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Divorce - S01 E01

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Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO in the new comedy series, Divorce. Parker stars as Frances, a woman who suddenly begins to reassess her life and her marriage, and finds that making a clean break and a fresh start is harder than she thought.

 
Episode Title: Pilot
Airs: 2016-10-09 at 22:00
  • Ed Bark

    Its characters and situations are alternately aggravating, humorous and, to a lesser extent, poignant. Parker and Church are fully in charge throughout as a perfectly imperfect duo. Yes, they’re both that good--in a series that demands just that.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Ben Travers

    Divorce simply has more to unpack than can be summed up in a singularly strong concept. It’s the overall experience that hits hardest, and while delving into heartbreak may not be something we’re all eager to become immersed in, the series’ value on levels both informational and artistic is hard to deny.

    Indiewire Full Review
  • Dave Nemetz

    Divorce is raw and uncomfortable at times... but it’s also one of the best new comedies of the year.

    TVLine Full Review
  • Chuck Barney

    With the help of her stellar cast, creator Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe”) manages to find plenty of humor in domestic turmoil.

    San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    Divorce struggles at first with tone, leavened somewhat by comically absurd supporting characters (including “Saturday Night Live” alum Molly Shannon as a friend of Frances’s who pulls a gun on her own husband during a 50th birthday party). ... Divorce is best when it sticks to its title.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Dorothy Rabinowitz

    In this skillfully conceived series the characters never fail to remind us of the forces that drive them, and no one does it better or more compellingly than Thomas Haden Church as Robert, a man in chaos hurling his many selves around, all of them infused with his absurdity and raging wit.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    Horgan and showrunner Paul Simms, clearly working closely with Parker, who’s one of the show’s executive producers, have constructed Divorce so that it feels at once inevitable and surprising.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    HBO's other new Sunday comedy Insecure is more consistent and sure of its voice, but I laughed a lot more watching Divorce, even as I kept feeling frustrated that it didn't seem willing to fully embrace the awfulness of its premise, or its entire cast of characters. To be as good as it can be, it has to be more willing to be bad.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Esther Zuckerman

    The laugh-out-loud viciousness of the opening, which involves both a gun and vomit, is clearly the work of series’ creator Sharon Horgan, who also co-writes and stars in Amazon’s brilliant Catastrophe. But Divorce isn’t always as biting as it is in those moments, leading to a solidly acted but somewhat mundane exploration of a breakup.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Todd VanDerWerff

    Divorce is very much going to be an acquired taste. ... But I also think Divorce has something interesting to say about the marriages of people who stay together not for love, or for the kids, but for their money.

    Vox.com Full Review
  • Amber Dowling

    Marriage and its trials and tribulations emerge as something of its own character as the show presses on.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    It grows into something less brittle--and funnier--over the six I've seen, as the couple explore their increasingly unpalatable options and we get to know them better.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    It’s an intelligent, if sometimes taxing or manipulative show, well played, often funny, here and there lovely; it improves as it goes along, letting us get to like characters who can first seem a little hateful.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Robert Rorke

    Divorce casts Parker in an unsympathetic role. It’s not Parker’s comfort zone.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    Divorce is another new series that meanders through its salient points in eight episodes when it could have boiled them down to six or four, or packed them into an incident-filled two-hour film.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    It’s hard to see what Frances saw in Robert that made her love him at some point, which, along with some crazy incidents, gives Divorce the sheen of absurd, heightened reality as opposed to a show that feels real.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    Divorce is not as dewy-eyed as its forebear, not as fresh in its material, and in its first outings, not as consistently funny. But it can be a caustic pleasure, a chaser, heavy on the bitters, to Carrie’s fruity cosmo.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    Divorce is a smarter and more ambitious show than that and it wants to soak in the emotions, which is more admirable than watchable (especially because Parker is the one marinating in the sadness, not getting many of the funny or withering lines).

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Sonia Saraiya

    Though the central relationship is captivating, Divorce makes missteps with its comedy.

    Variety Full Review
  • Jeff Jensen

    Divorce makes you feel almost nothing. It’s a shallow bore, and not even the flailing efforts of its stars make it interesting.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    This show details the death of a marriage by a thousand cuts, a few hundred insults and a bag of clothes thrown in the trash. Maybe that’s your appointment TV. I’d rather binge watch root canal videos on YouTube.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    The major characters, one and all, are extremely well acted, but the winter of their middle-age discontent produces a comedy that leaves the viewer a little cold.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • Melanie McFarland

    It would seem that Horgan has a fixation on anxiety-inducing titles, but “Catastrophe” has an upbeat pulse that permeates its humor that is sorely lacking in Divorce. ... [The] best scenes in Divorce aren’t carried by Parker, which is a shame and an error, considering her role as the center of this off-kilter miniature galaxy. Instead, Church generates most of the comedy in the show’s opening episodes, which is terrific.

    Salon Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    Parker’s performance in Divorce, especially in the early episodes, before she’s given a few spazzy speeches, is about as close to a dramatic one as is possible for appearing in a comedy. Her commitment to keeping everything tamped down unsettles a series in which everyone else is playing a game of outsized emotional charades.

    Slate Full Review
  • Vicki Hyman

    The humor in Divorce is so bleak and the characters are so toxic that you may crave a "Silkwood" shower afterward.That's not to say there aren't funny lines or excellent performances by the core cast of Parker, Haden Church, and Molly Shannon and Tracy Letts as the awful friends whose mutual meltdown at a party sparks Parker's Frances to ask for a divorce. Trouble is, they feel like performances from different shows.

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    The show aims for emotional realism one minute, farce the next, and sitcom-like goofing the next, and it all never quite hangs together naturally.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Divorce in the early going is not just dark but also slow and mopey--sometimes downright depressing.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    This is a star vehicle determined to put us on the side of that star, despite the horrible things she sometimes says and does. And the only way to do that is to make Robert a buffoon, and everyone else unbearable.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    Parker’s good, but otherwise Divorce is sullen and sodden.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    As it stands, the series is stuck in neutral, between caring about what happens to these people and wanting to see them tear each other to shreds for sport.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Mitchel Broussard

    The first six episodes of the show have their moments (and at least an ever-present Molly Shannon-slash-Sarah Jessica Parker gal pal angle), but it’s mostly a downward spiral of negativity and regret that could have been a powerhouse dramedy, but lacks a deft of emotion (or humor) to make the ennui worth it.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Almost everything about the show feels clunky, even forced.

    CNN Full Review
  • Josh Bell

    Parker and Church are both solid actors, but there’s never any sense that Frances and Robert ever had any love or passion for each other, even at some point in the past. Every time they reminisce about their former life together, it rings false.

    Las Vegas Weekly Full Review
  • Allison Keene

    Divorce can be raw, funny, and uncomfortable, but whereas Catastrophe has a warmth to it, Divorce ultimately feels hollow.

    Collider Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    Send back the cosmos and break out the crack pipes; this is industrial-strength despair.

    Reason.com Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    It’s one of those shows filled from top to bottom with unlikable characters, often caught in situations that just don’t feel genuine. And the show is working in such an emotional minefield—the impact of divorce on a family—that if the writing and performances don’t feel truthful than it just comes off mean-spirited and misanthropic.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    Frances and Robert are just irritating, and you really need more character complexity and a better actress for irritating to be funny. They deserve each other, but, alas, they don’t deserve us.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
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