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Life in the suburbs has given U.S. TV a number of impressive sitcoms and movies and this is the fertile ground the writers of "American Housewife" is plowing. The show was created by Sarah Dunn and stars Katy Mixon as the titular "American Housewife" who does not fit in with the other residents of her wealthy neighborhood.
The story of "American Housewife" revolves around the Otto family who is struggling to fit in within the confines of their affluent Westport, Connecticut part of suburbia. The Otto family is led by Katie, a housewife we find is determined to not be the "fattest" wife in Westport during the pilot. Katie's life is turned upside down when she finds her next-door neighbor is leaving town and selling her family home which Katie explains is a disaster for her own standing in the social circle.
In Westport, Connecticut, the wives, and mothers in the sub-division Katie lives in are living with a constant sense of hunger brought on by their inability to gain weight as they care too much about how the other women feel about them. The women have ranked the wines in the neighborhood and if her neighbors not replaced by another overweight woman, Katie will become the "Second fattest woman in Westport."
Katie is married to a university professor, Greg who does his best to keep the family together as they are struggling to cope with the obsessive nature of Katie. Greg and Katie differ from the other families living in the neighborhood as they do not own their home but rent it and are struggling to make ends meet from week to week. The search for a new neighbor in the pilot episode takes up the majority of the time and allows the family of Katie and Greg to be introduced. Katie sees her children as having many different problems, including the athletic and desperate to fit in the oldest child, Taylor. The middle child, Oliver is levelheaded but does not understand the problems facing the world and has been known to steal money from the homeless. The youngest child is Anna-Kat who has signs of an early obsessive more compulsive disorder and is often inappropriate n front of her neighbors.
Katie is often caught in a dilemma as she tries to make the right choices between keeping up with her neighbors and doing what is best for her family. To get some help in making the right choices, Katie often discusses her problems with her two best friends, the strict Doris and the more laidback lesbian mother, Angela. The conflicting styles of parenting used by her friends often allow Katie to find a comfortable road down the middle of the road to make sure her family gets the best option for their future.
Sarah Dunn os the showrunner of "American Housewife" which began life as an author with her first book, "The Slacker's Handbook" which was published and led to her decision to move from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a screenwriter. Moving to Los Angeles in the late-1990s, Dunn began writing for a range of sitcoms including "Murphy Brown" and "Spin City." By the time of the finale of "Spin City," Dunn had become so trusted by series showrunner Bill Lawrence she was entrusted with the job of writing the final episode.
Florida-native Katy Mixon has been active as an actress throughout the 21st-century with the actor taking on a series of comedic and dramatic roles throughout her career. Mixon began her career with small roles in the movies, "The State of Play" and "Four Christmases" before she got her big break acting alongside Melissa McCarthy in the sitcom, "Mike and Molly."
"American Housewife" is a co-production between Kapital Entertainment and ABC Studios and premiered on ABC. "American Housewife" changed its title from "The Second-Fattest Housewife in Westport" to its current title after the pilot had been filmed as executives worried about the reaction of viewers to the title.
The comedy of the pilot was not praised by professional critics who found its title of "The Second-Fattest Housewife In Westport" offensive and a sign of the bad taste of the show. Major changes to the cast and style of humor were made between the filming of the pilot and the second episode of the season. The reviews from both professional critics and viewers were mixed with most praising the high-profile work of Katy Mixon as a success in a show which had not found its feet in the first season. Rotten Tomatoes gives the first season an aggregate score of 54 percent with the stereotypes used by the writers seen as too broad to allow all characters to become fully drawn.
Sarah Dunn focused her writing of "American Housewife" on her own life as she felt overweight after having her children and felt the other mom's in the neighborhood looked better than her. The story of "American Housewife" came to life when producer Aaron Kaplan began a conversation with Sarah Dunn about her life in the suburbs. Katy Mixon has stated she does not worry about her body image in the same way as her character and does not pay any notice to the comments of others when the show is aired.