Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Trophy Wife 1.08: "Lice and Beary White"

“I had to cuddle a Transformer, and when I woke up, it was a car.”

“Lice and Beary White,” as you can probably tell from the title, deals with the worst nightmare of any family with children, especially a big, extended family like the Harrisons. Lice. I remember when I was a kid, once or twice a year the letter would go out to parents about somebody in the class having lice. I never had it myself, but I remember having to get checked at the nurse’s office every time an outbreak happened, and I remember being told that under no circumstances should I ever share a hairbrush. Anyway, the lice situation returns us to examining the Kate and Diane dynamic, with Jackie playing more of a supporting role. Interestingly, because the lice affect the whole family, the whole family is in one place in this one (albeit there are is still an A and B plot. The episode overall wasn’t bad by any means, but I didn’t find it to be a stand-out, either. I’d like to see Kate try to take on more parenting situations head-on instead of always being thwarted by Diane. I’d also like to know more about Kate’s past, considering in this episode, Diane makes a crack about Kate never having had a job.

The episode begins with Kate getting that dreaded call from school saying that Bert has lice. Kate picks him up from school, and they head straight for the drug store. For some reason, Kate thinks that having lice is one of the most embarrassing reasons you can go to a drug store. She tries to deflect attention away from purchasing the lice shampoo and comb by also saying she needs condoms and stool softener. Kate thinks she has things well under control, and she’s pretty proud of herself for it, but then Diane breezes in and steals all her thunder. She starts quoting lice eradication instructions and does all the hair washing herself. Kate tries to interject that she has the lice checklist from the school, but Diane quickly one-ups her by saying that she wrote the list.

Meanwhile, as the family is gathering up all the soft items that could harbor lice, Pete makes an interesting discovery. He finds a teddy bear in Warren’s bed. The bear is named Beary White, and he was Warren’s favorite toy as a child. The reason this is a surprise is because Warren had given the bear to Bert. Apparently there was a big hand-off ceremony and everything. Anyway, Pete confronts Warren about this, and Warren explains that he stole the toy back from Bert. Beary White was Warren’s comfort object, and he just couldn’t quite get along without it. I get it – a plastic Transformer toy (see the quote of the episode above) just isn’t a substitute for a nice, soft Teddy bear. Pete, being a lawyer, decides that a trial is the way to handle this situation. He tries to channel King Solomon, threatening to cut the bear in half. When neither of the boys seem to really care if Pete mutilates their prized toy, Pete gives up. What he taught them hasn’t gone unnoticed, though. Warren and Bert essentially work out a custody agreement for the bear all on their own. Whether this is because Pete is an intelligent lawyer or because he’s had three wives and the kids have lived through the divorces, I’m not exactly sure.

Anyway, the whole lice situation results in a big power struggle between Diane, Kate, and Jackie. Kate is tired of Diane swooping in and taking over her house, and she starts pushing back against Diane running the whole anti-lice campaign. Kate thinks she can do more, and Diane giving her more demeaning tasks like making a cappuccino (something she coos over Bert for doing perfectly) doesn’t help. The next task Kate is assigned is to bring Jackie into the house. Jackie had been yelling at everyone from outside. She just got a really expensive Brazilian blow-out, her hair has never looked better, and she doesn’t want to ruin it by washing it so soon. Diane’s not having any of that, though. She’s convinced that Jackie is probably infested, too, and expensive blow-out or not, the infestation must be conquered. Kate tries to do the job by going outside and talking to Jackie and playing to their mutual hatred of Diane. Before Kate has a chance to make any progress, though, Diane comes outside and turns the hose on Jackie, complaining that she always has to do everything herself.

At this point, both Kate and Jackie are pretty pissed off at Diane, so Kate hatches a revenge plan, and Jackie goes along with it. They switch out some of the bottle of lice shampoo for regular shampoo, making it less effective. They believe that Diane is the only person left in the family who hasn’t washed her hair, and they want her to be a little uncomfortable for a while. The plan backfires, however, when, after the switch has already happened, Diane mentions that she just washed Hillary’s hair. Kate and Jackie had been planning for Diane to be the only one affected by their little scheme. The problem is pretty significant, because Hillary has already gone back to school for an after-school musical rehearsal. Something tells me that wouldn’t be allowed in real life, but television shows bending the truth for the sake of plot is really nothing new.

Because Hillary is back at school, Kate feels obligated to reveal to Diane what she did. Jackie tries to distance herself from it as much as possible, of course. As per usual, Diane is very unhappy about all of this, and Diane and Kate squabble over who is going to make it right. Kate feels that since she screwed up, she should be the one to pick up Hillary from school. Diane feels like if she doesn’t pick up Hillary herself, something will go wrong. They both fight their way to the car, and they both end up going to the school together. When they get to the auditorium, they see that the kids are rehearsing for a production of “Hair,” and everybody is sharing wigs. Kate thinks the best course of action is to leave, and when the school lice infestation gets worse, they can blame it on some other kid. Diane, for once, completely agrees.

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