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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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| Courtesy Bradley Whitford and Malin Akerman star in the new ABC sitcom ÏTrophy Wife.Ó
Review: 'Trophy Wife' is surprisingly good

Much to my surprise, Trophy Wife (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., ABC/Ch.4) turned out to be one of my favorite pilots of the fall season. And pretty much completely not the show I thought it would be.

That's because the title is supposed to be ironic.

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Yes, this is about a twentysomething party girl, Kate (Malin Ackerman), who marries a much-older man, Pete (Bradley Whitford). But Kate is no dumb blonde, and "Trophy Wife" is a family comedy about a 21st-century family.

It's probably the best match for "Modern Family" that ABC has come up with, and it makes absolutely no sense that it's airing on Tuesdays and not Wednesdays.

By marrying Pete, Kate has also married his family. That includes his two children - teenagers Hillary (Bailee Madison) and Warren (Ryan Lee) - from Pete's first marriage to uptight, controlling Diane (Marcia Gay Haren). And his preteen, adopted son Bert (Albert Tsai), from his second marriage to ditzy Jackie (Michaela Watkins).

"Trophy Wife" is not a yuck-fest, but - like "Modern Family" - the humor comes from the characters and the situations.

Those situations are not exactly original. You won't be surprised to learn that the ex-wives and teenaged daughter aren't immediately fond of Kate. Or that the teenaged son recognizes that his new stepmother is hot.

And the death of a pet hamster has been done umpteen times before on TV. But "Trophy Wife" manages to make it seem fresh and very funny.

I'm really looking forward to seeing where this show goes.

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