Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce‘s Lisa Edelstein gabs about the end of the recent third season and the hardest thing about playing Abby McCarthy
Headlining your own show can teach you a lot about yourself, and Lisa Edelstein has learned quite a bit in the three years as Abby McCarthy on Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. The show was the first scripted comedy at the network, and it will end its run after five seasons. Even though her character could find herself in her share of dicey situations, you can tell that Edelstein loves her job.
Bravo has been introducing more and more original content over the last few seasons, but Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce was the network’s first scripted show. How do you feel going into the fourth season since the show has been such a success?
Of course it is a great thing when a network wants more of what you are doing! So being able to tell more of the Girlfriends’ Guide story was pretty spectacular. We actually shot Seasons 3, 4 and 5 altogether, without breaking. It was a bit of a head spinner but it also really helped with over-all season cohesion. The stories all felt ripe and full and fully told.
There’s something that happens in the third season of any show, it’s almost like that’s where show really begins. Everyone knows their roles well, the writer’s know their actors well, the directors, the editors, even the crew know the show well. So being able to continue beyond that point means really getting into the heart and soul of the story.
What do you think is the most difficult thing about playing Abby McCarthy?
I loved every second of playing Abby McCarthy. I suppose the hardest part was my sore feet. Even casual Abby is Abby in heels. But they are GORGEOUS heels, so I never say no. Beyond physical pain, I really can’t say! It was certainly the first time in my career where I was relied on and trusted not only with the enormous amount of work but the intense content of the work. It was definitely challenging but only in the most exciting ways. At times, I felt like an emotional computer program: Sad Abby! Happy Abby! Confused Abby! Angry Abby! But what an amazing acting exercise. Seriously, I LOVE my job and I got to act the S#&T out of this role.
Season 3 was considerably shorter than the previous two seasons. Did that change how you approached the themes or arc of the season?
Yes, Seasons 3, 4, and 5 are all shorter. We shot them continuously, and we ended with the series finale at the end of Season 5. It was sad to know our story was ending because the family we created on this show has been one of the most appreciated and special parts of the experience. That said, having an ultimate finale ahead allowed Marti and the writers to tell deeper and more specific stories. Season 4 and Season 5 are actually my favorites for that reason. They allow this show to go full circle. They take the Abby of the pilot and give her a proper bon voyage. It was the happiest and saddest and happiest year of my professional life.
The show has a really amazing female ensemble. What do you think is the key to that successful chemistry? Is it it the bond between the characters or the writing or something else entirely?
Thank you!! We have the funniest collection of ladies, all big personalities and all completely different. I think our chemistry together really shines in Season 4. Something shifted this year. In Season 1, Alanna was a mid-season addition, and I’m not sure she felt secure that she was really on our show. In Season 2, we added Retta, but she was a recurring character. Season 3 everyone just came to work ready. Everyone was the show. Our girlfriends scenes would fly by, despite having five women and six pages of dialogue. All our rhythm
Do you have a favorite moment from this last season that was either fun to film or great to watch when the episode aired?
Since we shot them all together it is a literal BLUR.
What has playing Abby taught you about yourself?
I have never worked harder or done more and it made me realize how much harder I love to work and how much more I love to do.
At the end of the third season, Abby introduces her novel to her friends, and they have a really positive reaction (it’s also super hilarious). Have you ever had a moment in your life where you’ve had to put yourself out there like that and been worried about the reaction from close friends or family?
Every. Single. Sex. Scene. Ever.
You’ve had so many amazing guest stars over the course of these three seasons. I think Lesley Ann Warren has played some of TV’s great moms in guest starring parts. Is there anyone you are dying to have on the show?
I want everyone on the show. I really wanted Sharon Stone to play Phoebe’s mom but then Phoebe never had a mom.
What can you tell us about the upcoming fourth season? Are there already concrete plans on where the show is going for the fifth and final season?
We have already shot it, all the way through! It’s wonderful and satisfying and as actors so bitter sweet for all of us! It was the healthiest ending to a series I’ve certainly ever had. It was a gentle, long good-bye kiss filled with love and integrity. What an amazing experience. I can hardly wait for you to see.
Seasons 1-3 of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce are currently available on Netflix.