Trophy Wife is one of the newer network comedies that hasn’t found it’s stride yet. It’s been a mixed bag this fall for comedy, and a lot of these shows have a lot that needs working on. In comparison to it’s surprisingly entertaining pilot, this week’s episode of Trophy Wife feels particularly rigid. Which may be due to the noticeable casting change for Pete and Diane’s daughter, Hillary.
This isn’t an uncommon thing when a show starts, cast members get replaced or some characters only ever appear in the pilot (Coach from New Girl), but this episode isn’t enough to make the audience believe that this was the best decision. Having three stepchildren of different ages for Kate to tackle provided the possibility of a number of diverse and outrageous situations. However, with such a big age gap between the three it could have been distracting What made the pilot funny is the fact that Kate got drunk for Hillary, and this suggested that the show was going to explore more ridiculous situations teenage girls can get themselves into. Kate would have been a more lenient stepmother for Hillary and as she was open about her past experiences, she would have inadvertently been an influence on her teenage stepdaughter. The pilot Hillary was an angsty and disobedient early teen, where this new Hillary appears is a fairly innocent tween. At first the obvious casting change is really distracting, but it becomes more interesting as Hillary shares more screen time with her brother, Warren. The dynamic the two of them share is believable, but it’s their mother who is providing the amusement. Marcia Gay Harden continues to be the funniest character with her unconventional and terrifying parenting techniques. Watching her make the kids squirm and hearing her make remarks like “normal parents don’t get results” make the new casting change all worth while.
The driving plot of this episode, and the show, is Kate’s struggle to fit in and feel like part of the family. It appears the show will focus on how she will try and fail to be an ordinary parent week after week. Whether she is wearing inappropriate clothes, or telling the kids stuff she shouldn’t, it’s pretty adamant that Kate is fairly clueless. Despite the fact that it’s extremely clear how Kate’s actions will backfire on her, she is a likeable character and you feel yourself wanting her to do well. Pete’s second ex-wife, Jackie, is less hostile towards Kate this week and it’ll be interesting to see if a friendship will blossom between the two. Diane is hilariously odd and ruthless, the show would really benefit from more scenes with her and Kate. Trophy Wife has an inventive premise, so hopefully the comedy will grow less awkward and more funnier.