Monday, October 10, 2016

HBO's Female One-Two Punch, 'Divorce' and 'Insecure,' Delivers

Tuned in to the premieres of "Divorce" and "Insecure" last night, HBO's latest half-hour dramedies. Had very low expectations for Sarah Jessica Parker's return to series television, but was pleasantly surprised that the show was so much better than its trailer. I credit creator/writer Sharon Horgan, whom I already adore from writing, creating and starring in "Catastrophe," with coming up with an unusual spin on the well-traveled midlife crisis. Parker, whom I feared would be especially unsympathetic in Horgan's hands, struck the right balance of selfish and sympathetic as a 50-something wife and mother whose extramarital dalliance blows up in her confused face.. (A strong supporting cast including Thomas Haden Church and Molly Shannon helped, too.) More surprisingly, though, was how much I loved "Insecure," a show I didn't know about until I went to DVR the other. Like SJP, Issa Rae plays a woman going through an identity crisis (a third-life crisis?). But instead of a wealthy, white woman starting a new life after leaving her husband in Westchester County life, Rae's fictionalized Issa Dee lives in a modest apartment in Los Angeles with her underachieving boyfriend and fears that time is running out. Rae describes the show as examining "the complexities of 'blackness' and the reality that you can’t escape being black." Rae also said, in regard to the potential mainstream reaction to the series: We’re just trying to convey that people of color are relatable. This is not a hood story. This is about regular people living life." Both got off to great starts.

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