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"Trophy Wife" is the Best New Show of the Season

"Trophy Wife" is the Best New Show of the Season



"Trophy Wife" is an example of an excellent series, with an unfortunate title. When the show premiered back in September, I was not planning on watching. But after reading some reviews, I decided to give it a try. And am I glad I did.


 I should have known this was a winner just given the cast. Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford, Marcia Gay Harden, Michaela Watkins, and Baliee Madison are just some of the all-star cast. And they formed a believable family unit incredibly fast. The concept for the series is that Kate (Akerman) marries an older man (Whitford), and gets his three kids and two ex-wives, too. But this isn't some "Modern Family" type thing, it's more of a post-modern family, where the fact that they aren't the most conventional family set-up, isn't the whole show. The comedy really comes from the realistic relationships portrayed on the show. The women don't hate each other, the kids don't resent their new stepmother, and they avoid all the pointless tensions that bog down so many sitcoms. That's a testament to not only the writing of the show, but the chemistry of the cast as well.

Another thing this show gets so right is the humor. The jokes are not there just to be there, they actually serve a purpose in the telling of a story. And the series never sacrifices story to get a laugh. The comedy ranges from the hilariously broad (Example: The adults get drunk and sing "I Saw the Sign" in one episode), to the more subtle one-liners that are simply sidesplitting. But, ultimately, the humor is uniquely "Trophy Wife", and it's unlike anything else on television today.

Akerman is brilliantly bubbly in the role of Kate. Whitford is just as sharp as his Josh Lyman days. Harden reminds us every episode why she has an Oscar at home. Watkins leaves me stunned that she was fired from "Saturday Night Live" after only one season, and the kids are wonderful. Madison and Ryan Lee play the older kids, and do a great job. But the real star here is the actor that plays little Bert. Newcomer Albert Tsai is one of the best finds in child acting in probably years.

The show's set-up calls for typical sitcom stock characters; The "evil ex-wife", the  New Age hippie, the clumsy blonde, the lovably dim-witted kid. But the show's strength lies in going past these stereotypes to find the real people underneath. Nobody's the villain, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Kind of like an 'un-sitcom'. It's refreshing to watch. And this is where the title comes in. Akerman plays the "trophy wife" stereotype, and the series is supposedly about breaking down that stereotype. At least that's my justification for the title, but really if someone didn't know the title and watched the first episode, the words "trophy wife" would never enter their mind.

Overall, "Trophy Wife" is the rare un-sitcom that can make you cry and cry with laughter all in the same episode. I sincerely hopes this one makes it. It's a must watch.

New episodes Tuesdays 9pm on ABC
TimScale: 75/100

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