Wednesday, 19 June 2024

The Starter Wife: Escape to Mollywood

“The Starter Wife” producers couldn't possibly have known their frothy series about life among the rich and shallow would premiere at the end of the worst week ever on Wall Street. Heck, even the U.S treasury secretary didn't see that coming.

The series was inevitable after the roaring success of the six-part miniseries in May and June of 2007 – it got 10 Emmy nominations and reinforced star Debra Messing's reputation as a Lucille Ball channeler.

It's possible you (unlike most of my friends) know nothing about the miniseries, so: Messing plays Molly Kagan, a Hollywood producer's wife, who gets dumped (by cell phone) and flails about trying to create a new life as a Hollywood outcast. Judy Davis is her alcoholic sidekick, Joan.

In the first episode of the series, Molly's new love has disappeared and her children's book has failed; she's trying to start a writing career based on her journal, which is full of delicious libelous dish. It gets stolen and turns up on a gossip Web site. Joan has sobered up and gotten a part-time job as a counselor/babysitter at a chichi rehab/spa facility.

All just too silly? Yeah, that's what I thought until I remembered that Depression-era movie theaters were crowded with people immersing themselves in escapist fantasies. Now we get to do it at home, even on our computers or mobile phones. At least for as long as we can afford those. Major sponsor Verizon will send show segments to your phone, and full segments are online at, along with games, sweepstakes and other mildly amusing ways to waste time.

Verizon's isn't nearly as brazen with product placement as Pond's was in the miniseries, but we can be even more grateful for the comically surreal fantasy and dream sequences.

You might as well enjoy some escapism. Even Wall Street brokers are doing so with champagne and lap dances, according to

Besides, the New York Times says Messing, one of the six executive producers, has promised the series will "retain the same comic voice, the same darkness, not shying away from social satire because it's now a TV show."

Sounds like screwball comedy, which reached its height as the country started to pull out of the Depression..

Friday nights, USA channel.

E-mail Sophie Annan Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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