“If She Could See Us Now” introduces some compelling characters and a fertile sitcom setup, so it’ll be interesting to see how Pivoting progresses.
This recap of Pivoting season 1, episode 1, “If She Could See Us Now”, contains spoilers.
Kudos to the new Fox sitcom Pivoting, which is genuinely funny. That should be a prerequisite, of course, but you know how network television can be. It revolves around three friends, all women of “a certain age”, who’re forced to reevaluate their personal lives and circumstances after the death of another childhood buddy. But it’s actually about many more things than that, touching on important and complex topics and themes that are worth exploring from this perspective. I’m hardly the intended audience and I liked it, all the same, so anyone who’s smack-bang in the middle of the target demographic here is going to be pleased.
Pivoting season 1, episode 1 recap
The three women at the show’s core are Amy (Eliza Coupe), a television producer scared of her motherhood; Sarah (Maggie Q), a doctor who has a love-hate, on-off relationship with her demanding hospital job; and Jodie (Ginnifer Goodwin), a woman in a stagnant marriage who has a thing for her personal trainer. Already, there are compelling dynamics and juxtapositions here – Amy relishes her job keeping her away from home and family while Sarah wants more personal time away from work, for instance, and “If She Could See Us Now”, at least at this early stage, manages to find the funny side of such things without just broadly dismissing them as comedic fodder.
People suddenly realizing that life’s too short after losing someone similarly aged isn’t exactly a new concept, but it’s still a pretty fertile one, and it sends the three women in interesting directions and tees up some good jokes. Sarah quitting her hospital job on a whim and applying for a position as a grocery store bagger is good for a few giggles when her credentials as a doctor barely pass muster. But I was particularly taken with Amy and her sudden desire to be a good mother after parenting from a distance. Film and television tend to idealize parenthood, so this is a welcome angle. It makes for good comedy – her son terrifying her when she returns home – and a decent emotional punch when her young baby asks for “Mama”. That ability to switch from comedy to drama is important for a show like this, and I’m happy to see Pivoting can do it.
But when the show finds something funny, it really leans into it. Jodie spends most of the episode trying to squeeze into skinny jeans for a photo opportunity that’ll impress her hunky trainer, and through a series of silly developments, it lands her in hospital, where the other women push her to demonstrate the fake squeaky noise she makes while having sex with her husband. The title comes up when the girls all discuss their present circumstances. “If she could see us now,” Jodie says, “She’d die.” It’s not as bad a choice of words as you’d think.
You can check out Pivoting season 1, episode 1, “If She Could See Us Now”, exclusively on FOX.