Monday, April 2, 2018

Pilot Review: Splitting Up Together

Splitting Up Together (ABC)
Premiered March 27 at 9:30pm

How many ways can the nuclear family be modified to create a compelling show that will draw in a new audience? In this case, ABC’s latest isn’t actually original, but an adaptation of a Danish series. It’s notable because it brings Jenna Fischer back to television in a regular role for the first time since “The Office,” joined by Oliver Hudson from “Rules of Engagement.” Co-parenting after divorce has been a subject of many shows, though it’s rare that former spouses choose to cohabitate while raising their families. The notion of the off-duty parent living in the garage is one that’s bound to fail, though it seems that this show is intent on being more sentimental than might have been expected since Hudson’s Martin is finally starting to realize that he wasn’t a terribly present or attentive husband to the woman that he now calls his ex-wife. Fischer’s Lena, on the other hand, is becoming aware that she’s not entirely capable of raising teenage boys on her own, her masturbation pantry with a Ruth Bader Ginsberg poster being a prime example of a misstep. The most entertaining moment was definitely Lena texting her son a winky face after he mentioned his balls thinking he was a potential suitor and anyone other than her son. It’s good to see Diane Farr from “Rescue Me” and “Numb3rs” and Geoff Pierson from “24” and “Dexter,” as well as Lindsay Price from “Eastwick” and “Lipstick Jungle,” in the supporting cast. This show might be fun, though I think that it could lose steam if reconciliation seems too possible.

How will it work as a series? Their kids seem to be very opinionated, and they don’t see eye-to-eye, which is going to make parenting a bit of a challenge since Lena and Martin also aren’t on the same page most of time. There are many predictable antics that I’m sure will ensue, but again I think that it might work less well if they don’t actually stick to splitting up.
How long will it last? Reviews are mixed, which isn’t much of a surprise. Though this show’s numbers weren’t nearly as resounding as those that returning sitcom “Roseanne” got earlier in the night, they were pretty good, suggesting that, if it continues to perform strongly, it might well find itself a stable part of ABC’s Tuesday night lineup.

Pilot grade: B-

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