The focus of the episode was concise and personable, to the point where I was even sympathetic to Malin Akerman's desire to be more necessary in the larger family dynamic. Her excitement near the end of the episode over an eight-year-old's request of her presence was heartwarming and easily related to. Almost as easy as it was for me to relate to how hard it is to keep an eight-year-old from ratting you out on bad behavior. That whole sequence had me flashing back to some incredibly frustrating years with my little brother. Which is a good sign! It means the writers have an interest in portraying real people.
When they digress from honest portraits to more overblown caricatures, I have to say they nailed it by hiring Marcia Gay Harden. Her portrayal of the over-the-top controlling, mind-games-playing first wife was hilariously terrifying, and having Bradley Whitford's character burst out laughing when his kids call him in terror over a minor housekeeping infraction sold the scenario perfectly.
I appreciate that they are continuing to develop the characters of Whitford and Akerman fairly evenly, showing their own relationship as a couple and their independent storylines in way that makes me feel more connected with the larger family dynamic more than I expected.
Basically, they had me from the adorable cold open, and I would love to see more in this vein from Trophy Wife. I'm not singing it's virtues quite yet, but I can admit when I enjoyed an episode.
Long live half hour programming! And Josh Lyman, in all of his forms.