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.
Welcome back! The Trophy Wife crew has been busy: star Malin Akerman did an AMA on Reddit, creator Sarah Haskins answered questions (including mine!) on Jezebel.com, and Michaela Watkins had a great interview about her career with the Daily Beast and also made an appearance on Comedy Central’s @midnight which I’m about to watch right now! Have fun with all that goodenss, but don’t forget to read the post below, and keep your fingers crossed for a second season renewal! 🙂
**This post contains spoilers for the Trophy Wife episode “Bert Day.”**
Kate and Pete, gunning hard for the top of my favorite TV couples list, are playing Scrabble over white wines. She’s rocking a Fair Isle sweater, he’s rocking his hipster glasses, it’s just all good and I want to go to there. But! Bert’s running, screaming interruption informs us that he has read 100 books and according to a signed contract by Pete, Bert can now have any kind of birthday party he wants.
“I could have been outside playing and running but instead I was inside reading and eating…AND IT WAS ALLLLLLL WORTH IT!”
GPOY, kid. Enjoy those birthday party years while you got ’em though, they don’t last forever.
Later at Bert’s soccer game (continuity! Good job, show!), while Pete divulges his game plan to avoid touching the ball in hopes that they Bumblebees will tie for zero with their opponents the Camels, Kate attempts to sit with a group of literal soccer moms. Maybe they ice her out because she’s wearing shiny blue leggings that make them feel inferior about their utilitarian soccer mom clothes? Whatever, you do you, Kate.
When she sits next to Pete, forlorn, his reaction is almost sweet but mostly incredibly misguided:
“What do you need them for, you’ve got me.”
Oh Pete. No woman has ever not needed friends just because she has a husband. We need friends more BECAUSE we have husbands. #wifepeopleproblems, amiright?
Jackie appears as Kate laments that she gets lonely with Pete and the kids gone all day, frazzled by preparations for Bert’s party. Kate offers to take the whole thing off her hands, which Jackie is thrilled about.
Spoilers: No, this does not result in Jackie/Kate tension like I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise. I thought it was really nice that the show didn’t try to layer on a competitive conflict since they already resolved a storyline similar to that with the Halloween episode when Kate takes Bert trick or treating. It’s good to see that even though they’ve paired Jackie and Kate up a lot this season, they’re not rehashing the same conflicts over and over.
Kate sits down with Bert later to get his requests for his party, and they’re probably even more charming than you’re imagining:
– Chocolate AND vanilla ice cream
Kate: “You read a hundred books, man! You deserve a party so impressive people say, ‘how did his stepmom pull it off?’ ‘I don’t know she’s just amazing!'”
Spoilers Again: the other nice thing about this episode is that Kate’s desire get in good with the other moms drives her to give Bert an awesome party that he really enjoys, but the tempting sitcom outcome of her ruining the party for Bert in her zeal is side-stepped completely. Bert gets to have his awesome Bert-Day party, and the adults still have a storyline with conflct. Bless you, Trophy Wife writers. Bless your light.
In search of a theme, Kate asks Bert what his favorite book was and it’s the actual best answer, I really can’t think of a better one:
His favorite movie, though, was Aladdin, and that, Kate can work with. I would have loved to see Bert’s Little Women-themed Bert-Day.
Bert’s only request for the guest list (Kate assures him he wants his soccer team and their moms there, first of all) is Chris Harrison. No, not his dad’s cousin with the little arm (?) but Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s The Bachelor, BECAUSE HE WANTS HIM TO GIVE JACKIE A ROSE.
You guys I really can’t.
The party is awesome, there’s a giant pile of pillows in the living room, and Bert’s face is on all those cute colorblock framed art pieces they have on the wall over the TV, and there’s a giant purple banner that says “Happy Bert Day.”
Kate is dressed in an AWESOME red sari (I think this is the term for her outfit? If I’m wrong please let me know) and a big blonde ponytail weave, which makes me wonder if they couldn’t clear her wearing a pink outfit like in I Dream of Jeannie. Bert is of course dressed up like a little Aladdin with a red tassled fez and they’re both greeting guests at the door with a bowl of hummus. This is my kind of party.
Pete is having a wee bit of an issue with there being young children eating everywhere in his house and keeps barking at and hustling the kids outside.
Kate: “Pete, it’s a party, we’ll clean up after!”
Diane: “Or you could just not serve dip to 8 year olds. And what’s this, kabobs? Really Kate you might as well just hand them swords.”
Diane, as usual, has a point, but I appreciate a theme party too much to really agree with her. I do agree with her that the cake, which unlike the one Kate ordered, has a photo of two oiled up naked dudes wrestling with a unicorn on it. Kate, horrified, wonders who would even order a cake like that, and I’m reminded of Laurie’s stint as a dirty cake maker from a few weeks ago on Cougar Town. Let’s just headcanon that somehow Laurie made Bert’s birthday cake, shall we? Fictional geography be damned!
Diane and volunteers to take the cake back to the bakery and Kate makes Pete go with her so he’ll stop yelling at small children who are just trying to eat the hummus they’ve been graciously served, and we have a b-plot.
The soccer moms arrive, full of platitudes about about the “lovely hooooooome, lovely yaaaaaard, oooh is that a fire eater?”
Bert: “Yes! He’s eating fire for me! I feel so blessed!”
Jackie slinks up behind them as they’re heading out to the patio all “what a bunch a’ biyotches, huh?” because Kate clearly missed their snobby tones in her hunger for mom-friends. Kate thinks it went well though; they had a real conversation! They asked her questions and everything!
Jackie: “The I.R.S. asks me tons of questions, doesn’t mean we’re friends. Trust me, those girls are nasty. And not the good nasty.”
Everybody, EVERYBODY should have a Jackie in their life. Let me know if you need one, I will happily do my best to emulate her for you.
In c-plot land, Warren catches Hillary drooling over a guy in what looks vaguely like the same metallic leggings Kate was wearing earlier.
Warren: “Why don’t you go over there and talk to him? Y’know, ‘steal the deal’, whatever that means.”
But Hillary’s in the midst of a rare moment of self doubt: “He seems really cool. He’s wearing a necklace!” Warren offers to go over and talk to him for her, which she agrees to as long as he doesn’t do anything embarrassing. Warren immediately pretends to be a detective with a walkie talkie (?) and trips the fire-eater who happens to be on stilts. Ryan Lee does Warren’s relentless goofy optimism so well.
Pete and Diane, at the bakery, grouse over how much time it took to get there, and how long the line is, so Diane just wallks to the front as we get some backstory on why these two crazy kids didn’t work out:
Pete: “Um, there’s a line! You think the rules don’t apply to you.”
Diane: “Yes, that’s what I told you on our first date.”
Other patron: “Uh, there’s a line, lady.”
Diane: “It’s. Doctor.” (How hard would you watch Marcia Gay Harden as Diane Buckley as The Doctor? Because I WOULD WATCH IT SO HARD.)
Pete: “I apologize, she’s. . . normally exactly like this.”
That first bit is an incongruous turn for Pete, who a few episodes ago was talking about planting evidence being one of the first things he learned in law school. But then he’s also previously been conflicted about his career too, so I guess it could all still fit.
Back at the party, Kate wheels Bert out on what looks like a cloud-festooned rolling kitchen cart with a magic carpet on top, but his microphone has come unplugged. When she’s crouched behind some balloons plugging it in she overhears the soccer moms sniping about the party. They’re cruel about it, calling it tacky and over the top, but “what do you expect with a party thrown by a former stripper?” We go to commercial off Kate’s shock.
These bitches. They’re worse than Heleeeeeeeeeeeene’s momfia. They at least supported local small business ventures.
Back from commercial, Kate rushes inside to tell Jackie what she just heard.
“Well, y’know: legs for days . . . smell like vanilla, you always have singles for the vending machines . . . I could see it.”
Likely all true, but not helpful. Kate rightly can’t believe they’ve been shutting her out over a rumor (and further more, even if she WAS a former stripper, boo on them for judging her so harshly for it).
Kate: “What is this, high school?”
Jackie: “Wouldn’t know, home-schooled.”
Yes Jackie. You are just. You are just so home-schooled it’s perfect. I believe this about you so heartily, and I embrace it with every fiber of my being.
Kate wants to set the record straight, but Jackie offers to “dispel that dirty little hooker rumor. . . I thought all strippers hooked.” As most homeschooled kids would, Jackie.
Pete and Diane are now stuck in traffic, and Diane decides that, like my Grandpa used to say before making an illegal turn in front of oncoming traffic: “I have waited LONG ENOUGH!” and scares the crap out of Pete. She immediately gets pulled over and Pete gloats about it.
Warren hilariously saunters through a fabulous purple metallic bead curtain to approach the object of Hillary’s lust, who is revealed to be one of the dancers for the party (I was certain Kate had accidentally ordered a troupe of barely legal strippers) and turns out to be named Graham Lipschitz. He likes dancing and surfing and his intimidatingly cool necklace is a locket with pictures of his parents in it. I can’t for sure say I know what they were going for there, but it seems like he’s supposed to be secretly just as big a nerd as Warren and they hit it off. Their dialogue was just so kooky that I came out of their first scene kind of unclear.
Kate wants to know how it went with Jackie and the soccer moms and Jackie lets it slip that the one named Fern was the one who started the rumour. Well of course she did, her name is FERN. How else is she going to exact revenge on the world?
Warren reports to Hillary a bunch of lies about Graham, like that his necklace is a blood diamond (“and not the good kind!”). Hillary’s suspicious.
When the cop gets up to Diane’s window she’s all prepared with her hospital ID and a lie that Pete’s having a heart attack and she’s taking him to the hospital. The cop buys it (“He does look pretty ashen” aw, poor Pete!) and offers to escort them to the nearest hospital, which seems like it defeats the purpose of getting back to the party more quickly, but I guess Diane has cut her losses on that front and just wants to save some benjamins. Understandable.
The pony rides have commenced at the party and Kate totally ignores Hillary’s venting about her Warren/Graham problem to vent about her soccer moms/stripper rumour issue.
Hillary: “What? That makes no sense. You have no rhythm.”
Kate: “Yeah, exactly, even my heart rate is irregular!”
Okay I really did like this little exchange. I’d like to see Hillary and Kate teamed up instead of in conflict please!
Kate charges off and corners Fern in the bathroom to interrogate her about the stripper rumour, refusing to leave so Fern can pee first, and then turning on the sink faucet and hilariously threatening, “don’t worry, I have plastic bags so you can take your pants home.”
It’s such a good mom-threat, I love it.
Fern cops to repeating the rumour but fingers Jackie as the originator:
Fern: “It was months ago, that day that you wore those tiny little short-shorts to soccer practice!”
Kate, not helping herself out: “Yeah but all shorts look like that on me!” (gpoy, sister)
Jackie, awesomely popping up under the blinds over the picture window above the bathtub: “Hey Fern! Are ya sayin’ something that maybe you shouldn’t have?”
Outside, Jackie is attempting to ride Cinnamon the pony off to safety from Kate’s wrath, but Cinnamon is not amenable. (“Ooh, you’re fat and no one likes you, Cinnamon!” #USINGIT) When that doesn’t work she attempts to hypnotize Kate into not being mad at her which also doesn’t work, so she resorts to apologizing:
“Sorry! I really wanted a spot on their sweet, sweet blanket! I’m so tired of drinking wine alone at Bert’s soccer games! So I just spread this eensie weensie wittle lie about you, I don’t know, flashing your yooyoos for money. I was desperate! But adorable?”
Kate’s not having it, and it IS for good reason even though they both were motivated by a desire to get in good with the soccer moms. Jackie posits that they’re both to blame, but Kate shuts that down too, and then lashes out that Jackie is desperate, but in a sad way, and stalks off. It’s harsh 😦
Pete and Diane have returned to Chez Harrison with a beautiful castle cake, and in the midst of their bickering Diane walks into a glass door, crushing the cake against her torso and ruining it. Pete promptly loses it, laughing at her:
“God has spoken through my screen door! No one is aboveth the rules! Finally, (he pulls out his phone to snap a picture) a reason to join Instagram!”
Bert runs up, unworried, and scrapes a handful of cake off Diane’s sweater.
“It tastes like vanilla and wool!”
Children horrifyingly swarm Diane to pick cake off her like vultures cleaning flesh from a corpse. Cover your eyes, Diane! They’ll pluck those suckers out in a heartbeat!
Outside, Kate gets invited to sit at the soccer moms’ table where they fakely apologize for believing and perpetuating a rumour about her and being generally shittastic people. Kate buys it instantly 😦
Inside, Hillary calls Warren on his fake warnings about Graham after talking to Graham about his cool blood diamond locket and then this heartbreaking exchange happens:
Warren: “Graham and I were becoming such good friends, and you know I don’t meet a lot of people that I like.”
Hillary: “You like EVERYONE.”
Warren: “What I mean is: I don’t meet a lot of people that like me.”
Warren feels like he has a lot in common with Graham, and doesn’t want Hillary to go out with him because eventually they’d break up and he’d have to choose sides.
Hillary: “Oh, I get it, and you would choose me.”
Warren, overlapping: “Graham.”
Hillary, repeating: “. . . me.”
Warren, overlapping: “Graham. No, not you, I’ve said ‘Graham’ twice now.”
Kate’s conversation with the soccer moms turns from sharing laundry secrets (“I use fifty dryer balls. It’s deafening, everyone has to leave the house.”) to snarking on Jackie. Kate does try to turn the conversation elsewhere, but they’re relentlessly horrible until Kate cuts in.
“You know what, she’s not desperate . . . well maybe just a little bit desperate but I’m the only one who’s allowed to say that because she’s my family. And I get why she lied about me; I wanted to get in with you guys too. Although, now I have no idea why because y’all are just BAD NASTY, so I think it’s time for you to leave.”
She waffles several times on whether they should leave, stay so their kids can have fun, or wait in their cars, or stay but NOT enjoy the party, but let’s be real: “y’all are just bad nasty” is amazing and I’m going to use it constantly.
She knocks down that poor stilt-walking fire-eater again on her exit to find Jackie and they make up on the best terms possible when Kate offers to bring wine for them to share at Bert’s next soccer game:
Jackie, thrilled: “What! Why share?! Bring two bottles!”
While this is going on, though, is the pièce de résistance of the party: Bert and The Bert-Day dancers!
You need to watch the full episode (on Hulu, or ABC!) to see the finished number, but please enjoy this BTS video of Albert Tsai and the world’s best pants rehearsing it:
The tag features Chris Harrison showing up at Chez Harrison, Pete fanboying over him, Bert being over the moon about it, and Chris hitting on Kate, who it turns out he used to date. I wish we’d gotten to see him giving Jackie the rose though.
Lastly, a special plea: gifmakers, please try this show! I found ZERO gifs for this episode and they’re usually sparse anyway. It’s so quotable! Malin Ackerman is hot! Albert Tsai is adorable! I’ll reblog all your ish on Tumblr, promise 🙂
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.