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Chump Protagonists in TV Dramas?

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Tis the season for Netflix binging. I don’t know when this global pandemic will end, but me and my television are getting very well acquainted.

One residual twitch from the chump experience is I can’t watch crap like the “Bridges of Madison County” or anything with a star-crossed Schmoopie fighting against the cruel, cruel forces of monogamy.

Chump are usually portrayed as lumpy and sad, asexual, controlling. Rarely sympathetic. Unless you’ve been written by Nora Ephron, in which case you’re plucky and triumphant and your cheating ex is home fucking a Venetian blind.

Recently, a few chumps wrote in to recommend some pro-Chump stories. This from a “Red-Breasted Song Bird”:

I have noticed in my experience from other books and blogs, there is a specific lack in the stories of Men such as myself being the chump (yours is one of the first I came across). From my perspective there appears a lack of examples in fiction and media of the man who picks himself back up. Many times I find the woman becomes stronger after the affair (though not without being given blame), or it is a woman who cheats on her husband to “liberate” herself. A narrative my ex-wife tried to used, though my apparent character made it a difficult for people who knew me to swallow that (is this a humble brag or overt one?). So she just changed her friend group several times over the past year (I think this speak for character too).

I want to recommend a documentary to the CN. I watched with a some fellow chumps and some fellow rock climbers (a hobby I adopted in recovery), unwittingly discovering it to be a wonderful film for any chump to feel empowered again. It is called “The Dawn Wall“, we watched it for the beautiful showcase of world class rock climbing. Little did we know that halfway into the movie our protagonist and all around amazing human,Tommy Caldwell, reveals his obsession in climbing an impossible cliff face was triggered by being a chump.

If you’ve never heard of Tommy Caldwell’s story (or have and haven’t seen the documentary) I highly recommend it to see the amazing potential in good people.

Like him you can do the seemingly impossible. You haven’t reached the summit of your life yet, and you can do great things.

It’s on the Watch List! Thanks, RBSB!

Next recommendation comes from Cuckoo4Karma:

I started watching Marcella on Netflix last night, first two episodes.

In the first episode, our protagonist (Marcella) learns that her husband is leaving her. He delivers some of the ol’ standard-ordinary BS (yawn) that cheaters lay down in that situation, so she punches him in the face and throws him down the stairs and out the front door of their home (yes!). Then, that same night, she tracks down his car at his workplace and smashes it to smithereens with a crowbar. Next day, she returns to work as a badass police investigator after a 12 year hiatus—during which time she was raising the kids.

In episode two, Marcella finds the OW (who the husband denied existed), confronts her at the well-heeled home where the OW has been cohabitating with Marcella’s husband, and—what happens next is not clear because Marcella suffers from occasional fugue states and memory loss—it seems Marcella sends the OW off to a very, very bad end.

Even though I’m only two episodes in, I think I’m going to have to go ahead and give this series my highest five-star review!! 🤪 Well done, Netflix.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

So your Friday Challenge, CN, is to share your chump-positive shows! Keep changing that narrative!

TGIF!

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    • So it’s not okay to glorify adultery but let’s applaud glorification of homicidal maniacs.

      Friday on “mighty” chumps – what’d you do with the OW/OM’s body? Let’s hear about it!

      🙄

      • It’s called a fantasy. It’s called literary revenge. It’s not real. You don’t act it out. And that’s the point.

      • Yeeeeeaaaah I don’t exactly have a lot of sympathy for abusers.

        Mine was a serial rapist, which included raping and molesting several minors. And did several horrifying things to me and others that I would call physical abuse. Ex would have certainly killed me if I didn’t escape and ex was threatening to kill some of my friends. Nothing wrong with a revenge fantasy against these monsters.

  • I enjoyed Unorthodox. It’s not about a chump but is nevertheless a powerful story about a woman breaking free and moving on, finding her mighty!

    • I’m in the middle of Shtisel, which is incredible, about an Orthodox family in Jerusalem. Very strong women and a shitty reconciliation in the story line.

      • CL -I liked “Shtisel”. I binged it back to back to back over about a week. It has stuck with me. I liked it. 👍

      • Thanks for the Shtisel recommendation!

        After one episode of John Adams, I’m inspired by Abigail Adams (played by Laura Linney). Tip: enable captions.

      • I loved Shtisel but felt very mixed about Lippe… he leaves the family for an affair but they redeem his character. Let me know what you think. Wonderful series regardless. Season 3 is in the works right now

    • I liked Unorthodox too, Spinach. It is all about taking unfair advantage of a human being.

      I guess plenty of women feel happy about living the way the series portrays them, but it has to be a very well informed choice. Is it for these women?

      • Not directly related- and if you have a problem with Marcella as noted above this would might not be for you
        But I just watched “the good liar last night”- I don’t wan’t give anything away.
        Helen Mirren… Watch it if you want some good acting and… can’t say anything else !

        Great idea CL.

        Now we just need someone to make a Netflix show – different episode each week – a cheater – selfish delusional accomplice – people who don’t stay neutral and a triumphant chump.

    • YES!! And I loved Jason Bateman’s character’s description to his wife of how the satisfying sound of him hitting the pavement helps him get to sleep at night!

      • I love Ozark too. I started watching it before Dday with then H.
        But in retrospect, they downplayed the cheating, didn’t make the cheater out to be that bad (for cheating) and she had a lot of excuses for her cheating ( there was blame shifting going on that I’m sure viewers bought into )

        • Dr. Foster on Netflix. Same story – husband falls for younger woman and abandons the family. I think
          by season 2 she’s off her rocker and becomes a bit obsessed. Meh has to happen before all that. They are not worth 1 single brain cell. Live your best life! Also, Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime and Sweet Magnolias on Netflix. So fun to watch! I love Marcella too.

  • My thoughts have been read and my wishes fulfilled. Pen and paper ready.

    Even before I knew I was a chump I didn’t swallow The Bridges… I had visited Madison WI in pre-D-Days and did not want to take that tour.

    It’s always good to watch Crime and Punishment (any version), it’s all about entitlement.

    • Has anyone seen Marriage Story? I can’t bring myself to see it, but it keeps popping up in Netflix’s suggestions.

      • Good movie. Didn’t really ‘chump gut-punch’ me like some other films/shows have. For me it was like watching two people who’s personalities, lifestyles, goals and egos should have signaled that they probably never should have gotten married (to anyone) in the first place. Kind of like “Revolutionary Road” (which I really like), but with characters who are not as wretched.

        • I read that book and it was so depressing, so soul-wrenching-, so miserable that I couldn’t bring myself to watch the movie with sweet Leo in it. 😂😭

      • Marriage Story is good. Get through the first 15 minutes. Woman chump taking control of her life. Bit fake at the end with the let’s be friends narrative but overall I felt good watching it.

      • The truest cinematic representation of divorce lawyers and the process I’ve ever seen.

        SPOILER****

        The father should’ve stuck with Alan Alda’s wise counsel and settled the day they all met for lunch. FWIW I thought they both disordered. Horrendous forum shopping to CA on the mother’s part.

      • MARRIAGE STORY is fine…but it’s more about talented, good-looking actors getting to play sad

        Than it is about the nuts and bolts of any infidelity experience…if anything, it’s mildly normalizing in that the “ending” is them “moving on”

        Which is to say rediscovering their friendship & tying each other’s shoes

        Because that’s how custody fights usually end…?

        • Agree. My sister thought it was “so real”… “cried so hard.” She’s not a chump (I think?) but for me, it was a big shrug. They didn’t come close to the crap of reality

      • Well, my lovely pathological liar of an ex was telling me about recommended movies to watch, and then he told me about Marriage Story. This is a jerk that left m and little kids after decades together, to screw ho worker and discarded me in the cruelest of ways – also, still no divorce after years….
        Now here is the comment he made about the movie:
        “You see how lawyers re the worst? Even two people with the best intentions end up losing their moral compass in situations like that. All they want is to put gasoline to the fire. I swear, I looked at him with the most “are you fricking kidding me that u think you have the best intentions and is just victim of unscrupulous lawyers here”?

        • I didn’t want to see Marriage Story because it looked like a “two sides to every story” take on it.

          I think any time a film production team decides to show two sides to this issue, they should really *show* two sides.

          Did they show her in a medical gown and metal stirrups sweating and wincing as she got her cervix scraped and blood drawn to check for STDs? Did the film show the kill-me-now moment she had to explain to a pediatrician why she wanted her child tested for herpes and other sexually transmitted nasties that don’t necessarily require sexual contact to be spread?

          • Noah Baumbach, who wrote and directed Marriage Story, is himself a cheater – at least I think he is – leaving Jennifer Jason Leigh and their young child for… Greta Gerwig, celebrated ‘feminist’ indie filmmaker, 14 years younger than Noah…

            Anomalisa is a good anti-cheater film, especially if viewed in light of the above story. Jennifer Jason Leigh voices the OW, whom the protagonist – man who finds his life boring – is attracted to until he sleeps with her and she becomes another monotonous voice around him… thus proving (in my interpretation) that HE was the problem all along. I always wonder if JJL agreed to be in it because she recognised that kind of man in her ex-hubby Noah…

            At the risk of extending the rabbit hole too far, I also think some of the best lines and uniquely female perspectives in Marriage Story come from Greta Gerwig herself, which makes sense as she collaborates with Noah a lot… thus making me think if she is next to be chumped (despite perhaps being an OW herself)…

            Love this thread 🙂

            • London Chump– love this thread too.

              From what you wrote, I’ve only just realized I’m not a fan of either Gerwig or Baumbach. Five minutes into the latest Little Women and I started having some kind of existential crisis that my life on earth was being sucked away one minute at a time. That’s the feeling I always get from mediocre material. Anyone can smear eau de feminism over their work but it doesn’t make it great.

              I didn’t even know Baumbach wrote and directed Frances Ha or Greenberg because I never made it through the credits. When Marriage Story was released, I noticed that reviewers spoke of Baumbach as if he were a known entity. Not to me. Frankly I’d rather watch Scorsese or Altman for the zillionth time than suffer through lukewarm blah.

              I don’t even know what to say about the writing, directing and performances other than that none are real standouts. I wasn’t interested enough to analyze why.

              Jennifer Jason Leigh is staggeringly brilliant though. Last Exit to Brooklyn, Georgia, Kansas City, even Miami Blues and Hudsucker Proxy. Meryl Streep was disappointed that Leigh didn’t win the Oscar for Georgia.

              I’m a NY native so I’m a little too familiar with the Baumbach type– mommy’s bestest Brooklyn Mensa boy. He’s smarter than everyone even you, he’s got bippety boppety boo! But alas zip code does not reliably confer artistic genius. Spike Lee is (or was) a genius. His last film missed and he’s becoming kind of a dick but man could he write and direct credible female characters. Lonette McKee in Jungle Fever; Mira Sorvino and Jennifer Esposito in Summer of Sam– mind blowing.

              I wonder if brain disparity was the falling off point for Leigh’s marriage. Leigh’s the real deal. His bippity boppity might have shriveled up in the face of that fact.

              • Hahaha, love the analysis! I will check out those JJL films, thanks very much – not heard of lots of them! Yes, I’m sure she is well shot of him.

                ‘Eau de feminism’ is genius too. Yeah, I haven’t gotten around to watching Little Women yet, as I suspected I might feel the same. I still enjoyed Armond White’s scathing critique of it: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/12/movie-review-little-women-greta-gerwig-romanticizes-white-privilege/

                Highly recommend HBO/BBC’s I May Destroy You to everyone on here. It’s so so good. It doesn’t feature cheating per se but looks at lots of grey areas, and at one point calls out ‘sex under false pretenses’ as a form of rape, or at least assault, which I feel to be true. xx

      • Bridges makes me puke, during his ‘affair’ he read this book in bed next to me. I though this strange as I don’t think he has read an book from cover to cover in his life. Turns out him and long distance not so long distance lover ( she flew out here to shack up with him for four days at a hotel 2 kms from our house) were reading it together, apparently she thought he looked liked Clint Eastwood, lol, they had a lot of fantasy going on to say the least.
        I burnt it along with a bunch of other shit of his a few weeks after a chucked him out.

        • Hmm. Cheaters, like domestic batterers, seem to have an alacrity for what is called “palliative comparisons”– books, films and cultural figures that romanticize, justify or normalize their worst impulses or behavior or that aid in dehumanizing and altering the characters of their victims.

          I could never stand David Mamet since literally everything he ever wrote held within it a carefully fabricated excuse to hit a woman.

    • Bridges of Madison County refers to the Madison county in Iowa (Winterset is a town within the county). Nothing to do with the college town in Wisconsin. Both places are great though and have their own histories beyond some fictionalized cheater drivel.

      • Ooopsss !!! Thanks for the correction Fuzzy!

        But then, what was the tour that I didn’t want to take in Madison WI?????? I remember not feeling good about it… Maybe I didn’t pay attention, add my ignorance and I assumed it was to see bridges…. What’s in Madison WI?

        • A capital building, a university, two lakes and lot of cold and snow in winter. Ice fishing seems to be a big thing. Currently there are lots of protests going on, mostly peaceful except for the few that are not.

        • Probably some Frank Lloyd Wright houses (cool architecture but the architect was known to be a controlling dick). Good amount of high notch art shows during the summer. Not sure what else….

  • Whoa. Marcella came up first in my Netflix feed. Could it be because it knows my Amazon books too. Chump algorithms???

  • Most definitely Doctor Foster (BBC), not only because of the triumphant chump angle, but also because it shows the mistakes chumps can make (i.e., the pitfalls of not employing no-contact or gray rock) and the need to keep an eye on the “long game” when it comes to the kids.

    • I would watch Dr. Foster LOUDLY so fuckwit could hear it when he was schlepping around the house; I thought he may find Tom a kindred soul since both of them enjoyed the company of inappropriately young women.

      I wasn’t really happy with the ending but it was loosely based on the Greek tragedy Medea I suppose they had to go there. (At least she didn’t go through with it). And her best friend, Ros, was really a shit. With friends like that who needs enemies?

      The actress that played schmoopie, Jodie Comer, is now the hit woman / serial killer in Killing Eve… her characters have evolved from being an accessory to a family killer to an actual killer!

        • Dr Foster (English and finally came to America) was good for me during my first days after Dday. I had to watch something I could relate to and it was very relatable and awful reality.

          The #1 movie I hated that everybody loved and swooned over was The English Patient. I just hated both the characters, especially her and never liked her since, I came home with a group of g/f’s that were all ooing and oohing over it. I was the only one who said – wait? WHA?

          We were all fairly early-long-term-married.

          • I can’t watch doctor shows with all the cheating and the worshipping going on.

            Yep, it’s a trigger for sure. I like Queen of the South a lot b/c she’s mostly a badass with a good heart but without a true Chump storyline.

            I need more PRO MEH pages…b/c I’m stranded overseas and this lockdown has me backsliding.

            And for some reason I really truly missed my ex yesterday – a happy memory came up and for a moment I refused to let it be tainted. I just loved that memory so much and I was always very attracted to him, the way he smells, his physique, and the financial security I THOUGHT we had…after 35 years of marriage and -in hindsight, a decade of pick me dancing- I thought we had made it!! Though I’m younger looking than my age, I am 60 now, and I fear my chances of being in love again are low…

            But then I read the post from the abused pregnant chump of yesterday and recalled some suppressed memories of my wasband, the DOCTOR. Abuse…

            It was a gut punch but then again, it stopped the backsliding (for now.)

            The question remains, and nags at me and I KNOW I have to stop asking–

            but HOW can he not miss me AND our 3 kids?? I swear to God he loved us all at one time…he remarried OW and evidently she blocked our kids on fb (they’ve never met) so who knows what she is hiding? Probably expensive things they’re buying and doing while the DOCTOR hasn’t seen our kids in nearly 4 years…

            If I could be that wrong in my perceptions of him and for so long, I’m not sure how to recognize or function around a healthy man. But I’d like to!

            • I don’t know what’s worse–Dr. Asshat not seeing his kids or when I have to share them.

              My son rarely sees “Dave” (as he calls him), not even on Father’s Day. My heart just breaks but then I get mad when he does see him. I’m just glad I didn’t have to do the custody dance when they were younger. I would have ended up with my own mini-series if Mrs. Howorker tucking my children into bed.

              My daughter is FB “friends” with StepHo. I wish she’d block her.

              I guess there is no easy path, just forward.

              • yeah I told the kids on Father’s Day that they are “loved by both parents” b/c I thought it was a reassuring thing to say. I believe Father’s Day sucks for them.

                My youngest told me to leave out the “he loves you” part and just say Happy father’s day for her to feel reassured by ME, and then said she’d text her dad, whom she often calls by his first name because it’s HER birthday next week, “so it’s purely transactional.”

                Lovely. The other kids did not respond so LESSON learned at this end. I’m educable from mistakes.

                I think the DOCTOR spoke on the phone with the other daughter last Thanksgiving…

                Yes he’s Mystifying. I could have sworn he loved time playing with the kids and watching their victories and, well, when the worshipping and prideful moments waned, and our youngest went through a HARD to love time, I suppose it wasn’t as fun for HIM anymore.

                I guess while it’s endlessly mystifying to me to untangle skein, it is easier than having to deal with a Schmoopie benefiting from my investment in the DOCTOR’s career, AND ALSO benefitting from my investment in our kids.

                My goals are less damage to my adult kids and MEH for ME (and for them too, I guess).

                He’s not very relevant to them/me but that does not mean it’ll ever be painless. Damn that’s unfair.

                I don’t know how he can spend his father’s days without feeling like shit but then, in reality there must be blameshifting and bitterness aimed at ME. Otherwise he’d reach out or in some way WE would know of HIS pain b/c he’d dump it on us.

                Okay I solved my lockdown induced obsessing all by venting here.

                Thanks!

            • Dr’s1stwife, you’re forgetting one very important fact about narcs;

              THEY DON’T BOND

              They do experience infatuation, but that naturally calms down with time for everyone. They just LOVE being adored, that’s why small kids can be fun for them, AS LONG AS some other adult is doing most of the WORK of parenting, and why they enjoy relationships where there is unequal power and they can look good, like prof-student, doctor-patient, entertainer-fan.

              But all their connections are superficial. Other people are objects who either do or do not provide the ego kibbles they require.

              I too would have sworn my ex, for all his failings, loved his kids. I didn’t expect him to be a great parent once I kicked his cheating ass out, or one who took care of the boring or annoying parts of parenting. But I assumed he’d stay involved. As a matter of fact, I waited to leave until they kids were of an age that they wouldn’t be forced into the 50-50 custody time split that is the default arrangement here, unless they wanted it (which here is fortunately early, around 12 ys old), because I assumed he’d push for that.

              I suggested a split that would give him about 20% of the kids’ time. He suggested a bit less, because he’d just taken on a new professional responsibility (that he totally could have gotten out of) that made that hard. So he had 15% of their time. (Later claimed it was 40% of course. Alternate facts.) The first long weekend he was supposed to have them, he dumped them on me last minute (I was delighted to have them, of course!). Pattern of periodic last-minute cancellation of his time w/them continued for months. Then about 8 months in, he moved … to the city where Shmoopie lived, of course. Said it was for work (he’d met Shmoops when his company sent him there 4 days a week for several months), and temporary. Within a couple more months informed us that it would likely last at least a year, maybe more. So he was perfectly fine with seeing his pre-teen kids for a day and a half, twice a month.

              The kids adapted to all of this, figuring he would be a Disney Dad and still enjoying the time they did have with him, but no longer considering him an ‘actual parent’. It was only when he suddenly moved back (turns out Shmoopie dumped him. For another man.) and demanded they again pass that 15% of their time with him and accept his parental authority etc that it all blew up.

              For the longest time I just had to keep reminding myself that he doesn’t think, feel, or understand the world like I do. At all. Even losing their kids is NOT a big loss to them, AS LONG AS they have someone else adoring them.

    • I loved Dr. Foster. Now I’m into “Dirty John” about Betty Broderick. Love it, too. She should get out of prison, IMHO

      • Lori – Medlen.

        Hi my dear.
        The book on Betty Broderick came out years ago and I was fascinated by it!
        Absorbed.
        Thinking how horrible it was for her and justified rage, the way he manipulates her.
        (long before my almost identical dday!)

        But, I’m sorry to say, the woman is a complete sociopath and I sure wouldn’t want her out on the streets, anytime.

        Hope I didn’t give anything away.
        In all, it’s a very sad sad story.

          • I am familiar with the Broderick story and I do not condone what the wife did.

            But there’s simply no way to call what the husband and his ho did to her, anything but public and private abuse.

          • I don’t know to what extent these comments about Betty Broderick are based on the Dirty John series about her–but for the record that series–the script, the director and the actors (all of whom are indisputably talented) painted a wildly inaccurate, absurdly sympathetic portrait of Betty Broderick, who IRL is a self-pitying, lying, selfish homicidal maniac who even now has zero remorse for killing two people in their sleep. The real BB didn’t hesitate to put her kids through years of unmitigated hell, while she raged and wallowed in a hell of her own making. I’m not saying Dan Broderick was blameless, but he tried to mitigate the damage she did to her children.
            I tried to watch that series three times and I never lasted longer than ten minutes, because of its misplaced sympathy for a murderous self-absorbed psycho woman. Many chumps here have endured much worse abuse and pain than Betty Broderick; and as far as I know no one from CN has ever murdered a cheater. No matter how many times they fantasized about it or how many tears they cried. No chump at CN would think being chumped justifies emotionally disfiguring her or his kids. No one here–no one I’ve ever met for that matter– would intentionally inflict emotional damage on their children for YeARs. No matter how much pain they were in.
            Don’t pity Betty. She cares about Betty and nobody else but Betty.
            Betty is not a chump: she’s a child abuser and a convicted killer X 2. That disqualifies her from being a chump in my book. Okay I’ll stop now I get too strident on this subject, I know. But that woman is a warthog from hell.

            • The series is mostly based about the book Until the Twelfth of Never, so it is accurate. Betty Broderick was both a woman who was treated terribly by her husband, lied to, discarded like an old shoe, prevented from getting a fair settlement in the divorce, AND eventually an abuser and a murderer. By all accounts she was a good mother and wife until this happened to her. It’s a sad story, she deserved to be in prison, but by now she should be out.

    • I was going to recommend Dr. Foster, also. Great use of dramatic tension, as she tries to discover who the OW is. How about that dinner scene? Made of second hand cringe!!

  • I’d recommend “Dr. Foster”. Season one has HUGE triggers (please be warned) but Season two… Oh the comeuppance is so satisfying.

    Also “Queen”. It’s a Bollywood movie but so worth watching. The most unBollywood movie if there ever was one.

    • I loved Dr Foster but agree, wicked triggers in the first season. One episode I was full out ugly crying and shaking because it just triggered so much pain and grief. However, with that said, it really was a great show and she did kicked ass.

    • Older show, but I loved The Good Wife. Julianna Margulies is a straight-up goddess, and I loved the cases they would use for the episodes as well as the overarching story.

      • I loved it too. I have watched the series twice. I loved the legal story lines.

        I guess Alisha paid her hubby back for her public humiliation with his affair by having her own affair. It wouldn’t have been my storyline choice. She was such a strong woman in so many ways. I guess like all of us, we have all been on a journey and at some point she does say enough is enough and move her hubby on.

      • Loved The Good Wife, until the last season when it became all about the husband again. The first TV series ever to deal with women and power. I know a few women who used to say to themselves ” what would Alisha do?” when in a quandary. Also The Good Fight- even better! It is excellent TV with Diane as the lead.

  • Sweet Magnolias definitely has strong chump arc. Woman’s husband leaves her for pregnant Schmoopie but focus is on how mighty Chump is. Story falls short IMO when Chump has to have new boyfriend before she’s divorced. Kinda wraps recovery up with getting coupled again but overall we see a mighty Chump kicking butt!

    • I was scrolling to see if anyone else had recommended this one yet. I agree, she didn’t need a new boyfriend so soon. However, I like how they handled it. She is taking things slow and he is a healthier choice. I also like how she’s really honest with her kids. I enjoyed watching schmoopue slowly process that she was not special or even better than wifey. I also liked how they portrayed her. I though it was somewhat realistic. She’s shallow, can’t seem to grasp why the rest of the world, especially her paramour’s children (two of them at first anyway), don’t seem to embrace her or the narrative she’s made up in her head.

    • I kept yelling at my screen while watching this. The Cheater is SO on point: showing up to remove things from the garage without asking first, walking into the house like he still lives there and getting mad about being told off, whining about actions having consequences, and asking the chump to take him back (as Plan B after Plan A falls through). Chump is much nicer than she should be, but I loved it when she says bluntly to OW, “We’re not going to be friends.” I’m gonna be so mad if the show writers even consider reconciliation…

  • Here are two escapist ones, not a lot of depth but nicely done:

    Crazy Rich Asians has a side story that surprised me, expecting the chump to roll over. In another side story, a woman cheats on her husband from an arranged marriage and has to escape, that one places her in a good light. Kind of a silly light movie other than that. Beautifully produced and filmed.

    The Good Witch series on Hallmark, is one of those unrealistic simplistic love stories that I know CL just adores (kidding) It is SUPER sappy and even includes a successful Doctor that never seems to have to put in many hours at work. The guy who was cheated on is put in a good light and I was just waiting for the cheating ex wife to be made sympathetic and they never got there. Whew!

    • I cheered in the theater during Crazy Rich Asians when the chump swatted down the attempt at blame-shifting.

      • I loved Astrid’s line to her cheating husband: It’s not my job to make you feel like a man. I can’t make you something you’re not. Cheating husbands are about as unmanly as one can be—especially in the eyes of their children. One of my children said what a real man is to him is a father who works hard for his family, leads by example with character and integrity, and treats his mother well. 5 years out from a 30 year marriage, and the cheating part still stings.

  • I like Grave and Frankie, although the cheaters are often portrayed in a sympathetic light, the main story focuses on the two Chump women. Every now and then they remind the cheaters how terrible their long affair was, and they often have to attend functions with the cheaters for the sake of the kids. Mostly it’s about two women becoming friends and finding their mighty late in life following the affair.

        • Love Grace and Frankie’s focus on the chump women but It’s WAY too kind to the cheaters.

          If the men had run off with their female secretaries we’d all know they’re pigs but it’s NOT PC to say a damn thing about LGBT cheaters and that’s chumpdom with a side dish of “noble hero” status accorded the cheater.

          I fully support LGBT rights and am the mother of a wonderful lesbian in a solid relationship. I think in a way, Grace & Frankie is fine b/c of the focus on the women chumps BUT the barely recognized betrayals by husbands in long marriages, does irk me often.

  • Yes! to Doctor Foster – I was going through the early days of separation when this first aired and found so much comfort in the parallels, second series when chump doesn’t learn from her mistakes – not so much.

    • There’s a Korean drama with my favorite gorgeous actor, Song Seung Heon, cslled When A Man Loves. It’s about a smart, studious guy whose mother chumped his dad with a loan shark and blows up her family. The dad has a heart attack, mom leaves with younger brother and he ends up homeless and gets beat up by the loan shark’s men and forced to work for them. So he ends up as a gangster who loves to read and he’s a loan shark genius. Many crazy chumpy things happen to this guy before finding true love. He also stars in An Autumn Tale that is chumpy on steroids. These And many Korean stories are dramatic, full of hand of God twists of fate and Chumps. Warning: they are addictive.

  • Dirty John! Watch current season on USA network and first season on Netflix. It’s kind of horrifying, and yet, I can’t help routing for the murderous chump in each story.

    • Yes! The Betty Broderick one in particular. I’ve been watching and wishing Betty had access to this site then. Her ex was horrible in every way, and I like that she didn’t want to eat the shit sandwiches (in theory), BUT you gotta. If you want to be a parent to your kids, you have to stay the sane one.

      • The Betty Broderick of the Dirty John series is nothing like the real-life violent, lying, narcissitic bitch that is still proud of murdering two people in their sleep. The acting is good, but that is NOT cinema verite. I wrote a slightly deranged rant about BB above so I won’t repeat it but BB is not worthy of the title of Chump. She’s a friggin sociopath.

      • Betty was a devoted wife and Mother.
        Dan Broderick and his gf/wife tormented Betty while alienating her children.
        They were merciless.
        I don’t condone murder but I understand Betty’s frustration. Betty was the victim of abuse
        from not only Dan and his wife but a biased family court. She fought a battle that was rigged.
        I have no empathy for Dan and his wife.
        My heart goes out to Betty.
        Betty should have been released years ago.

  • Is there a non Netflix way of accessing these movies? Sorry but I’m broke. Even Netflix is a splurge.

    • If you have Internet and a Roku streaming device, there are some free channels you can get that have ads.

      Do you have Internet?

      If not, do you have a DVD player? A lot of public libraries check them out and have a really good variety.

      • He took the roku. My internet is very slow <600kbps? I think is the rate. My children use up the fast internet in a day. YouTube is the vice of choice. Tried to explain how to budget using the time to no avail as dad lets them do whatever they want. (Tried blocking the devices and they just back door through a non blocked router. Which I cannot lock. Long story) No rules just right. Library is closed because of COVID.

        • I assumed the library in my city was closed, but it has remote services and allows you to reserve/check out books that way. You might find your library does, too.

        • Akhm … Google Gomovies and go for France and Madagascar, wink wink.

          It takes a buy of time to learn how to use the site and don’t download anything!

          If you want to try Asian series, then try https://www.viki.com/. Not all series are for free but many are.

        • Chickenchump, ask your kids for dad’s Netflix password, then mooch off that!
          Kidding. Kinda.
          Safer route would be to ask a friend to share their Netflix with you.

    • try the library! a lot of dvds are available at the library! Probably less than half of the movies are available, but most tv shows will be, if their season isn’t too recent.

    • Dear Chickenchump, Lot’s of us have been there, no money and I mean NO money to spare. I recommend dailymotion. The Split. It’s a movie that shows all the collateral damage from adultery in several different scenarios. We can learn much from this TV series. Good luck, keep trying. Much love to you.

    • I have had so many friends and family give me their logins to the Netflix, Hulu, and Prime. Do you know anyone you would feel comfortable asking to share theirs?

      • His family has given him Amazon prime access. My mother has cable. My sisters have cable or amazon prime. My whole FOO is not very supportive presently. I haven’t asked friends since my former employer was not helpful when I had my surgery several years ago. It resulted in disability. (I wasn’t missed for several months being part time.)?When colleagues started inquiring about me, they were just blown off. SO sort of isolated. He’s good at image management too. So I’m depicted as the crazy woman.

  • Dead to Me is a good one with Christina Applegate. She ends up unknowingly being a chump and is her search in getting back on her feet, forgiveness and quirks….it’s ultimately the story of Chumps❤️

    • Just finished Dead To Me,
      Can’t wait for more.
      The sad sad look in the eyes of the main characters, Jen and Judy,says so much. I teared up so many times.
      Such great acting!
      To me the eyes are the soul, of a Chump.
      I can relate to their look so many times.
      Eyes can’t lie.
      If possible watch Dead To Me. There are so many great lines throughout it, laughter is definitely sprinkled in there too.
      ( and dealing with children and grief)
      Very touching.

  • A good chump movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I love when he’s sloppy drunk at his piano singing the Muppet Show song. lol

    Also, my go-to to get my mind off my own misery back then, lots and lots of Game of Thrones.

  • For my money, Barbara stanwyck and James mason in East Side, West Side is the best. Great chump survival and strength.

  • SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION! Andy’s wife cheats on him and then he gets framed for her murder!
    Spoiler alert-There’s a happy ending 🙂

  • Under the Tuscan Sun. Escapist but empowering. The last line of the movie is one of my all-time favorites.

    • Loved that movie long before chumpdom. Always found the message rather insipirational – go build your life and things will fall into place as you go.

  • 50/50 with Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Seth Rogen. Great movie but especially the arc about how friends should support a chump.

  • Old movie, Regarding Henry.

    The married spouses end up together, but I can’t tell you why or I’ll give it away 😉

  • Literature and all versions of film and theater reflect the human condition. It is a focus inside the mind and a record of both the impulse to action and the consequences of action. It always needs to be reviewed in the context of time and location.

    When I was young, the oldest child of (eventually) five, we had one television with 3 channels. My 2 younger brothers generally got to pick the programs we watched, and my parents kept an eye on the shows, too. Often, I was not interested in the choice, so I turned to books for entertainment. At that time there was no Netflix. There was a county library, and we made weekly visits there. The library also showed movies for child audiences. I think my parents viewed the library as a wonderful place where they could get some relief from the pressure of parenting, and support for their values of education. They could afford the library. They were schoolteachers, they could not afford much outside entertainment. They grew up in a rural area where there were not many books available. The library was like a shrine for them.

    We are so lucky to live in a time where great stories can be presented to us in our homes for a reasonable cost. I binge watch programs on a regular basis. I love being able to view programs from around the world. Last night I watched The Sapphires. I think it is important to understand racism was not created in the United States, but has existed for centuries. This story is really about the power of love, which can heal pain and promote tolerance and the appreciation of other cultures. It is a safe way for people raised with privilege to see the consequences when that privilege is imposed on the lives of other people. I believe you cannot change the attitudes of others if you attack them, and make them defensive. However, if you can engage them, and let them feel the need for change by engaging their hearts, they may learn to expand their minds and change their actions.

    Misogyny is also a form of oppression. Male chumps carry the burden of centuries of this oppression on their backs, even though they may not be misogynists. The law was written by those who held the power of wealth and influence. It is not “fair” to be blamed for the misdeeds of others. I doubt any of my ancestors owned any slaves, they were too poor. They did hold attitudes I would deem to be racist and sexist. Women were considered to be property, owned in the same way farm animals are owned.

    It is hard for male chumps to find support in an environment where women are emerging from the oppression, and are trying to find their way to equality. The male has historically had an unfair advantage, and there always seems to be a line of females waiting to ease his pain, and ignore his past sins. It is frustrating for women of principal to overcome this disparity. It is hard for women to deal with this betrayal from their own sex. When you add race or religion into the mix, the challenge increases exponentially.

    I have watched most of the programs mentioned by CN so far. They all offer important points of view and provide insights on how to proceed on your own journey when you have been betrayed. We are so lucky to have his resource available to help us improve our minds and heal our hearts. Binge on Chump Nation!!!

    • A bit off topic, but thank you, Portia, for reminding me of a wonderful book Property by Valerie Martin. The main character is a kind of a chump, slave owner’s wife who knows that he is cheating on her (i.e. raping) their slave(s).She’s far from sympathetic character, she’s self-centered and obnoxious, apologetic of slavery and does everything to bring back her runaway slave yet despite her intelligence she fails to see that she’s also a property of her husband, as their slaves are. I’ve just bought another of Martin’s books and I intend to enjoy myself this weekend.

  • Skuld had it right. Okay, she wasn’t chumped, but she and her husband were ripped off and so she raised an army of bad ass Viking warriors from the dead and stomped all over her brother’s army of has-been Viking warriors. As they died, she raised them from the dead and continued the beat-down.

    Yes, we know where the writers of GoT the idea.

    • All this mention of the Viking show, I’ll have to check it out. Awhile back I did one of those DNA ancestry tests and the big surprise was that I was predominantly… Scandinavian! So… I may have a certain affinity for avenging Vikings and smackdowns…

  • The 2011 film “Young “Adult,” starring Charlize Theron as the deadpanning, cringe-worthily comic dark triad-ess Mavis, doesn’t feature a chump but only because Mavis falls flat on her ass trying to poach a married target. The target’s wife is revealed as a normal, decent person.

    Depending on where anyone is on their journey, the film could be triggery or brutally hilarious. Mavis is also a spot on dissection of many she-cheaters.

    The Netflix series Sherlick Holmes also has some satisfying little moments. When Cumberbatch’s savant Sherlock drily and surgically profiles everyone in sight, he frequently exposes serial adulterers and their tactics.

    I’m sure every chump knows that Grey’s Anatomy is just a protracted, ickily romanticized mate poach. I didn’t because I never watched the show. 60 seconds into Episode 1, Season 1, I thought the writing was so awful and the protagonist so annoying that I changed the channel and never tuned in again (sorry to Shonda fans– I don’t get the draw).

    But on reading an article about misogyny on TV, I learned the series features the most hysterical side chick “pick me” dance scene in history https://youtu.be/ax4Hu1zuGkI

      • Yes, Young Adult was awesome in its portrayal of a married man with a “WTF?” response to a woman trying to get him to cheat.

        • I used to work in a field that was chock full of serial cheats, harassers, poachers and side pieces and would have thought Young Adult nailed that kind of personality even before my own betrayal saga.

          The ending of “Young Adult” left me with my jaw on the floor– so different than the usual sappy “learning moment” character resolution. Nope, no learning or growing necessary as long as there are still kibble crumbs to be snuffled from around the trash bin or out from under the toaster.

      • Rumblekitty,

        Lol. I lost it when I saw that clip because it’s like Exhibit A for CL and CN. The “sign the papers” reference is apparently Dr. Pukey-Cutesy-Tequila-Soaked-Mate-Poacher telling Dr. Slimy-Cheater-McDouchy to file for divorce from his (yawn, trope alert) flinty, bitchy power-suited wife.

        Grey’s Anatomy was apparently the favorite TV series of the former OW in my situation. I confess this is why the title of the “misogyny in television” article originally got my attention. As usual, whatever starts out as skein-unraveling usually ends up leading me to think about bigger issues, like wondering what happens to people who are literally raised by TV, gadgets and schlock media. My favorite college professor wrote books on the subject but twenty years later, there’s even more media drivel to navigate.

        The revelation made me start cracking down harder on the kids’ screen time. The little dears already have to work for every second they surf or do online games which adds up to only a few hours on the weekend with penalties for bad attitude, fighting, sloppy work, etc. Of course I gave them a tad more texting time during quarantine since they can’t have face-to-face time with friends. They also get a certain allotment of online research time for specific projects which all of them have used very well (one is learning Japanese, the middle kid can name any airplane ever built and tell you everything about its engineering and my daughter is studying character and story development) but the laptop gets locked up afterwards.

        Even with all the rigorous monitoring, I decided to more closely study everything the kids watch and read so we can talk about any problems with cultural brainwashing, bias, racism, sexism, victim blaming, general bad writing, etc. Humor goes a long way. Sometimes we’ll deliberately watch stupid crap while comically narrating the subtext.

        The latter is the kids’ favorite mom-time activity. They beg for it, sometimes pulling out a title on Netflix because it looks like it will provide good comedy fodder. The other day one of my sons pulled up the trailer for The Gambler and asked me to lay waste to it. Poor Mark Wahlberg.

        Filtering media messages is as important for boys as it is for girls. The way I see it, hetero men are statistically more prone to suffer early mortality following divorce than women and women more often file for divorce, so raising sons who are neither chumps nor pricks, who deride or call out prickish behavior modeled by other men, who don’t absorb cultural messages unfiltered, and whose pickers gravitate towards healthy, straight-shooting women (who are less prone to betray and, bonus, are usually a lot funnier) is a life expectancy-enhancing strategy similar to fostering healthy eating habits.

        I guess the bottom line is that I don’t see those with exploitative, entitled or abusive personalities as happy people and I’ve noticed those types don’t tend to end well. For one, men kill other men at about 8 times the rate they kill women so it would seem that men actually need a radar for bad eggs and the ability to filter false cultural influences more than women. Murder stats are skewed towards “known perpetrators”– meaning if a man tolerates bad company (and the media trains us all to do this, both through apologist story lines and sentiments or by casting known wife beaters, rapists and general fuckwits as heroes and heroines in film and television), this elevates the risk further. Lie down with dogs, wake up with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

        For my daughter, the benefits of seeing through BS are probably more obvious. Many social scientists have noted that women and minorities are vulnerable to the self esteem-damaging effects of biased media, culture and the typically biased perspective from which history is told. So I’m raising a daughter who’s a loving, creative, happy punk with a great radar for mindfuckery. Her powers of observation astound me. So quick to smell hypocrisy yet there’s no ego or bullying in it.

        If anyone, and I mean anyone, tries to dull that glow I WILL WRECK THEM. Or I’ll provide funny subtext to their shitty TV, movie scripts and prose for my kids’ entertainment.

  • I haven’t seen the movie version of this, but I’d like to recommend a book- The Girl on the Train. I won’t reveal too much, but it’s a great portrayal of the impact of betrayal, and it has a satisfying ending. Plus, it’s a thriller! I couldn’t put it down.

    • I didn’t see the movie either, but the book was interesting, and startling. I learned there is a lot I do not know about mental illness and presumption. I love a book that takes me completely to another place and another life outside my own experience. It is interesting to see what is the same and what is different.

      Similar experience with Gone Girl. So many books, so little time!!!

  • The Descendants. George Clooney isn’t exactly the most believable chump, but he played the role really well. The scene when his daughter, played by the then-emerging star, Shailene Woodley, discloses his wife’s affair and he goes racing over to his sister-in-law’s house for a confrontation makes my throat tighten. After that confrontation, when he’s walking back to his house with his world turned upside down, triggered a few tears.

    What’s interesting is that I had seen this movie prior to my D-Day and I almost couldn’t remember the plot details. Watching it post D-Day was like watching an entirely new movie because of the relatability. Spoiler alert: Things turn out okay for him and he’s at peace with things. His wife and her AP, not so much.

    • The Descendants is a great movie with a great soundtrack.

      The AP is played by the actor who is Shaggy from the live action Scooby Doo movie! SCOOBY-DOOBY-DOO!!!

      Have a great day everyone!

  • She-devil with Rosanne bar and Meryl Streep. I loved this stupid movie before I was chumped.

    • I read the book years before the movie (never seen it) and it is worth the read. I mean, it’s interesting but it certainly isn’t what I would recommend anyone doing with their life of course.

    • I love She Devil as well. Lots of laughs and good revenge. Meryl Streep is wonderful as the wealthy spoiled Schmoopie !

  • I can’t believe I get to be the first to recommend The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel. Amazon Prime. Midge gets cheated on and outshines her failed comedian husband, by becoming a comedienne herself. Some FOO issues in her own family, a GREAT series.

    • The only part I don’t like is when she sleeps with Joel later. I was just screaming at the screen NO MIDGE! Fantastic show though . . .

    • I love this show. I love the color in it, the videography, the fast pace. I love how she outshines her cheater ex-husband. I love how she did NOTHING wrong (though her mom asks her, in the first episode, “what did you DO?”), in fact, was truly perfect.

      The Paris episodes trigger me, a bit, since that is where the fuckwit and Schmoopie had their “honeymoon” while both married to other people.

      It is clearly escapist watching, and the relationship between her/and her ex, plus their families, isn’t in my experience, remotely realistic. Still, watching her shine after his cheating is glorious.

  • How about Kramer vs Kramer. The wife leaves the husband with a young son. The husband learns to adapt and thrive (the sane parent) and then the wife returns and wants custody.

  • Remember the Titans- not really a chump movie but something inspirational for these turbulent times.

  • The Holiday – watch it every season.
    Two timing cheater to one of the chumps when she confronts his gaslighting: What’s gotten into you, Iris?
    Iris: I’m not sure but I think its…gumption! (then shows him the permanent exit door)

  • Secretariat- the owner is a woman. Her husband didn’t cheat on her but he didn’t really support her. She was also up against it in a male dominated sport. But her father taught her to believe in herself and “run her own race” AND SHE DID!
    I love the scene at the press conference when the other owner tries to belittle her and calls her a “housewife”.

  • “The Price of Broken Heart” is an older made-for-tv movie with Park Overall as the chump. From IMDB:
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210921/plotsummary
    ‘A woman learns that her husband has been having a very open affair with his secretary and has promised marriage. The wife sues for divorce and also sues the secretary based on an obscure law on alienation of affection, which was created to protect married couples from homewreckers. This sets a new court room consideration, as the culpability of the other woman must be defended and removes from consideration the fault of the married partners.’

    It’s on TubiTV for free streaming, but you may have to deliberately do a search to find it.

  • I would like to share a great line from a novel I have just finished – crazy is what happens between what they tell you and the truth.
    It starts at the end of the relationship and tells the story back to when they met.
    Out of Love by Hazel Hayes

  • Atypical on Netflix – the first season is all about Mom cheats on Dad with sexy bartender…SPOILER: everyone finds out and Dad and kids band together to torture Mom. Gets a bit fuzzy, RIC in the second season but LOVED the first season.

  • I know its a film and not a tv series,but ‘Unfaithful’ with Richard Gere is pretty great, Really really makes the point that in infidelity is TERRIBLE.

    • This is a very difficult movie for me to watch because it hits too close too home. I didn’t like it when I saw it before DDay and really hated it after DDay (accidentally came across it when flipping channels). No one wins in the end.
      One interesting thing to me is that Diane Lane stars in this movie (and I’m not a fan of her character) and she stars in Secretariat ( big fan of her character). Guess it shows she’s a good actress with two different roles.

      • There’s a marvelous reference to Diane Lane in the second season of Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None”, in either the first or second episode. (Forgive me if you have issues with Mr. Ansari. I do, though re-watching favorite episodes of MoN is a guilty pleasure, like watching a favorite Woody Allen movie.) For those of you who don’t know about this show, his character Dev, who is spending a few months in a small town in Italy to learn to make pasta, is having his gourmet birthday lunch at a restaurant with a British woman he’s just met. Over lunch she tells him she’s wanted to travel in Italy ever since she saw “Under the Tuscan Sun”. Dev asks what the movie is about.

        “Diane Lane plays a woman who moves to Italy after her husband cheats on her.”

        “She cheated on Richard Gere in ‘Unfaithful’! Whoa! What goes around comes around, Diane Lane!!”

      • I could barely get through Unfaithful. It didn’t make sense. I think part of the reason for this is the premise that “perfectly nice, normal” people get sucked into affairs doesn’t jibe with reality. I sensed the director had an agenda to do a gender swap of the usual “well-meaning cheater who just couldn’t help himself” trope the better to sell the apologia. But what results is a hashed up Frankenstein of a story.

        You can hardly expect a feminist exploration of why Diane Lane’s character would ever go back to lizard dude after the first, unbearably rapey “love scene”– not from that particular director. But that would have been a more interesting film. I’m fine with the message that affairs are gross and horrible (and that one was) but Diane Lane’s depiction of the character seems too sober and intelligent (if insecure) to fall for a caveman who couldn’t charm the peel off a boiled tomato. Was her character kept in a cage as a child? Did she have dissociative episodes and daddy issues?

        I’m not talking about sad sausage bent cheater but realistically bent cheater who still could have managed to chump her mate. If they’d cast Jennifer Jason Leigh doing one of her deeply damaged split-persona turns, you could still have the blindsided husband story line and the godawful lizardy mate poacher.

        Richard Gere gave his best performance in it though. It’s a great film when he’s on screen.

  • Watching any cheating shows good or bad, just can’t. I love British Baking Show and Nature shows, and LOVE the new series Stay Here. My daughter and I regularly watch Chasing Monsters- cute guy catch and releasing BIG fish.
    Anything but love stories or cheating.
    But I love reading more so when I’m feeling low, I reread Leave a Cheater and get my head right.
    Or I go for a run. Go pull weeds! Go plant herbs and flowers! Go hook up to my camper and go to the lake! Go do anything to get out of the house!

    • Chump No More, I’m with you on my complete inability to watch any cheating shows.

      Frankly, I don’t even like love stories. Too soon for me.

      I would watch Chasing Monsters, but 1. my ex is addicted to fishing so anything fishing related turns my stomach, and 2. Chasing Monsters could be the title of a book about his cheating.🤣

  • Diary Of A Mad Black Woman. Great film. Love the ending, and the chump’s growth. The cheater gets his just deserts in the end.

    And Revenge Of A Middle-aged Woman. Again chump growth and a very satisfying end.

  • I have been enjoying the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel lately. Some here might be upset that the cheater ultimately ends up being a somewhat repentant and sympathetic character in the end. Still, the protagonist gets in some good takes downs of him and his mistress not to mention a few asshat male comedians who think picking on her would be a good way to get a few laughs.

    • I would endorse the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, too! She’s badass, especially given the era. And it made me laugh.

  • If you’re looking for something lighthearted, I laughed all the way through “Life of the Party”. Husband leaves wife, so wife goes back to college alongside the daughter. It’s all the dumb humor and craziness you’d expect from a Melissa McCarthy movie. And if you like the idea of karma revenge on the OW, there is a rather satisfying plot twist near the end.

    https://youtu.be/X3u3OquOMnw

    • Watched that on your recommendation– hilarious.

      The weird, creative little touches are consistent in McCarthy’s comedies which are usually brutal to bullies but gentler to harmless characters. They show her hand and bring silly fluff up several notches. You can tell McCarthy has power on the set and in the writer’s room. 😉

  • OK, I had to watch a little of the Tommy Caldwell climbing documentary mentioned in the essay. Thanks for the recommendation. For chump nation aficionados, go from the 31-minute mark and take in the delicious rationalizations from his ex-wife who left the relationship. “We were growing apart…”

    Tommy Caldwell is great.

  • I’m a ways out from DDay so mostly at meh. I really like the film “The Other Woman”. It’s a comedy, which means it looks at the situation humorously. The wife, played by one of my favorite’s Leslie Mann, shows how emotional and crazy making it is to be cheated on. The cheating husband is of the serial variety so there are several “other women”. Karma is dealt out to the cheater and there is chump empowerment.

  • Good Girls! A TV series about a suburban mom who goes rogue when she finds out her husband is cheating.

  • if you want to read a really interesting book that is becoming a movie, the silent patient. the ending is a real surprise. captures the rage of chumpdom.

  • I watched the limited series Why Women Kill and boy oh boy did it resonate with me! Not that I’d kill ex or AP but it hit home because I was just finding out about all of the infidelity happening in my marriage around the time I started watching the show.

    The series is about three women in
    three different decades all dealing with infidelity in their marriages. It tackled so many issues, from open marriages and physical abuse to substance abuse, serial cheating and the various consequences thereof. So many CNisms were dealt with too – spackling, pick me dancing, untangling the skein, unicorns, fuckwits etc. It was really good.

  • Nobody does a plucky triumphant chump better than Miriam Maisel on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! She is the epitome of pluck!! When the young mother of two is chumped by her husband she reinvents herself and becomes a successful comedian. She is bawdy, sassy, mighty- my hero!

  • The night of dday I watched The First Wives Club – three women taking their life and power back and kicking fuckwit arses. It just a silly comedy, but somehow it really helped me pull myself together in the get angry, but be smart and tough kind of way.

  • I liked watching Dirty John with Eric Bana. It’s not about cheating but it made me feel better to see how someone could get duped into living with a disingenuous psychopath! That’s what I’m grappling with every day… I ask myself how did I not see?

  • Long after I saw the writing on the wall and my marriage to Snakeface was still being dragged out, I watched “An Unmarried Woman” with Jill Clayburgh four or five times. She played Erica Benton, an educated woman with financial resources, so the story may not resonate with a lot of women because Erica doesn’t suffer any economic hardship after her marriage ends. I think the movie’s message, that you can start over and be happy after a divorce, was still pretty revolutionary for its time, and that the story still holds up well 42 years later because Erica doesn’t give the cheating Martin an inch when the younger woman leaves him and he wants to reconcile, she enjoys new relationships with men on her own terms, and she has great friends with complicated, imperfect lives of their own.

    And since Chump Lady started this column with her name, let’s all have a moment of silence for the magnificent Nora Ephron, who died 8 years ago tomorrow. I loved her from the moment I picked up a paperback copy of “Heartburn” while I was hanging out with some friends at someone’s campus apartment at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in 1986. I was on a foreign exchange program, pining away for Snakeface, who was half a world away. We’d been dating for about 15 months before I left, and I was so much in love that I would never have believed how many times I’d want to pull a Rachel Samstatt and shove a Key Lime pie in his face five and more years down the road. Nora Ephron was like a fairy godmother for chumps: revealing the dirty, stupid absurdity of cheater behavior, affirming the need for a good, cleansing cry (or ten) after you’d faced the ugly truth about your marriage, and then encouraging a chump to believe she’d be able carry on after it was all over. RIP, Nora.

    • RIP Nora. And she found love. Her third marriage, to a fellow novelist who adored her. To all of life’s travails she said, “It’s all material.”

      • I recently got a copy of Delia’s book SISTER MOTHER HUSBAND DOG at Dollar Tree. Ther first piece in the book is LOSING NORA, which you Nora fans probably read ages ago. The book left me an even bigger fan of all three Ephron sisters–as writers and as people. And as sisters (sisterhood being yet amother thing they’re really good at). Anyway, it’s a great skinny little book; I highly recommend it (especially for busy chumps)–even if you have to pay more than a dollar for it.

    • I loved Nora Ephron and Heartburn, too! She had other movie/tv credits, too. Always funny, even if she made you cry first. Love anyone with the ability to do that!

    • Love love loved heartburn. And Carly Simon classic song ❤️ I could relate to the steaming of letterS while telling my girlfriend I wasn’t. On the phone. Tee hee.
      Recently I watched The Hunt. Subversive satire. Not infidelity related but a great escape for some fantasies (shooting, maiming, and kicking the asses of predators) for sure.

  • Finding Your Feet, a low key but insightful, sensitive and gently humorous British film, was a bit of a tonic just after my separation. Marriage break up really shows you the people who truly love you, and they are the ones who help you through. Since I realised how abuse works my viewing and reading have become much more selective.

  • “Self Made” on Netflix is fantastic when I need a “don’t play small or take $#*! from anyone including the cheater under my roof” pep-talk. Added Bonus: much of the soundtrack serves the same function on the go.

  • I loved the book Gone Girl. How Amy absolutely fucks over her cheating husband. I don’t care that she’s a bit of a sociopath. Loved her anyway.
    I also loved in the movie, Waiting to Exhale, when Whitney Houston’s character puts all her cheater’s stuff in his car in the driveway and lights it on fire. Then coolly tells the fireman who arrives on the scene that she’s burning trash. Miss you Whitney.

    • Loved waiting to exhale.

      Literally hated Gone Girl. There was absolutely no redeeming quality of any of the characters in that flick, including the main protagonist. I would have been satisfied if every character was killed off in that movie but that didn’t happen. It just wound up being two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

      • from the book (which is excellent- the movie, nope), and I think she wrote the book just so as she could get this rant in about being the Cool Girl: “Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

        Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)

        • I’ve known many like that. Just watch the masks fall when those types think no one’s looking. Yikes. The dead eyes and hollow serial killer expressions. They can become dangerous.

          There are so many ways to grovel for amnesty and mutate oneself to gain status and approval, whether it’s simpering or pretending to love rock climbing. The key thing is that the groveling and mutating have to be imprinted in infancy. If there’s any soul left it’s hard to pull off.

          The nicest thing anyone ever said to me was that I was the only woman they knew who didn’t change after getting married. I don’t think it was meant strictly as a compliment. Thank the stars if you don’t know how to stay on that script.

  • Here’s a good one. Sliding Doors. Alternate reality. In one scenario she catches the subway and her boyfriend cheating. In the second, she misses the train and the mistress leaves before she gets home so she remains an unknowing chump. It definitely portrays cheaters and OW’s as rotten people and the chump in a very positive light whether knowing or not.

  • Interesting!

    I watched The Dawn Wall a few months ago. I was a rock climber in the 90’s and used to climb in Yosemite. My therapist was a rock climbing instructor and she urged me into the sport, citing the psychological benefits.

    Watching the movie, I knew way before it was obvious that his wife had cheated on him. And I hated her! I hate her still! I knew exactly what he meant when he said he felt climbing was all he had left. I even thought about sending him a private message on his Facebook page, inviting him here .
    Maybe we should!

    Another great climbing movie with a great chump metaphor is Into Thin Air, from the book by Jon Krakauer. During a storm on the wall, the climber on top thought his partner below was dead and cut the rope. He wasn’t dead, but ironically if his partner hadn’t cut the rope he would have died…

    Climb on, Chumps!

    • Just a note… the rock climbing reference I made in another comment was about people who pretend to love things they don’t, not a diss against those who actually love the activity of their own accord.

    • Not to be a pain and to help anyone out who wants to watch…

      Into thin air is an amazing book/movie about the deaths on Everest due to the commercialization of climbing and a break down in leadership in the mountain. That breakdown has been used by many companies in leadership training for new leaders. The author actually came to my firms leadership conference and I got to hear him present and discuss in person. Amazing.

      Touching the void is an even more amazing story/movie about 2 climbers and a very tough decision. Highly recommend that movie, just as velvet does. 🙂

  • Not a TV show, but a broadway musical. Divorce final May 2018 and my 19 year old son went to NYC in July for some shows. We saw “Dear Evan Hanson”. I hadn’t listened to the sound track, so I was breathless when the mom sang, So Big/So Small. A woman in the audience gasped so loud, it was then I realized only someone who’d gone through a divorce could ever understand the emotional pain. I was so glad I had my son by my side when I heard this song. I have played it so much since then, although less and less, and it propelled me through some difficult times. It echoes being the sane parent–showing up is the biggest gift for your child.

    During one of my many walks in the woods (when I would often play that song), I ran into one of my children’s teachers from their K-8 school. He told of the entire time my children were at that school (2000-2011), he had only one interaction with Asshat. It was then that I understood that my children know and other’s saw, I’m the one there for them.

    “I knew there would be moments I’d come up short a million different ways, and I did, and I do, and I will. No matter what–I’ll be here.”

  • The Shipping News. A novel from 1993. The wife is the cheater, the husband the chump. Cheater gets what she deserves (dies in car crash). Chump moves to a new town with his kids, builds a great new career, makes friends, and finds true love.

  • I like Sweet Magnolias, but let’s be honest. If each female chump had this actress’ looks, beautiful house, financial stability, monet to open spa and the hot guy who is near to Perfect – our grieve would last like 2 weeks:) I watch ot though but I know IT os a fairy tale…

    • So true Free__soon

      In so many novels and movies the Chump has no financial burdens and often meets a prince/ princess who pick up the pieces and quickly mend a broken heart.
      In real life this is rare.

  • Am I the only person who watched Jessica Jones (first series) – and saw it as the story of the fallout of having been in a realtionship with a malignant narcissist? I recognized her PTSD and inability to sleep straight away. Her self-doubt and inability to connect. The shock she is in. But with the help of her friend, she starts to come to terms with the abuse – and eventually she nails the horrific “Kilgrave” played to perfection by David Tennant. It is truly horrific, and triggering, but I have never seen anything like it. She has a strong sense of irony, and a strange kind of fragility. Not easily “likeable” because she is an uneasy victim- she ought to have been able to get away, but was trapped and she blames herself. But yes, she nails him. finally. and restores herself (partly, and enough to carry on). I couldn’t watch the second series.

  • My go to’s are:
    Kill Bill. 2nd was too but not as good.
    Death Proof.
    La Reina del Sur.
    Point of No Return.
    The Dressmaker.
    The Hunt,

    Though none are specifically cheater related – they are about betrayal of some sort. Strong kick ass female leads that exact revenge on their abusers.

  • I just saw “Spanglish” by accident yesterday. Forgot about that movie. Tea Leoni cheats on Adam Sandler. And watching Adam the chump is so painful… and Tea’s character is “me me me!” Of course none of her behavior is her fault… she blames her mother. Then Adam to relieve his pain almost missteps with the gorgeous actress playing their Mexican housekeeper… but she’s smart enough to run from it. Worth a watch.

  • Absolutely loved watching ‘The Dawn Wall’ – thanks Red-Breasted Song Bird and CL 🙂

  • Letterkenny especially the last 3 seasons. I found myself cheering at times because it is so unheard of to condemn it.

  • Good Lord! Marcella is way more disturbing than you think…*shudder*

    The German sci-fi series Dark has some cheating scenarios…but I rate it highly if you like mind bending stuff (not counting the cheating of course!). Am trying to think of some well done cheating themed stuff in the meantime.

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