Photo: Courtesy of Danny Feld/ABC; Courtesy of Skip Bolen/ABC Family; Courtesy of Sonja Flemming/CBS.
Hump: Poor Trophy Wife suffers from what I call “Cougar Town Syndrome.” Meaning? What started as a catchy log line for the sitcom during its network pitch is sadly a trite, Zeitgeist-y term that’s already passé by the time the show makes it to air. And, when potential audiences hear the name, they immediately write off the show because it sounds silly and like it’s trying way too hard.
Just like Cougar Town, however, Trophy Wife is actually an amusing sitcom with a surprising amount of heart. Malin Akerman’s Kate, the titular wife, may be much younger and wear skimpier clothing than her husband’s previous two wives, but she’s not a “trophy” in the 21st-century, Real Housewives sense of the word. She wants to be a good stepmom to her three kids — cute actors that play well off the adults in the cast.
If anyone’s a stereotype on this show, it’s the uptight first wife and flaky, hippie second one. And, even with those cliché characters, Trophy Wife comes together as a fun and harmless midweek delight. Give it a chance. Or, just watch Akerman in the most underrated HBO show of all time, The Comeback .
Marry: You know that Ravenswood, ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars spin-off, is supposed to be spoooooky because it’s filmed entirely in the Macabre* Instagram video filter, making everyone on the show look even paler than I am. (However, it’s nice to see vampirically white people like myself represented on TV for once — not everyone’s skin will accept a spray tan, Hollywood). And, though the show strives so hard to be eerie, mysterious, and as engrossing as its predecessor, its premise thus far seems to revolve around a flimsy (and odd) town legend wherein a war vet whose entire unit was killed save for him/her returns to Ravenswood, only to have five local teens die shortly after.
There’s also some weird thing going on with water and a scary female ghost (nice to see the girl from The Ring getting work, though). Since we need three examples of creepiness to really drive home the whole “in this town, water equals murder” thing, Caleb is almost drowned by a disembodied pair of hands while taking a bath. 'Cause if there’s one thing we all know about brooding teenage boys, it’s that they love soaking in the tub.**
In addition to Caleb, who remains tenuously tied to the Pretty Little Liars universe through a half-hearted voice mail he leaves for Hanna, ABC Family reached into their stable of pretty young things to round out the cast. We’ve got the girl from Jonas (RIP Jo Bros) and Cadie from the short-lived American version of Skins.
Where they really outdid themselves, though, is with Meg Foster (whose IMDb page is pretty badass) as the funeral-home director’s watery-eyed, leather-skinned housekeeper, Mrs. Grunwald, who first appeared on Pretty Little Liars. She’s giving some Frances Conroy-in-American Horror Story-season-one realness during her pilot scenes. More Grunwald, please, Ravenswood writers.
*Not a real thing, but I’m open to licensing agreements if you’re reading this, Instagram/Facebook.
**I know the creepy funeral home doesn’t have a shower, but the characters make such a big deal about his bath before, during, and after he takes it.
Kill: Does Will Arnett’s agent hate him? Why does he continue to star in mediocre sitcoms (well, Up All Night showed promise, but it turned into a whole logistical disaster, thanks to NBC bigwigs) when he’s Gob frickin' Bluth, the man in the $5,000 suit? He deserves better than The Millers. COME ON.