The Starter Wife Premiere Recap

Debra Messing's newest endeavor gives us another chance to sneak behind the scenes of the shallow world of Hollywood, where spouses are as disposable as a bad agent and the only thing that matters is closing that next movie deal. In this USA mini-series, Messing plays Molly Kragen, the typical "starter wife" -- the first spouse of a Hollywood big-shot, who gets all the perks of the good life, that is, until he sends her packing. Then, the party is over -- "when you're no longer the 'wife of'" someone important and your social status drops to zero. That's when you find out who your true friends are. HOUR ONE Hour one of the mini-series begins with stay-at-home mom Molly playing personal assistant to her her husband, movie mogul Kenny Kragen. She smoothly meets his every need, weilding her cell phone in one hand and agenda in the other. I was having some flashbacks from The Devil Wears Prada, but unlike Andy Sachs, Molly isn't guaranteed the job of a lifetime after one year. She's been married for 10.

However, the situation is not doom and gloom. Molly is able to spend her days going to yoga class with the other millionaire moms and finds simple joy in redecorating rooms in her house with her interior designer buddy, Rodney, one of her three closest friends. In their spare time, the crew, which also includes her oldest friend, Joan, and young, blonde Cricket, likes to float between movie premieres (watch the red carpet for a fake Brangelina!) and social events and gossip about the misfortune of those who have been cast out of the social circle, the ex-wives of the Hollywood elite, who lose everything with the divorce and are shunned from the social circles they thought they were part of.

"The nerves still tingle with the loss of importance," Molly says.

Everything, however, changes one night, when Molly's worst nightmare comes true -- her husband abruptly decides he wants a divorce. Why didn't she see this one coming? It seems like Molly knew the type of people she and her husband ran with, so I'm not sure why it was such a surprise.

Immediately, everything is turned upside down. Her acquaintences show no sympathy, treating her like a nuisance they can't get rid of. Her country club membership is revoked, and she is no longer welcome to accompany her daughter to a birthday party, as every event is really just a chance to discuss movie deals. Since she's "out," no one wants anything to do with her, even Cricket, the wife of another movie exec, someone she was convinced would stay by her side.

Since her friend Joan decides to go to France for the summer with her husband (but really goes to a rehab center for alcoholism -- how sneaky!), she offers to let Molly live at her beach home. Though it's all a Hollywood crowd, she decides to go, and brings her five year-old with her for some mother-daughter beachside bonding time. Though Molly is relieved to no longer feel pressure to constantly starve herself down to tiny sizes (props to post-baby Debra for having the guts to play someone who "hasn't eaten in 12 years"), she feels lost without the social circles and unsuccessfully attempts to squeeze her way back into her normal life by attending a swanky party at someone's summer home.

As she finds herself shunned by all her former friends, Molly realizes that she has officially been "kicked out" of Hollywood. No one can cheer her up, except, perhaps, thrice-divorced Lou, Kenny's boss and the party host, who seems to be the only other person who has some perspective on the whole superficial situation. Ooh, looks like a potential plot development!

Hour One ends with a dramatic twist and the beginning of a possible love connection. Molly gets a spurt of fearlessness and goes for a spontaneous kayak ride into the ocean. Unfortunalely, Molly is not a very good kayaker and loses control, only to be rescued by the hot blonde neighbor she has been eyeing lately. Could it be fate?

HOUR TWO

For some reason, this premiere included the first two hour-long segments of the mini-series. An odd decision, but at least I didn't have to wait till next week to find out what's in the stars for Molly.

We start off with Molly's discovery of The Other Woman. Ouch. Sure, she knew there probably was one, but she had no idea it was young, sexy pop-superstar Shoshana, the Britney Spears type that her young daughter idolizes. Kenny assures Molly that they didn't sleep together until after he knew he was going to break up with her, but he does so in the same nonchalant, stress-free way he uses every time they talk about the divorce. He sounds more like he's ordering take-out than discussing details of ending a 10 year marriage.

Little to Kenny's knowledge, Lou steps into the picture again when he runs into Molly and her daughter trying to get a table at an exclusive ladies-who-lunch restaurant. He saves the day by inviting them to dine with him, surprising all of the jealous onlookers who had assumed Molly had been permanently exiled. Sparks fly, and lead to plans for a future date. I was kind of wondering where the little girl was, however, since she must have either disappeared or was on extremely well behavior as she was nowhere to be seen while her mother flirted and canoodled during the entire lunch. I mean, they pretty much ignored her the whole scene.

This episode is where all the subplots start surfacing. Joan sounds like she's making up all the past memories she tells her therapist in rehab, and it's starting to look more like acting class. We find out that Molly put herself through college, despite growing up in a poor broken family in Detroit (and I immediately started paying more attention, being from the Motor City suburbs myself), which may be the reason she feels a connection to the gated community's college student security guard who lives with her grandmother and struggling to ends meet. Blah, blah, blah, now we can empathize with Molly. Great. I kind of liked her better when she was a strictly a one-dimensional character without a rags-to-riches story to go with it.

We also get to witness a sly little maneuver by Cricket's husband, a Johnny Depp type who has never cheated on his wife--until now. Seduced (no, really) by his children's nanny, he desperately tries to put an end to the whole thing, but finds himself blackmailed for $50,000 and stuck in the middle of something for which there is no easy way out, and goes to his friend Kenny for advice.

The Hoy Guy gets more mysterious. There is definitely a connection between him and Molly, but he is cheap with the details about himself and prefers to only speak in those vague, deep responses that sound great and romantic on TV but would be a little strange and confusing in real life. He comes over while Molly is preparing for her romantic date with Lou, and woos her with his charming nature. Later on, we see him chase down a criminal, and it's obvious that he is too much of a tough-guy to be a member of the normal Hollywood crowd, so what is he really doing there? Where did he come from?

The episode ends with Molly losing her last bit of faith as she is stood up for her romantic night with Lou. As the sun sets, her candles burn down, and the food gets cold, Lou is at his house, finishing off a bottle and walking into the ocean. We can see he has left some sort of handwritten letter. Depressed and determined to be proactive about her own life, Molly walks down to the beach, where she finds the Hot Guy (since he is apparently always there) and passionately kisses him.

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