Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pilot Review: American Housewife

American Housewife (ABC)
Premiered October 11 at 8:30pm

Suburbia is a frequent sitcom setting, and housewives and mothers are often at the center of that. Twelve years ago, “Desperate Housewives” premiered on ABC, spotlighting the secret lives of the women who do so much for their families with both a comedic bent and a deeply dramatic undercurrent. Now, with other shows like “The Middle” and “Modern Family” anchoring ABC’s lineup, the network is back to looking at housewives as material for its newest sitcom. Katy Mixon is an actress who has been a solid supporting player on two very different shows, HBO’s foulmouthed “Eastbound and Down” and CBS’ far tamer “Mike and Molly.” Now, she’s in the lead role for the first time, anchoring a series with plenty of narration viewed from the vantage point of a housewife who doesn’t fit in with the super-skinny, green smoothie-drinking moms who make her life hell on a regular basis. While there are some unique aspects of this show, it contains a handful of recognizable elements from various different sitcoms. Generally, it works pretty well, though Mixon’s Katie puts an excessive focus on being overweight and finding someone else who is even fatter than her, in her own words, to live across the street. Leslie Bibb’s double Fitbit-wearing new neighbor Viv should work well opposite Mixon, and I like the casting of Diedrich Bader as her relatively lazy and out-of-touch husband. I don’t think this is a show I’m going to need to watch, but I’m willing to give it another episode.

How will it work as a series? Suburbs are a common setting for sitcoms for a reason – there are endless plotlines that can come up, especially with Katie’s three kids being distinctly different individuals and her focus on her weight, which could be a positive or a negative. I’m not sure it’s anything revolutionary, but it might be fun.
How long will it last? Reviews seem to be pretty good for this show, and the pilot performed very well in its debut airing. Outdoing ABC’s returning Tuesday shows is definitely a positive, and right now this show is looking like a solid bet to earn a second season renewal.

Pilot grade: B

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