Fall TV

Pretty Face Malin Akerman, 'Bridesmaids' and 'Curb' Vets, and the Return of Caan Bring the Funny to ABC This Fall

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ABC's new fall comedies — "Trophy Wife," "The Goldbergs," and "Back in the Game" — don't start for another couple of weeks, but Yahoo TV has their debut episodes now. Watch the trio of shows in full below!


"Trophy Wife"

Sure, leggy blonde Malin Akerman has done comedic roles before — see "The Proposal," "Burning Love," "The Comeback," and "Childrens Hospital" — and usually she's bringing the funny as part of a large ensemble, as a character whose time onscreen almost qualifies as a cameo or "camera candy." But in ABC's new fall sitcom "Trophy Wife," she's finally front and center in the lead, scoring a fair share of the laughs all by herself.

That's not to say her good looks didn't also help her get the part or that she isn't surrounded by a strong supporting cast that help make the show one to watch. It is called "Trophy Wife" after all.

[Photos: Check Out More Pics of 'Trophy Wife']

The pilot introduces irresponsible party girl Kate who gained an "insta-family" after falling for (and onto the lap of) older man Pete (Bradley Whitford) at a karaoke bar where she shows off those "Rock of Ages" pipes again. The meet-cute, as well as Kate's introduction to Pete's two exes and three children, is shown in flashback before we skip ahead to after Pete has put a ring on it for the third time.

The pilot dives straight into Kate's new and confusing life as a stepmom. Her day-to-day existence has gone from getting wasted nightly and eating ramen to attempting (and failing) to cook the most important meal of the day and attending parent-teacher conferences. Judging her at every turn are twin teenagers Hillary and Warren (Bailee Madison and Ryan Scott Lee); their rigid, intense, and overachieving mom Diane (Marcia Gay Harden), who is a former Olympic athlete turned doctor; as well as spouse No. 2, a hippie-dippy hugger named Jackie (Michaela Watkins); and her adopted son, Bert (Albert Tsai), the funniest mature-for-their-age Asian kid character since Lily in "Modern Family." However, unlike Lily, this kid gets giggles by being all kinds of awkward and goofy. There's also a best friend (Natalie Morales) to remind Kate of her carefree days of yore.

[Related: See Which New Shows Are Joining the ABC Lineup This Fall]  

Kate has no time to reminisce, though, as breakfast needs to be made and then bitched about by ungrateful smirking kids, children need to be shuttled to music lessons, her husband's presentation easel needs constructing, minors who got the idea to sneak vodka into a concert in a water bottle from her need grounding ("That was a story, not a helpful hint!"), and a meeting with Phyllis Smith from "The Office," which could be about mythological erotica inspired by the newly minted SMILF and her "heaving milky grapefruits," needs scheduling. When Harden assumes the inappropriate short story is about her, she grabs her chest and exclaims, "Let's be honest. These aren't grapefruits. These are peaches at most. No complaints … OK, not relevant." This is one example of how the funniest moments come when Ackerman's Kate is directly pitted against her Pete predecessors. Watkins is a brilliantly aloof contrast to Harden's sharp edges, dagger eyes, and nasty barbs like the one she throws at Pete after he reminds her she promised not to constantly threaten suing for full custody. She responds, "And you promised to grow up and not marry a child bride."

[Related: Malin Akerman's Watchlist: I Can't Wait to Get Back Into 'Sesame Street'!]

The series was created by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, whose real life loosely provides a roadmap for this modern family's mayhem. Let's hope for the sake of quality primetime entertainment that Haskins didn't perfect parenthood and partnership quickly.

"Trophy Wife" premieres Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

NEXT: Watch the pilot episode of "The Goldbergs" early...

"The Goldbergs"

Calling all children of the '80s: ABC has a new half-hour comedy to satisfy all your nostalgic needs, from outlandish fashions and giant teased hair mountains to nonstop mentions of era-appropriate icons like Alf, Jazzercise, and Burt Reynolds. "The Goldbergs," from creator Adam F. Goldberg ("Breaking In," "Fanboys") and director Seth Gordon ("Identity Thief," "Horrible Bosses"), is also chock-full of wistful observations about the good old days before sexting, participation ribbons, and "helicopter parenting" and the kind of sweet reflections about family that only come out of a heavy dose of hindsight.

The series is based on Goldberg's real relatives and his insatiable desire to film them and his "wonder years" with his block's first video camera. In fact, tacked on to the end are side-by-side comparisons of authentic vintage footage and the scenes and lines it inspired. The show is narrated by the adult version of Goldberg's character, Adam, voiced by the on-a-roll Patton Oswalt a la "Stand by Me" or "The Wonder Years."

[Photos: Check Out More Pics of 'The Goldbergs']  

This family tree is rooted in the talents of three comedy pros. Jeff Garlin ("Arrested Development," "Curb Your Enthusiasm") and Wendi McLendon-Covey ("Bridesmaids," "Reno 911!," "Rules of Engagement," "Modern Family") finally stop playing second bananas as Murray, the heart-attack-prone dad who is lovable and cuddly under a gruff exterior and a rapid-fire barrage of coded compliments ("For someone so smart, you act like a idiot" means "Excellent work" on scoring an A), and Beverly, a classic Jewish "smother" who threatens her peach-wine-cooler-smuggling daughter that she's "everywhere" right after she reminds her teenage son to "wash your bottom." George Segal ("Murphy's Law," "Just Shoot Me!," "Entourage") rounds out the veteran trio as grandfather Albert "Pops" Solomon, a geriatric Casanova in casualwear schooling Adam (Sean Giambrone) in the ways of love while struggling to come to terms with his advancing age.

Providing the fodder these three use to create high-strung hilarity alongside Adam are his siblings Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and overly sensitive middle child Barry (Troy Gentile), who claims the only person who truly understands his "white people problems" is Flavor Flav.

[Related: Jay Baruchel Semi-Autobiographical Comedy Goes To ABC With Penalty]

Judging by the first episode, the Goldbergs will deal with typical and evergreen family drama (driving, dating, empty nests, parenting your parents, sibling rivalry) but with the added element of looking back at the era of leg warmers, cassette tapes, and "The Karate Kid." (That's the OG Ralph Macchio version, not the Jaden Smith reimagining. Thank you very much.)

"The Goldbergs" premieres Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. on ABC.

NEXT: Watch the pilot episode of "Back in the Game" early...

"Back in the Game"

As luck would have it, James Caan is coming back to TV and we're happy to report there isn't a casino or luxury hotel in sight. Not that we weren't fans of "Magic City" or "Las Vegas," but his new series on ABC, "Back in the Game," reminds fans that the gruff-and-tumble New Yorker is capable of far more than playing wise guys, enforcers, and demanding bosses in dramas.

This show has Caan swinging for the comedic fences as Terry Sr. aka Gannon the Cannon aka Sir Drinks-A-Lot, an opinionated, crass, alcoholic, hot-tempered, and old-school ex-athlete who never quite made it in the big leagues. He also, in the opinion of his daughter forced to return home after losing everything but custody of her son in a messy divorce, failed at being a single father, overbearingly pushed his diamond dreams on her, crippled her emotionally, and even farted on her at least once according to the pilot.

[Photos: Check Out More Pics of 'The Goldbergs']   

Despite Terry Jr.'s attempts to keep her athletically-challenged son Danny away from the field she feels ruined her life, the kid wants to try out in hopes of impressing a girl. But he sucks, like really sucks, and the "smarmy army" of cocky men in charge of little league cuts him along with all the other misfits (a collection of gay, Muslim, prematurely obese, ginger, Asian, and just plain weird kids that hits all the hot button issues of today) using the excuse that there is no coach and not enough equipment. A rich parent offers to buy whatever's needed and Terry Jr. finds herself stepping up to the plate as the fear-full leader of the Angles. After a discovery in the garage makes her realize dear ol' dad means well despite his socially unacceptable ways of showing it — like the time he peed on a base to protest a call that made her use the championship — she allows him to help her with the team.

[Related: James Caan's Evolution From Scary Real-Life Little League Coach to 'Back in the Game's' Dad]

It's kind of a "Bad News Bears" meets that Clint Eastwood/Amy Adams/Justin Timberlake movie no one saw last year. And don't get us wrong: This is not really Caan showing his softer side, just his funnier one. He pitches out cringe-worthy criticism and jabs, terrible advice that usually involves a bag of nickels or a lead pipe, and hunts down his grandson's bully's father and smashes his windows but somehow manages to still make it hard to hate the player.

"Back in the Game" premieres Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.

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