"I feel like there are times when shows that I love get canceled and I'm just like, 'Ugh that sucks,' and then there are times when a show you love gets canceled and you lose faith in humanity," Watkins tells TVGuide.com. "I have to say this is one of the things."
Despite its tepid ratings — the show has been averaging 5.7 million viewers and a 1.9 rating — Trophy Wife has received strong praise from both critics and fans thanks to its hilarious ensemble and its fresh take on the modern family.
In the ABC series (which airs Tuesdays, 9:30/8:30c), Watkins plays Jackie, Pete's (Bradley Whitford) second ex-wife who is still learning to trust Pete's new third wife Kate (Malin Akerman) with helping take care of her and Pete's adopted son, Bert (Albert Tsai). Unlike Pete's controlling and competitive first ex-wife Diane (Marcia Gay Harden), Jackie is much more of a free spirit. She's well-versed in Tai Chi, but had no idea what Iron Man was when Burt requested the costume for Halloween. "I'm not sure where she gets her news and her pop culture from, but I almost understand that. I personally have never seen the Iron Man movie," she says with a laugh. "I'm not too far from Jackie, let's be honest."
It's Jackie's diverse interests and unique outlook on life that Watkins enjoys the most about her TV alter ego. "We investigate even more of Jackie's interests this week, and I was just saying on set, I'm starting to have a lot of respect for this woman. You got to love someone who just attacks life and tries out as many things as possible. You get one life and she's really taking advantage of it," she says. "I think she's smarter than she lets on. I think she's more grounded than she likes to come across."
This week in particular will see Jackie branch out into new (old) territory: dating. On Tuesday's episode, Jackie crashes Pete and Kate's party and ends up hooking up with one of Pete's co-workers, Steve, played by Ben and Kate's Nat Faxon. "I think it's a really great episode because we get to see this whole other side of Jackie, which is her trying to investigate a more romantic side of herself and date, which is something I don't think she's done too much of since her divorce because she's so dedicated to her boy," Watkins says. "Jackie has her own ideas about most things anyways, so I think this date is no different."
Thankfully, Kate is there to help Jackie tame some of those ideas and make a good (read: more normal) impression. "[Kate] can't let Jackie go on her instincts because they're very different from the rest of the world's instincts," Watkins says. "She's really enlisting Kate and Pete to help her with this. It's just a fun episode because we explore that new post-divorce relationship between your ex-husband and his new wife and also trying to date.
So will Jackie's unique perspective rub Steve the right or the wrong way? "I do think they are complete opposites, but what they realize is the one thing they have in common is that they are both a little eccentric even though they are sort of extremes from each other," Watkins says. "People say there's someone out there for everyone, and you almost feel that Steve could be the guy."
Either way, this date seems like the beginning of a new chapter for Jackie, who just recently put herself out there via a hilarious online dating video she made with the help of her (former) stepchildren Hillary (Bailee Madison) and Nelson (Ryan Lee).
"Diane, Kate and Jackie are starting to learn how to co-parent together and so it seems like now they're in a more trusting, better space that Kate is going to be around to stay and that she may just love her kids almost as much as Jackie does and Diane does . So maybe it's time to start thinking about, 'OK well who am I away from that because Bert's not going to be little forever,'" Watkins says. "Maybe she can start to branch out a little into her own life and move on the way that Pete has.
"Jackie's got a new interest every week anyway so it's not surprising that this is just a new thing that she is going to tackle."
Trophy Wife airs Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on ABC. Are you excited to see Jackie go on a date?