' ' Cinema Romantico: Recap Vomit: Trophy Wife (Lice and Beary White)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recap Vomit: Trophy Wife (Lice and Beary White)

With its size, mishmash of personalities and jumble of ages, the Harrison clan at the center of “Trophy Wife” has been ripe for an episode in which they are placed and pitted together and thrown to the proverbial wolves. Call it a Bottle Episode, if you must, but particularly when familial dynamics are at play, that sort of proximity can wield all manner of lunatic drama and comedic truth bombs. Thus, when it became apparent that the latest episode of “Trophy Wife” would center specifically around a lice outbreak within the Harrison household, I was excited about the possibilities.

Alas, rather than airing grievances amidst so much head scratching, what we get are run of the mill hijinks. No new revelations. No interesting confrontations. It feels like a placeholder. I remember in my Lutheran confirmation class how one of our weekly tasks was to memorize a Bible verse. One of my classmates on a particular night offered that the ol’ short and sweet “Jesus wept” was his “backup verse.” (And when our Pastor overheard this announcement, man, did that kid get chewed out.) “Lice and Beary White” feels like a backup episode. “What are we going to do this week?!” “Crap, I don’t know! Just run that one about the lice and the teddy bear!”

Kate is summoned to see the school nurse and advised precocious Bert has lice. So she drags him home where Dr. Diane Buckley immediately assumes command of a household that is not technically hers. Kate is less than pleased, but powerless to stop her simply because Dr. Diane Buckley overpowers everyone. Jackie’s dazzling "Brazilian Blowout" hair, meanwhile, becomes a casualty of lice shampoo despite her best efforts to thwart the cleaning. Before long, Kate is trying to woo Jackie to her side to put an end to Dr. Diane Buckley’s generalship. This is by far the episode’s strong point – the three wives not going so much toe-to-toe as Diane reigning supreme, Kate helplessly fighting back and Jackie playing both sides (very, very poorly) with one eye always on the escape hatch. I could have gone for more psychological warfare between the trio as opposed to delving into Kate replacing Diane’s lice shampoo with something that isn’t lice shampoo and Diane using the something that isn’t lice shampoo on Hillary who……oh, you can figure out the rest. Perhaps I demand too much, but I believe in this show and would prefer they solve story traps with a little more panache. (All this said, I did great enjoy the payoff for Hillary’s tale. It's the getting there that left me shrugging my shoulders.)

You might be wondering where Pete is during this showdown. He’s there, in the house, but having gone to the strip the sheets off all the beds, he happens upon Beary White – that is, an aptly named stuffed bear that apparently vanished without a trace some months ago. He is a special family bear who is passed down from child to child, and was passed from Warren to precocious Bert. (This passage, it seems, took place in a changeover ceremony featuring a "walkabout" and a "re-birthing", and, frankly, I would preferred an entire episode centered around that.) All evidence suggests Warren kept Beary White for himself but, for reasons I really don’t understand (you’re the Dad, Pete, just give the bear to the kid to whom it belongs), Pete decides to implement the second Harrison house kangaroo court in three weeks.

Perhaps if this becomes a recurring schtick, if in the face of every little family dispute Pete decides to play judge and jury rather than man up and wear the Dad Pants, I will revisit and rethink this episode. As of right now, however, it feels frustratingly and uselessly recycled, further evidence that “Lice and Beary White” is merely a casserole of sitcom leftovers.


Andrew K. said...

I'll admit not an optimum effort but BUT BUT:

"Before you came in I was running this bitch!"

"What did you just call me?"

Legitimate chills down my spine at Marcia's reaction. And then giggling like an idiot at Malin trying to explain.

Also, Jackie's frenetic drive off down the road. (Although isn't she supposed to be gluten free?)

Just put all the wives in a room and have them bounce ideas off each other.

Nick Prigge said...

There were definitely some good lines. I mean, Michaela and Marcia are so good that they can make anything subpar sparkle. I was partially grading this one on the curve. Overall it can do better.

I think Jackie is gluten free. But I think Jackie has also already become Kramer - as in, the writers just employ her as they please. Like, Kramer, in different episodes, only took cold showers, only took baths, and openly despised baths. Serve for the cause.