Tuesday, September 24, 2013
ABC Fall Pilot Review: Trophy Wife - Premieres Tonight; ABC Fall Pilot Review: Back in the Game - Premieres Sept. 25
Trophy Wife - Tuesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 9:30PM ET/PT
They say the third time's the charm, and reformed party girl Kate (Malin Akerman) is hoping that's true when she becomes the third wife of a slightly older man, Pete (Bradley Whitford). They fell into each others' arms (literally) at a karaoke bar, and flash forward a year later, Kate finds herself with an instafamily complete with three stepchildren and two ex-wives. But Kate is determined to make this work and become a part of the family no matter what. Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) is ex-wife number one, an intense and overachieving former Olympic athlete and the mother of twin teenagers Hillary (Bailee Madison) and Warren (Ryan Lee). Diane is quick to convey her withering disapproval of Kate's barely tapped maternal instincts. Daughter Hillary is not a fan of her new step-mom either, despite Kate's attempts to win her trust. And son Warren may have an erotic fixation on his dad's beautiful, young spouse. Ex-wife number two, Jackie (Michaela Watkins), is mother to adopted son Bert (Albert Tsai), and can pull Pete's strings with her special blend of neurotic, new-ageyness. Juggling all this baggage is uncharted territory for Kate, who finds support in the most unusual place - with her best friend, Meg (Natalie Morales), a party-hearty singleton and the only woman Kate knows who has less experience with kids than she has.
Bradley Whitford as Pete
Michaela Watkins as Jackie
Natalie Morales as Meg
Ryan Lee as Warren
Bailee Madison as Hillary
Albert Tsai as Bert
Marcia Gay Harden as Diane
Malin Akerman (Kate) was one of Variety's 10 Actors to Watch in 2007. The Swedish-Canadian actress has since been tearing up Hollywood with her beauty and charisma, her sharp comedic timing and her touching dramatic performances. In 2012 she graced the big screen in Wanderlust, with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston, sang alongside Tom Cruise in the musical adaptation of the Broadway hit Rock of Ages, and starred in Sebastian Gutierrez's nod to classic film noir, Hotel Noir, with Rosario Dawson, Danny Devito and Carla Gugino. She was seen in theaters nationwide in the 2010 Sundance Audience-Award winner, Happythankyoumoreplease, opposite Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan and Josh Radnor. She was also in the 2008 romantic comedy 27 Dresses, directed by Anne Fletcher, and reunited with Fletcher to join Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal. In 2007 she starred alongside Ben Stiller in The Heartbreak Kid, directed by the Farrelly brothers. Akerman is also no stranger to the small screen. Her breakthrough came in 2005 on the HBO series The Comeback, with Lisa Kudrow. She had a memorable recurring role on the third season of Entourage as well ABC's hit comedy, Suburgatory, was seen in a special episode of How I Met Your Mother, and stars in the third season of Adult Swim's Emmy Award-winning medical-drama parody, Children's Hospital.
Bradley Whitford (Pete) is a classically trained stage actor who has received critical acclaim for his roles in theater, film and television, gained overnight fame as the sarcastic yet vulnerable Josh Lyman on NBC's The West Wing. One of the few actors working successfully and simultaneously in theater, film and television, Whitford will be making his return to television this fall in this comedy. He also recently made memorable guest appearances on Showtime's Shameless and the NBC comedy Go On. This December, Whitford will be seen in the Disney feature film Saving Mr. Banks, opposite Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti and Jason Schwartzman. Written by Kelly Marcel and directed by John Lee Hancock, the film recounts P.L. Travers' travels from London to Hollywood as Walt Disney Pictures adapts her novel, Mary Poppins, for the big screen. Prior to that, Whitford co-starred in two independent feature films by director/writer, Randall Miller, Savannah and CBGB, which also co-stars Malin Akerman. In 2010 Whitford starred on the Fox television series The Good Guys, created by Matt Nix and co-starring Colin Hanks. Additional television credits include Studio 60 from the Sunset Strip, ER, The X-Files and NYPD Blue. His performance as Josh Lyman on The West Wing earned him a 2001 Emmy Award, as well as Golden Globe Award nominations in 2001 and 2002.
Michaela Watkins (Jackie) has made her mark through a variety of impressive and unforgettable roles. She was most recently seen in two feature films that premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the first, Lake Bell's comedy, In a World, the second, Jill Soloway's Afternoon Delight, with Kathryn Hahn, Josh Radnor, Juno Temple, Jessica St. Claire and Jane Lynch. Up next for Watkins is the Courtney Cox-directed film, Just Before I Go, opposite Sean William Scott. In addition she'll soon appear in Fox Searchlight's "Untitled Nicole Holofcener Film," with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener and Toni Collette. Watkins' television credits include recurring roles on FX's Anger Management, opposite Charlie Sheen, Fox's New Girl, with Zooey Deschanel, HBO's Enlightened, opposite Laura Dern, as well as such other hit TV shows as The New Adventures of Old Christine, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Parenthood, Grey's Anatomy and Californication. Watkins hails from the Los Angeles main stage company The Groundlings Theater, where many distinguished SNL alum have performed. She joined the SNL cast mid-season in 2008-09 and made her mark with spot-on impressions of Arianna Huffington, Barbara Walters and Kathie Lee Gifford's sidekick, Hoda Kotb.
Natalie Morales (Meg) is an actress, director and writer. She has recurred on many beloved TV shows, most recently the award-winning Aaron Sorkin HBO series, The Newsroom, and the NBC comedy Parks & Recreation. She was also a series regular on the hit USA Network series, White Collar. Morales' career began in theatre, leading to sketch comedy, which then paved the way to her first starring role as Wendy Watson in the critically acclaimed ABC Family cult hit, The Middleman.
Ryan Lee (Warren) has already had the opportunity to work with film legends such as Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams and Judd Apatow, and to work opposite Oscar winner Robin Williams and Oscar nominees Melissa McCarthy and Samuel L. Jackson. Discovered by Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams during the casting of Super 8, 2011's Sci-Fi summer blockbuster, Lee was cast as Cary, the a mischievous pyromaniac who served as the comic relief in the story about a group of friends who discover an alien life form in their small hometown in Virginia. The film was one of 2011's biggest films, and led Lee to his role in 2012's This is 40, the follow-up to Judd Apatow's mega-hit, Knocked Up. Lee was cast as the son of Oscar Nominee Melissa McCarthy after Apatow saw a screening of Super 8. Lee can next be seen in the holiday comedy A Friggin' Christmas Miracle, alongside Robin Williams, Lauren Graham, Joel McHale, Oliver Platt and Candice Bergen. On the small screen, he has been a featured comedic guest star on shows like NBC's Community, Disney's Good Luck Charlie and Comedy Central's Workaholics, and had dramatic roles on AMC's Breaking Bad, NBC's Friday Night Lights and the ABC drama My Generation.
Albert Tsai (Bert) began performing in both choral concerts and piano recitals at the tender age of 7. He also performed in a production of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr. His television debut was in How I Met Your Mother, but the very first role he booked was as Bert in on ABC's Trophy Wife. Albert will turn 9 years old in August and will be entering the 4th grade in the fall. He speaks fluent Mandarin, plays the piano and loves horseback riding, swimming, martial arts (Kung-Fu), video games and dancing.
Marcia Gay Harden (Diane) has forged a remarkable body of work. Her character portraits have been described by critics as "searing," "heartbreaking," "inventive," "astonishing," "authentic" and "sensuous." From the glamorous Ava Gardner in Sinatra to artist Lee Krasner in Pollock (for which she won Best Supporting Actress Oscar®) to the down and out Celeste in Mystic River (another Academy Award® nomination), Harden has created a signature style based in character transformation in such films as Miller's Crossing, The First Wives Club, Meet Joe Black, Mona Lisa Smile, The Hoax and Used People. She had an Emmy nomination for her guest appearance on Law & Order: SVU. Television appearances include Lifetime's The Amanda Knox Story, a reprise of her Emmy-nominated role on Law & Order: SVU and co-starring in the FX drama Damages, with William Hurt and Glenn Close.
"Pilot" (airs Tuesday, September 24 at 9:30PM ET/PT)
Kate feels she's still proving herself to Pete's ex-wives and the kids, so she offers to handle a parent-teacher meeting at Warren's (Ryan Scott Lee) school. Unfortunately she finds Warren's mom, Diane (Marcia Gay Harden), there as well, and things just spiral out of control when a vodka incident leaves Kate in a compromising position and another child locks himself inside a car. It all comes hilariously to a head back at home - just another day in the life of this new, big, blended family.
Guest starring Phyllis Smith as Mrs. Steinberg, Alisha Boe as Chelsea Trassen, Raymond Lee as pet store clerk, Murray Gershenz as elderly man, Zachary Mitchell as Charley, Will Weldon as graduate 1, Karan Soni as graduate 2 and Jona Xiao as graduate 3.
"Pilot" was written by Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins, and directed by Jason Moore.
This is the perfect show for Malin Akerman. She shines in this pilot with her charm, funniness, charisma and her looks. The premise is a fresh look on a modern family. While Modern Family gives us three families as a whole big family, this show gives us a take on family with ex-wives and stepchildren. Malin's character Kate falls for an older man (Pete) and marries him to be wife #3. Pete's former wives are all still part of his life because of the children. The first ex-wife, Diane, has two teenaged twins Hillary and Warren, while his second ex-wife has Bert, who was adopted. Mix in new wife Kate and they are all a new take on family. Kate is trying to fit in and make this work. She is trying to put her former party-girl past behind her, but her friend Meg still is one. It's going to be fun to see Kate with these kids, especially since she thinks Warren has a crush on her. The cast is great. I mentioned Malin already, but Bradley Whitford is amazing as Pete, while Marcia Gay Harden is always good (she plays the first ex-wife). With all those names, perhaps the person who steals the pilot is Albert Tsai, who plays the adopted son of ex-wife #2. Everything this kid says makes me laugh. He is one to watch!
This pilot is well-written, well-acted, and well-done. It is more crisp than the The Goldbergs pilot, but I like that one better because it is more traditional and has mass appeal. This one is all of that too, but the title may throw some people off. Yes, Kate is a "trophy wife," but the title is misleading. I don't know what I would title the show, but perhaps something like Third Time's a Charm or Blended Family or His 'Whole' Family. I don't know. Just don't let the title fool you. This is a pure fun family comedy. FAMILY comedy. It would fit like a glove out of Modern Family, but I can see why it is airing on Tuesdays after The Goldbergs.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):
Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.
Back in the Game - Wednesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 8:30PM ET/PT
Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson) was an All Star softball player until life threw her a couple of curve balls -- a baby, a lost college scholarship and a cheating loser for a husband. After striking out on her own, Terry and her son, Danny (Griffin Gluck), move back in with her estranged father, Terry Sr., aka "The Cannon" (James Caan). The Cannon is an opinionated, beer-guzzling, ex-athlete who never quite made the cut either as a single father or professional baseball player. As hard as Terry tries to keep Danny away from the sports-driven lifestyle that corrupted her youth, Danny continues to be interested in baseball, if only to gain attention from his new crush, Vanessa (Kennedy Waite). Danny's stunning lack of baseball skills (he doesn't even know which hand the mitt goes on) makes him the laughing stock of the field, and of his grandfather's living room. When Danny and a group of other athletically-challenged hopefuls fail to make the local youth baseball team, coached by Terry's new rival, Dick Slingbaugh (Ben Koldyke), Danny's disappointment forces Terry to face her past. So when Lulu (Lenora Crichlow), the wealthy parent of another child who didn't make the cut, volunteers to finance a new team for the rejected kids, Terry reluctantly offers to coach the team of misfits.
Maggie Lawson as Terry Gannon, Jr.
Ben Koldyke as Dick Slingbaugh
Griffin Gluck as Danny Gannon
Lenora Crichlow as Lulu Lovette
JJ Totah as Michael Lovette
Kennedy Waite as Vanessa Leeds
Cooper Roth as David Slingbaugh
Brandon Salgado as Dudley Douglas
James Caan (Terry "The Cannon" Gannon, Sr.) is one of the most versatile actors in motion pictures. He is best known for his Academy Award-nominated performance as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather and for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of football star Brian Piccalo in Brian's Song. Appearing in more than 50 feature films over the course of his career, Caan earned recognition in Rob Reiner's highly successful and critically acclaimed film, Misery, based on the novel by Stephen King, and in For the Boys, a romantic drama co-starring Bette Midler. He was also praised for his performance as a brain damaged football star in Francis Ford Coppola's The Rain People, earning the Best Actor Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival. In addition he received the Actor of the Year honor from the National Association of Theater Owners for his role in The Gambler. On television, he was on the NBC drama Las Vegas. His most recent projects include a guest star appearance in several episodes of the Starz Channel series Magic City, as underworld boss Sy Berman.
Maggie Lawson (Terry Gannon, Jr.) started appearing in local community and dinner theater when she was eight years old in in Louisville, Kentucky. She became a youth journalist for the local Fox station before moving to Los Angeles. Lawson was most currently seen on the USA Network original series Psych. Her numerous television credits include regular roles on the series Justified, Crumbs, It's All Relative, Inside Schwartz and Spellbound, and guest starring or recurring appearances on ER, Tru Calling, Party of Five, Smallville and Felicity. Other television credits include the TV movies Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover, both for Lifetime, CBS' The Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman and ABC Family's Model Behavior. Fans may also remember her on the big screen film Pleasantville, opposite Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon.
Ben Koldyke (Dick Slingbaugh) has been working in television non-stop for the last five years. Prior to this series, he had a guest spot on Aaron Sorkins' Newsroom, opposite Jeff Daniels and Olivia Munn, and recurring roles on Big Love and How I Met Your Mother. He also had series lead roles on network pilots including Work It (ABC), Boldly Going Nowhere (Fox) and This Little Piggy (NBC). Koldyke got his big break after meeting It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney in a coffee shop and convincing McElhenney to watch the short films he'd written and directed. This ultimately led to his first project, the high-profile pilot Boldly Going Nowhere for Fox.
Griffin Gluck (Danny Gannon) got the acting bug when he went with his older sister, Caroline, to a summer children's showcase of Guys and Dolls at the Palisades Playhouse. At the age of six he was given the role of Nathan Detroit, and discovered his love for performing. His big break came when he was chosen for the role of Jennifer Aniston's son, playing Adam Sandler's fake son, Michael, in Just Go With It. In television, Griffin was made a series regular in 2012 on ABC's Private Practice, playing Paul Adelstein's son, Mason. His most recent film roles include Clark Gregg's Trust Me and Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant, directed by Sam Friedlander.
Lenora Crichlow (Lulu Lovette) is an English actress and began her professional acting career alongside Billie Piper in the Century Films/BBC drama Bella and the Boys, and quickly gained even wider acclaim with the subsequent role of Sugar in the International Emmy Award-winning and BAFTA-nominated series, Sugar Rush. Crichlow then went on to portray Annie in the award-winning BBC series, Being Human, and landed the lead roles in the ITV miniseries Collision and in the BBC One series, Material Girl.
JJ Totah (Michael Lovette) knew at a young age that he was born to entertain. As early as age 6, he was making YouTube videos and entertaining his large family at Thanksgiving dinners. Totah recurred for two seasons on the Disney Channel's Jessie and has had other TV and short film roles, as well as appearing in national commercials.
Kennedy Waite (Vanessa Leeds) has appeared in Plush, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, in several short movies and commercials and very widely in print. A natural achiever, in tennis she competes at the top of her age group and in school is a straight A student.
Cooper Roth (David Slingbaugh) most recently guest starred on the Disney Channel comedy Good Luck Charlie. He made his theatrical debut August 23rd as the voice of B-Dawg in Super Buddies (Disney Home Ent.).
"Pilot" (airs Wednesday, September 25 at 8:30PM ET/PT)
In the pilot episode for the series, Terry Gannon Jr. was an All-Star softball player until life threw her a couple of curve balls -- a baby, a lost college scholarship and a cheating loser for a husband. After striking out on her own, Terry and her son, Danny, move back in with her estranged father, Terry Sr., aka "The Cannon." As hard as Terry tries to keep Danny away from the sports-driven lifestyle that corrupted her youth, Danny continues to be interested in baseball, so when Danny and a group of other athletically-challenged hopefuls fail to make the local youth baseball team, Terry reluctantly offers to coach the team of misfits.
"Pilot" was written by Robb and Mark Cullen and directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra.
James Caan and Maggie Lawson are both great in this. Some may say this is just another Bad News Bears, but it really isn't. The core of this show is three generations living under one roof, with James Caan as the father, Maggie Lawson as the daughter and Griffin Gluck as the son. The title of this show is perfect. It gives a hint of baseball because Lawson's character is back to this game of baseball she grew up in, but she is also "back in the game" with her father at home. Lawson's character Terry had been estranged with her father "The Cannon" for quite some time. Terry left home after she had a baby, but now she is back since her husband left her. The relationship between "The Cannon" and Terry is rocky for now but they obviously love each other. Terry's son Danny is fascinated by baseball, which "The Cannon" loves and Terry did as well. Terry wants to put baseball behind her, but she can't interfere with Danny pursing it, especially since one of the reasons he wants to play is because of a girl (Vanessa).
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):
Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.
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