Friday, September 27, 2013

Pilot Review: Trophy Wife

Trophy Wife (ABC)
Premiered September 24 at 9:30pm

This is the kind of show that most don’t expect to be anywhere close to good, and instead just a chance to show off a pretty face and see if a show might work around her. While it’s far from terrific, it’s not actually all that bad, much better than the show that leads into it, at the very least. Swedish actress Malin Akerman, who I remember well from films like “Watchmen,” “The Bang Bang Club,” and “The Romantics,” has the charm and presence to play the third wife of a man with three kids from previous marriages who is well aware of her status in all of their lives. Bradley Whitford is a fun choice to play the husband, and the show deserves credit for enlisting the talents of the icy Marcia Gay Harden and the hilariously unhinged Michaela Watkins to portray his first two wives. His two older children, Hillary and Warren, are actually decent characters, though I have to take issue with Bert, his son from his second marriage, who is far too precocious and irritating. I’m also not too taken with Meg, Kate’s best friend, which is especially lamentable since I liked actress Natalie Morales a lot in her recurring role as Lucy on “Parks and Recreation.” I’m not sure this show has all that much potential, but it was considerably better and much more watchable than I had anticipated. Whether that should be considered a success is another matter, but at least this pilot was remotely entertaining.

How will it work as a series? A lot of action involving all three of the wives was packed into this episode, so that suggests that equal emphasis will be placed on all of the characters, which means that this show can go many different directions. I’m hopeful that it can outgrow his name and won’t be tethered by a need to frame Kate as just a trophy wife.
How long will it last? The pilot ratings were decent, and this show got slightly better mentions than “The Goldbergs,” which puts it ahead of the curve just a bit for survival. It remains to be seen how ABC will feel about its new Tuesday night comedies, so for now I’d put this show’s odds of survival at fifty-fifty.

Pilot grade: C+

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