The Starter Wife review. Episode 1.04—“”Mollywood”

TV Reviews

So now Joan is sleeping with the actor in rehab, Molly kissed Zach the writing workshop guy and Rodney’s been thrown out by his pro-athlete client/john (then wrangled back in…to the closet).

Episode 104 of The Starter Wife, “Mollywood,” turns the previous weeks’ Molly-the-downtrodden setup on its head. Within the first five minutes, Eve (previously our heroine’s sworn PTA nemesis) offers a superficial—albeit profitable—olive branch, on behalf of her husband the producer, who wants Molly’s golden pen for a new TV spot. And Molly is, as Joan says, a “pariah no more.” She’s back in with the hip crowd, and being courted by any number of agents.

This change is troublesome for a couple of reasons. First, Molly’s social rejection endeared her to the audience. When she was shunned by her peers, we were willing to overlook the stunning frivolity of her lifestyle. When she’s receiving baskets spilling over with exotic fruits and pastries from Hollywood’s who’s who, we celebrate the victory less enthusiastically.

The other debacle of “Mollywood” is the doubtful credibility of the promotion. Molly goes from being the most hated ex-player’s ex to an exalted, Bradshaw-esque columnist queen. She’s being hunted down by every publicist and agent in L.A., and the problem is, well, she’s not that good. Throughout the series, we hear excerpts of her writing. Some of it’s cutesy, occasionally she’s clever, but mostly it’s hackneyed observational gossip writing. And everyone in this show seems to think she’s birthed a new genre of chick lit.

So I don’t believe it. I don’t believe the chemistry between Rodney and his meathead love interest (or that a successful, seemingly self-assured, well-adjusted type like Rodney would be messing around with a guy on the DL, for that matter). I can’t make sense of anything about Joan’s relationship with her husband, Pappy, and the members of Molly’s writing workshop are infuriating. Their ceremonious censure, and approval, of each other’s works is far-fetched, to say the least.

“Mollywood” is frustrating, but it has its charming moments, of course. This affair between Joan and her lushy crush is titillating. And I loved the heart-to-heart in triplet stalls at the tanning spa. But there’s something about the tail end of “Mollywood” that doesn’t sit right. Molly makes a move on Zach without the season-long build-up during which we assumed she’d be doing the single thing, coming into her own as a writer. Now she’s pounding out a manuscript, and, if we can judge by the narrative focus in last year’s Starter Wife miniseries, she’ll be back into the full swing of the dating game by next week’s episode.

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