TV Review: American Housewife


Airs: Tuesdays 8:30/7:30c on ABC

Review: Pilot

Those who regularly pay attention to this blog know my pet dislikes – nonlinear story telling (without a purpose), laugh tracks, and time-travel butchery. It is time for another, one of which I have been silent on so far – excessive use of the voice over. It can be an exceptionally useful tool in moderation [e.g. How I Met Your Mother, Star Wars (Scrolling Text=voice over for all intents and purposes), Burn Notice]. Excessive voice overs, however, I find to be lazy writing. It’s as if the writers can’t be bothered to actually put a plot into place, instead they have to explain it to you via voice over. Show, don’t tell. American Housewife might as well be a book on tape with the amount of main character voice over. Even worse, her voice is a bit too, uh, nasal to tolerate for too long.

There is nothing special about American Housewife. It is a standard family comedy where everyone has their little quirks. On the positive side, the dad, the always excellent Diedrich Bader, plays the straight man perfectly. The youngest daughter who has severe OCD and germophobia (a la Monk) is also fantastic. On the down side, in addition to the aforementioned nasally voice over, the middle child is obnoxious and the oldest daughter is just there.

All the jokes in the trailer that I found funny somehow seemed to fall flat in context. The show does have potential, as the show grows into itself the need for voice overs will diminish (I hope). I will give it another week or two before making a final decision, but if I were to make a decision right now, it would not make the cut.

WWYT Ratings: 5.3

Nielsen Ratings: 1.9 A very solid opening. It is in line with the other ABC comedies on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The quality of the show may result in a bigger decline than normal, but I think it should still be well safe. Chance of renewal unchanged at 60%.


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