Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trophy Wife 1.05: "The Tryst"

“Oh sweetie, you are such a planner! Will you promise me you won’t forget to let yourself fail?”

“The Tryst” was an interesting mix of classic sitcom elements and depth. Overall, the plot really emphasized how this whole extended family is intertwined. Even though Pete has divorced Diane and Jackie, they’re all still family. Personally, I think that would drive me nuts. Pete has a lot of people he has to answer to, and in this episode, it does kind of drive Kate nuts, and she starts to put her foot down. Pete pretty much lets Diane run his life, even though they’ve been divorced for years. I guess Jackie is to hippie dippy to have cared all that much, but it bothers Kate. Kate is young and wants to enjoy her new grown-up life. She cares about Pete’s kids for sure, but she sees through Diane’s constant warnings that Pete not doing exactly what she (Diane) says would put the kids’ future in danger. And let’s face it, the kids will probably be just fine (maybe even better off), without Diane’s panicky micromanagement. The b-plot involving Jackie I think shows how functional this unconventional family unit can be at its best. All three of the kids come together to help Jackie, and the result is pretty sweet.

At the beginning of the episode, we see just how controlling Diane is of the rest of her family. She’s Skyping with Hillary about Hillary’s homework, and when Hillary is done, Diane asks to speak with Warren about his homework. Pete and Kate arrive home in the middle of this transition, and they don’t realize that Diane is listening to them from the computer. Diane has a surgery, and she wants Pete to do some chauffeur duty for the kids. Kate’s upset because they had plans, but Diane uses her covert listening in to manipulate Pete and Kate into cancelling the plans and helping her out. The next night Pete’s got big news for Kate. To make up for the earlier incident, he has made reservations at a really hot restaurant, and Jackie is going to watch the kids. The plans are short-lived, though. Diane calls with yet another frantic request. She needs Pete and Kate to help at a fundraiser for Hillary and Warren’s school because she’s driven away so many other parents. She guilts Pete into it by saying it’s for the twins’ future.
The fundraiser itself is an 80’s dance party. For parents. I know there were school fundraisers in my day, but never something like this. Yet the show makes it seem like parties for parents is a normal thing. It’s not even really going towards something useful. It’s to build a school vegetable garden. The 80’s party setting is a fun one, though, especially considering that “Trophy Wife” follows the 80’s-tastic sitcom “The Goldbergs.” For the party, Diane is Pat Benatar, Pete is Billy Idol, and Kate is Melanie Griffiths in “Working Girl.” Diane of course has to get in a little dig about how Kate looks like an adult for once. I liked to see Kate getting into the costume, even though she really did not at all want to be at that party. As for the party itself, it’s really more about Diane than anything else. Diane is insistent that Pete introduce her for a big key note address. Pete and Kate are also being kept busy on plenty of thankless tasks like working on refreshments.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Warren and Hillary get a hold of Jackie’s computer. They see that she’s in the process of setting up a profile on a dating website, and she has made a really ridiculous video. The video is super long, and it pretty much showcases every one of Jackie’s odd quirks. Now I like people with quirks plenty, but showcasing all of them in one video might not be the best way to get a date. Quirks take time to be appreciated. Anyway, Warren and Hillary understandably have a good laugh over the video, then they offer to help Jackie make a better one. They have Jackie wear one of Kate’s dresses, and they also give her some ideas for things to say. Jackie’s commentary on Kate’s wardrobe is pretty funny. Anyway, Warren and Hillary get Jackie fully on board, she’s in a royal blue dress, and she’s acting a couple notches less crazy than usual. Every time Jackie tries to speak on camera, though, Bert interrupts. At first it seems innocent – he asks to play a game with pool noodles. After he interrupts a few times, though, it becomes pretty obvious that he really doesn’t want Jackie going on this dating website. When prompted, Bert says that he’s worried that if Jackie gets married again, he won’t be her “number one guy” anymore. He doesn’t want to play second fiddle to her new husband. The resolution to this is really sweet. Jackie and Bert do the video together, saying that Bert is the number one guy, but Jackie is looking for a “solid number two.”

At school, Pete and Kate are tasked with getting more cups from a storage closet. Kate thinks this is a great excuse for some impromptu closet sex, and Pete certainly isn’t going to turn that down. Apparently being in a school makes Kate horny. Anyway, when they’re done, Kate and Pete go to get the cups and head back to the party. There’s just one small problem. The door to the closet has no handle on the inside. Pete and Kate are stuck. It’s a classic sitcom plot, which would normally be extremely clichéd. In this case, due to the 80’s party setting, though, I think it kind of works. Why not use a classic style plot in an episode that celebrates a past decade? A decade, I might add, where those classic, clichéd plots were considered good television.

Anyway, in an effort to signal that they’re stuck in the supply closet, Pete starts tripping electric breakers. He’s pretty fortunate that the breaker box happens to be in this particular closet. He flips them one at a time, hoping that he’ll flip one connected to the room where the party is happening. He doesn’t quite get it right at first, though, to obvious comedic effect. The best is when he turns off the lights to the bathroom that Warren’s dowdy, plagued with self-esteem issues (please, God, don’t let that be me in twenty years) teacher is using. Oh, and that same teacher has to do the introduction for Diane. And almost cries. Eventually, Pete has had it, and he trips all the breakers. Diane is pissed that her moment in the spotlight has been upstaged, but the plan works. Maintenance guys come and let Pete and Kate out of the closet. Pete and Kate have also used their closet time to talk about how frustrated Kate is over Pete always obeying Diane’s orders, so the next time Diane starts needling him, he cuts her off and says she’ll have to find someone else. Unfortunately for Pete, Diane wanted him to help get a kid in a wheelchair up on the stage at the party. So Pete ends up having to help after all. Poor Kate is never going to get a break!

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