Tuesday, October 11, 2016

'American Housewife' Goes for Comedy, Settles for Distastefulness

'American Housewife' Goes for Comedy, Settles for Distastefulness
Katy Mixon stars as the American Housewife. (ABC)
TV SHOW REVIEWSometimes I have to wonder about myself. As much as I like Tim Allen, I was sure that Last Man Standing wasn’t going to make it through its first year. That was five years ago. I had similar thoughts about Dr. Ken. The show is so annoying, how could it last more than a few weeks? That was a year ago. So here I go again predicting the demise of another ABC comedy that will probably run for ten years or more and I’ll never understand why.
 

Katy Mixon stars as Katie Otto in the badly titled American Housewife. Of course, it could have been worse. The original title for the show was The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport. According to the pilot episode, there are three overly fat women living in Westport, Connecticut. The second largest lives right across the street from Katie, but she is moving which will make Katie second in command. Katie (who doesn’t appear to be grossly overweight by the way) alternates between being proud of who she is and hating herself, but the one thing she will not stand for is being labeled, even though she pretty much labels every other character in the sitcom.
 

American Housewife is another fish-out-of-water sitcom that really wants to be funny but settles for distasteful instead. Unlike the rest of Westport, The Otto’s are not rich. They are renting a house because the school district is the best option for their youngest daughter, Anna-Kat (Julia Butters) who is apparently gifted but has a strong case of OCD and performs odd behaviors like urinating in yard.

Katie doesn’t like most of the women in Westport because they are all skinny, work out a lot and drink awful green smoothies. In an interesting dynamic, Katie also has some disdain for her older daughter, Taylor (Meg Donnelly) who is skinny. When Taylor brings home a green smoothie of her own, Katie forbids it. She tells her husband that she doesn’t want her daughter to be influenced by the women in town who act like they are teenagers. He has to remind Katie that their daughter IS a teenager.
 

Katie’s son Oliver (Daniel DiMaggio, who is a surprisingly good actor) has a love for money and won’t part with any of his to help someone less fortunate no matter how hard Katie tries. We don’t know much about Katie’s husband Greg (Diedrich Bader) from the pilot episode, but we do know that he likes to spend a lot of time on the toilet as is seen within the first three minutes. He is supportive of his wife and finds her sexy (which is nice to see) be he doesn’t appear to have much influence on his own family as Katie seems to run the show. He is a willing participant to join Katie and Anna-Kat as they attempt to scare away potential buyers of the house across the street in hopes of roping someone fatter than Katie to live there instead which would allow Katie to hold her #3 title.
 

Despite the generic title, it seems that American Housewife will focus a lot on the issue with Katie’s struggle with being fat which probably isn’t enough to carry a show. Some reviewers have described the show as another Roseanne, but it more closely resembles Suburgatory. Either way, those shows were superior this. Mixon and Bader deserve better than this.

The first episode should do fairly well in ratings since it follows ABC’s tried-and-true family comedy The Middle (on a new night this season), but I suspect that won’t last much longer. Then again, what do I know?
 

American Housewife premieres Tuesday, October 11 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.

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