A Not-So American Housewife


As explained in the link above, the original title for American Housewife was supposed to be The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport. The newly released show, American Housewife centers on a mom (Katie Otto) of three children who has serious body issues. The pilot is about Katie Otto not only making sure her family does not conform to the typical “skinny” families but also about her trying to find a new, overweight to move in next door so that she is not the second fattest girl in their town.


Still from American Housewife Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot.”


While watching the show I was torn between whether I enjoyed the sitcom or not. A part of me thought it was hilarious, but another part thought the show was very odd. After reading about the show and finding the link above, it finally made sense why I did not love the show: the title does not live up to the content of the show. With the original title (The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport) I think the plot and the content of the show would have been acceptable because all of the fat jokes would have been expected and satirical. The new title, however, emphasizes a housewife and a new type of family sitcom. Therefore, when Katie Otto constantly mentions being overweight and disliking health-conscious women, the fat jokes almost become a character betrayal because she is supposed to represent a strong feminist who is not afraid to stick out, be different, and speak the truth. Instead of the jokes coinciding with the title (like it would have if they stuck with the original title), viewers are left confused and almost uncomfortable with how obsessed the show is with weight.

Aside from the strange script writing I thought the family dynamic portrayed is hilarious and Katie is beautiful. The fact that the producers make her character self-conscious and think of herself as fat is just another reason why I find myself not enjoying the show as much as I should. Our society has a weight problem; not in the sense that people are too fat or too skinny, but our society (and the media, especially) are too judgmental when it comes to weight. The media has such a strong effect on men and women that this show could possibly make some people think of themselves as fat, because they compare themselves to Katie Otto, when they are not. This, in turn, could result in dangerous eating habits and insecurities. For these reasons, I will be giving the show another chance in hopes that there is a future for American Housewife beyond the weight-obsessed pilot episode.

–Jenna Romano (Blog #5)

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2 Responses to A Not-So American Housewife

  1. mediaphiles says:

    This portrayal of this character you talk about reminds me a lot of one of the main characters in a new show I recently started watching called This Is Us. She is a fraternal twin and her brother is very attractive, skinny, and successful and they portray the other twin as unsuccessful, self-conscious and of course overweight. I like the show because it shows how she is working through it and is not going to settle for being less of what she knows she is capable of, but I agree that portrayal of characters in that way based on their physical appearance can be degrading and make the show less enjoyable.

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