Saturday, May 10, 2014

Trophy Wife 1.20: "There's No Guy in Team"

“Don’t you watch the news? Kids who eat plain cheese pizza die.”

Let’s all take a moment in remembrance of “Trophy Wife,” as the show’s cancellation was announced by ABC this week. We’ll still be bringing you recaps of the final episodes here at MTVP this month, but we’ll obviously be moving a different show into the blogging rotation this fall. Probably whatever new show most catches my fancy during Upfronts next week (how is it Upfronts time again already!). Anyway, if the show has to go, at least, so far, it seems to be going out on a high note. “There’s No Guy in Team” was an enjoyable episode that gave focus to each of the kids. Instead of feeling disjointed, the episode worked because each of the kids clearly had growing-up lessons to learn and made progress towards learning those lessons through the course of the episode. It all tied together very nicely. Also of note, this episode was directed by Ken Marino, of “Party Down” and “Burning Love” fame. Marino also has a guest spot in the episode as Warren’s field hockey coach (more on that in a bit).

We get to see Kate try to do some “real” parenting this week beyond just showing up to school meetings. Don’t get me wrong, parental engagement in school is incredibly important, but up until now, we’ve seen Kate struggle when trying to deal with any meaty at-home issues Pete’s kids face. The set-up is a big sleep-over party. Hillary has invited the student counsel ladies over for a working sleep-over (have I mentioned how I miss the rebellious Hillary of the pilot?), and as consolation, Warren is allowed to have one friend over as well. That friend is Diane. Warren’s mother. I thought I was kind of pathetic in high school, but this one really takes the cake. Kate agrees, and she makes it her mission to try and get Warren some more friends. She tells Meg that she doesn’t want Warren to be like a loser they remember from their own high school class. She encourages Warren to try and join some sort of extracurricular activity at school.

Meanwhile, Pete gets concerned when he sees that Bert has bought a bunch of toys and such, considering Bert is a kid and doesn’t exactly have a lot of his own money. Bert says he’s been using a credit card that showed up in the mail. Pete is shocked that a little kid would get a credit card offer, but he checks out the card, and it’s legit. The sequence of events that ensues shows how arbitrary our morality can seem to outsiders sometimes. Bert comes up with a series of moneymaking schemes after the card is taken away from him, and each of them is shot down. He sells food to his classmates at a profit and he charges for scooter rides. Pete declares that the only acceptable way for Bert to earn money is to get paid for doing chores. Bert even tries to game this by paying some friends to do the chores. Pete shoots this down too. Through all of it, he never has a coherent explanation for Bert about why all these schemes are wrong, he just says they are. By the end of the episode, Pete just buys Bert a Kelly Clarkson CD.

Hillary also has her learning arc in this episode. She got a C on an art project (the horror!) because the teacher didn’t think there was any feeling behind her technically perfect recreation of a painting. Pete and Kate think that the perfect art tutor in this situation is Jackie. Jackie, as we know, is all feeling and no technical perfection. She does an exercise where they both paint blindfolded. Hillary thinks the result is horrible. Jackie finally turns the corner with Hillary when she shows Hillary a box of Hillary’s childhood artwork that she saved. Jackie says that this artwork proves that deep down, Hillary is actually a creative person. Hillary is touched that Jackie saved her artwork for all these years, and she’s now on board with all of Jackie’s crazy art training. We see them throwing glow in the dark paint at canvasses and making a mess. By the end of the episode, they’ve pretty much thrown paint on everything in Jackie’s living room. I was happy to see Hillary let loose for once. Super driven, stick-in-the-mud Hillary isn’t a lot of fun (and she’s not really funny, either). Hillary learning to be more human (instead of a carbon copy of her mom) is a lot more interesting, and it makes sense that Jackie would be the catalyst.

Surprisingly, Warren takes Kate’s advice and finds an extracurricular activity. To Kate’s chagrin, that activity is the field hockey team, which, with Warren’s joining, has now switched from girls to co-ed. Of course Warren still has to wear a girl’s uniform, and he looks rather ridiculous in it. This isn’t what Kate had in mind, and she’s concerned that it will just make Warren even more socially isolated at school. She goes to one of Warren’s practices, and talking with the coach (Ken Marino) doesn’t help much. He’s kind of obnoxious. Warren is far from a good field hockey player, but he’s very encouraging to the girls, so they like having him around.

Kate tries to discourage Warren from continuing with field hockey, and he doesn’t take it well at all. He quits the team, but he’s very unhappy about it. Kate and Meg decide to do a little Googling of their loser classmate, and they find out he’s not such a loser after all. He’s super rich, and he’s married to a model. So he was strange in high school and turned out just fine. This makes Kate realize that Warren will probably turn out just fine too, and she starts to feel terrible about discouraging him from something he was enjoying. Kate shows up at a field hockey practice, which Warren is watching dejectedly. All the field hockey girls gather around protectively, but once Kate starts to apologize to Warren, they back off. Kate tells Warren she wants to support him in whatever he’s passionate about, and Warren rejoins the team. At the end of the episode, Warren has a big sleep-over with the field hockey girls, moving him from social pariah to the envy of every teenage boy.

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