American Housewife - Season 5, Episode 10 Review - Getting Frank with the Ottos

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE hits a milestone 100 episodes with "Getting Frank with the Ottos," one of the zestiest episodes in a long while.  Beleaguered by cast changes, behind-the-scene scandals, time slot changes and indifferent ratings, the show needed to hit one out of the park, and they did with a cleverly structured story that brought the best and funniest out of the family.  

Franklin (Evan O'Toole) wants to do something special for his 100th podcast, aptly called "Getting Frank with Franklin" so he decides to interview each member of the Otto household. But before you can say "George Stephanopoulos" the Ottos uncomfortably discover that Franklin's friendly podcast interview turns into an ambush gotcha segment.

Greg is lambasted for not having any backbone, especially as his election battle heats up. Oliver and Cooper - interviewed together, by the way - are criticized for being too dependent on each other.  Taylor, agonizing between boyfriend Trip (Peyton Meyer) and TA Andre (Chibuikem Uche) is called a 'ho.' And Katie is cut down for being a bad, discouraging mother. Katie, of course, blames this in turn on her own mother, Kathyrn (Wendie Malick).

What works in this episode? Pretty much everything. It's great to see family members interact with each other at long last.  The past episodes had the new Anna-Kat actress silo'd, but here she and Franklin team up as the podcast inquisitors. There are some fun surprise cameos and a flashback scene that will demand Malick get her own series. 

This is also one of few episodes where the show is coyly self-aware: Oliver calls his friendship with Cooper "Cooliver" (using a much used Internet fan term for the could-be couple) and describes himself to Coop as "your boy." Taylor's relationship with Trip gets some blunt advice from grandma Kathryn, "The best time to go job-hunting is when you already have a job." And in a poke at the fourth wall right into some ABC exec's eyes, Katie tells Franklin, "It doesn't matter what time slot you're in, your fans will always follow."

Yeah, that's the stuff!

Next week will be the last episode of a shortened season.

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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