Megan Gingras ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Staff
Trophy Wife opens with Kate (Malin Akerman) in the backseat of her husband Pete’s (Bradley Whitford), ex-wife’s car. It’s obvious from the first moment that the audience is in for an interesting ride. The show then flashes back to when Kate, a hopeless romantic party girl, and Pete, a two time divorcee first met. Kate “fell” for Pete, an older man, while singing karaoke at a bar with her friend Meg (Natalie Morales) after a bout of bad breakups. The two then end up in the emergency room where Kate meets Pete’s entire family—two ex-wives and three children. Pete asks her if she’s interested in going out for coffee sometime and when she agrees she gains an entire family.
After the flashback we’re thrust back into present day where Kate is trying to make things work with her new family. Her day starts off in the kitchen where she burns breakfast and attempts to bond with her step kids. She then attends an uncomfortable parent-stepparent-teacher meeting and drinks an entire water bottle full of vodka in the school parking lot. The episode ends with a new puppy, drunken mishaps, and of course, a new found sense of respect from stepdaughter Hillary (Bailee Madison).
Unfortunately for both the audience and the show’s future, the characters are poorly developed. Kate’s new step kids are nothing beyond stock characters. This is especially evident in the case of twin teenagers Hillary and Warren (Ryan Lee), her whiny stepdaughter and hormonal stepson. Adopted son Bert (Albert Tsai) is kind of just there. He doesn’t add to, nor does he take away from, the show. Pete’s ex-wives aren’t much better in this aspect. Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) portrays disapproving ex-wife number one—an uptight, no-nonsense, former Olympic athlete, turned doctor. Mother to Hillary and Warren, she is not pleased about her ex-husbands newest “child-bride”.
Even though she plays something of a stock character, step wife number two, Jackie (Michaela Watkins) is the show’s saving grace. She’s a wacky, new age, crunchy-granola woman who gives her son “one thousand hugs, two thousand noseys, and three thousand butterfly kisses” when dropping him off for the weekend and also breaks into her ex-husband’s house with her own hide-a-key. Watkins is able to pull it off because she plays the character with conviction and delivers the lines with near-perfection.
Unfortunately, the only two laugh out loud moments in the twenty-two minutes of the pilot had to do with dead hamsters and hide-a-keys and even these moments were a stretch. Hopefully Trophy Wife can live up to fulfill its potential and clean up its act, or else this trophy might be moved to the back of the shelf.