Saturday, December 14, 2013

Trophy Wife 1.10: Russ Bradley Morrison

“I have to stay and check your pupils in an hour, make sure I used the right kind of mushroom.”

I wouldn’t say that “Russ Bradley Morrison” was a favorite episode of “Trophy Wife” for me, but it definitely had its funny moments. The creative team found creative ways to incorporate all of the main characters (except for Meg…she always seems to be shortchanged) in an organic way. Pete is sick, so Kate has to help chaperone a field trip along with Diane, while Pete gets left with Jackie. It’s quite a predicament for Pete especially, because we all know that Jackie is just plain nuts. We also get some interesting character growth for Diane, which wasn’t something I really expected. Diane is kind of an immovable force, so to have anything change her approach to life, even if it’s just a rather small change, is unexpected indeed.

At the beginning of the episode, Kate wakes up to find that Pete has been sleeping in the tub. He’s come down with a bad cold or the flu or something, and he’s been coughing like crazy. He was supposed to help chaperone Warren’s field trip to the Natural History Museum, but he and Kate both agree that in his current condition, that’s probably a bad idea. Pete doesn’t want to be responsible for starting some sort of plague among the high school sophomores. Kate, still on her wanting to be involved in parenting the Harrison kids, is only too eager to volunteer to take Pete’s place. She’s taken down a peg when Pete tells her that Diane is also chaperoning, though. To retaliate a bit, Kate calls Jackie to check in on Pete while Kate is out.

In the car on the way to the field trip, Kate and Warren talk about how Diane doesn’t seem to like Kate very much, and that upsets Kate. Probably not the most appropriate thing to discuss with your stepson. Kate means well, but she (like all of the women in Pete’s life, I suppose), doesn’t have a very good sense of boundaries. Anyway, Warren makes a comment about how he thinks Diane would be less uptight if she “got some,” and Kate is impressed that Warren is okay with talking about his mother’s sexuality. She takes this as license to start talking about trying to hook Diane up with someone. Warren is rather mortified to discover that “getting some” means sex. Oops! Faux parenting fail on Kate’s part.

Meanwhile, Jackie is just plain being Jackie about taking care of Pete. The first thing she wants to know is if she can use the blender to make something, and she ends up concocting this rather questionable shake for Pete to drink. It involves some sort of mushroom, presumably hallucinogenic. The whole thing is right out of a horror movie for Pete. Jackie takes away his phone, locks him in his room, and even tries to swaddle him in sheets. He’s convinced at one point (the hallucinogens probably aren’t helping, and Jackie says she also gave him a heavy dose of codeine) that Jackie is legitimately trying to kill him. Pete finally makes it out to the living room, where he encounters Jackie’s support group, called G.O.A.L.S. He gets them to eventually leave by threatening to cough all over them. Moral of the story: if you’re sick, definitely hope Jackie isn’t the one taking care of you.

At the museum, Kate and Warren start scoping out potential prospects for Diane, but Diane is too focused on making sure that the field trip goes perfectly to really notice. She’s busy figuring out exactly when each group of students should go to each exhibit, and she’s also being careful to eavesdrop on students when she can. She looks at the eavesdropping as a way to head off potential problems. Kate and Warren continue their quest anyway, with Warren finding especially comically unsuitable prospects. Kate finds her best prospect at lunch , where she meets Russ Bradley Morrison, dad to one of the kids on the trip. He’s as uptight and joyless as Diane is, so Kate naturally thinks they would be a perfect match. Diane rather emphatically shoots down the idea, though. On hindsight, perhaps too emphatically. The lady doth protest too much and all that.

Anyway, since Jackie is at Pete and Kate’s house, so is Bert. Bert and Hillary end up talking about a concerning letter from school about Bert. The letter is basically Bert’s teacher saying that Bert is really disruptive in class. Hillary asks Bert to describe what he does in class, which results in a predictably hilarious response by Bert. It starts out normal sounding enough, but then Bert starts describing “Bertwheels.” Which are basically spinning around with your arms out to the side while screaming. No wonder that poor teacher is fed up. Hillary tells Bert that she had the same teacher, and if Bert follows her advice, she’ll be back in the teacher’s good graces. Hillary takes Bert to talk to the teacher so that the teacher will know he’s her brother (from another mother…and father, as Bert puts it). Then later at school, Bert starts seriously sucking up to his teacher. The teacher basically tells Bert not to be a suck-up like his sister, which leads to an eventual confrontation between Hillary and the teacher. It’s pretty clear that Hillary is becoming a mini-Diane, which is kind of disappointing. I liked the rebellious direction they were taking her in the pilot better.

Meanwhile, Kate still hasn’t given up on setting up Diane with Russ. Diane starts talking about how nice the orchid room at the museum is, and she mentions that they only let small groups into the room at once. Kate thinks that this would be the perfect way to give Diane and Russ some private time. There are quite a few kids in line between Diane and Russ, though. For once, Warren is useful, and he has the perfect way to shorten the distance. He tells all the kids that there’s going to be a fight in the plasticine room, and the kids can’t resist. Diane and Russ think they’re the only people in the orchid room, and they start making out. It’s clear that they haven’t just met. Kate snuck in behind them, and she’s shocked at what she’s seeing. She makes some noise, and Diane and Russ hear her. Diane is, naturally, mortified. Russ is upset that Diane keeps denying her relationship with him, so he says it’s over.

Kate wants this relationship to prevail, so she concocts yet another plan. She has a conversation with Warren about not being afraid of making mistakes within earshot of Diane. You see, Diane always strives for perfection, and thus far, her failed marriage to Pete was the only non-perfect thing in her life. So she wanted to keep her relationship with Russ secret in case that was a failure too. Anyway, the speech to Warren gets through to Diane, and in front of all the kids and parents, she starts talking about how much she likes Russ. She doesn’t go into detail, but it’s enough that Russ sees she’s trying. The episode ends, of course, with Russ and Diane at Russ’ condo. Will “getting some” and not keeping it secret loosen up Diane any? Probably not.

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