Friday, March 30, 2012

Happily Divorced: New Episode, Same Stuff

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Did we really need a Fiddler on the Roof joke? Nobody's forgetting that Fran is Jewish. Of course, we also need to keep repeating that Fran and Peter may be divorced, but they're still inextricably intertwined. That's basically the point of this episode, and most others. Viewers receive even more background on how great of a husband Peter was and how accepted he is by Fran's family... the same spiel thrown out there every week. The only thing that made this episode different were some of The Nanny references... though those aren't exactly few and far between, either. Fran's vest was worn on her earlier show and the actresses who played Marilyn and her mother played Fran's mother and grandmother on The Nanny. Sure, it's fun and all... but nothing is happening to give Happily Divorced any forward motion of its own. Sooner or later they're going to run out of gimmicks and the audience is going to be tired of seeing the same theme played out over and over... let's see something NEW on this show for a change. 

Happily Divorced "The Burial Plotz" (S02E04): The flower shop has had poor business lately, despite the fact that there are more obituaries in the paper than usual. [a weak poke at florists doing well because of funeral arrangements.] Peter, always looking out for Fran, forgoes a commission in order to get her business a small spot on live television. [I didn't understand why it needed to be live... wouldn't things like that tend to be shot ahead of time? I realize that it was supposed to make the actual interview "funnier," but that isn't what happened.] But, the roof leaks
and they don't have the money to patch it before the news story, so Fran sells Peter's spot in the family burial plot to Marilyn, a nosy neighbor of her parents. [how would you even think of that potential asset? Maybe if I had one I'd remember it, but it just seems odd to me that your mind would think of it as a potential sale.] Peter is more upset than he lets on, and Fran's parents aren't happy with the situation either, though they're equally upset for Peter and for the fact that they'll be "next to strangers." Fran's mother tells her that she needs to set things right, so Fran tries to buy back the $3,000 plot with floral arrangements. [ah, a good old-fashioned barter...] However, Marilyn has already given the plot to her aging mother, who wants double the original price. Fran offers to do errands and chores for the woman, but she only raises the price further, so it's a lost cause.

Peter finally admits to Fran that he feels unloved and unwanted for the first time, a statement for which she was unprepared to hear, especially just before her interview. [timing, timing, timing..] Her responses to the reporter's questions are very Peter-centric, and she ends up breaking down on the air over selling Peter's grave. [...and this is why such things aren't live.] Fran then apologizes to Peter, saying that she'll sell her burial plot, too, and they'll get two cheap ones together someplace else. [I guess that was a thoughtful ending. At least "Four Feet Under" was funny.]
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