“I’ve literally been pregnant on the show for the last two seasons. It’s all I’ve ever known,” Mixon jokes. “I think I’m going to take a break.”
Mixon recently wrapped Season 2 of “American Housewife,” which has just been renewed for a third season. It’s part of ABC’s crop of family comedies, a brand that recently received a boost with the “Roseanne” reboot, a ratings juggernaut that convinced the network to expand next season to a ten-sitcom schedule.
When “American Housewife” first debuted, Mixon’s outspoken character, Katie Otto, was compared to Roseanne Conner by some reporters. Mixon said she hasn’t yet met Roseanne Barr, and “I don’t know what I would say to her. I grew up watching her, that show. So it’s surreal that we’re all on the same network. It’s been a monster!”
Mixon recently stopped by IndieWire’s TURN IT ON to talk about “American Housewife,” what it’s like to graduate to being No. 1 on the call sheet, and how the show may depict the most realistic marriage in comedy. But first, as she was just weeks away from giving birth to her second child, Mixon shared how her real-life motherhood has coincided with playing a mom on TV. Listen below!
Created by Sarah Dunn, ABC’s “American Housewife” revolves around Katie Otto (Mixon), a strong-minded wife and mother who doesn’t quite fit in with all the perfect wives and mothers in their wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut. But that’s not going to stop Katy from doing things her way, and hopefully instilling some sort of values in her three children along the way.
Diedrich Bader plays her husband, Greg, while the kids all have their own unique quirks: Meg Donnelly is the rebellious teen Taylor Otto, Daniel DiMaggio is Taylor Otto, a modern-day Alex P. Keaton, and Julia Butters is the obsessive-compulsive youngest child, Anna-Kat Otto. To keep her sanity, Katie is often seen conversing with her pals, played by Carly Hughes and Ali Wong.
“I think that it celebrates what a marriage can be, and what it’s like to have a teammate in life,” Mixon said. “They really love each other, they have that they really dig each other. And that’s so fun to watch. You don’t see that on TV a lot.”
Mixon landed the role on the show soon after wrapping six seasons of “Mike & Molly,” playing Victoria opposite Melissa McCarthy. She still remembers watching McCarthy adjust to superstardom after the release of “Bridesmaids”: “I got to witness the world witness her. And literally, it was magical.” Mixon now takes some of what she learned watching McCarthy lead a show to starring in “American Housewife.”
“For whatever reason, I read the first page of the pilot and immediately connected to her,” she said. ” I couldn’t be more opposite of her. I don’t get mad at a green juice and if you want to do yoga, please do. But the thread that runs through is she’s a firecracker and she says it like it is. And I’m a firecracker in that if there’s a problem I’m going to handle it. That’s what I tapped into. I was searching so much from that Victoria character, smoking weed and showing the cleavage. Talking about something different, they don’t have to put makeup on me and I don’t have false eyelashes and I’m covered from head to toe and have three children.”
Mixon is also now the star — but she said she doesn’t think about that all too much. “I came from the theater,” she said. “It takes a team. We need everyone. It’s not just No. 1 on the call sheet. I love to have kindness and respect and a place for where we can create. I love creating that atmosphere the best that I can, and the prop guy is just as important as the assistant director, and the set production assistant is just as important as the cinematographer. I come at it from that perspective. I think in the sense of it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s a beast. The schedule is a beast.”
Indeed, Mixon is in most scenes — and the show averages 25 to 35 scenes per week, which takes place over five days.
“I remember in the first season asking, ‘Is it possible, can we just do it in six days?’ And they said, ‘No honey, we don’t do that at ABC.’ I was like, ‘OK, duly noted, here we go!'”
“American Housewife” has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award, while the show itself has earned critical attention thanks to Mixon’s lively and no-nonsense role.
“It’s really come into its own,” Mixon said. “Whenever you’re blessed and given a second season, you can really let the characters evolve. That first season, you’re setting everything up. It’s background, where they’re coming from, what they want to do. And then you get to marinate in it, that second season. Which is the biggest gift.
Originally titled “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport,” the name was ditched in order to broaden out beyond that joke.
“I love the fact that it has branched out,” she said. “Everybody’s got to start somewhere, but what has been the coolest thing and what I latched on to was everyone deals with insecurity. No matter what gender you are or what background you come from, everyone knows that feeling. So for me, dealing with that and bringing to life Katie Otto, there are so many different levels to her. The weight situation was in bright colors in the beginning but it’s evolved.”
“American Housewife” will air this fall on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.
IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now on TV — no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.
Special thanks to KROQ’s DJ Omar Khan for the new theme song!