Fran Drescher is best known for her hit 90s sitcom The Nanny. Since then, she has been trying to land another successful sitcom with varying results. Her latest show is Happily Divorced and it’s possible that this one might stick, and that is for a couple reasons. One, it airs on TV Land which has recently become the home of comfortable, old-school-style sitcoms starring comedians (mostly women) in their 40s such as Hot in Cleveland. Second, Drescher wrote the pilot along with ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson and the sitcom is based on their lives. Third, the writing is sharp and funny, even if it does consist mainly of zingers and one-liners.
Divorced is the story of Fran, whose husband Peter (John Michael Higgins, Best in Show) comes out of the closet late one night. They divorce but realize that they can’t afford for either of them to move out so they decide to stick it out and live together. This obviously puts a hurdle in both of their burgeoning love lives but they try to make it work.
Sitcom pilots are always a little rough-around-the-edges and this one is no different. While the lines are both funny and delivered energetically, the show does resort to stereotypes in depicting Peter and his homosexuality. He’s a walking cliche; a likely candidate for Queer Eye and the Straight Guy who showed up for work several years too late. One running joke would have us believe that everyone knew he was gay except for him and Fran. So I guess for that to work he had to be a caricature, but a little character nuance would have been appreciated.
Matters are not really helped when Fran’s new boyfriend Elliot (D.W. Moffett, Friday Night Lights) is introduced. He’s an ultra-masculine, super-hunk who wears a leather jacket, rides a motorcycle and goes to Lakers' games. Elsewhere, Fran’s parents (veterans Robert Walden and Rita Moreno) are quirky but cheesy.
Drescher herself does what she does best. She is and always has been a terrific comedian and it is her performance that will drive the show towards all of its comic destinations. She will fit right in with Betty White, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Valerie Bertinelli on TV Land. Any of fan of the network’s current lineup and of Drescher will love this sitcom as it is enjoyable and often very funny.
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