' ' Cinema Romantico: Recap Vomit: Trophy Wife (The Social Network)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Recap Vomit: Trophy Wife (The Social Network)

The seminal TV family of the 80’s were the Huxtables, the lovable brood under the wise care of Cliff and Clair. By the end of each half-hour in the era of Reagan, wise lessons had been dispensed, often to the kids on account of their good-hearted if misguided hijinks, but occasionally even to the adults. Slipping on my nostalgia-tinted glasses I recall the episode in which Theo gets his ear pierced which leads to Cliff scolding (chiding) Theo which leads to Cliff’s Dad telling Theo of the time Cliff got his ear pierced. ‘Round and ‘round they go, poor ideas encapsulate an eternal truth. Sigh.

Wait. Where was I? (Taking off nostalgia-tinted glasses.) This was the sort of family we saw on TV in the 80’s, the realities of pointed familial squabbling stuffed out of sight in the closet like so many anti-tank missiles. We have since entered a different age of television, of course. Familial squabbling is front and center (think: The Bluth Family). Placidness has given way to franticness, Cosby sweaters have given way to Malin Akerman’s slashed tee shirts (righteous) and rather than discuss differences between right and wrong in an honest, forthright manner, TV families have become much more hostile and brazen in their tactics to provide teachable moments. After all, truth bombs have supplanted valuable lessons in this world of Facebook.

Which, as it happens, is the social media tool from which the most recent episode of “Trophy Wife” culls its name – “The Social Network.” This is because the dry martini that is Dr. Diane Buckley suspects her daughter is sneaking off to sex parties and so she orders Pete to snoop around her daughter’s room to gather information which Kate is totally against. Pete snoops anyway which finds him snooping through her Facebook profile which finds him accidentally making status updates under her name about the mystery boy named Ace (no, really) with whom his daughter may or may not be having sex. I like it, and I like it because it exposes Pete right away as opposed to making it a secret that he spends the entire show trying to cover up. Cover-ups are not the driving force of “The Social Network” – instead it covers all manner of manipulations.

Dr. Diane Buckley manipulates Pete into snooping through Hillary’s room and then she manipulates Kate into taking Hillary to see a movie since Kate thinks “being a friend” is the best parenting method all in an effort to get Hillary out of the house so she – Diane – can go snooping through Hillary’s room. And even if she doesn’t find anything well, hey, it doesn’t matter, since Diane is in essence manipulating Hillary’s entire school by creating a fake Facebook profile for “Courtney Winters” and becoming “friends” with all of Hillary’s friends as a means to spy on her daughter. (“Light catfishing” she calls it, which I like to think of as a respectful nod to “light treason.”) Meanwhile Hillary manipulates Kate by using Kate’s desire to “be a friend” by skipping out on the movie to attend what may or may not be the aforementioned sex party.

Meanwhile, off in the never-never land of second wife Jackie’s home, she decides to manipulate a local businesswoman into aiding her burgeoning “wearable jewelry” enterprise by utilizing her and Pete’s adopted son, precocious Bert, in the scheme of manipulation. (It also goes well past the point of saying that Michaela Watkins as Jackie gets the episode’s best line and best line delivery with “Wait, why am I driving on the freeway?!”) Precocious Bert than manipulates Warren – Pete and Dr. Diane Buckley’s son – into helping create pieces of “wearable jewelry” to meet Jackie’s impending deadline.

This is family life in the twenty-tens. Everyone’s in the wrong even if their heart is mostly in the right place, and even if their suspicions are outed as being mistaken. Jackie learns her lesson, and so do Kate and Pete and Dr. Diane Buckley and Hillary. Well, Dr. Diane Buckley will apparently remain lightly catfishing for the foreseeable future, but the show’s capping scene involving Warren and his undying crush on "Courtney Winters" goes to show that even questionable ethics can lead to a spot of good. Stay strong, American families. It’s a murky moral ground out there.

No comments: