Last month, the networks announced their new shows for the 2017-18 season, which was the culmination of this year's pilot season. The resulting conversation was a vivisection of what did and didn't make the cut. One of the bigger disappointments was the Tina Fey-helmed and Busy Phillips/Casey Wilson-starring show The Sackett Sisters, which even had a moderate online campaign to save the show (unsuccessfully, as it turned out). Wilson is becoming the queen of the "brilliant but gone too soon" comedy (Happy Endings, anyone?), and ATX Television Festival gave a select few of us an exclusive glimpse at what could've been for Wilson and oft-collaborator and BFF June Diane Raphael in a script reading of The Housewives.
Co-written by these two brilliant women, and read by a downright upsettingly awesome group of fellow comedians, including Paul F. Tompkins (BoJack Horseman and Bajillion Dollar Properties), fellow BFF duo Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair (Best Friends Forever and Playing House) and Dan Bucatinsky (The Comeback), The Housewives started from a genius premise. Raphael divulged that she and Wilson wanted to come up with a multi-cam show that was multi-cam for a reason. And here's their reason: what if this show was set in the '50s, but itself was a gone-too-soon pilot because it was too "controversial" for its time? I say "controversial" in quotes because the controversy is simply, "What happens when a housewife actually wants to accomplish something outside of her literal house?"
The idea of taking the "having it all" trope and turning it into an anachronistic controversy worked with a vengeance. I don't want to give away the ending (or maybe I do because this is an unjust world where you'll never get to see it for yourself), but one of the biggest laughs came when Edie (played by Raphael) is finally "allowed" to follow her passion to be a salesman and sells a miracle cleaning product to her husband's boss. Sitting back later, she gets one of the biggest laughs of the day when she tells her husband she's proud of herself for making some money "...even if the check is made out to you!"
After hearing this script reading, it's terrifying to think of all of the incredible shows that never even get filmed. If networks had any sense, they'd greenlight every single Raphael/Wilson property sight unseen, and the world would be a better place for it.