Fast-paced and hilarious with a great cast, fingers crossed that Our Ex-Wife gets the greenlight for a full series.
We live in a hateful, antagonistic world, where nice people can be hard to come by. Sitcom pilot Our Ex-Wife taps into this idea, shoving a whole heap of battling, hateful, cruel human beings into the worst of all situations – a divorce. In fact, I would best describe Our Ex-Wife as a half-an-hour countdown for the only nice character to snap.
The premise is simple, but the execution is genius. Robert Webb stars as Jack, whose disintegrated marriage to his first wife Hillary (Victoria Hamilton) is shown through a montage of cartoon-esque clips, which shows both of the couple’s fantasies to kill each other. This humorously includes Jack imagining forcing Hillary to dig her own grave (“As usual, I have to do everything myself”), and Hillary fantasizing about decapitating Jack. Though Webb is not particularly likeable as selfish and cynical Jack, philandering Hillary is a villain of Darth Vader levels, portrayed deliciously as spiteful, vindictive and shallow by Victoria Hamilton. Their marriage and subsequent divorce is an absolute trainwreck, with Hillary constantly demanding money, and their kids (played by Holly Earl and Archie Lyndhurst) are shipped between the two, trying not to be collateral damage in their war.
Then Jack becomes engaged to American optimist and all-round-nice-girl Sara (Melanie Lynskey, playing a very different character to Rose in Two and a Half Men). Sara is determined to win round Hillary – apparently nobody has ever disliked her in her entire life – and organises a meal for the entire family. Though the only nice person in the entire show, Sara is the one you end up despising, for her pathetic desperation to be loved, which is very annoying when placed next to the snappy witticisms of Jack and Hillary. The 30 minute episode is the story of how, in the end, even she snaps when it comes to ‘our ex-wife’. Yes, it’s not just Jack that has to live with her now.
Peter Egan is maybe even the best part of the pilot, as Jack’s father George, who watches from the sidelines finding the whole thing hilarious. Our Ex-Wife is great, with snappy dialogue (from Simpsons writer Julie Thacker Scully), and fast-paced directing too. Moreover, it’s brimming with potential, and I can only hope it returns for a full series in the future.
You can watch Our Ex-Wife on the BBC iPlayer now. It aired as part of Sitcom Season, on BBC Two.