The 'American Housewife' Setting Is So Real

Television shows and movies don’t usually hone in on small towns for settings — it’s too easy to have characters live in Not-A-Real-Town, Iowa, or Won’t-Find-On-A-Map, Arizona, or New York City, because in a city of 11 million people, who could get angry with comparisons to real life? In many shows, especially family comedies, it doesn’t really matter where the family is living — the jokes still happen, and the comedy is relatable. ABC’s new comedy American Housewife has taken the other side of things, choosing to set the Otto family in Westport, Connecticut. Is Westport, Connecticut a real town on American Housewife ?

Considering the fact that the original name of the show was The Second-Fattest Housewife In Westport , Westport plays a big role on American Housewife. The premise of the comedy is this — Katy Otto and her family moved to the tiny town of Westport because the school districts are amazing, and Katy and her husband are really trying to set their kids up for success. They may not fit into the same income bracket as everyone in the town, but they’re renting a nice little house and are dealing with it anyway. American Housewife portrays Westport as very tiny and very inclusive — Katy isn’t one of the skinny stay-at-home mothers who does SoulCycle and drinks green juice all day before checking in to make sure that their kids are still with the nanny. She is double-chinned (in her own words), pizza-stained, and hands-on with everything in her life. Katy is an other in Westport.

I don’t think that it’s fair that American Housewife paints the Westport moms with such a wide brush — they are wealthy, sure, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own problems — but I guess it’s necessary for the sake of the show’s comedy. I wonder, though, if it’s weird for the wealthy moms who are actually in Westport. Do they like being portrayed like that on television? Westport is indeed a real place with actual people. I did a little research on any public outcry in regards to the show and couldn’t find any. In fact, one commenter was actually saddened that American Housewife changed its name and didn’t keep the town in the title.

Located in coastal Connecticut’s Fairfield County about 50 miles northeast of New York City, Westport may have a reputation of being moneyed, but it goes much deeper than that. According to WestportCT.gov, Westport was settled unofficially around 1648, with the first church built in 1711 — the whole town is basically older than the whole country. The town’s website describes how community-driven its residents are, and discusses how its ability to combine old and new makes it a wonderful place to live, reading, “It is this dichotomy between affluent suburb and an old New England town that applies to Westport.”

The biggest attractions in Westport? According to TripAdvisor, people love the Westport Country Playhouse, to see the latest theater productions; Compo Beach, for a swim or a sunset; Sherwood Island State Park, to get back in touch with nature; and the Westport Library, which has programs for kids and adults.

So, yes — Westport is a real place, and its role as the setting on American Housewife definitely matters to the show. However, it’s definitely more than yoga legging-clad moms and Range Rovers, so go give it a visit and discover more for yourself.

Images: Tony Rivetti/ABC (3)