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American Housewife - The Playdate - Review: "Two Steps Forward, Four Steps Back"

“The Playdate” is a perfect way back into the crazy world of Westport. In American Housewife’s winter premiere, we have mommy bloggers rating playdates, a historically gross onion pie, and the case of the missing candlestick.

Anna-Kat is one of the most genuinely adorable characters on TV, but, as Katie and Greg learn, looks can be deceiving. Katie and Greg have spent the first part of the season trying to teach Oliver and Taylor lessons about morals and values, but Anna-Kat may have slipped through the cracks.

And it’s going so well at first! For once, Anna-Kat doesn’t want to wash her hands and Katie and Greg couldn’t be happier. Katie is content to crow to Doris and Angela (during their only appearance in the episode) about Anna-Kat’s uncleanliness. Her friends note that the Otto household has some really low bars, but after watching Anna-Kat struggle with her OCD, the audience feels Katie’s happiness at her daughter’s bad hygiene.

Not only does Anna-Kat stop washing her hands, she has a non-imaginary friend! Katie is thrilled and arranges a playdate at Penny’s house. Angela and Doris don’t share in her enthusiasm. Penny’s mother, Chloe Brown Mueller, is an incorrigible gossip and social media maven. She is so feared in Westport that no one can stop saying her full name. Katie doesn’t understand it until she meets the high-strung and facetious Chloe Brown Mueller for herself. Then she can’t stop saying all three names.

Doris and Angela warn Katie that Chloe Brown Mueller will have some high expectations and Westport’s latest kook doesn’t disappoint. She rates all of her daughter’s playdates and her opinion can make or break a Westport Mommy. Anna-Kat, surprisingly, passes with flying colors and Katie is beaming. Then she and Greg find the silver candlestick.

It’s a testament to Anna-Kat’s innocent image that I first assumed it was some kind of game she was playing with Penny. When you’re little, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to borrow something from someone’s house. Kids don’t understand value. My expectations were shattered when Anna-Kat straight-up admits to the theft with a sociopathic nonchalance. When Katie asks if she’s sorry, she shrugs, “Sure.” Oliver was the red herring. It’s Anna-Kat that Westport needs to watch out for.

Speaking of Oliver, his counterfeit shirt business is going splendidly. He’s so busy that Taylor suspects he has a girlfriend, and still doesn’t connect the dots when she sees him getting coffee with Viv’s housekeeper. Oliver’s new Westport connections come in handy when Katie and Greg make a problem they can’t find a way out of.

At first, Katie wants to pull an elaborate Ocean’s Eleven style heist to put the candlestick back without Chloe Brown Mueller noticing. Greg points out that her plans always end up more like Ocean’s Twelve (harsh) and recommends taking the high road for once. Katie agrees and she and Greg drag Anna-Kat back to Chloe Brown Mueller’s house to apologize.

Greg changes his tune when he meets Chloe Brown Mueller’s husband, a member of the local historical society. Greg is intent on becoming a member himself and baked a truly gross authentic colonial onion pie to woo them. Greg doesn’t want the theft to ruin his chances of membership and quickly agrees to Katie’s original plan. Katie gasses the house with the gross pie and manages to place the candlestick back. She and Greg are happy with taking the low road, but Oliver stops them from feeling too smug.

Oliver reveals the town gossip that Chloe Brown Mueller fired her housekeeper for the alleged crime. When Katie asks where he got his information, Taylor tries to make her own dramatic entrance and surprise reveal, but messes it up by being completely oblivious. Oliver is forced to explain about his new business and Katie and Greg seem too tired to care. Running a counterfeit shirt ring seems to actually be improving Oliver’s moral outlook and his new ear for gossip gives Katie the ammunition she needs to solve her own problem.

In the end, despite all their arguing, Greg and Katie compromise. They take the high road and the low road. They admit to Chloe Brown Mueller and her husband that Anna-Kat took the candlestick, but blackmail them into silence by threatening to reveal secrets about their past, including Chloe Brown Mueller’s true identity as Wanda Wiggly (excuse me, WigglĂ©) and her husband’s humble Norfolk origins. Everybody wins and Anna-Kat still gets to go on playdates with her new friend. As for the trunk full of valuable items she’s taken from other houses...everyone agrees that that never happened.

Happy New Year everyone! What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let me know in the comments!

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