No compensation was given for this post. I attended a press event which facilitated this post. Accommodations were provided.
I have a new favorite show. It’s Trophy Wife! Meeting Malin Akerman and chatting about motherhood, juggling family and careers made me like her and the show even more. I’ll share more on my time talking with Malin later. This post is all about my Q&A with the Executive Producers of ABC’s Trophy Wife.
ABC’s Trophy Wife stars Ryan Lee as Warren, Bailee Madison as Hillary, Marcia Gay Harden as Diane, Bradley Whitford as Pete, Malin Akerman as Kate, Natalie Morales as Meg, Michaela Watkins as Jackie and Albert Tsai as Bert.
Before our group chatted with the Executive Producers, we were treated to a special screening of “The Wedding”, Parts 1 & 2. Before last week, I had never watched Trophy Wife, but I’m hooked now. I was laughing, I teared up a bit, and I was left wanting to see more. Even if I have to DVR other shows, I’ll make time for Trophy Wife every Tuesday evening. It’s hard for me not to spew about “The Wedding, Part 2“, but I have to be good and not give anything away. After all, you’ll see it tonight.
The Wedding – Part Two
Wedding planning continues as Kate will not be fazed by all the stress and chaos around her, which is only amplified by the arrival of her mother and Pete’s parents. However, things come to a screeching halt when the family gets some bad news on Trophy Wife.
After we watched “The Wedding, Parts 1 & 2“, we had a Q&A session with Executive Producers Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern.
How did you come up with the idea for Trophy Wife?
Sarah Haskins: We’re the creators, so we came up with the idea together. It’s very loosely based on my life. I married an older man who’d been married a few times before and has children from those different marriages. Kind of like Malin Akerman’s character, without rocking the short shorts. It’s a situation that while unique and highly specific, is also very universal. People have dealt with divorce and co-parenting. It’s very common and we think it has a place on TV.
The characters have very good chemistry. How hard was it to get who you wanted?
Sarah: We filmed the pilot off-cycle and we didn’t appreciate it at the time. That wound up being a huge advantage because we weren’t competing for all the exact same actors as all of the other pilots at the same time. And a lot of that had to do with Malin. She was really the first piece. ABC had actually passed on Trophy Wife the first year we developed it and ultimately it was given a second life when Malin read the script and ABC really wanted to work with her – and so did we.
Why do a wedding episode now?
Emily: We were kind of trying to think of a big episode idea. Honestly, we knew this was going to air in March. It was a 2-part-er. In a comedy, we can’t shoot the president, so how big can we go? A wedding felt good to us.
What’s next for Trophy Wife?
Sarah: Hopefully season 2! Emily: We just finished editing our season finale and our fate is in ABC’s hands. But we hope we get to come back to do some more. Sarah: Yeah, and appropriately, our season finale is a Mother’s Day episode. It helps wrap up Kate’s arc all season of “Am I a mom in this family’s eyes or am I just a trophy wife?”
How’d you come up with the specific characters? Who were the influences?
Sarah: We talked about my emotional reactions to meeting my husband’s exes. His first wife is super intimidating. She’s French and she’s a lawyer and she went to Brown and blah blah blah. So she was so intimidating that we took that intimidating factor and made that Diane. I think everyone probably has an experience with an intimidating ex who you don’t want to hear about. And then the Jackie character came out of dealing with the boundaries of a blended family. No one in particular. It’s just hard to say where your nuclear family ends and your everybody family begins. And Jackie is someone who is strongly on the everybody-is-family portion of the spectrum. That’s just a fun character to have.
Do the ex-wives know it’s about them?
Sarah: I wouldn’t say it’s about them. One of them watches it and one of them doesn’t. The intimidating one does watch it. Emily: And she has notes every week! I do think we consciously try to write all three women as strong characters. And once we sort of had whatever the stereotype was, we really worked hard to try to make sure that they felt like complete characters and strong women and had their own independence.
What’s the writing process like?
Sarah: There’s a lot of diverse life experiences in our writer’s room, so people would pitch stories. “The Lice Story” came from a writer who just had a super embarrassing lice breakdown with her kids at school. They had to take home all the pillows in school and wash them. It sounded horrible. And just issues like “The Punisher”, was actually from one of our male co-Executive Producers who was just like, “How does she learn to do that? How do you do that?” And I think that’s just his anxiety about being a parent some days. So that’s where “The Punisher” episode came from. Emily: We also try to think of what’s the funniest one line story we can think of. And then just build a bigger story on top of it. If the premise is funny, the story is funny. We can make that work. We have an episode coming up where Warren joins the girl’s field hockey team and that idea made us laugh and we built a story around it.
You have to tune in tonight at 9:30/8:30c for “The Wedding, Part 2”. It’s such an adorable episode, I’d hate for you to miss it. Trophy Wife is on the ABC Television Network.