American Housewife S4E20 “Prom” Episode Discussion SEASON FINALE

Written by Harrison Cheung

ABC commemorated the current pandemic with a special "virtual prom" night with AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE. Of course, given that this episode would have been produced before the lockdown (AH lost one episode from their fourth season), the original story would not have anticipated a non-prom.  Perhaps because of a mid-production halt or hasty editing, this episode feels the least cohesive or satisfying.


Cooper decides to throw his own prom on his yacht. The "prom alternative" event will be a catered and DJ'd affair called "CROM."

But Oliver decides to ditch his best friend's 'Crom' to instead take a girl he met only as a troubled voice on Teen Hotline to 'prom.' 

Taylor and boyfriend Trip teach Greg to shoot a three-pointer so that she can complete her life skills list.

And is something bullying Anna-Kat? Katie is on the hunt for the offending kid's mother.

Knowing that fans of the show have been wondering about the true nature of their relationship, one might wonder who Oliver and Cooper were planning to take as dates to "crom" in their matching tuxedos. Perhaps the answer would have been in the never-produced episode 21?

When Katie discovers that it's actually Anna-Kat doing the bullying, she is surprisingly underwhelmed which seems off character when you remember the Otto's moved to Westport for Anna-Kat's special needs.

The oddest misfire is Oliver's volunteer gig, Teen Hotline. Originally an extracurricular activity to replace ballet as his ticket to Harvard, Teen Hotline is a device to show that the originally shallow, capitalistic materialistic Oliver is maturing to become more empathetic. But clearly, the writers at AH have never worked at a teen hotline as they breach every confidentiality rule in existence.

A few episodes ago, Oliver tracked down a football player who called the hotline, struggling to come out of the closet.  And in this 'Prom' episode, he agrees to meet a caller who doesn't have a prom date. Okay, we get it - Oliver is becoming more empathetic, but could he manage his personal growth without making a mockery of teen hotlines?  Any kid watching AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE is going to think that they have zero confidentiality when they call, or that they can call in for a date. Cringey is that the date ends up being a classmate of Taylor's, so this girl would have known about Taylor's brother.  Extra cringey is the hotline's supervisor - yes, it's a little funny that she is always manic - but in this episode she jokes about a possibly underage relationship between her father and the prom queen who ends up becoming her stepmother, and then she hits on Oliver, asking him when will he turn 18.

The episode (and season) ends with a few minutes of bloopers which makes me think it was either incomplete or hastily edited to be the "virtual prom."  As the season finale, 'Prom' graduates on a low note. It's a little disappointing that sloppy writing is making the show less plausible.  Being able to identify with the plight of the Otto's has always been the core of the show. 

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