There’s nothing like death to turn your life inside out, as three friends in the new dark comedy “Pivoting” learn the hard way.
The Fox sitcom, which premiered last week, finds the three survivors of a Long Island friend group picking up the pieces after the death of the fourth. Sarah (Maggie Q) leaves her wildly successful medical career to find joy working at a grocery store, Amy (Eliza Coupe) recommits to being a better ― or at least present — mom and Jodie (Ginnifer Goodwin) soaks up the attention from her personal trainer that she’s not getting from her husband.
“When you take away all limitations and you stop (caring) about the right way to do something, but you’re doing it from a place of what activates your soul because you want to be living now, that’s funny,” Coupe said. “It’s not funny to play by the rules. It’s not funny to just live in boxes and have this limited outlook on life.”
Their friend Colleen’s death wakes the women up to their lives’ realities that they have may have been aware of, but couldn’t accept. Their versions of blowing their lives up don’t involve fleeing the country or burning through their bank accounts; they’re small rebellions against their routines.
It took something as big as death to bring change.
“Human beings are so stubborn. We don’t see it until we get smacked in the face with it. I wish we were all more self-aware,” said Maggie Q, who found a strong connection to her character after her own best friend died 13 years ago.
“We get to the point where we’re willfully blind to things until some big event or loss happens, and that gives us perspective, not our own self-regulator,” she said.
The humor comes from watching the women fall apart and put themselves back together. It is a dark comedy, one in which you laugh and then feel bad about laughing.
“I think, for the most part, people try to not feel pain. They push (it) down, down, down. and like mass that is condensed, there must be, at some point, an explosion of energy,” Goodwin said. “So I navigate the comedy and I let the emotions do what they do from beneath the surface.”
Maggie Q calls it “normal messy.” These three women steal muffins from the coffee shop and infuriate their co-workers and don’t necessarily like their spouses.
“We didn’t want to present these perfect friendships of people with great lives and everything’s hunky-dory, and the only problems they have in life are relationships,” she said.
When “Pivoting” starts, viewers are being dropped into a 20-year-old friendship, with ups and downs. They’ve reached the point where they know each other’s secrets and nothing goes unsaid.
But they’re not malicious, Maggie Q stressed; their honesty is well-meaning and in good faith. For them, true friendship means telling the truth, no matter what. That’s how Sarah, Amy and Jodie support each other. That’s how they find their purpose again.
“Women not cutting each other down and women not being in competition and women (are) just supporting each other,” Coupe said. “There’s nobody else who’s you. There’s nobody else who’s me. and yet, we’re all one. Once we realize that, then we can all celebrate each other.”