Lisa Edelstein Stars in 'Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce' But What Else Has She Been In?
On Dec. 2, Bravo will enter uncharted waters by releasing its first scripted program, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, based on the book series by Vicki Iovine. The show stars an actress you're probably familiar with, if you're into dramas about curmudgeonly geniuses with astounding medical brilliance. So Where do you know Girlfriends' Guide's Lisa Edelstein from? She's used to playing supporting characters, but with her new lead role, she's about to get a lot more famous.
Has any network done more to shape the reality genre than Bravo? The channel, which up to this point has only produced non-scripted shows, has #blessed us with gifts like The Millionaire Matchmaker, Below Deck, and Princesses of Long Island. Of course no description of Bravo is complete without mention of its crowning jewel, the Real Housewives franchises (though let's get real, "non-scripted" is probably not the most accurate descriptor for these shows). That's why Girlfriends' Guide is kind of a big deal.
Edelstein, who's been acting professionally since 1991, plays Abby McCarthy on Girlfriends' Guide (or GG2D, as Bravo insists you to abbreviate the title). Her character is a successful self-help author whose career is jeopardized when she separates from her husband. Abby spends the beginning of the series working to keep her personal troubles private, while simultaneously re-entering the Los Angeles dating scene as a 40-something divorcée.
Can't quite place where you know Edelstein from? Here are a few of her best roles.
Rhonda on Relativity
Relativity was a rom-com TV show that aired just one season (in 1996 on ABC). It would have been pretty much forgotten, but for one historically important kiss, between Lisa Edelstein's character Rhonda and her date Suzanne (Kristin Dattilo). Mid-'90s television programming, while not outright hostile to LGBT representation, was pretty much a desert when it came to visible same-sex romance. Which is why Rhonda's kiss was so revolutionary.
The first ever girl-girl kiss to air in primetime happened five years earlier, on L.A. Law. But, according to AfterEllen, Relativity was the first show to ever broadcast a kiss between two female characters who actually identified as lesbians (the gay L.A. Law and famous Roseanne smooches were both between one queer-identifying and one straight-identifying woman). Relativity was also the first primetime show to ever include a recurring lesbian character — Edelstein's Rhonda.
Dr. Lisa Cuddy on House
For eight years, Edelstein was a weekly presence on House, playing Dr. Cuddy, House's immediate superior and the Dean of Medicine at their fictional Princeton hospital. Cuddy was an administrator for the entire facility, yet she seemed to spend about 50 percent of her time just dealing with House's ridiculous antics and antisocial behavior. Despite her frustrations with the misanthrope, the two doctors had serious chemistry for several years, and finally got together for most of Season 7. The relationship didn't last, however, probably because Cuddy came to her senses and realized she was too accomplished and intelligent to deal with House's selfishness. He responded by crashing his car into her home. Yeah, why was his character so beloved?
Laurie on The West Wing
In 1999, Edelstein was cast in The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin's beloved political drama also starring Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, and Allison Janney. Edelstein was there from the very beginning, appearing in the pilot episode and popping up throughout the first season. Her character, Laurie, was not exactly a welcome presence for the rest of the cast of White House officials: she was a high-priced call girl whom Lowe's character Sam Seaborn unwittingly picked up in the first episode. Though their relationship had to end once he discovered the truth, due to his position in government, Laurie and Sam remained friends for the rest of her time on the show.
Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce premieres on Dec. 2 at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo.