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'American Housewife' Pokes Fun At Suburbia In New Series Set In Westport

Katie Otto (Katy Mixon), plays an unapologetic wife and mother of three raising her flawed family in Westport.
Katie Otto (Katy Mixon), plays an unapologetic wife and mother of three raising her flawed family in Westport. Video Credit: ABC Television Network
A scene from ABC's "American Housewife." Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless
Left to right: Katy Mixon, Carly Hughes and Ali Wong in ABC's new show, "American Housewife," set in Westport. Photo Credit: ABC/Adam Taylor

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Come Tuesday, Oct. 11, don't be surprised if, upon driving around town, you see the flicker of TV screens glowing inside a majority of homes. That's because "American Housewife," a new TV show premiering on ABC, is set in Westport. And not always in the most glowing terms.

Will You Watch "American Housewife?"
Final Results Voting Closed

Will You Watch "American Housewife?"

  • Yes, love to see how they portray Westport.
  • No way. I hate the fact that they are stereotyping our town.
  • Who has time? I'm too busy with kids, dinner, errands, etc.

The series, originally titled “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport," revolves around Katie Otto, played by Katy Mixon, her husband, Jeff (Diedrich Bader), their three children, and the fact that none of them quite fit into, in Otto's words, their “hoity-toity" environment.

Some of the Twitter previews poke fun at suburban Lululemon-wearing moms with comments such as "Beware of the moms that wear two Fitbits." Otto's character is billed as a "revolutionary" who objects to constantly dieting and working out; she even wears the pizza stains on her shirt proudly.

The show's premise has the town abuzz with parenting online message boards torn between being mortified at how they're being represented and others who can't wait to watch.

"I’m excited to watch it and curious to see how much of Westport is in the story," said Amy Hochhauser  co-owner of JoyRide Cycling Studio and a Westport resident. "But I think the stereotype they will portray is very different than all the amazing authentic JOYful people we know in our Westport community."

Britt Sheiber, also of Westport, agreed but said she'll definitely be tuning in. "I'll laugh and talk about it with my neighbors," she said. "However, we all know it's not an accurate portrayal of the Westport we all love."

There is, however, a seed of truth in the comedy series, albeit with its own humor and satire. The story is based on the life of series creator Sarah Dunn (of “Spin City" and “Bunheads") and the real challenges of raising a family in Garrison, N.Y. Because Dunn didn't think anyone would recognize her Putnam County hometown, she chose Westport  -- a more recognizable locale -- for her backdrop.

The scenic area reminded her of where she grew up, said executive producer Kenny Schwartz, who happens to be from -- you guessed it -- Westport.

And though the show is currently shooting in California, Schwartz said he'd love to film exteriors of "all the great sights" he fondly remembers such as Longshore, Compo Beach, The Cannons, downtown, Saugatuck, Town Hall, and Main Street.

"I'd also love to shoot all the great old haunts of my youth -- Dunville's, Viva's, the Black Duck, and the Patio at Longshore," he said.

So, note to the parenting message boards: How would you feel if filming actually took place in this slice of Fairfield County? Dare we all meet at The Granola Bar, order a green drink, and discuss?

"American Housewife" premieres at 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, on ABC.

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