Monday, March 26, 2018

ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Splitting Up Together - Premieres Tuesday (March 27); CBS Announces Season Finale Airdates for 2017-2018

Splitting Up Together

Splitting Up Together - Tuesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

Lena and Martin were once madly in love. But, like many marriages, time and circumstance eventually took their toll and the romance disappeared. Finding themselves in a platonic marriage and acting more like a pair of camp counselors wrangling their kids than a couple hopelessly in love, they decide that everyone's lives would be better served if they got a divorce. Still wanting the best for their three kids and facing a daunting real estate market, the couple decides to "Bird Nest" instead. One parent will live in the house as the "on-duty" parent taking care of the kids, while the "off-duty" parent will live in the detached garage, doing whatever he or she pleases while switching off every other week. Could being apart ultimately lead to them getting back together?

Cast Details:

Jenna Fischer as Lena
Oliver Hudson as Martin
Bobby Lee as Arthur
Diane Farr as Maya
Lindsay Price as Camille

Jenna Fischer (Lena) is best known for her role as Pam Beesly on the long-running NBC sitcom The Office. She has also appeared in films such as Blades of Glory, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Hall Pass.

Oliver Hudson (Martin) is an actor known for his role on the TV series Scream Queens, Nashville, and the long-running sitcom Rules of Engagement. He is also the brother of actress Kate Hudson and son of Goldie Hawn.

Bobby Lee (Arthur) is a comedian and actor known for his long-running stint on the sketch comedy series MADtv, and for his role in films such as Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Pineapple Express and The Dictator.

Diane Farr (Maya) is an actress best known for her roles in the hit shows NUMB3RS and Rescue Me, as well as guest appearances on series such as Modern Family, Private Practice and CSI.

Lindsay Price (Camille) is an American actress previously known for her roles on soap operas, from daytime soaps such as All My Children and The Bold and the Beautiful to the primetime soaps such as Beverly Hills 90210, Lipstick Jungle and Eastwick.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs Tuesday, March 27 at 9:30PM ET)

After breaking the news to their friends and family about their divorce, Lena has to deal with her son Mason's growing pains. Meanwhile, Martin, still feeling guilty about refusing to dance with Lena at their wedding, secretly tries to atone for his oversight and surprise his ex-wife with new moves.

Analysis:

The most interesting thing about Splitting Up Together is the creators behind it. The show was created and is executive produced by Emily Kapnek, and also has Ellen DeGeneres credited as an executive producer. Kapnek previously created cult favorite ABC sitcoms Suburgatory and Selfie. Suburgatory started off as a promising hit with lots of positive buzz (and ratings), but gradually faded and was quietly canceled after its third season. Selfie only lasted for half of a season, but it garnered a following in that short time and remains a popular brilliant but cancelled: cult hit. What's notable about both shows, though, is that they were able to garner followings based on their lovable, quirky characters and gradual yet effective warmth and ability to tug on the heartstrings. Both shows had big concepts (in the case of Suburgatory a suburban satire, in the case of Selfie a shallow millennial woman learning how to care about people), but quietly deconstructed those concepts to reveal the true human beings behind them. Splitting Up Together has a similarly big concept, and in these early episodes for review, it shows potential of moving past it and revealing the depths of its characters - but it doesn't quite get there yet.

Splitting Up Together's pilot episode is a little boring, frankly - it gets a lot of plot out of the way and is light on jokes, but clearly has the entire cast putting in their all. And the cast is very game for whatever comes their way, particularly Jenna Fischer, whose first major sitcom role since The Office finds her a lovable anchor of the series. Future episodes begin to allow her to have a little more fun, and as expected, she handles it with aplomb. If I have one major concern with the series, it's that these early episodes are clearly laying a path to get its central couple back together, and the show is far more interesting examining why their marriage doesn't work than when it's suggesting that they should get back together. It would be incredibly generic and predictable for this to turn into another "will they/won't they" series, and I hope the glimmers of something more interesting is the direction the series goes down in the future.

Final Thoughts:

Splitting Up Together has an excellent cast and team of creators behind it, and there is potential for it to live up to the name of those involved in its early episodes, even if much of the show's early goings are a bit bland and predictable. Hopefully, the show will follow Emily Kapnek's former ABC sitcoms and begin leaning into its more interesting, character-building side and utilize all of its talent to their best of their abilities.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • A.P. Bio Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • CBS

    CBS has announced season finale dates for its primetime comedies, drama and unscripted series for spring 2018. See below!

    Monday, April 16
    10:00-11:00 PM SCORPION (4th Season Finale)

    Wednesday, April 18
    9:00-11:00 PM CRIMINAL MINDS (2-Hour 13th Season Finale)

    Friday, May 4
    8:00-9:00 PM MACGYVER (2nd Season Finale)

    Monday, May 7
    8:00-8:30 PM KEVIN CAN WAIT (2nd Season Finale)

    Tuesday, May 8
    9:00-10:00 PM BULL (2nd Season Finale)

    Thursday, May 10
    8:00-8:30 PM THE BIG BANG THEORY (11th Season Finale)
    8:30-9:00 PM YOUNG SHELDON (1st Season Finale)
    9:00-10:00 PM MOM (1-Hour 5th Season Finale)

    Friday, May 11
    10:00-11:00 PM BLUE BLOODS (8th Season Finale)

    Monday, May 14
    9:00-9:30 PM SUPERIOR DONUTS (2nd Season Finale)

    Tuesday, May 15
    9:00-11:00 PM NCIS: NEW ORLEANS (2-Hour 4th Season Finale)

    Wednesday, May 16
    9:00-10:00 PM SEAL TEAM (1st Season Finale)

    Thursday, May 17
    9:00-10:00 PM LIFE IN PIECES (1-Hour 3rd Season Finale)
    10:00-11:00 PM S.W.A.T. (1st Season Finale)

    Friday, May 18
    9:00-10:00 PM HAWAII FIVE-0 (8th Season Finale)

    Sunday, May 20
    8:00-10:00 PM NCIS: LOS ANGELES (2-Hour 9th Season Finale)
    10:00-11:00 PM MADAM SECRETARY (4th Season Finale)

    Monday, May 21
    8:30-9:00 PM MAN WITH A PLAN (2nd Season Finale)
    9:30-10:00 PM LIVING BIBLICALLY (1st Season Finale)

    Tuesday, May 22
    8:00-9:00 PM NCIS (15th Season Finale)

    Wednesday, May 23
    8:00-10:00 PM SURVIVOR (36th Season Finale)
    10:00-11:00 PM SURVIVOR LIVE REUNION SHOW


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    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 20)

    Monday, August 20

    • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Watch Ray on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
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    • Rachael Harris (Surviving Jack/My Boys/Notes from the Underbelly) - Rachael appears on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
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