• Beware This American Housewife

    by  • September 12, 2016 • ABC, Broadcast Decency, Paleyfest 2016, Profanity, Sexualization • 5 Comments


    Another sitcom about the horrors of suburban life.

    Kate Otto is a housewife obsessed with her weight and lack of social status. Despite having chosen to move her family to upscale Westport, Connecticut, Kate despises her neighbors for their wealth, physiques, and perceived cliquishness. Kate is also unhappy with the effect of their surroundings on her children: she resents the ease with which thin, attractive teen daughter Taylor fits in with her classmates (Kate never did), while young son Oliver is already saving money and planning for a career as an entrepreneur (Kate worries about him becoming a “capitalist pig”). While easygoing husband Greg tries to temper Kate’s negativity and convince her she is attractive, only Kate’s avowed “favorite,” little AnnaKat, escapes her scorn; but AnnaKat has problems of her own. Kate vows to make Anna fit in more, and her other two children fit in less with the suburban lifestyle which surrounds them.  

    American Housewife contains a large amount of content inappropriate for younger viewers. Continuing a disturbing trend in ABC’s alleged “family comedies” in recent years, the program features frequent uses of “bitch,” “ass,” and various bleeped profanities; sexualizing remarks about “the “boob fairy” visiting adolescent daughter Taylor, and Kate telling Greg that “my boobs are one-third gut;” and literal toilet humor, including scenes of father Greg “taking a leisurely half-hour dump” as little AnnaKat stands before him watching. This is not to mention the body-shaming premise surrounding Kate’s character, who is obsessed with both her own weight and that of her neighbors, remarking incessantly on her “plus-size fat ass,” and plotting to lure someone heavier than herself into living next door so that she will no longer be “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport” (the show’s original title).

    Like ABC prior comedy Suburgatory, American Housewife is premised on the assumption that suburban America is populated exclusively with shallow, narrow-minded individuals concerned solely with money, status, and appearance…completely unlike like the enlightened denizens of Hollywood. Those who do not share the show’s assumptions will find American Housewife’s smug elitism, profanity, and sexist toilet humor tiresome and lacking in comic value.

    American Housewife premieres Tuesday, October 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    5 Responses to Beware This American Housewife

    1. Mary Jo Nelson
      April 9, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      This is true. Narrow-minded writers who cannot develop a plot for a story that does not include “cursing”. There is nothing worth watching on TV or the movie theater.

    2. Justin
      September 29, 2016 at 2:18 am

      Haha, that’s true that there have been so many sitcoms and dramas about the absolute HORRORS of having to live a suburban upper middle class lifestyle in recent years.

    3. V Galloway
      September 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      We never watch “Reality TV” and this one will be added to that list. Sadly they just keep coming, and sadly there is very little reality, and certainly not anything uplifting in their content.

    4. John Boulton
      September 17, 2016 at 7:17 am

      You know… Bill Cosby had a good way of making fun of people without being insulting (love the DVD: Bill Cosby-Himself); Carol Burnette had a great way of making people laugh at ridiculous or accident-prone people without being insultive — that all seems lost nowadays. “All In the Family” borderlined humor with insults by showing how ridiculous the extremities of characters could be and we laughed at it (Archie: diplorably self-righteous, and Edie: unbelievably goody-goody sunshine). But it seems since “All in the Family” ‘comedy’ has found a way encourage greater insults as the funniest. Sad. No… there are better ways of laughing at bad character in much better sense of good humor.
      No thank you.

    5. Bobby
      September 13, 2016 at 1:01 am

      How vulgar

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *