Considering all the hype "The Starter Wife" got before its premiere, I thought the first two episodes held up fairly well. Sure, it's a stereotypical story about the powers of Hollywood, populated by cartoonish, one-dimensional shallow characters that we've watched and read about before. But it also has a surprisingly smart script, a cinematic look and a fantastic performance from the radiant Debra Messing, who gives the miniseries its heart.
I'm going to run through a few of my most memorable moments from the two-hour premiere (which you can watch here if you missed it), and please add your thoughts in the comments below.
- My favorite scene of the whole show was Molly's post-separation lunch with her best friends (before Cricket ditched her and Joan went to rehab) — not just because they all rallied around her but because it included my favorite line of the night, during Molly's brilliant, slightly unhinged rant about bathroom hygiene: "I even put the seat up for Kenny!"
- Some of the best Hollywood details: Kenny's ever-present Bluetooth headset, Lou calling himself the asshole who crushes dreams with a thousand nos, Jaden's orders to share her cookies with Violet Affleck
- I loved Debra Messing's bad hair, awful clothes, and possible fake nose in the flashback to starving-writer Molly, not to mention her reverent devouring of a slice of pre-wrapped processed cheese.
A few more, so
- The drowning scene was super-cheesy — except for Molly's imaginary "40ish Woman Drowns Outside Celebrity Homes" newspaper headline, which made me laugh out loud.
- Jorge's list of things that might be on Cricket's charm bracelet: The Eiffel Tower, a heart, a Scottie dog, a treasure chest, a battleship.
- I thought the integration of Pond's products (since the company is sponsoring the show) was fairly clever the first time I noticed it: When Molly stares up at a billboard that says "41 and Sexier," Molly says to herself, "Yeah, right." The idea that Pond's might incorporate their brand by making fun of themselves was pretty impressive — until the second product shot when Molly rubs the face cream in while muttering encouraging words to her own image.
- Did anyone else think the Hollywood characters were written so much better than the non-Hollywood characters? Lavender and Sam were even more stilted than Rodney, Cricket and the rest.
- I want more Judy Davis! I have my fingers crossed for more Joan-in-rehab in the future episodes.