A couple of days ago I posted on Facebook about comedian Retta joining the Bravo series “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce”. I don’t know a lot about Retta other than she was a co-star on NBC’s “Park’s and Recreation” and that she loves TV like I do. But I welcome her addition to “GGTD” because this show is centered around women in their 40’s and some of the challenges they face. The main character, Abby is played by Lisa Edelstein (formerly of “House”) a self help book author who writes about how to manage a successful marriage and kids. She tries to hide that she and her TV producer husband’s (Private Practice’s Paul Adelstein) marriage is failing and they’ve decided to divorce. Once the truth gets out, there is a backlash and Abby has to re-invent her brand to save her career. After a few fits and starts, she writes an article that states the truth of her situation and the sense of relief and freedom she feels. The writers smartly portray these characters as complete individuals. Sure, Abby’s husband carries on an affair with a much younger woman, however Abby isn’t blameless, having had an emotional affair with a parent from their kids school. We see Abby’s friends Phoebe an aimless model, Delia a gorgeous and successful divorce attorney with commitment issues and Jo, Abby’s best friend from college, who moves in with Abby as she goes through her own divorce. Jo is a mouthy loose cannon with a teenage daughter who is mostly embarrassed at her mother. Viewers watch as these women wade through their hilariously messy lives. In season one we saw Abby jump back in bed with her soon to be ex-husband, have a pregnancy scare, establish a “booty call” relationship with a younger male and have hilariously awful sex with the guy she had the emotional affair with. This season Abby has a new job as an editor at the Huffington Post. Retta plays a rival editor who does not share Abby’s optimistic view of divorce. Should be interesting.
If you are looking for frothy, soapy fun, look no further than Lifetime’s “Devious Maids”. I tuned in last year because “All My Children” vet Susan Lucci is in the cast. This show is perfect for her because it is completely over the top, dramatic and unrealistic. Lucci plays Genevieve, an aging, sometimes clueless socialite who still behaves as if she were a young girl with the world at her feet. (very much like Erica Kane) Lucci plays the character hilariously tongue in cheek. “Maids” also stars, Judy Reyes (Scrubs) as Genevieve’s maid, Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty) as a writer who posed as a maid to clear her son of murder charges, Rosalyn Sanchez (Without a Trace) as a self-absorbed maid who aspires to be a singer, and Dania Ramirez as a young mother illegally in the country. The show plays as a dramedy and reminds me of “Desperate Housewives” which makes sense because the Executive Producers are Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria. If I could wish for anything, it would be that they would lighten up on all the dark storylines they have going on. A murder in the first two seasons and now two more murders and a mysterious severed leg found in the bushes not to mention baby daddy drama? Either way, I’m tuned in.
USA’s Royal Pains has been around since 2009 and is my favorite show that makes me feel as though I am on vacation….sorta. I binge watched the past season last weekend on the CLOO network and got hooked. Star Mark Feuerstein plays Dr. Hank Lawson, a surgeon who was discredited from performing surgery unfairly. Now he has a job tending to the rich as a concierge doctor in the Hamptons. What is a concierge doctor you ask? It’s someone who you can call to come to you discreetly to take care of a drug overdose or an injury or anything medical that you don’t want publicly known. How did he get such a cushy job? A wealthy business man named Boris something or other has some kind of ambiguous genetic disease. He hired Hank to find and administer experimental treatments that will help him beat it and keep his condition hidden from the other rich businessmen he deals with. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but, who cares? Each episode is chock full of beautiful people on beaches and riding horses and drinking fancy drinks while Hank runs around handling their various medical emergencies. Helping him is his brother Evan, who occasionally makes decisions that puts their business in jeopardy and Divya a strong, beautiful, fiercely independent woman who serves as his physician’s assistant. Henry Winkler recurs as Hank and Evan’s charismatic dad who abandoned them when he went to jail years ago on embezzlement charges. “Royal Pains” is an enjoyable escape on a hot steamy summer day while you’re inside under the air-conditioner.
For those people who miss watching Fox’s monster hit series “Empire” and think they can get relief by watching Starz’s “Power”, well…think again. I recently read a comment somewhere on social media where rapper 50 Cent (who came up with the idea for the show) said “Power is better than Empire”. I was intrigued so I binge watched the first season this past weekend. Honestly, the show felt cold to me. Omari Hardwick plays James St. Patrick or as we are introduced to him; Ghost. A longtime drug dealer who opens a nightclub to launder his money. We meet Tasha, his “round the way girl” wife, his two children and Tommy, his right hand man and best friend from high school. From the start we are led around Ghost’s life as a drug kingpin. We see deals being made, the opening of the nightclub and parts of his family life. We see him re-connect with his old flame from high school, Angela who addresses him as “Jamie”. The storyline centers around Ghost’s desire to become a legitimate businessman and his affair with Angela, who is now an assistant federal officer working on a case designed to destroy his drug empire. Sounds interesting? Kinda, but there are some execution flaws in the story and performances that leave me flat. Can we see Jamie before he became Ghost? What solidified his relationship with Tommy? Can we see the early relationship between Jamie and Angela and what changed between them? The sex scenes between Ghost , his wife Tasha and mistress Angela feel gratuitous instead of organic. Hardwick’s performance does not emit desire, or any real feeling that reaches me as a viewer. Joseph Sikora plays the hell out of Tommy. When he is in a scene, you can feel the intent behind his words. He had one cocaine fueled sex scene with his cocktail waitress girlfriend that had me exclaiming Whoa! several times. Executive Producer Courtney Kemp Agboh should know It’s not enough for one character to have a brief conversation clearly designed to give viewers some back story. She used to write for The Good Wife! Show me something! Power would be interesting to me if Agboh had taken the time to show some character development within the plot. What motivates Ghost? Why after so many years of successful drug dealing does he want to ditch his family and betray the pact he made with his best friend Tommy all those years ago? How did Ghost suddenly become stupid, making mistakes all in the name of establishing legitimacy? I don’t know if I will continue to follow this show. I might check in later in season two…maybe.