American Housewife - Season 5 Episode 7 Review - Under Pressure


In this episode Greg and Katie are forced to have dinner with Principal Ablin and new wife, Maria. Oliver is feeling the pressure to ace his SAT's. And Anna-Kat deals with suddenly being popular at school.

What worked? This was a rare episode with no Cooper or Trip, so it gave the writers space to have Taylor help Oliver deal with stress, with everything from primal scream therapy to goat yoga (with Luther substituting as the goat) to meditation. Add to this, the return of Oliver's creepily inappropriate Teen Helpline boss, Debra (Jade Catta-Preta), and you have the best secondary story of this show.

What didn't work? Unfortunately, this episode continues American Housewife's uneven streak of mixed quality writing marred by a continued siloing of replacement Anna-Kat actor, Giselle Eisenberg. Seriously, this new Anna-Kat never seems to interact with her siblings. I don't think she's ever appeared in a scene with Taylor and Oliver.  Anna-Kat and Franklin have their own little show where they just deal with the kids at school and Katie.  The result is that these separate segments are slower paced than the Taylor-Oliver segments or the Katie-Greg-Ablin-Maria segments. That's not fair to Eisenberg - the rest of the cast have had years of chemistry together - but keeping Anna-Kat and Franklin on their own doesn't do them any favors.

We're already resigned that Greg and Katie aren't going to win 'parents of the year' but this episode had to equate Katie's high school popularity with promiscuity, especially when she proudly reads out her yearbook accolades which included "Most Likely To Have a Prom Baby."  Given that Katie is trying to coach Anna-Kat how to exploit her new-found popularity, this was definitely a mixed message.

The episode also took a couple swipes at Debra's online degree. Since the pandemic has forced so many colleges and universities to switch to online formats, the joke was particularly tone-deaf. There are a lot of funny things about Debra, so why go there?

American Housewife has had a tough year, with COVID impacting production of many shows, the loss of popular cast, and the unenviable challenge of introducing new characters. Now comes the news that the show's fifth season has been slashed from 24 to just 12 episodes this season which will undoubtedly affect larger story arcs - will Taylor and Trip break up? Will Cooper and Oliver? Will Greg win a seat on city council? And will Doris ever come back from Hawaii? 😆

Harrison Cheung is the author of the award-winning biography of Christian Bale (BenBella Books) and a contributor to Brave New Hollywood and The TV Ratings Guide.

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