Malin Ackerman, Bradley Whitford
Trophy Wife is planning a wedding — and you're invited!
In the first of a special two-part episode of the ABC sitcom (Tuesday, 9:30/8:30c), Kate (Malin Akerman) suddenly decides she wants a proper wedding even though she and Pete (Bradley Whitford) already eloped months earlier.
"Kate discovers Pete's old wedding videos of his marriages to Diane and Jackie in the garage," co-creator and executive producer Sarah Haskins says. "Even though she thought it was too girly and she wasn't that kind of person, she wants a wedding. It turns into a whole saga."
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That saga begins with two awesome flashbacks to Pete's past ceremonies. Each tape will provide very different, but equally insightful, looks into just how the father of three ended up with someone as high-strung as Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) and someone as carefree as Jackie (Michaela Watkins) before meeting Kate.
In the first video, fans will not only get to see Pete do karaoke — "it was really fun to sing a Bangles song in a wig," Whitford teases — but also just how much Diane pushed him. "It's interesting how grandiose Diane was already then, and how clear and determined, not just about her own future but about what he should do as well," Harden says. "Because her life has been so inside the box, I think Pete provided that whimsy on some level for her. And yet, she took that very whimsy away. Don't be a screenwriter, be a lawyer."
Although it sounds like '80s-era Diane hasn't changed at all over the years, viewers will be surprised by how different Jackie was when she and Pete married in the '90s. "I'm relatively normal. Pete's nuts," Watkins says with a laugh. "But it plays out in a really sweet way. Kate and Pete end up having a very unconventional wedding."
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Indeed, the supposed wedding of Kate's dreams goes off the rails quickly when she asks her overachieving stepdaughter Hillary (Bailee Madison) and her slacker BFF Meg (Natalie Morales) to plan the ceremony together as co-maids of honor. "She's very specific and she's planning this beautiful, elegant wedding and Meg's just like totally into the adult party favors and making everything as trashy as they can," Madison says. "It's so much fun and it shows how much [Hillary] cares about Kate."
Things go further downhill with the arrival of Pete's parents Frances (Florence Henderson) and Francis (Bob Gunton), whom Akerman calls "passively miserable" people. "They don't really have many opinions," she continues. "They're just kind of there and they barely talk to each other so they don't have much to say about anything."
In addition to filming his fake weddings to Harden and Watkins, Whitford said meeting his TV parents greatly informed his portrayal of Pete. "It's one of the really fun things about doing any kind of TV. I remember on The West Wing, my [character's] sister died in a fire, and I didn't know that," he says. "It was very helpful to see Bob and Florence and really understand the kind of emotional dysfunction that Pete grew up in. Just going from one wedding to another, it sort of made sense of the wacko segues."
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But when it comes to in-laws, it's Kate's "hot mess" of a mom Cricket, as Watkins calls Megan Mullally's character, who really takes the (wedding) cake. "Her mom shows up reeking of pot," Whitford says, "and, ultimately, it's very hard to have the wedding we want to have."
Although their wedding doesn't go down as planned, Akerman says fans will still enjoy it. "It is probably one of the most original wedding scenes you've ever seen. I don't think I've ever seen a wedding scene with The Muppets and an airplane," she teases. "It's a very unusual wedding."
So will this third, albeit unique, wedding be the charm? Whitford is pretty confident. "I think the bottom line with this show is that Pete found the right person in Kate and that, I think, kind of holds all the craziness together."
Trophy Wife airs Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on ABC. Which wedding are you most excited to see?