After a few starts and stops along the way, Bravo is finally airing its first scripted series on Monday, “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.”
The show follows self-help book author Abby McCarthy (Lisa Edelstein, “House”), who shocks the world when she reveals that her seemingly perfect life has all been a lie: She has separated from her husband, Jake (Paul Adelstein, “Private Practice”) and has to navigate life as a single woman in her 40s.
“I couldn’t have designed this job better if I tried,” Edelstein told TheWrap of choosing her first series regular role since leaving Fox’s “House” in 2011.
“I really wanted to do something that I could use everything that I’ve learned on,” she continued. “I wanted to be on a well-written show and have drama and comedy. I wanted it to be a woman my age who was still in it, and relevant, and fun, and sexy, with great clothes. I really couldn’t have asked for a better job than this.”
Although inspired by the bestselling “Girlfriends’ Guide” book series whose author, Vicki Iovine, went through a similar public divorce from music mogul Jimmy Iovine, the star made it clear that the series isn’t based on the author’s life.
“I am not playing Vicki Iovine. I am not trying to be Vicki Iovine,” Edelstein emphasized. “The book that my character will ultimately start writing is not Vicki’s book. But, Vicki was a great inspiration for the idea.”
Iovine does serve as an executive producer on the project alongside veteran TV producer Marti Noxon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel”)
TheWrap spoke with Edelstein about her new bosses, Bravo; what it’s like to play a divorcee when in real life she’s a newlywed, and a couple interesting castings on the show.
TheWrap: You’re a newlywed. What it’s like to play a woman in the middle of a divorce when you’re just starting a marriage?
Lisa Edelstein: It’s fascinating to approach a marriage while you’re telling the story of a divorce. The show is not really about divorce. It’s about relationships. It’s about relationships in all forms, how they live and how they die. And when the die, what exactly does that mean? So, you really begin to take notes of those things for your real relationships; remember to nurture, remember to be present. And that’s so powerful.
What do you find empowering about the show?
What’s empowering is Abby doesn’t crumble. A lot of people go through that in their 40s. The decisions that they made, the ideas that they formed about life were made when they were very young and then they’ve lived lives according to those decisions and those decisions weren’t lifelong plans. They may have been great for their minds at 23, but not for their minds of 43.
Janeane Garofalo doesn’t stick around for the entire season. What happened there?
Her character has a definite arc and it has to do with what’s happening in that character’s divorce, but I don’t want to blow that story. Janeane is fantastic. She’s a wonderful gal. She does a really great job on the show. You’ll love it.
Many shows about divorced women quickly dispense of the ex-husband as she goes her own way. What can you tell us about Paul Adelstein’s role on the show going forward?
He’s a huge part of the season. And I think it’s much more so than anybody expected when they wrote the pilot. Paul is a wonderful actor and Paul and I together have a great chemistry. He and I felt we could tell the story of a family that had been together for a long time. We come from very similar cultural backgrounds and there’s some weight to that, which is a great experience, just professionally to have. And I think that really informed the storytellers and they really dug deeper into that story even more than they had expected in the beginning.
What has your experience with Bravo been like compared to working for a network that has more scripted shows under its belt?
It’s been incredible. They’re so excited about doing this that they’ve really shown up for it in a big way. It’s not just Bravo, but it’s NBC Universal, so we have a lot of support from both the studio and the network. In their inexperience, they take a long time to make some decisions. But when they make them, they really stand behind them. And that’s how we’ve gotten through this whole process. It feels like they’re throwing everything at making this a success. And so if it fails, no one can look back and say we didn’t try. I certainly can’t look back and say, ‘They could’ve done more.’ If it’s a success, we can all celebrate together because everyone was really behind it. That’s a great experience to have.
“Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Bravo.