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


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, October 17

    The Goldbergs - "Hersheypark" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Adam discovers Beverly has been manipulating him with guilt letters when he tells his mother he doesn’t want her to chaperone the school trip to Hersheypark. Meanwhile, after attending Career Night, Geoff realizes he doesn’t want to be an eye doctor like his father.

    American Housewife - "Enemies: An Otto Story" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Anna-Kat runs for the Green Chair position in the school election against Chloe Brown Mueller’s daughter, which results in Katie and Chloe turning their kids’ election into a feud of their own. Meanwhile, Greg becomes concerned that Taylor’s new friend Pierce (Milo Manheim) is trying to steal her away from Trip, causing Greg to intervene and scheme to prevent it.

    Modern Family - "Torn Between Two Lovers" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Haley can’t seem to choose between her past and present relationships and is forced to make a decision. Meanwhile, Manny returns to college and dorm life while his girlfriend, Sherry, continues to stay at Jay and Gloria’s, and might be overstaying her welcome.

    Single Parents - "Beyoncé Circa Lemonade" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    After scolding Miggy for not being able to sleep-train baby Jack, Angie and Douglas engage in a competition to see who can sleep-train the baby in one night. While Angie and Douglas have the baby, Miggy takes over babysitting Graham, Rory, Sophie, Emma and Amy, which results in an impromptu kids’ party. Meanwhile, Poppy teaches Will how to take out his anger on the volleyball court.

    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - "The Gang Does a Clip Show" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    With nothing to do while their phones update to the latest software, the gang decides to reminisce on old times; as everyone misremembers events from their past, the gang's current reality becomes altered.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 15)

    Wednesday, October 17

    • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Watch Busy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Molly Shannon (Divorce/Kath & Kim/Cracking Up) - Molly is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat) - Constance appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love/Operation Petticoat) - Jamie Lee visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Michael Fishman and Lecy Goranson (The Conners/Roseanne) - Michael and Lecy chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. Michael, Lecy and Maya Lynne Robinson will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • John Goodman (The Conners/Roseanne/The Trouble in Normal, Ohio) - John stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Maya Rudolph (Forever/Up All Night) - Maya is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Romeo Miller (Romeo!) - Romeo appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Geoffrey Owens (The Cosby Show) - Geoffrey drops by Steve, so check your local listings.
    • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood/The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) and Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Cedric and Tichina are guests on Access Live, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September/October)

    The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

    09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
    09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
    09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
    09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
    09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
    09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
    09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
    09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
    09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
    09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
    09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
    10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
    10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
    10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
    10/16 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest