Fall TV First Impression: ABC's Trophy Wife

Trophy Wife PreviewThe broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes, a futuristic tale from the Fringe team and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

THE SHOW | ABC’s Trophy Wife (Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles, NBC’s The Voice, Fox’s The Mindy Project, The CW’s Supernatural and USA Network’s Covert Affairs

THE CAST | Malin Akerman (27 Dresses), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Marcia Gay Harden (Damages), Michaela Watkins (Saturday Night Live), Natalie Morales (The Middleman, not Today) and others

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Grid Showing What’s On When and Versus What!

THE SET-UP | Party girl Kate (Akerman) and lawyer Pete (Whitford) “meet cute,” and in short order she becomes his third wife — following in the footsteps of rigid surgeon Diane (Harden) and New Age-y Jackie (Watkins) — and a stepmom to a total of three kids. Morales plays Kate’s bestie Meg.

ALBERT TSAI, NATALIE MORALES, GIANNA LEPERA, RYAN SCOTT LEE, MALIN AKERMAN, BRADLEY WHITFORD, MARCIA GAY HARDEN, MICHAELA WATKINS

RELATED | Fall TV Preview: TVLine’s Snapshot Guide to All the New Shows

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Of the 12 new sitcoms I have screened thus far, Trophy Wife is easily among the Top 4, and upon second viewing might ultimately land in the No. 2 spot. Akerman, playing someone savvier than The Comeback‘s Juna and less selfish than 27 Dresses‘ Tess, no less than shines here, coming off as fun-loving but not flaky, warm and not overheated. (The physical comedy she pulls off during a vodka-chugging scene is memorable.) As a whole, the strong ensemble hits few wrong notes, though Harden was a bit OTT OCD for my liking, and I very much look forward to Whitford having better material than the hamster-shopping he does in the pilot. Among the moppets, Ryan Scott Lee is a standout as Warren, a metal-mouthed geek.

RELATED | More Fall TV First Impressions: Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, CBS’ HostagesNBC’s IronsideABC’s Super Fun NightThe CW’s The Tomorrow PeopleFox’s Almost HumanCBS’ The Crazy Ones

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | ABC’s problem here: Great show, ghastly time slot, sandwiched as it is between a weaker freshman comedy (The Goldbergs) and a new drama (Lucky 7) and facing significant competition on both broadcast and cable. Me, I’d have slotted Trophy Wife after Modern Family, leaving the neither super nor fun Super Fun Night to flounder somewhere else. If ABC ultimately makes such a switch, it’d create a mighty Wednesday melange of its best returning comedies and its far-and-away strongest new ones (including Back in the Game).

Watch a video preview for Trophy Wife, then vote in our poll below.

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38 Comments
  1. Andy says:

    I’ve loved Malin Akerman since Watchmen, and it will be good to have Bradley Whitford back on TV. Sadly it’s not for a second season of The Good Guys with Colin Hanks, but I’ll take what I can get.

  2. Aaron says:

    Just watched this the other night, too, and really dug it! The ensemble is fantastic, and I think the real secret weapon is Michaela Watkins, who is always awesome. Also looking forward to more stuff for Whitford. There was just so much potential. That tag killed me!

  3. Loved the premise, loved the promo, loved the cast, can’t wait for this!

  4. Lauren says:

    I’m interested but I’m already attached to the Mindy Project. Might DVR though. Bradley Whitford is worth giving it a chance. I agree that it seems like it would pair much better with Modern Family than Rebel Wilson’s show.

  5. Dave says:

    If it actually is a really good show, ABC will probably treat it like garbage, just like they’ve done to their other best comedies in recent years (Better off Ted, Happy Endings).

  6. Eddie says:

    Rebel Wilson doesn’t deserve the post-MF slot. I don’t even get why people believe that Wilson is funny (plot twist: she’s not!)
    Malin Ackerman is indeed, funny.

    • Mark says:

      I absolutely adore Rebel Wilson. Loved her small part in Bridesmaids, thought she was fantastic in Pitch Perfect, one of the small highlights in Struck By Lightning, and I’m always happy to see her name attached to things. That being said though, I wish she had a different project to attach herself to than Super Fun Night because it looks pretty terrible but that’s clearly not her fault and is the fault of the writers.

  7. Mark says:

    From the promo, I’m excited for this show. Think the cast is pretty solid. I think they should recast that eldest daughter though. They need someone better looking. She’s very dowdy. I can understand not wanting someone traditionally hot but they can find someone attractive somewhat. I love the fact that Phyllis was the teacher too!

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      But that’s the inevitable “Kate gives her a makeover” episode!

      • Mark says:

        Lol maybe. I just think that’d be easier with a teenage actress they moreso dress down to appear unattractive like all those silly teenage movies like She’s All That. This girl doesn’t have the best features…

  8. Juan says:

    Might watch but not sure whether it will fit in me sched. Been hearing good things though

  9. Ram510 says:

    Wasnt too interested when I first hear about this one and still not sure about it. After this review I may catch it here and there in between contestants on The Voice

  10. Michaela Watkins was so great on SNL but I don’t know if she’s ready for prime time this upcoming season with Trophy Wife.

  11. Babygate says:

    I was so looking forward to Rebel Wilson’s project until I saw the trailer and realized what a stinker it is. I recently saw a promo with Rebel sporting flashing hearts on her boobs. I couldn’t believe how juvenile it was. In other words, the post Modern Family is being wasted on what is doomed to be DOA. I completely agree that Trophy Wife would get that spot. My only objection to this show is the slightly sexist title, otherwise, loved the trailer.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      THE MIDDLE / BACK IN THE GAME / MODERN FAMILY / TROPHY WIFE = Gold.

      • Lola says:

        I totally don’t understand why they didn’t do this! After I watched the trailer for Trophy Wife, it just seemed like such a strong fit with Wednesdays. You could even bill it as Family Comedy Night. Super Fun Night seems like such a discordant bookend to the Wednesday comedies, and I think it seems like that even if it were well done, which no one says it is.

        • the girl says:

          I have been saying that ABC should do this with Weds for years re: family comedy night. I would feel way more sure about watching Trophy Wife if it followed Modern Family; on Tues, it’s a big fat maybe. I’d hate to get hooked on another really great ABC comedy only to watch it die. I am really not over Happy Endings.

        • It is apparently illegal for a two-hour block of comedies to have four good shows. In, like, decades of Must See TV on Thursdays, NBC only managed to have four good shows back-to-back three or four times, and always for a season or less

      • Martina says:

        Totally agree with your wednesday line up, the time slot is gonna kill this

      • Nero theTVFiddler says:

        We’re in 100% agreement here Matt – Trophy Wife always seemed like a nice fit with Modern Family [elder Jay with his 'trophy wife', Gloria]. I agree, that Wednesday night lineup of Middle – BackinGame – ModFamily – TWife – Nashville would be strong for ABC.

        We’ll see how smart the folks at ABC are, and how quickly they make the switch, moving Fun Night to Tuesday 9pm/9:30pm. I think by late Oct/early Nov, ABC will make a switch, but ‘Goldbergs’ may get a first shot (and a couple of wasted weeks) at the Wednesday 9:30 slot before ABC *finally* comes to their senses and moves Trophy Wife over to that post Modern Family slot, probably by mid November. Hopefully, it won’t be too late by then.

  12. Leondre says:

    I thought but the trailer was just ok but it still deserves the post-Modern Family spot way more than Super Fun Night.

  13. Coburnicus says:

    so if this was your number 2 comedy of the fall, what is the number 1 spot?! very curious to know!!

  14. cjeffery7 says:

    i must admit i was skeptical having seen only the trailer, but now that TVLine is calling it legit, i’m kind of excited! definitely interesting and unfortunate time slot situation.

  15. tp says:

    Seems like it might be good. Gotta find a replacement for Go On so I will give this a try.

  16. Eli says:

    Matt, any chance you can share your Top 4 Ranking with us? I’m very curious.

    • Martina says:

      Yes I would like to see an article after all the first impression articles just before the start of the season, about Matt’s top 5 comedies, dramas, etc.

  17. Patrick Maloney says:

    I was interested in this show, but now that I know Natalie Morales is in it, I’m definitely checking it out

  18. Jenna says:

    Wasn’t sure about this one, mostly based on the title; but given your review, I’ll check it out. It does seem like a good fit for Wednesdays . But on this night i guess I will change the channel after New Girl to this. My Tuesday nite will be: SHIELD, New Girl, Trophy Wife, Justified. Seems like a mixed bag, but I embrace diversity. :)

  19. Maryann says:

    I almost never watch comedies, but I might check this one out since it looks decent, and it is opposite almost the only totally blank hole in my schedule of shows I plan to check out this fall. Three choices at 8 PM, three at 10 PM, but nothing at nine, unless I watch this one. Are there others out there who generally just skip comedies?

  20. Mrs. Ben Covington says:

    I actually cannot stand Malin Ackerman. I think her character in 27 Dresses is what did it for me. But maybe I’ll find her likeable in this…

  21. Sam says:

    Malin Akerman is playing to her stength in this preview, pretty, physicial humor, off the cuff humor that makes people laugh. I agree with the comments on this article. Almost no comedies on ABC have surived ever since they changed the night two years ago to their second comedy night. One exception is “Last Man Standing” which made it to Friday in its second season, and maintained high enough ratings on that bad night to anchor for a second year (third overall this year) a third night of comedy on ABC. If it makes it it will be a pleasant surprise.

  22. hugo says:

    To be sure with your believed.Thank you for your sharing.

  23. leah says:

    I wasn’t going to watch, but knowing Wendy Watson is in it definitely changed my mind!!

  24. murrah says:

    Great cast, and a power female lead who is stereotyped by the rest of her “world”! Keeping an open mind!
    Should be in the line up with “The Middle” and “The Neighbors”!

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