REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – SEASON 1

CAST

Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Diedirch Bader (Bones)
Daniel DiMaggio (Tales of Halloween)
Meg Donnelly (Team Toon)
Julia Butters (Transparent)
Carly Hughes (Insatiable)
Ali Wong (The Angry Birds Movie)


RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Leslie Bibb (Iron Man)
Jeannette Sousa  (Zombie Strippers)
Kate Flannery (The Office)
Isabel Gravitt (House Call)
Wendie Malick (Mom)
Janet Varney (Catwoman)
Kristin Eggers (Workaholics)
Robert Gant (Supergirl)
Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids)
Timothy Omundson (Xena)
Lidia Porto (Scary Movie V)
Jill Johnson (This Is Us)
E.J. Callahan (Yes Man)
Eddie Shin (Wetsworld)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
Will Sasso (Movie 43)
Barret Swatek (2 Broke Girls)
Tiffani Thiessen (Saved By The Bell)

The story line about a slightly overweight mother and her husband raising three children in the suburbs of Westport Conneticut will resonate with a lot of household families. Actress Katy Mixon who just came off six seasons of the successful sitcom Mike and Molly plays mom Katie Otto, who feels a bit uncomfortable in what she feels is her over sized body compared to all the neighborhood school moms who remind her of the perfect Stepford wives. Now Katie’s husband Greg, played by Diedrich Bader is just your normal dad who enjoys his morning read on the bathroom throne with a cup of java. Greg doesn’t think Katie is as fat as Katie thinks she is.

Fat Pam is Katie’s neighbor from across the street and she is moving which will leave Katie as the second fattest mom in her neighborhood. Katie convinces her husband Greg that he has to help her find a heavy woman to buy the house across the street so she won’t be looked upon as the fattest mom in the neighborhood and she can feel better about herself. But common sense prevails and Katie ends up eventually having to welcome another Stepford looking wife to the neighborhood named Viv, played by Leslie Bibb. The initial interaction between Viv and Katie one could imagine it would not be exactly a warm welcome and thus we have the making of a new sitcom.Katie and Greg are the proud parents of two daughters and one son. Their son Oliver’s ambition is to be the next Warren Buffet but I don’t think that Katie and Greg have the heart to tell their son that they actually are just renting the house they live in. Their younger daughter a cutey patootie named Anna-Kat is scared of germs and shows sign of having an obsessive compulsive disorder. Their older daughter Taylor fits right in the neighborhood with all the slim good looking girls and Katie resents that Taylor may grow up as just another plastic Stepford type wife, shallow but beautifully slim.


What I really like about this new sitcom is there is no “canned laughter” barreling at the audience during and after every conversation the family may have. The laughter will have to be earned and they earned my laughter during every episode. With a season 2 renewal thinks are looking bright for this great new sitcom.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – KRAMPUS KATIE

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MAIN CAST

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)
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GUEST CAST

Leslie Bibb (The Skulls)

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KRAMPUS KATIE

Despite what Greg insists, there aren’t many anti-Santa villains in Christmas stories. There’s the Grinch, there’s Krampus, and now there’s Katie Otto, accused of elf murder and general Christmas grumpiness. It isn’t that Katie gets grumpier at Christmas, but simply that everyone else gets more cheerful. As she observes the parents volunteering at the Westport School Christmas concert, it’s like someone watching the animals at the zoo. Katie can’t understand how one day suddenly changes everyone’s personalities.

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Even Viv is more manic and cheerful than usual, which didn’t seem possible before we see the crazy in Leslie Bibb’s eyes. In “Krampus Katie”, Katie struggles with her position as Krampus to Viv’s over-medicated Santa. As Katie and Greg discuss a special speaking job Greg’s counting on, Viv bursts in and Anna-Kat is captivated. With her happy nature and love of splashy volunteer work, Viv seems just like real-life Santa. Katie, on the other hand, is apparently more like Krampus, the demon goat who terrorizes bad children during the holidays. Viv gives Greg and the kids pointy muffins and Katie “the gift of potential”, which is actually just a fitbit. Katie is offended enough to refuse to help Viv plan the annual Christmas concert. Although, she wasn’t going to do it anyway.
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Normally, Katie would successfully ward off Viv, Viv would go away, and that would be that. Now, however, the Elf on the Mantle is in play. The Elf on the Mantle, which is half the price of the one you’re thinking of, is Santa’s little spy in the house. Anna-Kat is deathly worried that the elf will see Katie be grumpy and deny the entire family presents. Katie doesn’t listen to Anna-Kat’s warnings until she accidentally sets fire to the elf. Then, it just stares at her with its creepy little elf eyes until she goes down to the school and pretends to be merry. To impress the elf and survive the holidays, Katie turns to Greg for help. Unlike Katie, Greg can find the silver-lining in any situation. Even when Oliver and Taylor demand better presents, Greg decides that this is an opportunity to teach them a Christmas lesson. Greg’s heart is in the right place, but his optimistic way of looking at the world makes him a bad teacher for his much more cynical children. When he takes them to a nursing home, Oliver and Taylor get the basic idea, but their hearts aren’t exactly melted by the residents.
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As Oliver and Taylor cope with their punishment of talking to delightful old ladies, Greg makes a friend of his own. His new actor acquaintance tells Greg the lesson he learned after being a pushy extra on Mad Men: you have to fight for what you want. It’s kind of a Christmas lesson, but Greg is too passive to take it to heart. The kids haven’t learned their lesson either. Oliver and Taylor completely luck out when they meet a befuddled old lady who thinks they’re her grandchildren and gives them Christmas money. They almost get away with it, until Greg catches on. Greg thinks he has another chance when Katie, eager to prove to that dumb little elf that she has Christmas spirit, agrees to help Viv deliver presents to a family in need. This leads to the most “Westport” scene of the episode, where the Otto family realizes that Viv’s definition of a family in need is much different than theirs. This family had their accounts frozen and can only afford to go to *gasp* Hawaii for Christmas. Greg and Katie are outraged, but polite enough to just give the family the presents and walk away. Some battles aren’t worth fighting.
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Throughout the episode, Greg has slowly been losing it. He can’t get through to Oliver and Taylor, he was forced to give a rich family charity presents, and he loses the speaking position to Kidney-Disease Carl. At the Christmas pageant, he finally can’t take it anymore and chews out Anna-Kat’s music teacher for being too hard on the kids. Katie in particular is ecstatic that Greg is finally giving into the anger, but is once again reminded of the elf, Anna-Kat’s hopes, and the true spirit of Christmas. When Viv has a Santa-sized meltdown over planning the concert, Katie invites her over. As Anna-Kat tells her later, the elf is proud, and Katie can stand tall knowing that at least one Otto kid values charity and kindness. As for Oliver and Taylor – the jury’s still out. This is the last American Housewife of the year. I’ve enjoyed watching the show with all of you and hope to see you in 2017! Please let me know what you think of the episode down in the comments!

REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – WESTPORT ZOMBIES

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WESTPORT ZOMBIES

MAIN CAST

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)

GUEST CAST

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.
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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.