint ev­ery­body in the art world like these archetypes, be­cause that ex­ists in ev­ery in­dus­try.”

As for the guy she does date, she re­veals: “It’s so ob­jec­tion­able for some. I guess for some women it would be hard to ad­mit that, be­cause that’s not the ter­ri­tory they’re sup­posed to op­er­ate in, which is so weird to me, I still strug­gle with that. I’m not con­don­ing or ad­vo­cat­ing for peo­ple to have af­fairs. I’m just ask­ing why is that so prob­lem­atic (to ac­cept), and so taboo.”

Di­vorce is ugly but, in this in­stance, it’s also sub­limely en­ter­tain­ing, too.

Di­vorce 2 is cur­rently on M-net (Dstv chan­nel 101) on Fri­days at 10pm.

Sarah Jes­sica Parker (Frances Dufresne) with Thomas Haden Church (Robert Dufresne) in a scene from the dram­edy, Di­vorce.

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