Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chick Lit for the Small Screen

In the tradition of Sex in the City and The Devil Wears Prada, The Starter Wife made the permanent transition from trashy paperback to television on USA last Friday. This show tells the story of Molly Kagen, a woman trying to keep up not with the Joneses but with the Bradgelinas. Recently dumped by her executive producer husband, Molly must find a way to live in Hollywood without being Hollywood. The answer, as it turns out, lies in narrating her zany adventures via the tired vehicle of a personal journal (Dooger Howser called, he wants his schtick back) and having sex with random men. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the chick lit genre and I am sick to death of self-indulgent writers writing about writers. But, I do so love Debra Messing that I decided to give The Starter Wife a chance.

I'm a sucker for redheads.

I happened to catch the miniseries last summer, and I wasn't completely disgusted. Messing brought her usual verve to the role and the supporting cast was similarly engaging - Judy Davis, Peter Jacobson, and Chris Diamantopoulos (husband of the adorable Becki Newton) to name a few. But even outstanding performances could not save The Starter Wife from it's essential non-essential nature. In a word, it's fluff.

They tried for gravitas when
Joe Mantegna's character walked into the ocean ...
but then he showed up to his own funeral in drag.

Then again, even fluff has its place. The full-series Starter Wife is the kind of show that's great to have on in the background while you do housework, surf the net, or pay your bills. Visually appealing but not arresting, it's be something nice to rest your eyes on for a minute before going back to whatever it is you're actually doing. Miss an episode (or three)? No worries - you can jump right in without losing the plot ... because, hey, there wasn't much plot to begin with. As with so many things, low expectations are the key to enjoying The Starter Wife.

Perhaps I should me more concerned that Friday night
usually finds me doing my laundry...


Whitney said...

I totally agree. The Starter Wife was in the background last week when I folded laundry and I hadn't seen an episode since the pilot. Needless to say I felt like I hadn't missed much. Its a Cute show. But there are much better cute shows on tv.

Maggie Cats said...

Sucker for redheads, eh?

Monkey Sri said...

Whitney, this might actually encourage me to do my housework :P

Maggie, I had a dream last night that my parents arranged a marriage for me to a guy with bright red hair... worn as a mullet. I woke up feeling very conflicted.