Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)
Meg Donnellly (The Broken Ones)
Daniel DiMaggio (Tales of Halloween)
Julia Butters (Pals)
Ali Wong (Savages)
Carly Hughes (Lucky Stiff)
Leslie Bibb (The Skulls)
American Housewife is settling into its groove. While the pilot focused on Katie’s problems with the other housewives, and “The Nap” focused on her stresses about motherhood, “Westport Zombies” combined the two into a good episode that gets to the root of Katie’s insecurities. The one thing that “Westport Zombies” does better than the previous two episodes is that it gives Katie an actual nemesis. I complained in the pilot review that the other housewives haven’t been callous enough to earn Katie’s ire, but Viv is a different story. In a Halloween episode, Viv is the greatest monster of them all. Leslie Bibb plays it perfectly, too. Viv could be the stereotypical rich, vacant housewife like the other mothers, but instead she’s practically rabid. She straddles the line between being manic and maniacal and it is perfectly understandable that Katie is worried about Taylor spending time with the crazy new neighbor. When Katie begins to feel threatened by Viv’s presence in her daughter’s life, she decides to settle the score at the Zombie-themed fun run. Katie was initially scornful of the event, which takes the joy out of Halloween and replaces it with exercise. When she hears, however, that Viv and Taylor have signed up, she vows to beat Viv.
It turns out that Doris and her husband are the sponsors of the fun run, which lets Katie cheat by adding more flags to her belt (zombies try to take the flags, if they take them all, you’re out). It was nice to see Doris in a scene outside of the coffee shop and I like the hints of her husband’s vaguely shady dealings. They’re just trying to earn back the community’s trust! While there are many zombies in the episode, it’s Viv that seems the most like the walking dead. When she twists her ankle on the obstacle course, she starts lurching and screaming behind Katie and it seems for a moment like a scene from an actual horror movie where soccer moms have been infected by a rage-virus (someone please make this movie). Viv beats Katie in the end, but Katie has more important things to care about.
Greg, Anna-Kat, and Oliver all get wrapped up in the fun run themselves. Oliver uses it as an opportunity to impress a girl (it doesn’t go well) and Greg and Anna-Kat get to be the world’s most adorable father-daughter zombies. Given that Greg’s and Anna-Kat’s one defining characteristic so far has been their germaphobia, it seems to be reaching a bit that they would be up for an activity that involves so much dirt and chaos. It was worth it, however, to hear Anna-Kat’s zombie Titanic victim screech. But the brunt of the episode goes to Katie and her relationship with her daughter. To be honest, Taylor has been the weak point in the cast for me. I spent quite a bit of the episode wondering why Katie would care so much about getting her daughter’s affection because Taylor is a bit of a drag. That made the reveal of Taylor’s real motivations such a pleasant surprise. She isn’t hanging out with Viv because she thinks Viv is better than Katie, but because she realizes that Viv has a very sad life and is lonely. The moment humanizes Taylor for the audience and gets Katie to realize that her daughter really is growing up. And that’s nothing to be scared of.