From time to time, reality intrudes on our valuable TV watching time, and we realize we can’t cover everything we love. So, we’ve asked some of our friends to step in and help us out when Real Life gets in the way. And today is one of those days. Please enjoy this Trophy Wife post from Mary.
This post contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Trophy Wife, “The Tryst.”
The promos for this episode (promos! Those clips a network runs like commercials to remind you to watch their shows! Sorry, promos are a mostly foreign concept to diehard Community fans) promised a trip ‘back to the 80’s!’ with Pete, Kate, and Diane all in almost-outrageous-enough-to-be-hilarious costumes of Billy Idol, Melanie Griffith, and Pat Benatar, respectively. It turns out to be a themed school fundraiser, which Diane guilts Pete into helping with after he’s promised to take Kate out for a fancy romantic dinner in a scene where he finds Kate sitting on the floor in the bathroom eating potato chips she hides from the kids “behind the big bottle of bleach.” It’s one of Bradley Whitford’s best scenes of the episode, and he’s not even wearing guyliner yet.
While Whitford and Malin Akerman grouse around the fundraiser (and who wouldn’t when Marcia Gay Harden is showing everybody up by looking so luminous in her Benatar getup), Jackie is babysitting and leaving her laptop unattended so Warren and Hillary can stumble upon her video profile for a dating website. The video is predictably full-on Jackie in all her Jackie glory, with Michaela Watkins dressed in what looks for all the world like a costume from a homeschoolers’ production of Fiddler on the Roof, and a performance of an original song titled “No, That’s Not My Elephant.” Warren and Hillary are of course horrified – they actually think she did too many impressions, AND they want to cut out the beatboxing! Simpletons – and offer to help her redo it, with Hillary on wardrobe and Warren contributing his vidding skills. Not even Jackie’s best Foghorn Leghorn impression can deter them. And we have a B-story!
Back at the fundraiser, Phyllis Smith reprises her role as mousy teacher Mrs. Steinberg, tapped by Diane to deliver an introductory speech since Diane’s first choice of Pete is missing. Pete and Kate are in a supply closet getting sleeves of cups (I’d be shipping these two based on the vague Jeff/Annieisms alone, even if they didn’t have nice chemistry) and also drinking smuggled whiskey and getting busy. “Schools always make me horny” Kate purrs, and Pete hilariously sighs “Huhhh,” clearly not similarly swayed but also still totally up for it since, y’know, Malin Akerman.
There are a few missed opportunities throughout the middle section of this storyline; Smith is certainly adept at playing sad and mousy, but she sparkled on The Office in her moments of sass and cattiness. It was far more fun to watch her quietly deliver a shrewd zinger to the camera in a talking head as Phyllis Lapin-Vance than when she crumples into tears as Harden’s Diane snips at her to “get it together” and crowds her away from the podium after a terrible speech delivery. And back in the supply closet we find Kate and Pete very PG-ly fixing their clothes after their apparently episode-title-worthy “tryst.” I’d rather have seen some makeouts instead of the clunky dialogue that made sure we know they had sex, especially since the episode is named for it. I mean, I know this is a network sitcom about family values, but what’s more family-oriented than hot married people getting it on?
Before we move on though: Spoiler Alert: there’s no handle on the inside of the supply closet door, because it is in a set built by the crew of a sitcom, and that is how sitcoms do things.
At Chez Harrison, we find Jackie gamely letting Hillary dress her in Kate’s clothes (even though she first balked “…I have a woman’s breasts and Beyonce’s butt”, then chose the bedspread as her favorite potential outfit) while Warren explains to Bert that they’re trying to find his mom someone to marry. “Or maybe they’ll just do it!” he adds quickly, off Bert’s dismay. Predictably, Warren’s suggestion does not ease the worries of an 8 year old who’s discovering he’s not the only priority in his mom’s life, so he interrupts filming with a…
It’s adorable. But not as adorable as when Jackie halts filming to sit Bert down and reassure him that he’ll always be her “number one guy.” This storyline works nicely because Jackie is never a desperate spinster; it’s easy to believe her level-headed-ness when she tells Bert she’s just looking for a grown up to “hang out with,” and it’s a boatload of fun to watch her confidently put her Jackiest foot forward in her profile video. The tone is very reminiscent of Abed’s storyline in Community’s “Physical Education”; Jackie and Abed are both willing to bend the way they present themselves to help others’ efforts to get them dates, yet in the end everyone realizes they’re at their most charming when they’re just being themselves. I’m looking forward to a queue of quirky suitors, and I’m very hopeful that they’ll find a love interest for Jackie who appreciates her Christopher Walken impression as much as Bert does.
Back at the school, Pete is smartly using the conveniently placed electrical boxes to flip lights on and off throughout the building to alert someone of their whereabouts. Kate is just so done with this whole evening, and on top of everything else she has to pee (Pete: “How bad is it?” Kate: “Somewhere between Bert on a long car trip and Warren in a hot tub” “Pete: “Oh no.”).
In her crankiness she decides to “help” with the lights and succeeds in scaring poor Phyllis some more, and shutting down all the power to the whole building. Inexplicably, flipping the switches back on that they’ve just flipped to off doesn’t work, so Pete and Kate resolve the issue of Pete giving in to Diane’s guilt trips by the light of Kate’s cellphone screen. Kate’s frustrated outburst about the evening’s events is earned; she *did* sacrifice a rare evening out with her husband, and even dressed up for the theme, and that was before getting trapped in a supply closet. Their nice resolution conversation is interrupted when they’re abruptly saved by a janitor, and once back at the fundraiser, Pete immediately refuses Diane’s next request for help. Which turns out to be for him to help her lift a kid in a wheelchair onto the stage, because, again, this is a sitcom.
At home, Kate and Pete sit down to a dinner Pete had Warren had prepared, so it consists of dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets and fruit roll ups. Kate’s fine with it because they also have whiskey. Girl, this is where you lose me. I hope Pete takes her out for a replacement dinner because this is a woman who eats bleach chips on her bathroom floor. Throw her a bone (note: that was not meant to be a callback to my bemoaning their lack of makeouts, but let’s call it a happy accident and count it for both purposes.). Jackie wanders through the scene, nabs a dino nugget for the road (and another because “he needs a friend.” Using it!), and swans out with their bedspread around her shoulders like a poncho. She’s really kinda working it.
Mary is a military wife, mother, and certifiably pathological fangirl. Though she’s written before, this is her first foray into blogging. Her interests include livetweeting, cooking, baking, buying, and – most importantly – eating food, puns, and deciphering her toddler’s attempts to speak English. Follow her #mamatweets, #wifepeopleproblems, and #islandproblems (it’s not all complaining, honest) on Twitter at @maryarrr