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Fake movie trailers are some of the most creative, entertaining videos you’ll find on the Interwebs. (See Requiem for a Day Off for proof.) The latest, posted by Bestweekever.tv via Buzzfeed, takes one of my favorite childhood movies (which, coincidentally, also features divorce), Mrs. Doubtfire, and re-imagines it as a psychological thriller.

I almost didn’t buy it, until they revealed Robin Williams, sans makeup, chirping on the phone in his faux-female Scottish brogue. Creeeeepy. The quick cuts at the end are pretty inspired, too. Who thought a light-hearted drag comedy could be so chill-inducing?

Yet another cautionary tale for divorcées everywhere: don’t accidentally hire your transvestite ex as your housekeeper, or he’ll become obsessed with your children. Completely plausible.

–Katie Nowak

While watching the straight-to-DVD masterpiece (read: piece of crap) Gray Matters earlier this week, starring one of my biggest celeb crushes, Tom Cavanagh, it occurred to me he had a connection to divorce. Cavanagh starred as the titular character in Ed, NBC’s all too short-lived (and tragically unavailable on DVD) series, and one of my favorite shows of all time.

photo courtesy of michigandaily.com

photo courtesy of michigandaily.com

Ed Stevens returns to his hometown of Stuckeyville, Ohio, after being fired from his high profile New York City law firm and subsequently discovering his wife in bed with another man. When he returns to Stuckeyville, he runs into his high school crush, Carol Vessey, and when she unexpectedly kisses him, he decides to buy the local bowling alley and set up his own law practice there.

The series struck a great balance between serious and sweet, and leaned heavily on the quirky characters populating the town and Stuckeybowl. Employee Phil (played by the hilarious Michael Ian Black — another celeb crush) constantly came up with harebrained schemes, like writing an alternative to “Happy Birthday” so he wouldn’t have to pay royalties. Ed and his best friend Mike challenged each other to an ongoing series of ridiculous $10 bets, like the infamous “Burger Me” restaurant order (and this one, my personal favorite).

Divorce as the driving catalyst for the changes in Ed’s life was perhaps a bit of a cliche (a man “wakes up” and “discovers himself” after severing his marriage bonds!), but it worked for the show, since it gave Cavanagh an opportunity to play to his strengths, and be at once charming, vulnerable, serious, romantic, goofy, and adorable. (Okay, so maybe I have more than just a crush.) Glossing over the fact that Ed’s ex Liz was played by several different actresses over the show’s four seasons (including Janeane Garofalo and Lea Thompson), Liz’s presence — and lack thereof — in Ed’s life was an important linchpin for the series.

Season one’s “Something Old, Something New” was an especially revealing episode, as it allowed Ed to deal with the dissolution of his marriage in the wake of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday he’d be spending without his soon-to-be-ex wife. And were it not for Liz’s cheatin’ ways, Ed never would have moved home, wooed Carol, and then come up with the best marriage proposal of all time (sadly, that clip lacks the original music, Old 97’s – “Question.” Sync these two up and enjoy).

– Katie Nowak

Divorce isn’t limited to people; TV shows are just as susceptible to broken bonds, heartbreak, and confusion. Take the recent example of Project Runway, the addictive fashion competition show that got caught up in a nasty custody battle between its producers and its past and present network homes, Bravo and Lifetime.

The trio dragged the show into an ugly legal brawl when PR changed allegiances and changed scenery — both channel and city — for its sixth season. After Lifetime completed the coup of the century (and suddenly had the opportunity to change their image from Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? cheese factory to fashionista central), their celebration didn’t last long.

NBC Universal, parent company to Bravo, hit both Lifetime and PR stakeholders, the Weinstein Co. with lawsuits. Lifetime countersued, and before you could say “auf wiedersehen,” the show was in legal limbo. Season six production wrapped with a decidedly downbeat blind showing at February’s New York Fashion Week, and virtually nothing is known about this season’s contestants. As Entertainment Weekly reported, this could have been PR‘s lost season, never to see the light of day.

Thankfully, after nearly a year of trading barbs and lawsuits, all three parties calmed down and settled their differences, and — FINALLY — Project Runway‘s Lifetime debut is slated for August 20. Only time will tell if this traumatic split will have any lasting effects on the show’s quality. But given PR‘s insane popularity and its ability to weather such a brutal storm, I have a feeling they’ll make it work.

–katie nowak

Though spam and pop-up ads can be incessantly annoying, sometimes they’re great fodder for entertainment. I have a friend who recently got “divorced” on Facebook, and was inundated with ads for birth control and carpe diem travel.

The latest example comes from another friend’s Gmail account, where this morning he was invited to dump all his problems on some guy named Steven.

BlameSteven.com is a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek site
that aims to take the blame for all your troubles, big or small. The war in Iraq, a cheating spouse, “it’s hot outside” — all have been shoved on Steven, and he’s gladly shouldered the burden. He writes:

You can blame your mother for the way you turned out. You can blame the government for your current situation. Or you can blame your boss for your shitty job. The problem is that hardly anyone accepts the blame. Especially your mother or the President of the United States.

Steven wants to change all that. “Feel free to blame me for anything you want or let me know your thoughts,” he writes. “Then get over it and move on.” Looking to let off some steam after your messy divorce? Want to unleash your frustration over your deadbeat ex? The site’s forum and personalized Certificates of Acceptance of Blame are there to help.

Though his touted goal of bettering humanity may not be entirely serious, and the site itself most certainly frivolous, BlameSteven.com gave me a good laugh, and it may just cure your blues, too.

–katie nowak

Last night I saw Pixar’s latest, Up. In a word: uplifting (okay, sorry, that was too easy). At this point, pretty much anything the acclaimed animation studio produces is expected to be wonderful, but I had my suspicions about the superlatives that critics and audiences alike had been lavishing on the film.

Russell, Ups hapless Wilderness Explorer, is dealing with his parents divorce. photo credit: amazonaws.com

Russell, Up's hapless Wilderness Explorer, is dealing with his parents' divorce. photo credit: amazonaws.com

They were all right.

I won’t go into too much plot detail, but suffice it to say, this film did not disappoint. Some story elements were slightly predictable, but overall the movie was full of surprises, both emotional and eye-popping. (My favorite part was The talking dog, Dug, who is constantly distracted by squirrels. The “joke” he tells about the furry creatures had me laughing long after the credits rolled.)

Dug, the hilarious, insanely lovable talking dog who -- squirrel! -- is easily distracted. photo credit: flickr.com

Dug, the hilarious, insanely lovable talking dog who -- squirrel! -- is easily distracted. photo credit: flickr.com

The film’s central focus is the relationship between Carl, a curmudgeon with a heart of gold, and Russell, a naive Wilderness Explorer. Carl is still dealing with the death of his beloved wife, Ellie. Russell is reeling from his parents’ divorce. In one of the sweetest moments of the film (and trust me, there are plenty), Russell talks about how his dad was supposed to teach him how to pitch a tent, and how the two of them used to go get ice cream, sit on the curb, and count cars together. “It might sound boring,” Russell tells Carl, “but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.” Excuse me while I sob into my popcorn.

Carl eventually becomes somewhat of a surrogate father to Russell, and plays a pivotal role in an important event for Russell later in the movie. Their interactions are sweet and touching, but never cloying. The film does an excellent job of portraying the pain and confusion that children of divorce face without rubbing our noses in it; the word “divorce” is never said, only implied.

If you’re looking for a film that will make you laugh, cry, and then double over laughing again, Up is your movie. Just be careful swallowing your popcorn with that lump in your throat.

–Katie Nowak


photo credit: neilstuff.com

Freaks and Geeks will easily go down as one of the greatest television shows of the decade. The seminal series, which lasted a tragically-short 18 episodes, centered on the titular groups of burnouts and nerds at a Michigan high school in the ’80s. The show was unflinching in its honesty, and though it was often laugh-out-loud funny — Sam’s misguided leisure suit, Nick’s obsession with Rush, anything involving Bill — it also tackled a lot of serious issues, including those incorporating the main characters’ parents.

In Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers, Bill’s single mom begins dating his gym teacher, Coach Fredricks (Thomas F. Wilson, who you may remember as Biff from Back to the Future), who Bill thinks is a meathead. Bill, played by the genius Martin Starr, wrestles with this throughout the episode, until he and Coach have a tense confrontation then tear-inducing heart-to-heart at a go-kart track. The scene where they hash out their differences in the car is gut-wrenching, and Starr plays it pitch-perfectly, capturing the swell of emotions that any child of divorce must face when their parent(s) begin dating again.

Infidelity surfaces in The Garage Door, when Sam sees Neal’s dad hugging another woman, and Neal discovers someone else’s garage door opener in his dad’s car. Once again, this episode yielded top-notch acting. Neal’s frustration, anger, and disappointment come to a head when he rides his bike around town, frantically searching for the garage that matches the opener. When he finally finds it, our hearts break along with his. In the follow-up, Noshing and Moshing, Neal confronts his mom about his dad’s infidelity (and also picks up a rather irritating ventriloquist habit), and she reveals that she already knew.

Producer Judd Apatow (perhaps you’ve heard of his small films Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin?) revealed that he had planned for the Schweibers to go through a messy divorce, had the show continued. Unfortunately for the viewing public, we never got to see the actors portraying the freaks and geeks of McKinley High shine their brightest through these future hard times.

–katie nowak


photo credit: 915thebeat.com

I was once a faithful soap opera follower. Though it was (thankfully) only for one year, I was absolutely obsessed with Passions (R.I.P., old friend). I couldn’t get enough of the Ethan/Theresa/Gwen drama (Team Theresa all the way). I lived for lascivious shots of the oft-shirtless Miguel. Caliente.

But I digress. The point is, most of us can relate to being a die hard soap fan, and laughing at/loving the ridiculous plot twists that these shows spit out. Sadly, recent ratings tumbles have spelled doom for the genre. The latest to get the ax is Guiding Light, the CBS stalwart that began as a radio serial way back in 1937.

No different than other soaps, the show featured a myriad of misguided weddings and subsequent divorces. I brushed up after a quick Google search and finding this in-depth article, and thought I’d share the juiciest break-ups from the show’s 72 year-run.

  • Reva and Josh — This pair have gotten married three separate times. Their tale involves time-travel (they knew each other in previous lives, obviously) and a clone (seriously), and at one point Reva married Josh’s brother just to spite him. She also drove her car off a bridge and disappeared for a few seasons. I guess that’s a pretty logical reason for splitting.

  • Reva and Josh’s first wedding. Their misguided outfits were the first sign of trouble, photo from guidinglight.net

  • Harley and Mallet — Mallet is officially the best soap opera character name I have ever heard. These two met at the police academy, but their love was almost thwarted when Mallet was “injured in a explosion that left him impotent and deaf.” Yikes. Of course, Mallet recovered completely. Then Harley the hussey cheated on him, and their marriage was toast.
  • philhar1
    Harley and Mallet. He looks like a hard-hitter to me (hey-o!), photo credit: members.tripod.com

  • Eleni and Frank — This arranged marriage, orchestrated by Eleni’s Uncle Stavros, went awry when Eleni was somehow blackmailed into marrying someone else. Naturally, she got preggers with Frank’s baby, and the two had a shotgun wedding. Then she had an affair. (I’m sensing a theme here.)
  • Morgan and Kelly — Which one is the girl? (Kidding. It’s Morgan. I think.) These star-crossed lovers braved Kelly being Morgan’s much-older tutor and Kelly saving her from some sort of evil duke. (Side note: why do dukes always end up being evil?) But their union was short-lived when troublemaker Josh crashed the party and broke them up.

The Light goes out on September 18. Check out all the drama while you still can.

–Katie Nowak

My colleague Dan Cailler has some more hard-hitting analysis over at Untiedmag.com (ed. note: site will be launched at the end of June), but I want to throw in my two cents on the topic of divorce movies.

When I was younger, I loved Jim Carrey, and my favorite film of his was Liar Liar. (Today that distinction goes to either The Truman Show or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I digress.)


photo credit: jimcarrey-information.com

Liar Liar centers around high-powered attorney Fletcher Reede (Carrey), who skates by in life by lying, most notably to his young son, Max (Justin Cooper — whatever happened to that kid?). When Fletcher lets Max down one too many times — on the kid’s birthday, no less — Max wishes that for one day, his dad could tell the truth.


photoc redit: rochestergoesout.com

While not the film’s main focus, the addition of divorce into the plotline — Fletcher and Audrey, Max’s mom (the always-great Maura Tierney), have split and she wants to move away with Max; Fletcher’s big, must-win case is a custody battle — makes the movie more relatable.

The ending is a bit tidier than real life (Fletcher and Audrey get back together), and it’s unlikely that anyone’s birthday wish could magically transform their father from lying lawyer to Honest Abe. But the film is light-hearted escapism at its finest. Plus it features The Claw. Can’t beat that.

The Onion strikes again in a hilarious and characteristically random podcast on their Onion Radio News network. Enjoy the strange tale of a children’s puppet program hijacked by divorce. Maybe this is how you can break the news to your kids?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “divorce…with puppets!“, posted with vodpod

–Katie Nowak

Scrubs has been one of my favorite shows since its debut in 2001. While a highly exaggerated and unlikely coupling, the example set by characters Dr. Perry Cox and Jordan Sullivan is an amusing one for divorcees.

The characters married, fought, cheated, and divorced — then had occasional “angry, shallow sex,” as they dubbed it, in season one. Jordan ended up pregnant and the two got back together, in one of my favorite episodes, season two’s My Fruit Cups.

Image from Google Images

Image of the mentioned couple from fanpop.com

Later on in the series, it’s revealed that there was a snafu with their divorce papers — they signed someone else’s — and the two are still legally married. Hilariously, this news started to sour their relationship, and they agreed they’d be more content if they officially divorced. One quick ceremony later (yes, they held a divorce) and the pair were happily ripping each other apart once again.

While characterized by put-downs and an apparent mutual loathing, Dr. Cox and Jordan remained one of the most stable relationships on the show, a nice remedy to the ping-ponging between JD and Elliot. If calling each other out on botched Botox or mercilessly attacking someone’s manhood — yet remaining in a long-term, committed, happy partnership — is something you’re into, then follow the example of this acerbic yet somehow lovable couple.

If anything, it’s sure to be highly entertaining, if highly unrealistic.

–Katie Nowak