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Series / American Housewife

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American Housewife is an ABC Dom Com created by Sarah Dunn and starring Katy Mixon and Diedrich Bader.

Katie Otto is an average American housewife who, along with her husband Greg, tries her best to provide a good home for her three children. Unfortunately, the Ottos live in Westport, an extremely wealthy suburb where everyone is seemingly perfect and live lifestyles that are well beyond the Ottos' more modest means. In this environment, Katie has her hands full trying to keep her two eldest children from turning into complete brats while helping her youngest cope with OCD.

After receiving a full 22-episode season order on November 4, 2016, ABC ordered an additional episode a month later for a total of 23 episodes. The show was renewed for a second season on May 11, 2017. A third season order was announced on May 11, 2018.


This series provides examples of:

  • Absurd Phobia: Anna-Kat develops a fear of water that causes her to stop showering.
  • Adorkable: Greg is endearingly awkward and has certain character tics that Katie finds amusing. For example, before writing a paper, he will strike a power pose (for confidence), listen to jazz (to unlock his brain's creative centers), eat exactly seven almonds (for energy), and drink a glass of port (to loosen up) before going to work.
  • Alternate Timeline: "Sliding Sweaters", a spoof of Sliding Doors, has two timelines based on which color sweater Katie buys. If she buys a pink sweater, she has a good day; if she buys a blue one, she has a bad day. The Stinger includes a third timeline where she buys a green jacket instead and gets pregnant, followed by her deciding not to buy anything and just wear something old.
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  • American Title: What is Katie? An American housewife.
  • Ballet Episode: In the first season finale, the whole family attends Oliver's ballet recital. Much to their amusement, Oliver is in a beginners' class and his co-performers are little girls half his age.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Taylor (as played in the pilot) is at an age where she's rebelling against her parents and, due to the influence of her classmates, thinks that she should focus on landing a rich husband rather than improving herself. Greg eventually shames her into studying and improving her grades. (See also Early Installment Weirdness below)
  • Chained Heat: In "Sliding Sweaters", Katie handcuffs Oliver and Taylor together until they get along.
  • Christmas Episode:
    • "Krampus Katie" (Season 1): Katie chafes at being considered by Anna-Kat to be like Krampus and struggles to prove otherwise. Greg takes Taylor and Oliver to a retirement home, where his attempts at teaching Christmas lessons fail.
    • "Blue Christmas" (Season 2): Doris goes into labor on Christmas Day, but her family is stuck out of town, so Katie juggles being there for her at the hospital and maintaining Otto family traditions. Meanwhile, Greg faces his latest round of hypochondria, while Taylor and Oliver grapple with relationship troubles.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: "The Nap" builds to this. Katie punishes Oliver's attempt at insider trading by making him pick up trash along the street like a prisoner would. Also, because Taylor had been overloading on class work and activities, Katie punishes her by not letting her help pick up trash and making her relax instead.
  • Continuity Nod: Oliver suffers a humiliating moment at ballet while practicing lifts with Gina Tuscadero, who is called out by name so that Katie can make a Happy Days joke and is otherwise neither seen (other than her legs) nor heard. A few episodes later, Taylor helps Oliver with his relationship woes. The girl in question? Gina.
  • Deconstruction: Katie's loner status in the community gets hit with this in the second season premiere. After she attempts an online apology for faking her pregnancy to the other mothers, one of them confronts her and states that the real reason they have so many problems with her is because of how she treats them; her judgment and resentment toward their lifestyle, healthy eating habits and volunteering for things at school has been rubbing them the wrong way for a long while. Katie attempts yet again to make amends, but has to resort to volunteering for a Gala after failing to make a proper apology.
    • Oliver's status as a Spoiled Brat is also taken apart. Not only does Katie defend him to a snotty ballet teacher who thinks this, but by him showing a genuine interest and effort in ballet, Oliver becomes the only kid in the Otto family willingly doing anything related to school/extra-curricular activities.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Taylor's character changed significantly between the pilot and the second episode. In the pilot, as played by Johnny Sequoyah, she was on her way to becoming an entitled brat, much like her friends. Since then, as played by Meg Donnelly, she's a tomboy athlete.
  • Evil Vegetarian: Tara Summers, who convinces Anna-Kat to become a vegan as retaliation for Taylor convincing Eyo, Taylor’s boyfriend and Tara’s son, to follow his dreams of being a cartoon artist instead of an anesthesiologist.
  • Fake Pregnancy: Katie does this to get out of mandatory volunteer work at school. She's exposed by Anna-Kat, who was intentionally trying to fall out of favor with Katy.
  • Fan Convention: Katie visits one in New York hoping to convince Nathan Fillion to attend her Spring Gala, riding an elephant, as she promised to the committee.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Pierce seems like a nice guy on the surface, but his knowing smile after Taylor breaks up with Trip shows that he knew exactly what he was doing.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: Jealous of the attention Taylor’s boyfriend was receiving from Greg while helping him with the Otto family’s secret chili recipe, Oliver uses an insanely hot ghost pepper to sabotage their chili. However, Oliver was distracted when warned of the delayed effects and ends up consuming the chili when he thinks he got a dud pepper.
  • Foreshadowing: In season two, one of the moms that bully Katie tells another mom that her diet pills are actually speed and to calm down. In the finale, it's revealed that her drugs are making her sabotage the other moms' work on the spring gala.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: This moment from the second season premiere:
    Katie: Oliver, honey, you really have been working your butt off.
    Oliver: What do you think I'm doing in my room every night with the door closed?
    Oliver: Mom!
    Katie: You're 13! I don't know!
  • Grand Romantic Gesture:
    • Katie is annoyed by Greg's over-the-top celebration of Valentine's Day, which previously included horse-drawn carriages, minivans full of stuffed animals, and lots of confetti.
    • Greg's skill with elaborate romantic gestures comes in handy when Oliver's first date with Gina Tuscadero bombs. The Ottos (and Taylor's dim-witted boyfriend) recreate the lantern scene from Tangled, her favorite movie.
  • Halloween Episode:
    • "Westport Zombies" (Season 1): As preparations for the Westport Zombie Run game ramps up, Katie gets jealous of Taylor bonding with Viv and worries she'll become a snob.
    • "Boo-Who?" (Season 2): Every year, neighbors place gift baskets at each other's houses, and Katie thinks she's finally gotten one and been accepted. Meanwhile, Oliver Screams Like a Little Girl and worries about going to the local haunted house with his friends, so Anna-Kat repeatedly tries scaring him so he'll kick the habit.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Oliver develops one with an 80s Wall Street broker named Spencer, who mentors him in how to be successful. Unfortunately, it's a short one, as Spencer dies.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Oliver can be a brat at times, but he cashed out his business partner, Viv's housekeeper Luz, using his savings so she could return to her native country and be with her young daughter.
    • Takes after Katie, who is often rude and irrational and sarcastic, but cares a lot about her family (especially Anna-Kat) and hates how materialistic and phony Newport is.
  • Lady Drunk: Katie's mom, who is often seen with a drink in her hand.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Katie confronts Greg when she gets suspicious and finds a receipt for a bar in Greg's wallet. Turns out he was secretly seeing Celeste — Angela's ex — who was helping him with his book.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Katie thought that Oliver was gay after discovering a vision board hidden in his closet filled with guys in expensive clothing, guys without shirts, and Ashton Kutcher. It continues further when they see him acting with Eko.
    Greg: He's either as good an actor as Ian McKellen, or he's as gay as Ian Mc Kellen.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe, Katie may have have finally crossed this. She pretended to be pregnant in order to avoid the other moms in Westport. Thanks to Anna-Kat, this backfired and she will have to deal with the consequences in the second season.
  • My Beloved Smother: Katie's family calls her "Colonel Beatrice von Beige Underpants Control Freak" behind her back. Or just "the Colonel" for short.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Viv.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Greg and Katie get paranoid about Taylor spending all of her free time with a new guy instead of her boyfriend and think that he is trying to ruin the relationship. They then feed their paranoia to him, which leads to him yellng at Taylor and demanding that she quit the play. She dumps him instead.
    • Even worse? Greg turns out to be right in the end!
  • One Steve Limit: Tragicomically averted in "Family Secrets" when it turns out that Greg has a secret half-brother named Greg because their father didn't want to get caught having an affair by calling one son by the wrong name.
    • In "Field Day" Suzanne introduces Katie to another Katie. When the other mothers try and tell them apart she suggests being referred to as "Katie O" but the other Katie says that won't work either as her name is Katie Owens.
  • Overprotective Dad: Initially intending on spying on Anna-Kat during her solo walk to the library, Greg gets distracted and crashes the drone into Taylor when he sees her with her boyfriend, Eyo.
  • Papa Wolf: In Season 1's Christmas Episode, a Prima Donna Director is demanding absolutely perfect singing from Anna-Kat's class during the performance, which makes the kids all uncomfortable and nervous on stage. Just when Katie is about to say something, Greg stands up and yells at the guy for treating Anna-Kat and the other kids badly.
  • Product Placement: Season 2's "Selling Out" (no pun intended) has Greg ditching his old Accord for a new Toyota Camry. Cementing the placement, an actual commercial for the Camry aired during the next ad break.
  • Real Women Have Curves: For early episodes, the show played this straight, with large Katie having more common sense and wit, and putting down all the other mothers for being thin. In later episodes, the show begins to deconstruct this (see Deconstruction above for more), saying that it's not right for Katie to be rude to them just because they happen to be slender.
  • Reality Ensues: See Deconstruction.
  • Relaxo Vision: In "Disconnected" Anna-Kat tells her parents a dirty joke but we don't hear the bulk of it as dramatic music plays over it, coupled with Greg and Katie's mortified expressions.
  • Secret Other Family: Greg's dad has one, and the son is even named Greg so he won't mix them up.
  • Skipping School: Katie cuts out of the French immersion class she joined to prove to Greg that she wasn't a quitter. She's caught red-handed by Greg when he lets his class — held next door — out early.
  • Show Within a Show: Anna-Kat's Real Horsewives of Connecticut starring Donnatello Morningstar. Trip is genuinely interested. Pierce, not so much.
  • Slobs Vs Snobs: The Ottos, with their humble lower-middle class values, are frequently at odds with the more upper-class Newport citizens. Specifically, Katie's rivalry with next-door neighbor Viv.
  • Spanner in the Works: Katie, with her outspoken common sense views and values, is a highly disruptive force within Westport. In fact, the Ottos were given such a good deal on their house because their landlady was sick and tired of the town's superficiality that she wanted to see its smug housewives get taken down a few pegs.
  • Super OCD: Anna-Kat has OCD and the condition is presented realistically, albeit humorously. The Ottos moved to Westport because the local school has a special needs program that provides Anna-Kat with the extra attention she needs and Katie is often helping her daughter with various coping exercises so Anna-Kat won't completely fall into her rituals.
    • If Greg gets interrupted while working, he has to start his ritual described under Adorkable all over again. In the episode where this was shown he had to reboot so many times, he got too drunk to work.
  • Take That!: Greg delivers a furious rant against Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, declaring that it makes no sensenote .
    Greg: Batman, the world's greatest detective, doesn't know Superman's weakness until Lex Luthor tells him! There are five dream sequences in the movie! None of them reveal anything about any character! And most importantly: Superman has heat vision! He should have melted Batman in the first act—movie over!
  • Take This Job and Shove It: Thinking they are inheriting Spencer's wealth, Greg lets loose on the tenure board. Luckily, they found his brazen attitude refreshing, especially when Greg learns they've inherited nothing.
  • Thanksgiving Episode:
    • "The Blow-Up" (Season 1): Katie has to grapple with her mother coming over to visit, how Anna-Kat reacts to their arguing, and Viv being an unexpected guest.
    • "Family Secrets" (Season 2): Greg's parents are coming to dinner, and he is desperate to impress his father and make everything perfect.
  • The Unfavorite: Katie very openly finds Oliver to be her most frustrating child and will loudly talk about how she hates his behavior and Upper-Class Twit aspirations.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Oliver aspires to become one, to Katie's chagrin.
  • Video Wills: Oliver's friend Spencer leaves him, Katie, and Greg one on a recycled VHS tape.
  • Weight Woe: Generally averted. Though at time she shows slight insecurities, Katie is generally very pleased with her weight.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Katie and Greg wake up in bed after a hard night of partying with Celeste, Angela's ex. While their memories of the night are vague, Celeste's Instagram feed of them hanging out was perfectly clear, and Katie is busted by Angela.+
  • Written-In Absence: Stan Lawton was set up to be Greg's BFF in Westport but is said to have gone off on a spiritual quest after just a few appearances. This was due to actor Timothy Omundson suffering a stroke and needing to take time to recover.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: A milder example. Oliver's girlfriend Gina is from South Branson, a less affluent area than Westport. The clash of cultures comes to head when Cooper makes Oliver choose between him or Gina.
  • Young Entrepreneur: Oliver, upon finally realizing that his parents won't simply buy him whatever he wants, starts a lucrative career repairing and selling defective designer shirts and enlists the local housekeepers to to do the repair work.

Example of: