10:00 am EDT, March 21, 2018

‘Splitting Up Together’ review: An enjoyable family comedy with room to grow

By Sonya Field | Edited by Brandi Delhagen

Splitting Up Together is an entertaining new comedy starring Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson that doesn’t quite find its legs in the first few episodes.

As a fan of The Office, I jumped at the chance to watch a new series starring Jenna Fischer. Although, I wasn’t 100% sure how I would feel about a comedy that’s based on a couple divorcing. It’s definitely not your typical topic for a family comedy but it’s certainly a topic that many could relate to.

What’s unique about the series is that the couple decides to continue living together. Lena (played by Jenna Fischer) and Martin (played by Oliver Hudson) come to the realization that it doesn’t make financial sense to sell their house so they come up with a plan to co-parent. It involves trading places each week as the “parent on duty” living in the house, and the “parent off duty” living in the finished garage.

The first episode spends most the time setting up the explanation for the couple divorcing as well as showing how their plan to live together will work. It also serves as a bit of an introduction to all the main characters on the show including their kids.

The oldest of which is Mae (played by Olivia Keville) who happens to be a budding feminist. Next to Lena, Mae is probably my favorite character on Splitting Up Together. Not only does she continually call out some of the behaviors by the others around her, but she adds an interesting level of humor with her serious demeanor. Mason is the oldest of the boys and is at that age where he’s starting to deal with puberty and starting to get interested in girls. While Milo is the youngest is quirky and cute.

Although I did like the kids in the series, it did feel like at times that they felt a little one-note and lacked depth. Of all the kids, it felt like Mason was given the most room to develop within the four episodes that I screened. His storyline of starting puberty and being at a transitional age seems to naturally give the writers content to write into the show. However, the show could definitely benefit from more effort into Mae and Milo’s storylines.

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A lot of the first few episodes involves Lena and Martin learning on how to co-parent as a separated couple. It actually means learning how to listen to each other in ways that they didn’t do when they were together. But it also means stretching their wings and getting to discover who they truly want to be as people and as parents, without the pressure of trying to salvage their marriage.

Honestly, some of the funniest moments on Splitting Up Together is when Lena and Martin are trying to one up each other. Even though they’re trying to live in civility, the years of bitterness can’t just vanish over night. It’s a fun dynamic to see them navigating their new co-parenting relationship and dealing with issues that continue to arise from it.

What I really wasn’t expecting was to not want the couple to get back together. Part of the first few episodes is them coming to realize the mistakes that each of them made in their marriage as well as some jealousy issues from them moving on from each other. There are naturally some times when they question their decision to split up, but I kind of thought I would want them to work things out. The opposite happened though, and instead I was more entertained by seeing them move on than trying to work things out.

Although the show was overall pretty entertaining and held my interest, I couldn’t shake the feeling like the series was missing something. It’s possible that it just needs more time to grow into the characters and storyline, but that’s something they will need to work on fast if the show wants to grab viewers attention. I hope that they do continue to improve because it could be a great show, but in the meantime it needs some work.

Splitting Up Together premieres Tuesday March 27 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC!

Will you be tuning in to watch ‘Splitting Up Together’?

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