American Housewife - Season 5, Episode 9 Review - The Heist

"Make Westport Greg again?" Katie helpfully suggests as Greg's election slogan for city council.  So begins a snap, crackle and pop episode of AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE that zips by so quickly, with such balance that none of the cast members feel deprived.  A quick glance at the credits and I see that this episode was helmed by director Chris Koch, a veteran of MODERN FAMILY, so no surprise that he deftly handles the Ottos and friends.

But, what are we laughing at in this episode?  Greg wants to run his campaign on the theme of integrity, so he's feeling politically vulnerable when Taylor starts hanging out again with the three Joshes (three delinquent bruhs from a few seasons back) and ends up getting arrested when she is caught in a neighbor's hot tub. In Westport, the local newspaper runs the police blotter to shame the public, so everyone knows who gets arrested.

Cooper (Logan Pepper) is also feeling muy useless when Oliver's project partner, Trevor (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), brutally points out that Cooper is nothing without his money.  "Defend my honor!" Cooper whines to Oliver.  The boys soon try different professions on for size, including a hilarious scene with Cooper, Oliver and Franklin (Evan O'Toole) trying their art skills by sketching a portrait of Anna-Kat. Yes, the new Anna-Kat finally interacts with her TV brother!  By the time Cooper figures out his skill and possible calling, Franklin delivers a beautiful speech about "the last days of summer." It's Franklin dialogue (and AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE writing reminiscent of Linus from PEANUTS, Brick from THE MIDDLE, and Dewey from MALCOLM) at its touching best.

Meanwhile Katie and her new Second Breakfast Club, Tami and JD, plan a heist to break into the fertility clinic so that JD can look up personal details of his potential egg donors.  JD still wants a baby, and, this is where I wonder what we're laughing at: Katie eggs him on (sorry) to break and enter a clinic, crack a computer and steal confidential patient records.  Okay, yes, this is a light-hearted sitcom, but in a world particularly sensitive about medical confidentiality and cyber security, this heist seems to be particularly tone deaf.

AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE has never been about preachy morals, but this is still an episode that leaves you wondering what were the writers thinking?  Trip is not around in this episode, so Taylor decides to hang out with three guys in a hot tub? And in an attempt to keep Taylor's arrest out of the newspaper, Greg makes a political deal with the newspaper owner's son, who happens to be the obnoxious new waiter, Walker (Jim Rash), who is joining Katie's Second Breakfast Club.  For Greg, who wanted to run a campaign on integrity, the episode shifts gears into his descent about using white privilege and political connections.  Oh well, this is AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE. It wasn't too many seasons ago when Katie faked a pregnancy (and kept the baby shower gifts) to get out of volunteering at school!

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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