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American Housewife - The Minivan - Review: "They Grow up to be Morons"


It's another season of American Housewife and the Ottos are entering a new era and growing up!

And with growing up, means selling the minivan, the "symbol" of being a family with little kids. And despite the memories the old clunker holds, Katie and Greg are eager to sell it off, so they set the kids to cleaning the thing up while they go to the school for a meeting with Principal Ablin about Anna-Kat. Principal Ablin has big news. Anna-Kat is being "sprung from the loony bin! (Principal Ablin's words!)" Her OCD has improved so much that she won't need to spend part of her days in the special education class, so it's goodbye to the "Quacky-Factory" for the Ottos (Another of Principal Ablin's words)!" Katie's not completely convinced Anna-Kat is ready. After all, she did just watch a bomb shelter movie and turn the entire closet into a doomsday bunker! But, hey, on the bright-side, a nice Russian doomsday prepper named Mikel who Anna-Kat met on the radio has offered them a place to stay if they ever go to St. Petersburg!

Katie and Greg arrive home to find the kids working on cleaning the car, which seems to be going pretty well, except for the fact that Taylor is using scouring powder to wash the back, and she's taken half the paint off! Horrified that Taylor, who's only got a year left of high school, still doesn't know so many common-sense things, Katie and Greg decide to make a list of "adult" things they need to quickly teach Taylor, like how to cook an egg. Unfortunately, they forget to specify that the egg must be edible, and Taylor attempts to stick one in the microwave.

Later, everyone gets ready to go to Oliver's ballet recital. Oliver, however, refusing to ride in the car with the paint missing (He's worried they'll get mistaken for the guy who sells empanadas out of the back of his van!), rides his bike instead. The rest of the family arrive at the recital, but there's no Oliver insight. Katie's not happy that he's so late and states that he "better be laying in a ditch somewhere!" Turns out, he is! (A guy drives by, seeing him and his mangled bike and offers him a ride to help, but an injured Oliver vows to stay in the ditch until a "Mercedes or better drive[s] by!"

Turns out, Oliver broke his ACL and can't dance for 6 to 8 months. He's devastated, as dancing is the extracurricular that he's banking on getting him into Harvard. Greg assures him there are other activities he can do that will look good on his application. He'll find something, he's "an Otto, after all!" Oliver agrees he's right. He is an Otto. And if he can overcome being born in such a "disadvantaged family," he can overcome this. He compares himself to "one of those Brazilian orphans who was raised in a landfill and starts his own shoe company." Katie compares him to a "kid in a coma with a mother in jail!" Unfortunately, Oliver takes Greg's advice a little (okay WAY) too far. Greg and Katie find photo-shopped pictures of him doing fake extracurriculars like participating in a crew team, ala Aunt Becky style!

Meanwhile, Anna-Kat has she has her own problem to worry about - Katie. Katie gave her a new watch to celebrate graduating special ed - and Franklin realizes it's a spy watch that lets Katie listen to everything Anna-Kat says! (Franklin recognizes it because his mom put one on him "when [she] found out [he] was crawling through [their] neighbor's doggy door to use [their] steam shower.") Apparently, Katie's been so worried about Anna-Kat turning into as much of a screw up as Taylor and Oliver seem to be of late, that she got the watch from Angela (who used it on one of her numerous exes - don't ask!) so she could always know what Anna-Kat was doing. Anna-Kat decides the best way to get back at her mom is to mess with her head.

Katie and Greg converge on Oliver to talk about the Photoshop scandal. Oliver tries to convince them that cheating is the only way for him to get into Harvard (Otherwise he might have "a horrible life. Go to Cornell, make low six figures, and join a country club where [he'll] only have a social membership because [he] can't afford golf and tennis privileges!") Katie and Greg are terrified to realize just how stuck up and entitled Oliver really is, so they decide to send him down to volunteer at the homeless shelter and see how hard some people really have it.

And just when they think they've seen the worst their kids can be, Katie and Greg overhear Anna-Kat and Franklin talking about buying beer and cigarettes on the spy watch! It looks like her plan to mess with them worked! Just as they're about to have a MAJOR "Come to Jesus" moment with Anna-Kat, she reveals she knows about the spy watch and was trying to teach them a lesson herself. She asks that they come to her if they ever feel worried about how she's going to do now that she's not in special ed, and Katie and Greg realize they were wrong to try and spy on her.

Taylor, meanwhile, decides to knock as many things off her "adult" list as possible. She drives Oliver down to the homeless shelter, volunteers some herself, calls the store about getting the paint job fixed, and even figures out a way to get the bad smell out of the van! Katie and Greg are thrilled until they find out how she got the smell out of the van, that is. Taylor lit a bunch of scented candles and left them in the van. Surprise! The van's on fire! Yeah, Taylor still has a ways to go.

Random Thoughts:
-I loved Katie and Greg's differing versions of when they brought the mini-van home!

-Funniest (and definitely brattiest quote) goes to Oliver, about how he's going to miss the minivan - "The day you guys brought it home was the day I decided to go to Harvard so I could become rich and never have to drive this symbol of middle-class mediocrity."

What did you think of the season premiere of American Housewife? Is there hope for the Otto kids yet? Let me know below!

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