American Housewife Review - Senior Prank S4E18

Written by Harrison Cheung 

The 18th episode of what will probably be a shortened season hits a high mark. Zippy, zesty with crackling dialog, "Senior Prank" is AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE at its best when an ensemble sitcom cast is firing on all cylinders.  In this particular episode, the laughs come from two under-utilized characters, Franklin and Principal Ablin.


The main story involves Katie (Katy Mixon) encouraging daughter, Taylor (Meg Donnelly) and boyfriend, Trip (Peyton Meyer) to vandalize the high school's Minuteman statue as a senior prank.  Katie is always pushing her kids to be more fun as she recalls her own wild high school pranks, After covering the statue with shaving cream and silly string, the musket is accidentally broken off, triggering a LAW AND ORDER spoof with the hapless Principal Ablin (Jerry Lambert) working with Greg (Diedrich Bader) to track down the culprits.  Veteran comic actor, Lambert, gets to shine as he and Bader pitch perfectly send up TV crime dramas' investigating duos.  Lambert is like THE SIMPSONS' Principle Skinner come to life.

Of course they're going to get caught, but dad takes the blame, so will the ethically-ambiguous Katie ever learn her lesson? Not this American housewife!

The more satisfying secondary story has Anna Kat (Julia Butters) asking Oliver (Daniel DiMaggio) and his best buddy, Cooper (Logan Pepper) to make over her awkward friend, Franklin (Evan O'Toole) so that the two can go to their first party.  Cooper makes Franklin memorize a "meeting Beyonce in Italy" story for small talk, while Oliver dresses Franklin in preppy gear.  To no one's surprise, Franklin botches the story and embarrasses Anna Kat by accidentally drinking water from a vase.  But to everyone's surprise, Franklin redeems himself when he wanders the party house and ends up belting a Lady Gaga song on the grand piano.

If we look again at THE SIMPSONS for comparison, Franklin is reminiscent of Ralph Wiggum, so it's nice to let him shine in this episode.  We've learned something new about the quirky kid, giving him a lot more dimension - something THE SIMPSONS hasn't done for Ralph in 30 seasons. There's another funny surprise at the end of the episode which leaves Anna Kat proud, "There's tons we don't know about Franklin" and Oliver stunned, "I don't know what to believe anymore."  That's the kind of surprise that makes AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE a cut above the sitcom formula.

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