Desperate Housewife (television Thoughts: Pilot, Divorce, Sundays on HBO)

divorceMinutes into watching the pilot of Sarah Jessica Parker’s new show, ‘Divorce,’  he said, commenting on Parker’s acting, “That’s Carrie Bradshaw right there.”  And indeed, I had to agree, because it does seem like this new character of hers, Frances, looks, talks, and sounds like an iteration of her famous character Carrie Bradshaw. But ‘Divorce’ is no ‘Sex And the City,’ as tempting as it could be to compare both shows. This show is darker, more self-aware, its comedy more black, its tone more cynical. Just imagine Carrie and Mr Big now lived in the suburbs, and she has eschewed her city gal pals and is now friends with similarly unhappy suburban housewives. They long for the good old days in the city. As a matter of fact, Frances is even having an affair with someone Carrie may have dated years ago. the dinner parties here are dirtier – the show starts with one wherein guns and police get involved – and that sets the tone for the show. Folks, we mean serious business here.

I think I like it – the pilot ends with Frances getting a comeuppance, and you cannot help but feel just a little bit of schadenfreude. Frances is unlikable here – selfish and self-serving, even mean to her own kids. And so we go back to Parker – her sunnier disposition style of acting could be a great juxtaposition for her character here, or it could turn up to be one-note. After a month, we could either see the brilliance of her instincts, or ask ourselves, can she only do Carrie Bradshaw for all her characters. Time will tell. Meanwhile, I will be watching.

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