9 Things You Didn’t Know About American Housewife
American Housewife is an ABC sitcom that debuted in October 2016. Created and written by Sarah Dunn, the show tells the hilarious story of an average wife and mother of three who’s life is turned upside down when she realizes she’s the “second fattest housewife.” Leading lady, Katy Mixon, plays the role of Katie Otto, a mother of three and wife who struggles to raise her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, full of skinny, yoga-pant-wearing, green-juice-drinking moms. It is currently on its second season, so for those who can’t get enough of the new series, here’s a look at 9 things you probably didn’t know about American Housewife!
9. Characters Based Off Real People
Show creator and executive producer Sarah Dunn said the main characters, Katie Otto and her husband, are based off her own life. In an interview with Variety, she said: “Yeah, definitely. I know — it’s a little scary — but true. And the husband character in the show is really based on my husband. Because he teaches and you know, does all that stuff…When I moved to town, I had little kids, and I gained some weight, and I really wasn’t interested in going on a diet or anything. The moms just looked great. All my friends, they all look wonderful. It started to make me a little angry, how good everyone looked. I kind of channeled that into this character.”
8. Original Title of the Show
When American Housewife was first pitched as a show it was called “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport.” Despite really loving her original title, Sarah Dunn is really happy they changed it to American Housewife. “One thing I am happy about is when we changed the title, which — I loved my original title. After we shot the pilot, it felt like the show had a broader appeal. That title sort of limited us. But what I do like is we can go back there when we want to and talk about it. I like to talk about it,” said Dunn.
7. The Otto’s Family House
The exterior shots used to show the Otto’s house is actually the “Paramount House” on Colonial Street located on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot. This is the same house used for the Cleaver’s house in Leave It To Beaver and the Welby house in Marcus Welby, M.D.
6. Katie Otto and Katy Mixon Different Perspectives
Katy Mixon plays the character of Katie Otto so well and has been praised greatly by critics for her performance in American Housewife. However, she’s made it pretty clear that she does not share the same insecurities or sentiment for body image as her character on television. “I never let the media dictate my identity, so the fact that I’m a size 14, or a size 2, or a size 8, or a size 4, I kind of rock and roll. It doesn’t matter to me. But, Katie Otto, it’s a very sensitive topic for her to not be one of the Stepford Wives, but she feels so strong in her conviction to be who she is. But she struggles with that. Me? I am who I am. So in that sense, we’re a little bit different,” said Mixon.
5. Tackling Body Image
One of the things that makes American Housewife so unique is the fact that it tackles body image. In fact, it’s one of the major driving forces behind the show. One of the storylines in season one revolves around how Katie Otto is the “second fattest housewife” in her Westport, Connecticut town when her neighbor, “Fat Pam,” moves away. “I really don’t think you need to be 40 and have three kids and have a body of an 18-year-old,” said Sarah Dunn, the show’s creator. Some of the jokes about weight might rub some people the wrong way, but the goal of the show is to step outside the boundaries of what a stereotypical TV mom looks like, and push the boundaries of female characters.
4. Casting Katie’s Husband, Greg
The on-screen relationship between Katie Otto and her husband, Greg, is awesome, but Katy Mixon admits it took a long time to find the right guy for this role. Finally, the producers found Diedrich Bader who had great chemistry with Katy Mixon. “I read with eight different guys, and they couldn’t find him! I tell you it was a divine appointment; he could not be more wonderful,” said Mixon.
3. Close Knit Cast and Crew
The success of a show often depends on the cast which is why American Housewife has been so well-received! Sarah Donnelly said off-screen the cast is like one big family. “We’re like one huge family, the cast and the crew. We all know each other and we’re very tight,” she said.
2. Behind the Scenes
Donelly also shared a few secrets about what goes on in-between takes. “Honestly, there aren’t many secrets. Daniel DiMaggio (who plays my brother Oliver on the show) and I enjoy playing pranks and making each other laugh. There have been days when we struggle to stop laughing when the cameras roll. It’s the best feeling. Also, Katy Mixon (who plays my mom Katie), Julie Butters (who plays my sister Anna-Kat) and I are always singing between takes. Always,” said Donnelly.
1. How the Story was Developed
In an interview with Executive producer, Aaron Kaplan, he said the idea of the show came about during a conversation with Sarah Dunn. “We started talking about her life, and Sarah says, ‘Well, you know, I’m the second fattest housewife in Garrison.’ And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?'” As they continued to talk he became more and more interested in her story. The two of them developed the idea of creating a sitcom loosely based on her life. “Having met Sarah’s family, I can say it’s loosely based on Sarah’s family,” said Kaplan.