The best part of Divorce season one was whenever Frances (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Robert (Thomas Haden Church) went at it, or even just crossed paths. It’s the best part of the first episode of season two, as well. But now that the two are officially divorced, does that mean that the most valuable scenes in Divorce will be cut short? After all, the series kicked off with Frances demanding a divorce, and we got to see how everything unfolded from counseling to mediation to lawyering up. Just when the pair seemed on the brink of reconciliation, Robert went and called the cops on Frances, severing their tie forever. Or… is it?

It’s nice how nebulous the show kicked off this season, even though the non-reaction to that dramatic event that ended season one is a bit anticlimactic. Still, nothing is settled, even after all the paperwork, because that’s when all the real shifts in life come in: changes in tax status. How often you see your kids. Sometimes, your actual name. I believe I read somewhere (when I was getting divorced) that divorce rates even higher on the stress scale than death of a spouse, because with divorce, you just feel like a failure. Like there’s something you could have done to prevent it.

In Frances and Robert’s case, they seemed to have clearly fallen out of love with each other, and is that something that can ever really be prevented? But also, once you’ve once felt that strongly about a person, can that feeling ever completely go away? That’s why one of my favorite scenes last season was when Robert and Frances almost come together at the gallery, when that thin line between love and hate was extremely palpable.

So my biggest fear for season two is that we won’t see the two interact as much. But still, they have two kids together, which makes the crossing of paths inevitable. Two kids that Frances doesn’t seem to be able to reach, now that they’re teenaged. But Robert’s comebacks to Frances in that brief scene in their old house—commenting on her pill-popping, noting that she read his book on narcissism convinced it was about her—made me howl, it was so perfect.

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Maybe Diane has the right idea after all: only positive comments, leading to almost complete silence. Predicting that Nick’s retirement drives her crazy in short order. But at least until then, their sex life is good. As is Dallas’ with Tony Silvercreek, even though they don’t seem to have anything else. But Frances, now that she’s finally free, will have to start all over with someone, and it should be interesting to see how that plays out as she deals with trying to kick off her gallery and reach those kids. The trampoline scene was absolutely heartbreaking, and at least Tom seemed to get it (Also, great work by Sarah Jessica Parker as Frances desperately jumps on a trampoline, trying and failing to get her kids to interact with her.) But why does Lila turn on her mother so much? Could it have been Robert’s parrot speech? It was pretty inspiring, although the looks the kids were giving each other were hilarious.

The main activity for Robert and Frances, now that they’re officially split, is to just keep trying. Their years of wallowing in complacency are over, and for a very good reason, even though that will likely come as more of a shock than Frances realizes. Robert is going to hang drywall if it means he’ll make enough money to finish the house faster (although we knew that was an inevitability as soon as it was offered to him). Frances is going to shop at Sam’s Club even if it means she also does fool things like buy that trampoline. I don’t know what the two would be like post-divorce otherwise, but the fact that they have kids to fight for means that they can’t give up, and it’s heartening to see them keep trying. 10CC’s “The Things We Do For Love” (a sequel song, it must be pointed out, to “I’m Not In Love”) is a perfect 45 from the ’70s Divorce playlist, summarizing all the trials and tribulations we go through for the people we care about.

After all, Divorce is a pretty dark show—It kicked off with Diane trying to shoot Nick at a party—but it’s the likability of the performers (Robert is right when he tells his old stockbroking buddy that he is extremely likable) that keeps it from getting downright uncomfortable. What with the show’s title and all, this new status is inevitable, even though the spring setting of season two is a welcome move onward from season one’s chilly winter, an indicator that better times are ahead for both of them. But- what if those better times happen to involve each other? Could Frances and Robert possibly change back into two people in love? For whatever reason, I like them so much I am still holding out for that, but am happy to watch everything else play out in the meantime.

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Stray observations

  • The improvement in someone’s appearance by losing a mustache apparently is so huge it makes you wonder whey anyone would ever wear one.
  • Did Frances’ moving that table back over what Robert thinks is a fire hazard seem ominous to anyone else? Man, I hope not.
  • That bachelor dad apartment was somehow simultaneously funny and tragic.
  • Welcome back to Divorce, everybody. See you in this space next week!

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