“American Housewife”: No Laughing Matter

Residents of Norwalk complained to executives in New York about a show set in Westport, and filmed in Los Angeles.

The pressure worked.

Norwalkers were fed up with their city’s portrayal on “American Housewife” — a show set here, originally and far more grossly titled “The 2nd Fattest Housewife in Westport.”

Does this dress make me look fat? Or just offensive?

A Halloween episode last month showed someone dressed up as a pregnant “Norwalk prom girl.” Other references — including one about a Westport family’s discomfort at using a Norwalk swimming pool — also portrayed our next-door neighbor in racially, ethnically and economically divisive ways.

A petition calling on ABC and Disney — its parent company — to stop insulting Norwalk was signed by over 400 Norwalkers. Another 150 signers live outside the city. Many people added comments, expressing pride in Norwalk.

In news reports on the controversy, State Senator Majority Leader Bob Duff — of Norwalk — said the show mocked children, and made light of the fact that “we are a city rich in diversity that I view as a strength, not a weakness.”

Norwalk mayor Harry Rilling and school superintendent Steven J. Adamowski joined in the criticism.

Late yesterday, the bullies backed down.

The show’s producers said: “As a comedy, ‘American Housewife’ isn’t intended to offend anyone. We’ve heard the concerns of the people of Norwalk and have made the decision to omit any mentions of the city from future episodes.”

That’s a weak, weasely non-apology.

Too bad they didn’t go one step further, and omit both Norwalk and Westport from the airwaves altogether.

(Click here for the online petition. Click here for a full list of insults to Norwalk. Hat tip: Beth Cody)

Norwalk, Connecticut – home to the Oyster Festival, SoNo, Maritime Aquarium, great shopping and restaurants, thriving diversity, strong schools, beautiful parks and beaches, wonderful people, and much more.

28 responses to ““American Housewife”: No Laughing Matter

  1. Elaine Camerota

    Dan, It’s SoNo (South Norwalk), not SoHo. Typo. Elaine Camerota

    Sent from my iPad


  2. I cant imagine they even needed to hear that, as i cant believe anybody would waste a second watching that show. It was and is a dumb idea for a show and from anyone that watched 5 minutes of it, they confirmed how horrendous it is!

  3. This show isn’t even funny. Tried to watch twice and turned to another channel both times. Surprised it’s still on the air.

  4. Watched the show once…..could barely make it through the half hour….I am shocked it wasn’t cancelled immediately. Not funny, ridiculous and insulting to all.

  5. Unwatchable, idiotic show.
    I can’t believe the insults hurled at an actual city. Mind-boggling.

  6. Hadn’t even heard of this Show until it was mentioned here. Grew up in an old Quaker town in South Jersey and we all took umbrage to Jersey Girls of course. Especially since the cast was predominately New Yorkers and sure didn’t represent LBI, the Jersey shore I love.
    My time in Westport in the seventies was spent renting homes until we finally bought a Houseboat and lived in a small private Marina in Norwalk, Rex Yacht Club. Hard to even recognize Norwalk these days. Sadly, that Marina was replaced by Condos.
    I suspect that old Mexican Restaurant in Norwalk from those days is also long gone. Great place with authentic food. The kids would tally your check by counting the beer bottles and remains on your plate. Crazy decorations left up year round and a sign in the bathroom “Do not throw up in the Sink.”

  7. Mitchell Thompson

    Advertisers should have pulled their
    sponsorship of the show.

  8. I signed the petition since insulting and bullying our neighboring towns and their children is not to be borne. That said, despite a lead with an irksome voice, the show has its good moments. For Westporters, the premise may seem dumb. However, many things we find commonplace in Westport – Kombucha, kale, a town club, all year gala season, nannies galore, etc. are things an average American finds odd and entertaining. Also, the show is written by a Staples grad. I only wish they show runners had issued an earnest apology.

  9. The show has actually gotten funnier since it started. Westport is rife with satirical targets and most of us absolutely can take a joke.

  10. Linda D. Parker

    Oh my, Dan – this post will surely generate lots of comments. The show is mildly amusing, but the lead actress’ performance is not. Her character is so crass, she’s barely tolerable. That, and the fact that the insults fall right and left… I still watch the show. My loyalty to Westport runs pretty deep

  11. Peter Gambaccini

    I don’t really follow network TV (I mainly watch cable movies) but I am surprised to learn this show, a horrible idea apparently even more horribly executed, is still on the air. I didn’t think racism against Norwalk was very funny when I lived in Westport and in 2017, it’s hard to believe any network would think the rest of the country would be amused by it

  12. Nancy Powers Conklin

    I watched maybe ten minutes of this show when it first aired only because of “Westport” being the setting of the show. I was so disgusted by that 10 minutes wasted, that I have never watched another minute of it! Matter of fact, I cannot believe that it is still on television. The executives who allow this show to air must have nothing better in the pipeline to take its place!

  13. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    Well after reading this a little earlier today I decided to watch an episode. I tuned in a few minutes late watched one short segment before a commercial and part of a second segment. I turned it off. It is not my “cup of tea’.and definitely does not represent the Westport that nurtured and educated me or represented any values that I was exposed to. Times do change. However, following this blog, visiting Westport when ever I can and staying in touch with friends and family who still live in Westport , Norwalk and other Fairfield County makes it hard to believe that this show represents any part of Fairfield County.

  14. Thankfully, just before the show aired for the first time the changed the name. It was originally going to be called The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport.

  15. Dennis Jackson

    Tabloid TV hardly targets our better nature, but how dare they! With its cool Native American name, Norwalk is a perfect smallish city in the middle of affluent suburbs. Life would be very different here if it were just another Darien!

  16. Jennie Pickering

    l grew up in Westport, now I live in Norwalk- totally happy with it. I was in a cocktail bar in Westport a couple of years ago- there was a dad at the bar drowning his sorrows and telling me how he “moved up here from Fairfield” – I said Fairfield is north of here, don’t you mean you moved down from there? He replied, “no, I mean socio-economically”-
    BARF! this is the mentality that this show is aimed at – for all the strivers currently in Westport who are so self conscious…. just sayin

    • On behalf of my town, I apologize! Between his comment and his sorrow-drowning, he sounds like one unhappy guy.

    • Well, we moved from Westport to Fairfield because we wanted to downsize and there was nothing left to downsize to. I have never felt that I moved “down” socio-economically. I’m still the same person; my husband is still the same person; we still have the same friends and are involved in the same activities. Maybe your friend had been drinking too much. His comment was totally stupid. Then, again, if he was “drowning his sorrows,” he couldn’t have been too happy living in Westport.

    • Well in a bar someplace in Westport.. Come to some of the school shows, concerts, games and town Hall meetings for all our Boards. My family was raised in this town- two of them still here. Three of our Grandchildren have gone or are going through our Public Schools – with great success. We love Westport and we love our neighbors, Norwalk and Fairfield. Many, many of us are still here and we love Westport!! BY THE WAY very stupid show!!

  17. I think people need to lighten up. I watch the show and enjoy it.