In the US: Tuesdays, 9.30/8.30c, ABC. Starts September 24
A trend I hoped had died off over the summer with NBC’s abysmal Save Me appears to have resurrected itself over on ABC with Trophy Wife. Following on from the less than sisterly GCB and Nashville, we have yet another show about female in-fighting. However, this one builds on that foundation with this new trend: “Party girls must reform!”
Here, we have the usually somewhat plastic Malin Åkerman (Watchmen, The Proposal) as a woman who literally bumps into Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, Studio 60, The Good Guys) while at a party. Despite quickly not literally bumping into Whitford’s weird, nightmarish two ex-wives and three children, Åkerman marries Whitford and rather than carrying on her fun and exciting ways, decides to become a loving step-mother to the children.
Except they don’t really want her, neither do those two ex-wives and she’s not really very good at it. Cue kids being scummy to new mummy then learning a lesson by the end of the episode; cue ex-wives being bitchy to new wife and slowly starting to bond with her; cue our heroine slowly becoming a better mother.
It’s not all tedious and reactionary, though. Whitford, who chugs along on 50% in case he visibly outclasses the rest of the cast, is a delight as always. Åkerman, who also produces the show, seems to have learnt that while acting with words probably isn’t her strong point, she’s actually a very credible physical comedic actress. As a result, much of the actual laughs from the pilot aren’t from the situations or the dialogue – which, while a little more original and smarter than most shows’, still aren’t exceptionally funny – but from Åkerman’s clowning. There’s not huge chemistry between the two of them or any of the other characters, but it’s a pilot, so give them time.
Might be worth a shot but I wouldn’t recommend it.
PS Doesn’t ABC have a tough time coming up with titles that are actually representative of their shows? Cougar Town, GCB and now this, which isn’t actually about a trophy wife?