In Bravo's first venture in scripted original series they seem draw a lot of inspiration from 'Sex and The City.' The series is inspired by the Girlfriends' Guide books by Vicki Iovine, the story focuses on Abby, a self-help author whose image as the perfect wife and mother is tarnished when she reveals she's splitting from husband Jake. It's up to her divorced friends to help her through the ups and downs. I managed to hear from lead; Lisa Edelstein who plays Abby and Marti Noxon the series developer.
What was it about the premise of this show in general and about your character in particular that blew your skirt up and why do you want to do this?
Lisa Edelstein: I love it, you blew my skirt up. It did actually. You talked to me during House so, that was seven years of playing a very balanced woman. I mean from clothing to her ability to respond to things. So it was really exciting when Marti sent me the script because, here with the woman who seemingly had it all together and was actually falling apart. All the scenes were opening and I really looked forward to being able to explore that and I love that it’s funny and dramatic at the same time. It’s so smart and Marti is an amazing boss, so that was also a plus. But she’s right here so I have to say that.
Marti Noxon: She really has to say that, I’m staring daggers at her.
Yes, well I was going to ask Marti, knowing that Lisa’s on the line, what was it about her that made her right for this part in your eyes. I mean obviously she’s wonderful but – but still.
Marti Noxon: Well, you know, I said the first time I saw Lisa on House, I had an instant girl crush. She just radiates, not only beauty but intelligence and also confidence. And I just – she’s a rare actor so, she was the first person I sent the script to of anybody of course.
Is it meaningful to you all in any way that this is Bravo’s introduction to scripted television as an original scripted television show?
Lisa Edelstein: Well, I think it – it shows in the pudding, is that the thing? They picked a great project and that was the first sign that it was a great network to be on. And because they’re so excited about it, they have really put everything into it. They’ve given up a lot of love and a lot of freedom and I feel really – I feel very trusted by the network and the studio which is an unusual place to be. So we’re very fortunate. Very, very fortunate.
Marti Noxon: Yes. I agree. We’ve had an incredible amount of support from Bravo and it’s exciting, I mean obviously if we fall flat on our faces, that will be a bummer but– if the show works then we’ll feel like it’s fit with the network. It feels exciting to be able set the tone and start a conversation that I think a lot of viewers will be interested in.
Lisa, what you love the most about your character, Abby?
Lisa Edelstein: I love that’s she’s so vulnerable. That’s she’s very smart and very successful but also a little bit, like a little girl. She’s a little lost. I love her struggle and I love her sense of humor. I mean, she’s a great really, really, great well rounded character.
How would you, Lisa and Marti define sexy and also how would Abby define sexy?
Marti Noxon: I think that one of the fun things about being a woman in middle age right now is that we’re right in the middle of redefining sexy which I think for a long time when your of a certain age felt like after, probably after 40, you’re kind of done and you became invisible. But I think, in part because women have more franchise throughout their lives and midlife as it is for men is some ways your most vital time. You know you sort of found herself and you’re hopefully doing what you love and making children. It’s really an exciting time and also as a woman of a certain age you kind of have lost a lot of your insecurities in a way. Because you’re kind of who you are and you know that you’re not. I think that’s sexy. I think that’s really sexy…
Lisa Edelstein: Yes. In another way you’re looking for yes. Although I know, I have known several women in their late 40s early 50s who have much younger partners. But I agree, I think that it really is the kind of sex appeal that comes as you get older and is that sort of comfort in your own skin. I know in my 20s, I really was a scared chicken and it took me a very long time to figure out what – what me was with that man in the world. Trying on so many different costumes, so many different ideas about what it was to be me, other woman and I feel like I really hit my stride in my 40s. And so it’s such a great feeling and I love that, this show celebrates that. I especially love it because it’s sort of counter effects what you can still see out there in publications that on television which is that there’s a certain irrelevance that’s supposed to come at the stage.
Do you guys think that Abby would be the next Samantha?
Lisa Edelstein: Samantha? No. No.
Marti Noxon: No. I think there’s an obvious comparison to Sex and the City and I’m flattered by those because that show obviously was a phenomena…
Lisa Edelstein: Yes.
Marti Noxon: But I think that if we had a hope in terms of comparison, Abby is the new Carrie because it’s not about age anymore, it’s about the quest.
Lisa Edelstein: Right. Yes. We’re not so much, our show isn’t so much about the romping – the romps, the sexual romps. It’s a little bit more of a raw exploration of what it means to find yourself in the world again.
Martin Noxon: Right, Abby’s not a cougar.
Lisa Edelstein: Yes.
Martin Noxon: And she’s not all that – she’s not all that sex in the way that Samantha was but I think that sex is part of her-discovery and figuring out what feels right and what doesn’t…
Lisa Edelstein: She’s not searching for her boys again. I mean, she’s searching for everything.
Martin Noxon: Yes.
Lisa Edelstein: Every way that she’s defined herself up to the point of the pilot is now taken away.
This is really an impressive cast that we have, with very distinct women and personalities and I wanted to ask Marti, where she got the information for some of the supporting casts as well as you know for Abby?
Marti Noxon: One of the things that I found really fun and unexpected about going through a divorce was that you end up being friends with, I don’t know I think it’s strange bed fellows in a way because what bonds you is other people going through the same thing. And that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re people you would have been friends with, so I ended up in one instant hanging out with a much younger woman who I always thought was sort of a trophy wife. I judged her because she was so beautiful.
And we do that sometimes. We just think well, she’s been taken care of and we had an easy ride so I can’t relate to her and of course because you’re both going through a similar thing when someone introduced us, like that like, no, she’s a person just like me and in a way, like knowing helped me get rid of my assumption about what it is to be an extraordinary beautiful woman. I learned a lot more about the pitfalls and the things that – well my assumptions were blown away and that was really the inspiration for Phoebe. Let’s take a look deeper into what we think about these women and men, what is the reality. They have all kinds of issues of their own and it’s not just a – some things come easy and a lot of things come really hard.
And the Lyla character was based on a friend of mine who’s just going through a really, really ugly divorce and I always feel like she’s my rage. She’s a part of me that wanted to do things like you know, call in a DUI or just to vent.
She’s the voice of vengeance. But also the vulnerability underneath that. Because underneath that mad you’re still a little bit, you’re still a lot attached.
A lot of characters came from those kind of people and feelings inside of me. And then of course Abby is the person I wish I’ve been. She’s braver and more open to having more feelings that I did. And she also gets to say the things I wish I’ve said in a moment but only later that I regretted.
'Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce' is on Bravo Tuesday 2nd December at 10pm.