Please enjoy this Trophy Wife post from guestblogger Mary.
**This post contains spoilers for episode 1.21 of Trophy Wife, “Back to School”**
Pete’s preparing for a college visit for Warren and science camp for Hillary, and consequently a night away from home with Diane, which Kate taunts him about:
Kate: “Adjoining hotel rooms . . . suddenly in the middle of the night the door cracks open-”
Pete: “Stop, you know I hate scary stories.”
Kate: “Diane’s standing there in her stiff monogrammed cotton pajamas, telling you that you’re brushing your teeth wrong-“
Kate’s cut off again, this time by Hillary honking the car horn from outside, eager to get on the road. Spoiler alert: Hillary is SUPER JAZZED for science camp! Warren is also super jazzed, in a more Warren way:
Diane wanders in, promptly commandeering Pete’s abandoned travel mug of coffee, which he was very excited about before he went to help Warren pack, and busies herself dumping it out and pouring a fresh cup while kindly offering that Kate should come with them so she can see a real live college campus (ouch.) Kate reminds Diane that she did in fact go to college and has a degree, so Diane decides to brag about going to Stanford by bragging to Kate about how she went to Stanford. It came up organically.
Diane: “If there’s one thing Stanford taught me it’s that Stanford grads always have that famous Stanford humility.”
But that’s not Diane bragging, because if she was bragging she’d bring up how she woke up at 4:15 that morning to do knee surgery on an obese man (“Obese knees are the hardest.”). It all just came up organically and Marcia’s hair is looking much more Diane-ish again (that also came up organically).
Once she reminds Pete to “potty” before they leave, they’re ready to go! Kate has the same plans as most of us would: bralessness, Netflix, popcorn, and beer. Of course that’s when Jackie shows up, letting Kate know when Kate asks that she’s been there long enough to take off her bra too:
Jackie: “Just kidding, I never wear a bra!”
As it turns out, Jackie’s going to her high school reunion that night and needs a plus one since Sad Steve’s mom fell into a really deep coma which is super tragic for Jackie since it leaves her dateless. After much hinting, attempted ducking, and a quick reassignment of Bert duties to Meg and Tevin, Kate agrees.
Jackie: “You’re an angel in a devil’s body I love you!”
As Kate’s getting ready to leave, Tevin explores the Harrison pantry, amazed by their variety of spices and scandalized by one in particular’s name:
Meg: “Tevin, it’s pronounced ‘cumin.'”
(I’m just horrified by the lack of organization in that pantry.)
Kate wisely leaves Bert in charge and deuces out (“Oh, the things that you do for your husband’s second ex-wife.”) and Meg and Tevin immediately start hunting for booze.
Meanwhile on the road:
Is it just me, or did B. Whits deliver that snotty Jim-face directly into the camera?
And excuse you, Diane, but the greatest college in the history of everything has been advertising on late night since the 80’s! –Kerry
And in a car across town (I’m assuming), Kate’s excited to meet Jackie’s friends, but Jackie’s more concerned about this one girl named Marcy:
Jackie: “Whew! She and I used to give each other the stuff.”
Kate: “Ooh, like drugs?”
Jackie: “No! No! The business! Y’know? The cheese! The old back and forth! I’d zig, she’d zag, we’d be at it all day.”
Kate: “Yeah, I get it . . . drugs.”
No Kate, you really don’t. *whispers* SHE MEANS LESBIANS (I think. Right? That’s my read on it.)
Ahem. Carry on.
They start to snark about Diane but then Jackie startles and swerves.
Jackie: “Hitting a squirrel is good luck, right?”
Tevin and Meg are creepily role playing as Pete and Kate:
Tevin, wearing one of Pete’s suits: “Look at me, I’m Pete, I’m a grown up!”
Meg: “Look at me, I’m Kate. Pete, have your way with me before you die.”
Tevin: “We’re so good at this. . . let’s have a kid!”
They decide to get started like right that minute but are quickly interrupted by a little blonde cutie named Adele whom Bert explains is his “second-best friend.” I would so be Bert’s second best friend if that weren’t weird. After some friendly alphabet-in-other-languages competition (Adele: Korean, Tevin: burps), Meg decides to bust out sodas (AKA pop) for everyone, which Bert assures her Kate said was fine.
Meanwhile at “Lofton College”:
Warren: “When you said ‘let’s go visit the bookstore’ I got nervous, but all that place sold was candy and sweatshirts!”
Oh man. You guys. It’s just so so so true.
Pete prompts Warren about how “magical” college campuses are, but apparently had something in mind other than the guys in the cafeteria who were “mixing like five different cereals into one bowl! And that other guy who put chocolate milk into his frosty flakes?!” (Anybody else picturing Abed and Troy, or Abed and Jeff circa Home Economics? *openly weeps*)
Pete: “Did anything non-cereal-based capture your imagination?”
Pete’s determined, but Warren’s logic that he already has the clothes and has discovered the chocolate milk in cereal trick, thus making college irrelevant, is pretty convincing. Pete makes a last ditch effort, mentioning “the ladies” Warren could meet, and Warren cheerfully agrees that they should go find Hillary and Diane!
Pouring one chocolate milk out for Warren right now, I’m sorry guys I’m trying to stay chipper but it’s too hard not to be sad about this sweet beautiful show.
Hillary’s at her science camp orientation with Diane and when prompted to go around the room and introduce themselves with an academic achievement, Diane pops up to share one of her own before being informed this is actually an exercise for the campers. Hillary mentions a poem (“Seasons”) she had published in her school’s literary magazine. The poindexter next to her was also recently published . . . in the Journal of the American Medical Association! The next girl demures that they probably already know her from her TEDTalk and Hillary pops back up when she’s done to change her fact and launches into French that she . . . did something to do with Madame Bovary? I . . . took three years of highschool French. Sorry, Mlle Todd, it stuck for a while!
Also smarter than me, in a different way, is the next kid who jumps in that Hillary’s lucky she learned French:
“I was only allowed to learn languages of the future! Mandarin, Arabic, HTML, Java, Unix…”
Hillary “excusez-moi“s herself, overwhelmed.
At the reunion, Kate’s name tag has Jackie’s last name on it, but Jackie says they shouldn’t bother to have it fixed. Just then Marcy pops up in a dress that is either unflattering on a non-pregnant woman or flattering on a pregnant one and I can’t decide which it is. She greets Jackie and congratulates the two of them before slipping away, leaving Kate to exclaim over how sweet she seemed and wonder why she congratulated them. Turns out Jackie told everyone (how did she have time though? Did she send out a mass text? Were the name tags done last minute? Has she been planning this for weeks? IS SAD STEVE’S MOM REALLY IN A COMA?) that she and Kate are married! Halloween callback!
Jackie tries to usher Kate into the party with a hand on her butt, and when Kate diverts her a few times, Jackie snaps: “Let me land or I’m moving to the front,” which is frankly pretty creepy.
Kate’s understandably put out that Jackie didn’t even tell her on the 6-hour car ride about this stunt (Jackie: “We were picking out dream license plates!”), but Jackie tries to explain how hard high school was for her:
Jackie: “I had to eat outside by myself! Which I know sounds like a picnic, but it really wasn’t.” (She gestures to a perfectly-timed photo of her with a picnic for one in a big screen slide show being projected nearby)
Then it turns into a Marcy-rant where Jackie describes her as a billy goat, donkey, and a cow before Kate snips, “can you just pick an animal and finish the story?” Turns out Marcy and her friends made fun of Jackie for being a boyfriendless mouthbreather, so eventually Jackie came out. Kate’s not sure how that was a solution.
Jackie: “Because it was the early 90’s; it was a great time to pretend to be gay!”
They turn to the slide show just then to see Jackie in one of her prom photos, and for someone who was supposedly bullied a lot, there sure is a lot of Jackie on this slide show. Jackie launches into more Marcy-related spazzing and Kate suddenly decides to go along with the whole wife thing, “just clear your crazy with me first next time, okay?”
Warren and Pete are auditing a class: “From Rambo to Bambi, welcome to Violence in Cinema” which totally helps Warren get over being rudely yanked from his cereal studies with Abed and Troy in the cafeteria.
At Chez Harrison, the kids and Tevin are enjoying some sodas (Bert, elated: “I feel like my teeth are getting smaller!”) while Meg preps dinner (“Mac & cheese orange, mac & cheese white, dino nuggets, chicken n’ stars. Oh, and fruit!” she plunks a jaw of maraschino cherries on the table before dragging Tevin away to pop come nice wine and get weird. But Tevin’s more interested in hanging out with the 8 year olds since they’re always hanging out with Meg’s friends.
Kate and Jackie are really bad at improv storytelling so Kate excuses herself to the restroom and runs into Marcy on the way. Marcy gushes about how great it is that Jackie has someone to share her successful pickle business with and Kate corrects her: “Pickle Me This is more of an empire.” Marcy lets Kate know that Jackie explained how sweet a deal marriage is for Kate since Jackie makes the money and Kate just stays home to “keep it right and tight” (ew.) Kate, horrified, insists that Jackie was joking and she herself is an orthopedic surgeon who went to Stanford and also must be getting to the restroom:
Kate: “When I hold it in, people diiiiie.”
Warren is now super excited (with finger guns) to do whatever it takes to get to college, even if it means studying five hours a week!
Pete: “Make sure and schedule some ‘me time’.”
Warren: “I’ll always have time for you.”
Warren wanders off with a “WHOO! COLLEGE!” and Pete brags to Diane and Hillary in the lunch line about how great he’s doing at being a dad. Hillary has three baskets of fries because who even cares about anything when nobody at Science Camp appreciates Madame Bovary? She almost runs into a pole in her dramatic spin and stalk away, which is pretty adorable, and leaves Pete to ask Diane:
Pete: “How do I put this, is Aunt Period in town?”
That’s not how you put that, Pete, but nice try. Diane explains that she could do nothing to help Hillary during her existential crisis since the only failure she could draw on was her inability to orgasm during the latter part of her marriage to Pete, which, she adds, was really more his fault anyway.
Pete: “I never had a chance, you kept sliding my hand away saying “What’s your plan? You have no plan!”
Jackie’s regaling other reunion-goers with tales of Pickle Me This (pickled beets are starting to sound amazing to me, help) when Kate hauls her off, upset that she’s been describing Kate as mere arm candy and leaving Kate to lie to Marcy about being a surgeon. Jackie’s a little worried about that since it doesn’t jive with the stories she’s been telling about Kate in the mean time:
Jackie: “I don’t know too many doctors that would slap a toll booth operator.”
Kate presses the issue, asking if Jackie didn’t think people would believe Kate as a career woman, but Jackie tries to brush it off (“Hey girl, when I go to your reunion I’ll be any kinda wife you want!”) so Kate leaves in a huff, Jackie trailing after her.
Jackie: “Kate, I’m sorry! I’ll tell everyone that you’re a doctor! Ooh! That you were voted hottest surgeon in Good Doctor Magazine!”
Kate kind of bursts out that the problem IS that she’s not a doctor, that all she feels she does is go to yoga (“and sometimes I still have Bert make me dinner!”), and finally that she was lying that morning when she told Diane she had a degree. Kate never finished college. Jackie doesn’t think this is as big a deal as her own; not only did she tell everyone Kate was her wife, she also invited 10 people to tour her pickle factory. Kate doesn’t want to lie, she wants to actually do things, like Jackie actually has. Maybe Pickle Me This isn’t an empire per se, but it IS a real business. Jackie takes this to heart:
Jackie: “You’re right! I am amazing! I’m a great straight single lady with a boutique pickle business that fits right in my trunk!”
She adds a little sadly that it was fun being the cool girl at the party for once, but Kate reassures her (“You are way cooler than you give yourself credit for J-bird.”) and then quickly refuses Jackie’s lean in for a kiss (“You have just been sending me mixed signals all night.”)
We cut over to Warren, mid-sentence, comforting Hillary as she dejectedly picks at her fries.
Warren: “Let me tell you about a girl I know. That girl could do anything she puts her mind to. That girl is brilliant although she might not always realize it. That girl is my hero.”
Hillary: “Thanks Warren.”
Warren: “Oh, don’t interrupt me. That girl won the Hunger Games.”
Hillary: “Wait, Katniss?!”
He knew her name started with a K!
Pete and Diane watch from the background before heading over to give the kids permission to go to a Kill Bill screening at the student center, and Warren and Hillary take off with their Failure Fries in a flurry of validation and excitement.
Diane, sweetly: “We’ve got good kids.”
Pete: “We do. Wish they’d left the fries, this is my cheat day.”
Tevin and Bert are pillow fighting while Adele asks Meg about the Cosmo quiz she’s taking (Meg: “All signs point to . . . oh, that’s a grown up word.”). Bert calls a time out and pulls Meg aside to tell her to get rid of Tevin:
Bert: “It was fun when he burped the first ten times but now the whole house smells like white cheddar popcorn.”
Meg objects that she’s always the bad guy and tells Bert it’s on him to give Tevin (who we see OWNING Adele in their pillow fight in the background) a talking-to.
At the reunion Marcy flags Kate down to take a look at her knee which clicks when she plays tennis. Kate asks Marcy what she does for a living instead (IT Project Manager) and awesomely shuts her down:
Kate: “Ugh, well, I wouldn’t ask you to project manage my IT at a party, so, I don’t think so! And plus, stop flirting with me okay? I’m taken.”
Jackie comes over and is about to admit her lie to Marcy but Kate interrupts and pulls her out onto the dance floor. Jackie questions her, but Kate explains simply:
Kate: “Marcy’s a donkey and I wanna dance with the cool girl at the party.”
We go into a music-backed voiceover of this lovely speech from Bert over scenes of Pete and Diane companionably looking at pictures on their phones of Warren and Hillary as kids, Warren covering Hillary’s eyes for her during Kill Bill, and Jackie and Kate at the reunion:
“There are so many stages in life. Kid, older kid, grown up. Each one is special. It’s fun to look back on the person you were. And remember who you wanted to be. But you have to look forward to because most of the time you don’t even realize you’re ready to move on to the next chapter until you’re already there.”
Bert: “I guess what I’m saying is, I think you need to find friends your own age.”
Tevin: “Fine! Whatever! You suck at burping!”
Tevin DROPKICKS Beary White and leaves Bert’s room in a huff, and Bert sighs to Adele that, “it’s 9:15. I am gonna be useless tomorrow.”
Me too, kiddo.
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.