American Housewife is a delicious half-hour look into the dynamics of a typical family. What stood out about this show was the casting of Katy Mixon as the lead. While it was hard to initially envision the dimwitted sister from Mike and Molly being able to carry a show, my fears were cast aside in the first two minutes. Her character is a very sarcastic/faithful portrayal of motherhood, and the writers understand her comedic talents and are constantly setting Mixon up for success. Mixon couldn’t have asked for a better scenario, and it will result in her becoming one the biggest breakout stars of the Fall Television season.
The pilot initially has an Office vibe to it when we start with Katie Otto (Mixon) espousing directly care about being renters in Westport, Connecticut and how she’s about to become the second-fattest housewife in the neighborhood. Katie is the anthesis on your typical housewife in Westport. She’s loud, sarcastic, enjoys life, and will never become in her words “a green juice drinking skinny bitch”.We learn fairly early why the family chooses to live in Westport. Their daughter Anna-Kat (Julia Butters) has an anxiety disorder, and they want to be close to better schools. Her anxiety seems to be heightened by how well her two siblings are doing in school.
At the core of this show is the prevailing truth of motherhood being a balancing act which isn’t all polka dots and moonbeams. Katie often says (sometimes in voiceover narration) things that no mother would ever articulate. For starters, she’s very adamant that the youngest daughter is her favorite and she often lie’s to her kids to get them to do what she wants. She has no problem taking all her son’s money and after he accuses her of being a communist, yelling back “Yay … well, I’m Stalin.” The imperfection of their lives is what makes this show relatable and it’s cynicism is what makes it hysterical.
However, the show needed someone who would counterbalance all of the snarkiness from Katy, and they found it in Diedrich Bader. Bader is cast as her husband Jeff, and he adds heart and practicality to the show. Jeff loves Katie unconditionally no matter how many times she refers to herself as “fat” (which he never does in the show) and is a calming influence on Katie when she feels as if she is about to explode. Now sometimes Jeff can be in his own world, but aren’t all guys from time to time?