NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk is no longer going to be the butt of jokes on a Disney comedy series.
On Monday, State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) released a statement condemning the new ABC sitcom American Housewife for “its denigrating portrayal of Norwalk residents.” On Tuesday, American Housewife’s producers released their own statement:
“As a comedy, ‘American Housewife’ isn’t intended to offend anyone. We’ve heard the concerns of the people of Norwalk and have made the decision to omit any mentions of the city from future episodes.”
Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski recently sent a letter to ABC, which is owned by Disney, saying that “the insults about Norwalk children on a national network TV show are not funny. Rather, they are pejorative, demeaning and divisive.”
A petition organized by Andy Ross to ask ABC to stop insulting Norwalk had 555 signatures on Tuesday evening, with 404 of them said to be from Norwalk residents.
Duff on Monday mentioned that the Halloween episode of the show, “where the daughter of the main character dresses as a pregnant-looking high schooler and tells her mother that she and her Westport girlfriends are all dressing as ‘Norwalk prom girls.’”
Duff, like Adamowski, wrote to ABC Entertainment Group President Channing Dungey asking the network “to cease its attacks on Norwalk and to issue an apology to the nearly 90,000 people who call Norwalk their home,” Monday’s press release said.
“I am writing to you as a fifth generation resident of Norwalk, the father of a Norwalk High School student, and as the state senator for the 25th Senatorial District, which includes the City of Norwalk,” Duff wrote to Dungey on Nov. 21, according to the press release. “Norwalk is a diverse city with our students coming from all walks of life and all over the world. To be targeted by an entity owned by the Disney Corporation is uncalled for. Your company supposedly preaches family values and claims to be family friendly. I’d like to know how many of your writers have actually ever been to Norwalk.”
Duff’s press release said:
“American Housewife” debuted on ABC on October 11, 2016 and has just begun its second season. ABC describes the sitcom as “a confident, unapologetic wife and mother of three raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with ‘perfect’ mommies and their ‘perfect’ offspring.”
“American Housewife” has received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes, which describes itself as “the leading online aggregator of movie and TV show reviews from professional critics,” gives “American Housewife” a failing grade of 6.05 on a scale of 1-10, and notes that while the show “is boosted by a strong and enjoyable lead performance … (that) performance alone strains to sustain an excessively quirky show that relies too heavily on stereotypes.”
The website WesportNow.com reports that Kenny Schwartz, a 1985 graduate of Staples High School in Westport, is an executive producer of “American Housewife” and that the lead male actor on the show, Diedrich Bader, is married to actress Dulcy Rogers, who is a 1982 Staples High grad.
Signatures on the petition were rolling in Tuesday, with Rebecca S. saying at 3 p.m., “I am disgusted with ABC and Disney for putting this bigoted, bullying piece for viewing by anyone who happens to turn on the tv. In today’s climate what the world needs now is love, sweet love, not hate. Shame on ABC and Disney. Norwalk deserves an apology.”