Norwalk calls on ABC to halt demeaning jokes

Norwalk calls on ABC to halt demeaning jokes

By Roxy Augeri ’20

Norwalk residents have found themselves target to jokes referencing them in ABC’s hit show “American Housewife.” The show has made numerous references to Norwalk since it first aired on Oct. 11, 2016.

“American Housewife” is a comedy based on Westport and the stereotypes surrounding its wealth. Amidst this, Norwalk has been the brunt of jokes made by the Westport residents in the show.

Andy Ross, a Norwalk resident, first called upon the ABC executives on Nov. 5. Ross said the show included, ”downright prejudiced and often racist jokes […] degrading the city” and that ABC used “students as the brunt of their demeaning and insulting wisecracks.”

These jokes include repeated mentions of Norwalk High School students being pregnant, selling fake brands to Norwalk residents because they were “not sophisticated consumers” and sticking up their noses at swimming in a pool with Norwalk residents.

In response to remarks made on the show, Norwalk Superintendent Steven Adamowski wrote a letter to ABC Entertainment Group President Channing Dungey as well as other executive producers of the show. He asked the network to “cease and desist from targeting Norwalk, directly or indirectly.”

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe was among those who thought the show portrayed Norwalk in an unfair and negative light. “I sympathize with the residents of Norwalk who feel in some way their community is misrepresented as well,” Marpe said.

After outcry from not only Norwalk representatives and residents but State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, producers of the show released a statement Nov. 28 that they would not mention Norwalk in future episodes. No formal apology was released.

The statement did, however, say that “As a comedy, ‘American Housewife’ isn’t intended to offend anyone.” The statement proceeded to talk about how the show was a satire, and wasn’t based on facts about the town.

“I’m just really proud of the city administration and the school system and the support that we got from the media promoting this,” Ross said after the statement was released.

Westport residents are supporting the Norwalk community in wake of the comments. “It’s not right for them to bash or make jokes about towns that actually exist,” Alexa Tuccinardi ’19 said. She believes it is giving the country the wrong impression of a community they know nothing about.