By Rick Bentley
The Fresno Bee.
Bravo’s first original scripted series, “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” is inspired by the “Girlfriends’ Guide” book series by Vicki Iovine. But, a lot of the bases for stories are coming from things that happened to executive producer and series creator Marti Noxon or to people she knows.
“In episode 3, Abby gets eight of her fingers stuck in between two panels of a window that crashes on her hands, and it seems a little crazy, and she’s in her underpants,” Noxon says. “That happened to me when I was alone. I had eight of my fingers stuck in a window in my nighty, and there was nobody there to rescue me.
“At the same time, I was sort of like, ‘Oh, my God. I live by myself now and these are my fingers. I’m a writer. Oh, my God!’ We ended up having to call the paramedics. I screamed until somebody came and helped me.”
This kind of real-life event is just one of many that will go into the new series that follows Abby McCarthy (Lisa Edelstein), a self-help book author and guru of all things family, who shocks the world when she reveals that her seemingly perfect life has all been a lie.
Abby turns to her new divorced friends, rather than her married ones, for advice. Her friend Lyla (Janeane Garofalo, “Reality Bites”) is a legendary no-nonsense entertainment lawyer and Phoebe (Beau Garrett, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior”) is a former model and budding entrepreneur who has a very unique relationship with her ex.
The way Noxon, whose previous producing credits include “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Mad Men,” tells it, she’s got plenty of stories to use. And, they just keep coming.
As she was driving to the interview, Noxon got a text from her business manager saying that her last alimony payment had been made.
“So that felt like some kind of good sign. Five years ago my marriage split up, but this show is about so much more than that for me. And it’s not about my divorce. It’s about divorces, and none of it is autobiographical, but I was so inspired by the experience,” Noxon says. “I had been wanting for a long time to write about sexual politics, about what’s going on between men and women right now in relationships, especially when the balance of power is new for people when a woman earns a lot more than a man or when her business is more when she gets more attention for being in the world.
“We’re all trying to figure out how to navigate so many new things.”
Edelstein, best known for her role of Dr. Lisa Cuddy on “House M.D.,” has not gone through a divorce but has been able to call on her new husband, Robert Russell, for help. She met him only seven weeks after he and his ex-wife separated.
Because of what her husband has had to deal with, Edelstein feels like she’s been through a divorce.
“It’s a really arduous process, a lot of pain, and it’s very confusing. But at the same time, I think there was good reason for the shift, and through all that sadness, we have this beautiful relationship, so it’s so complicated,” Edelstein says. “I’m a step-parent. There’s no step-parent you can turn to and say, ‘How do you do this? How do you do it right?’ Because there’s no answer.”
Garrett’s never been married, so she doesn’t have any divorce stories to bring to the show. But she has some wild dating tales, like the time she went to a man’s house and he greeted her dressed in a loincloth. At the same time he was putting oil on the kale salad he was making for them, he was rubbing the oil on his body.
“We had one other text conversation that he wanted me to go to a rave downtown at, like, 2 in the morning. It would have been another story, but I chose to exit,” Garrett says.
Between the book, her own stories and the tales cast members provide, Noxon is not going to lack material.
“Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” 10 p.m. Dec. 2, Bravo