Trophy Wife

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Creators of Trophy Wife and Chris Onstad

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Emily Halpern
Guests: 
Sarah Haskins
Guests: 
Chris Onstad
Guests: 
Mark Frauenfelder

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The Co-Creators of "Trophy Wife" Explain: It's Not What You Expect

It would be reasonable to assume that the ABC sitcom Trophy Wife is about a rich older man and his ditzy, beautiful young wife. It might be kind of insulting, or it might be drawn in shades of reality TV. But though the show does feature Bradley Whitford as an older man (twice divorced, with three kids) and a younger wife played by Malin Akerman, the title is pretty tongue in cheek. Trophy Wife isn't about jealous ex-wives, a vacuous new wife, and a slimy older dude. It's about a complex family situation and the people within it.

The show's creators, Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, envisioned the show from the trophy wife's point of view. What is it like to join to a family that existed well before you came along? If you're one of several authority figures and parents, what's your role?

Halpen and Haskins had special insight into that situation. As Haskins says, "I started dating and eventually married my next door neighbor...who is a gentleman 20 years my senior who has been married actually 3 times, but we didn’t think America could handle that."

The show features a great ensemble cast. The spouses are played by Whitford, Akerman, Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins, and the family's children are played by Albert Tsai, Warren Lee and Bailee Madison.

We'll talk to creators and showrunners Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern about the blended family that inspired the show, writing real characters for children and their ensemble comedy predecessors.

Trophy Wife airs Tuesday nights at 9:30 on ABC.

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Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder Recommends: Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and Fun with Circuits

BoingBoing’s Mark Frauenfelder stops by to give a glimpse of the future.

He suggests checking out a new novel out this month called The Martian by Andy Weir. It's a tale about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars, and his struggle to stay alive with few supplies, his wits, and ingenuity.

And if you've ever thought about circuit building at the grocery store, he suggests learning a new skill with a game for iOS called Mho's Resistance.

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Comedy: Morgan Murphy Explains What to Do Before a Facelift

Even if you're scared to death of plastic surgery, maybe you've considered, even for a split second, getting a little work done. It could just be your little secret! No one would have to know!

But you really should tell someone if you're going to go under the knife. Morgan Murphy will explain. She joined us last year at MaxFunCon 2013 for our comedy showcase in the woods of Lake Arrowhead.

Morgan Murphy's new special is Irish Goodbye. You can find it on Netflix, iTunes or Amazon. She'll be joining us at this year's Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival. Stay tuned for more details.

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Chris Onstad and "Achewood", a World of Anthropomorphic Stuffed Animals

Chris Onstad is behind one of the most popular and critically acclaimed online comic strips. It's called Achewood, and it's set in a fictional town populated by anthropomorphic stuffed animals and pets. The strip is surreal and funny, and it involves many different characters with detailed backstories but the two most prominent are "Ray Smuckles", a very successful and fortunate cat, and his childhood best friend "Roast Beef". Chris Onstad stopped making the strip for awhile in 2011. But the hiatus is over now and he’s back making new comics. We're revisiting our conversation with Onstad from 2009.

Onstad tells us about how he collected the many moments that would become Achewood strips, struggling to write something funny every day, and discovering the joys of self-publishing online.

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The Outshot: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Jesse tells us about a TV show in its first season that's already running at full-speed: Fox's ensemble comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Nicole Holofcener, Brad Bell, Jane Espenson

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Nicole Holofcener
Guests: 
Brad Bell
Guests: 
Jane Espenson
Guests: 
Erik Adams

“Human Behavior is Entertaining”: Writer and Director Nicole Holofcener on Enough Said and Creating Realistic Film

The writer and director Nicole Holofcener projects are specific, personal and character-driven, and always feature strong female leads. Her fifth feature film, Enough Said, is no exception and stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener and the late James Gandolfini in one of his final film roles.

Holofcener's films (which include Lovely and Amazing and Friends with Money) show characters as real people: self-interested, jealous, regretful, loving, but not always likable. Enough Said was purposefully designed to be a more mainstream film than Holofcener's earlier work, but it packs no less of an emotional punch. The movie is about two divorcees, both with teenage daughters, who are facing loneliness and the fraught relationships with and memories of exes.

Holofcener sat down with us recently to talk about divorce, perceptions about men and women as funny people, and how hard it is to make friends as an adult.

Enough Said is now in theaters nationwide.

Related:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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The AV Club's Erik Adams Makes the Case for Fall TV: "Trophy Wife" and "China, IL"

The AV Club's Associate Editor Erik Adams knows that, just as a book shouldn't be judged by its cover, a television show shouldn't be judged by its title. His picks for shows to give a chance this fall are Trophy Wife and China, IL.

Both shows have an impressive acting pedigree, whether it's Trophy Wife's Bradley Whitford, Marcia Gay Harden, and Malin Akerman (as the show's titular spouse) or China, IL's Greta Gerwig and the incomparable Hulk Hogan.

Trophy Wife airs Tuesday nights at 9:30/8:30c on ABC.
The second season of China, IL airs Sundays on Cartoon Network's [adult swim].

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Brad Bell and Jane Espenson on Gay Marriage, Crowdfunding and Creating "Husbands"

A few years ago, the TV writer Jane Espenson was browsing YouTube when she came across a video she loved. It was recorded with a webcam and was a response to Carrie Prejean, a contestant in the Miss USA pageant who gave a particularly inarticulate answer to a judge's question about gay marriage. The video was from "Cheeks", the alter-ego of Brad Bell, and it was the thing that sparked a partnership between Bell and Espenson and a web series called Husbands.

Bell co-created the show with Espenson, a former writer and producer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Caprica. Husbands follows two gay men who get married in Las Vegas on a whim – and stay married to avoid damaging the argument for marriage equality.

Bell and Espenson talked to us about dealing with the stereotypes of gay men and their relationships, their writing partnership, and why and how to make crowdfunding work.

New episodes of season three of Husbands arrive Thursdays on CWSeed.

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The Outshot: The Spirit of Sir John Soane

Sir John Soane was an important 18th century English architect, but that's not really why Jesse is so taken with his house. It's an incredible physical legacy of a man and his many interests.

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