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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Divorce is a mature drama about a divorcing couple. It includes graphic discussions about sex: oral sex, strippers, orgasms, group sex, cheating on one's spouse, and body parts. We also see married and unmarried couples in bed kissing, moaning, and thrusting, but there's no nudity. Characters drink wine and liquor at a party, and one character in particular gets drunk and sloppy, dances wildly, berates her husband, and then threatens him with a gun. Cursing includes "f--k," "s--t," "hell," and "a--hole." People with larger body types or who have gained weight are mocked. A husband and wife are uncomfortably unkind to each other; one partner is unfaithful, and the other threatens to turn a mother's children against her as revenge.
What's the story?
After a tough night at a friend's 50th birthday party, Frances (Sarah Jessica Parker) faces an uncomfortable truth: She doesn't love her husband Robert (Thomas Haden Church) any more, and she wants a DIVORCE. Mom and would-be art gallery owner Frances has been having an affair, it turns out, with a bearded homemade granola-making academic named Julian (Jemaine Clement), and when Robert finds that out, he changes the house locks, leaving Frances out in the cold with a "mini suitcase and a grocery bag full of bras," as the infuriated Frances tells her friend Diane (Molly Shannon), who's deep into her own marital troubles with her resentful and ailing husband Nick (Tracy Letts). The kids, Lila (Sterling Jerins) and Tom (Charlie Kilgore), are confused and angry, but no more so than Frances and Robert, who head into their divorce with no real idea of just how bad things could -- and just might -- get.
Is it any good?
Crackling dialogue delivered by beloved actors is the chief charm in this domestic dramedy, which is a bit of a bummer but well-done enough to please Parker or Church fans. Audiences will have Frances' number in the show's very first scene, in which her soon-to-be-estranged husband shows her a coffee container into which he claims he was forced to evacuate his bowels when she wouldn't let him into the bathroom; Frances just ignores him. Frances can't even articulate exactly why she's so turned off to her husband, except for a clue she notes to her lover Julian (Jemaine Clement, always a pleasure): "We can't even watch TV together because he repeats the jokes instead of laughing." But viewers will probably change allegiances three times before the credits roll, as each partner takes turns being reprehensible. "I'm going to make you miserable and make your children hate you," Robert hisses to Frances through the locked door of the home they used to share.
Divorce is extremely well-written and the jokes sharp; it's just a bit depressing to watch people who hate each other so much. Diane's husband Nick gives a toast at her birthday party that's just brimming with angry jokes: "We all know Diane has never looked her age ... until this year, when it all came crashing down on her." It's unpleasant to watch people being unpleasant to each other -- even when it's done well.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media presents divorced parents -- are the characters in Divorce unusual? Families can also discuss the impact that divorce can have on families. What are some of the challenges kids face when their parents can no longer stay married? What are some of the challenges moms and dads face when they have to separate?
What kind of impact does sexual content in the media have on viewers? How can parents keep kids who aren’t mature enough to handle this sort of thing from being exposed to it, especially when it's in the news?
For kids who love drama
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.