As Tom Robbins once said, “Even cowgirls get the blues.” Nobody, no matter how together they seem or how romantically perfect their lives may appear, is without problems. If Robbins’ book had been about the characters in The Value of Ex instead of an itinerant hitchhiker, it would have been called “even smart people have relationship drama,” but the ideas would have been the same.
The Value of Ex is the story of four friends united by their intelligence, kindness and humor, struggling to resist the urge to fall back into old maladaptive habits upon the reappearance of their respective exes. Don’t think of them as 4 versions of the same character, though. Each woman is in the process of living her own, distinct life.
Brynn (Donnabella Mortel) is a high school math teacher. If the show has a star, she’s it, though a real effort has been made at balancing the screen time. She is the reason the show’s title is a math pun and for the repeated chalkboard sequences which link the scenes together. She is totally over being left at the alter by her no good hustler ex, Chris (Roger Payano). Totally. No, really! She’s engaged to somebody else! A fellow math teacher named Michael (Welton Thomas Pitchford)! He’s perfect! Honestly, she has no feelings for Chris at all! She certainly wouldn’t invite him to be a part of her wedding ceremony. That would be crazy!
Tyler (Tamara Goodwin) is driven. She has basically turned her back on romance in favor of pursuing her career goals, and seems to be doing quite well for herself. She may still be getting over a bad breakup, but that shouldn’t cause any problems unless her company hires her ex, Terry (Jason Moore) to be her boss. Even then, she should just be able to keep her head down and avoid the conflict. I mean, it’s not like she’s going to freak out and punch him in the face, knocking him out cold on the floor of her office! That would be crazy!
Jessica (Julienne Irons) is probably the least “together” of the women. She doesn’t pay her rent on time, and has been evicted on multiple occasions. She’s a physical therapist who is trying to start her own business, but she can’t quite get her feet under her. She finds a perfect apartment only to have it rented out from under her by her ex, Antonio (Michael Q. Davis), a professional athlete and philanderer who recently injured his knee. Jessica has been hurt by Antonio before. There’s no way she would move in with him and live rent free in exchange for free physical therapy. That would be crazy!
We’re only three episodes in to this fun, funny series, so we don’t yet know anything about Angela’s (Constance Reese) ex, or if she even has one. She’s a therapist; a calming, supportive, new agey-type. She seems like a really nice person, even if it is super-unethical to treat your friends. At the moment, she is playing a sort of parental role to her three friends as they slowly spiral towards disaster, but I’m pretty sure that will change. After all, how can she help solve any of these equations if she doesn’t have an ex of her own?
The show is extremely well put together. The production values are sleek, and the acting is top notch. Writer/Director Bridgett Lawrence does an admirable job of making each and every scene interesting and relevant, and her use of dialogue to define characters is skillful and clever. Hopefully there’s lots more of this excellent series to come.
By Kyle Price-Livingston