Splitting Up Together

For the sake of their kids, Lena & Martin try living together instead of divorce in the new sitcom on Seven.

Welcome to the very modern marriage of Lena & Martin who decide after some 14 years of marriage (and no sex for the last 2) that it’s time to pull the plug, in Splitting Up Together.

But instead of a formal divorce they agree to remain co-habitating, for the sake of the kids and the mortgage (yep it happens, I know people in the same situation). Martin (Oliver Hudson) moves into the garage during “Mom” week, while Lena (Jenna Fisher) does likewise during “Dad” week.

The three kids, 2 of whom are barely teenagers, don’t need to be shunted from house to house, so much as keep track of who is in charge in any given week. As a premise it’s a new take on The Odd Couple with sexual tension, albeit resolved, still in play around the edges.

But the theory is far more navigable than the practice. Can you cut emotions as neatly as sleeping arrangements? And how can you forge your own independence when you have been so dependent on someone who is under your very nose? Expect lots of high fives as awkward affection replaces couples kissing.

It’s the friends and family of our (un)happy couple who struggle with the new now, with Lena’s sister (Dianne Farr), best friend (Lindsay Price) and father (Geoff Pierson) all offering advice on starting anew as she tries not to make it such a big deal. Naturally the topic of dating comes up, cue handsome young doctor and fumbled flirting.

Martin is similarly given a man-talk by his best bro (Bobby Lee) that he never looked at life from Lena’s perspective.

Jenna Fischer (The Office) holds this premise together thanks to her comic timing, but Oliver Hudson (Rules of Engagement) is an affable dad.

Written by Emily Kapnek (Selfie, Suburgatory), and produced by Ellen DeGeneres amongst others, the series will see the pair realise their attraction is reigniting. There is also some nice inclusiveness, including Asian-American friends, and the daughter -who appears to be about 10- telling her older brother, “We don’t objectify women in this house.” Ok a bit unrealistic, granted, but comedy sometimes come from hearing the thing you least expect.

Splitting Up Together is a single-cam comedy with no laugh track, and the humour is relaxed rather than driven by punchlines. The pilot episode is genial if you’re looking for something light.

Spliting Up Together begins with a double episode tonight at 9:45pm on Seven.

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