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Diedrich Bader talks ‘American Housewife’

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The ABC family sitcom “American Housewife,” starring Katy Mixon (“Mike & Molly”) and Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”), returns to air this week in a new time slot following a two-month hiatus. The 2017 winner of the People’s Choice Award for best new comedy can now be seen Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m.

As Greg Otto, Diedrich Bader says his character is closer in personality to the actual Bader than any other character he’s portrayed.

“I usually play really broad characters and I sort of got bored doing that, believe it or not,” Bader told me during a phone interview. “I didn’t have to work hard at all to become Greg. We’re very much alike. I love being a supporting player, so working with Katy Mixon is a real dream.”

On “American Housewife,” Katie and Greg are opposites in most every way, but they make their differences work while raising their kids in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut.

Greg loves the community his family calls home. Katie does not. Greg has OCD and likes everything to be organized and tidy – a trait passed on to the couple’s youngest child. Katie does her best to keep the house from falling down around them.

“She is a great lead,” Bader said of Mixon. “First of all, you care about her very much. She’s funny, she’s beautiful and really fun to work with.”

According to Bader, the original plan for his character was to have him work for a local public radio station. His character’s profession was changed to reflect Bader’s life.

“My dad was a professor and everyone in my family has a PhD, except me,” he explained. “I come from this very learned family but in reality, I dropped out of school when I was 20.”

Bader’s father, William B. Bader, was a member of the United States Foreign Service and later worked for the Ford Foundation. From 1999 to 2001, he was selected by President Clinton to be Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“Yeah, I’m kind of the black sheep of the family,” Bader said, laughing. “I don’t have a PhD, but I told my dad I finally got one. It’s a sitcom degree but close enough.”

Of this week’s scheduled return of “American Housewife,” an episode titled “The Things You Do,” Bader says it has a storyline that unfolds just like it would in real life.

“You know the little things that your spouse does that drive you completely bonkers, but you don’t bring it up because, really, what’s the point? They’re not going to change it but you let it go because you’re married. This is how you stay married.”

Bader says the show’s writers came together to talk about everything that drives them crazy about their respective spouses.

“We’re talking little things – not the big deals,” he added. “We compressed them all into one episode, and it’s so good.”

The episode – viewable now on demand - reveals Greg’s fondness for filling out tax forms.

“He really loves the process – from filling the forms out to keeping everything in order,” Bader said, citing his character’s obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“You can see where Anna Kat (Greg and Katie’s youngest daughter, played by Julia Butters) got her OCD. I’m kind of like that. There’s such a satisfying feeling to having everything add up and having it all check out. This drives Katie completely crazy, so she starts bringing things up and Greg starts throwing things back at her. The episode escalates from there.”

According to Bader, the episode was bumped up to air this week as the premiere episode in the show’s new time slot.

“It’s really funny and every married couple in America can associate with it,” he said.

As our interview came to a close, Bader had a message for readers of The Maine Edge.

“Stay warm, State of Maine. You’re a beautiful state.” 


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