Divorce is messy. I’m finding that out firsthand (no, I’m not getting divorced, but a couple close to me are, and it’s breaking my heart) that there is nothing easy about it. No matter how you are connected, when a couple decides to break up their marriage, more people than them are affected. I didn’t expect to have such a tough time watching Splitting Up Together, but there were moments in our screening, where watching what was going on on-screen was a tough pill for me to swallow, but I appreciated that there was a way for me to get my feelings out and blame it on a television show.
Nothing to see here.
We were able to interview Oliver Hudson who plays the role of Martin, ex-husband to Jenna Fischer’s role of Lena, Lindsay Price who plays 1/2 of the best couple friends that they have, and writer and executive producer Emily Hapnek and Dean Holland. They [Fischer and Hudson] are a couple who have decided to divorce, but still live in the same home to be more efficient. They rotate between the garage and main house, letting the “on” parent handle the kids in a way they see fit for one week at a time.
Sounds good right? Nothing can go wrong, right? Ha. You wish.
Here’s what we learned during our interview.
How this will portray divorce
EK : I mean I think we felt like a lot of people seem to identify with the world and the characters whether they were going through a divorce or not. We just kind of drew from all of our own real-life experiences. We’re all kind of married with kids. Everyone here is. So, we’ve, we’ve had lots of stories to share. And I think the main goal is just to tell a story about divorce that isn’t, you know, toxic and negative that has a little bit of hope and a little bit of optimism.
And there’s some that wish for — for me personally, you know, having grown up with parents who are divorced, I think everyone always hopes, oh, my gosh is there any chance in the world that they can get it back on track. And I think a lot of kids feel that way. And to tell a show where there is that sort of glimmer that’s being dangled and a lot of love between the main characters was just sort of new way of telling a divorce story for us, yeah.
DH: Historically it’s always been kinda negative, divorce is such a bad thing. And while we were shooting it, numerous people came up to us and told us we’re doing this. My friends are doing this. So many people were kind of like, let’s kind of both still raise our kids and somehow manage to make it work.
EK: Yeah, I know a lot of couples that have good relationships, even if they didn’t reconcile just good relationships with their exes and they’re co-parenting happily, and I just don’t think you see a lot of that represented.
How it is working with kids on set
OH : It was great. It was honestly great. The kids were amazing. The bigger ones were professional and they were just spot on. Sander, who is an amazing little actor, he’s a kid. So, I had to parent 24 hours a day, because I was on set working with the kids and I sorta took to him and I became, you know —
EK : Wrangler.
OH : Oh, for sure. And then, of course, I’d go home and have to deal with my own children. [LAUGHS] It was nonstop. But they were great. Sander was actually — turned out to — I mean you see him. He’s such a sweet boy. He is a very sweet boy, but he’s eight years old. Sometimes I’d have to take him aside and be like, okay, bud, let’s get it together now.
EK : And I think one of the things that is so great about Oliver in the show is that Oliver has three kids in his real life. And watching him deal with these kids, it’s so authentic. Do you know how I kept saying over and over again, it’s like you can tell he’s a dad. You can tell how he deals with these kids, how he delivers the kids, and also just not the — you know, no kid-glove thing where he’s like — sometimes he says stuff that’s really harsh to the kids. You know, there’s a couple episodes in where he gives it to them pretty bluntly, and it just feels really authentic. So, we love his performance.
OH : What’s great — what I love too is that, you know, I guess you would say it’s a show about divorce, but at the end of the day there’s so much you can find in this show from every walk of life, especially if you have children. You don’t have to be divorced to relate to this thing, because it’s about co-parenting. As individuals coming from different backgrounds and families, we have different ideas on how we wanna raise our kids. My wife has an idea and I have an idea. Now there is a meet in the middle, but what I found actually, which was amazing casting, is Jenna is very much like who she is on this show, and I am very much like who I am on this show, you know.
And my wife is pretty much like Jenna, you know. So, she’s very organized. She’s very this. She’s very that. She wants plans. I hate plans. I despise plans, because then I have to flake and I don’t wanna do that. I would rather not make a plan and, you know, do it in the last minute. But it’s great for that, you know, and it’s about these two people sort of discovering how they can not only live together but how they can, you know, be equal parents.
What it’s like for Oliver Hudson to play more of serious role
OH: Well, this is where I belong I feel like. I mean this is more my speed, you know. I like the reality of this. I like the authenticity of this. You know, Rules of Engagement I did for seven years, I didn’t know what the [heck] I was doing on that show for the first two. I was like — I thought I was gonna go into that show and David Spade and Patrick Warburton and we’re gonna be the comic guys and I could just sorta stay as the third guy in the background a little bit. I turned into the idiot on the show and they were sorta the straight guys, you know. And then I did Nashville and this and that where I’m the villain. But this is more authentic. This is exactly authentic to sort of who I am, what I believe. This is more — you’re seeing more of myself entirely in this guy than anything that I’ve ever done. Well, in this specific situation it was definitely easier, because this is my world. I live this thing. And even before this I was trying to develop a show from myself about like a single dad with three kids who’s trying to sorta navigate the world of being 40 years old and dating and all that, which I’ll do if this show isn’t good (laughter ensued)
Writing about this is cathartic for me in a way. I am hoping that watching to see how the season will progress. Splitting Up Together premiers tonight at 9:30|8:30c after Roseanne!