Fran Drescher is (and cannot be anything else but) Fran Drescher. So, if you love Fran, as most of us do, you'll love her new show "Happily Divorced."
BounceBack got a sneak peek at the pilot, which premieres this coming Wednesday, June 15, at 10:30 PM on TV Land, right after new episodes of the hit Hot in Cleveland. In the first minutes of the premiere, Fran finds out that her husband of 18 years, Peter, is gay. Fran (as herself) and Peter (played by John Michael Higgins) have a loving, supportive relationship, go through an amicable split, but due to finances have to continue living with each other, which of course leads to all kinds of shenanigans -- hopefully enough to make the series last.
The biggest shenanigan of all is that this really happened to our beloved Fran -- but she probably wouldn't be who she is today if it hadn't. Between beating cancer and this wild setback, Fran is an ideal BounceBack role model for anyone going through tough times. And if the way the show is written truly reflects how it happened in real life, then she definitely got through this situation with the best medicine -- laughter.
Like any pilot, there were a few too many jokes to paint the picture and support the concept -- but hopefully as the season progresses we'll see more dimension beyond the "How could you not have known he was gay?" joke.
If you miss the "6 months later" note to viewers on the screen, you might wonder how Fran so quickly bounces back and starts dating again. However, in a divorce situation such as this, and especially if you're the Fran Drescher we know and love, she was probably able to laugh it off and bounce right back. And Elliot, the new man, seems perfect. We'll stay tuned to see where that goes.
One wants to question the reality of the situation - really? It's that tough that an ex can't find a way to move out? But the fact that this is based on a true story allows us to sit back and enjoy, knowing that it really did happen to Fran and Peter. A side note: Peter Marc Jacobson, Fran's real-life ex, co-created this show and "The Nanny" with Fran, giving us another example of how you can take your real-life setbacks and turn them into BounceBacks!
It's rare with a pilot, but we laughed out loud several times, including when Peter meets Elliot for the first time and reverts to his "manly" straight-man-sounding voice to make up for the fact that he's on his way to a "Sound of Music" sing-a-long, and when Fran lets Peter know that being with a man may not be all it's cracked up to be.
John Michael and Fran have a strong chemistry and great dynamic, showcased with a nice combination of protective territorialism and bickering - (Peter, when Fran is leaving on a motorcycle for her date with Elliot: "Do you know how many people are killed by motorcycles?!?" Fran: "Do you know how many people are killed by their ex-wives?!?").
But even though they bicker, the good stuff that comes from 18 years of marriage truly shows through when we watch them recap Fran's date with Elliot. Fran worries it's her fault for almost killing her date, but Peter and Fran have a back-and-forth conversation (worthy of a "Seinfeld" episode) about truffles, court cases, allergies, and carelessness that's so funny even Fran almost gets the giggles. It's exactly the type of conversation you'd have with your gay best friend the morning after a crazy date - and that's exactly what Peter is becoming (or has always been) for Fran.
This show reminds us of a modern day "Three's Company," just with a twist. It's not really about divorce - but who would want to watch a show entirely about divorce anyway? Even though they now play for different teams, Peter and Fran still make an excellent team themselves, as characters and as actors, which makes for a great show.
Check out the premiere of "Happily Divorced" this Wednesday, June 15 at 10:30 on TV Land.