Queen of the Willis
|Queen of the Willis|
|Also known as||Queen of the Willis: The Next Generation (seasons 7-)|
|Written by||see article|
|Directed by||see article|
|Creative director(s)||see article|
|Narrated by||see article|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||204 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Ava Zinn|
|Editor(s)||Marco Berger (entire run)|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound|
|First shown in||United States<|
|Original run||First series:|
August 12, 2006 – May 31, 2012
March 1, 2019 –future
Queen of the Willis is an American animated sitcom created by Ava Zinn that ran from August 12, 2006 to May 31, 2012. It centers on the Willis family, a middle-class American LGBTQ family in the fictional city of Quillsville, Indiana. It attempts to maintain a realistic approach, seeking humor in the conventional and mundane aspects of everyday life. The series centers on the Willis family, a family consisting of parents Ava and Angie; their children, Tom, Deanna, and sextuplets Stuart, Ron, Brian, Luanne, Emilie, and Hillary; and their anthropomorphic pets: crab Heather, dog Tabby (formerly Rags), and cat Shushu.
The family was conceived by Zinn after developing two animated comic strips, Frank's Life and Frank & Brittani. Zinn redesigned the films' protagonist, Frank, and his wife, Brittani, and renamed them Ava (after sex reassignent surgery) and Angela, respectively. Zinn pitched a seven-minute pilot to ATE Media in 2004, and the show was greenlit and began production. Shortly after the sixth season of Queen of the Willis had aired in 2012, NoSirGifts canceled the series. However, favorable DVD sales and high ratings for syndicated reruns in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis convinced Fox Fantasy Television Stations to pick up the show in 2018 for a seventh season, which will begin airing in 2019. The seventh season and revival is scheduled to premiere on March 1, 2019.
The series debuted in syndication mostly airing on the ATE Media Corporation owned stations in 2006 before moving to NoSirGifts Fantasy Television Stations in November 2007, quickly becoming a hit. The series' popularity led to nationwide syndication, and reruns formerly aired nightly on NoSirGifts-owned My 50 (WIFX-FDT2) in Indianapolis and INNCD 47 (WXXC) Fort Wayne from 2010 to 2018.
A total of at least 200 episodes aired over the course of its 6 seasons.
As of June 19, 2020,[update] 204 episodes of Queen of the Willis have aired, currently in its eighth season.
- 1 Series synopsis
- 2 History
- 3 Revival
- 4 Setting and characters
- 5 Episodes
- 6 Reception
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Archival sources
- 10 External links
Queen of the Willis is set in the fictional large town of Quillsville, Indiana. The show centers around the Willis family, whose head is the ever-responsible, hard-working, loyal, disciplined, and honest Ava Willis (voiced by Ava Zinn). The pun title refers to Ava's wife, Angie, as Ava is the head of the family. Ava is employed as a manager (formerly assistant manager) at Craven Gifts, selling "retail and retail accessories". She is very traditional and moral, and she takes exceptionally good care of her speaking anthropomorphic dog, Rags/Tabby Willis; cat Shushu; and crab Heather (all also voiced by Ava Zinn), which she treats, more often than not, as a member of the family and as a human. Ava is married to Angie Willis (née Donaldson) (voiced by Holly Everman, later Karly Jameson), a native of Utah, who is abumbling yet well-intentioned blue-collar worker; she has also found employment and avocation as a freelance author, notary and real estate agent. Her overconfidence and trusting nature often leads her into getting involved in complex schemes that Angie does not recognize as criminal or irresponsible until it is too late.
Tabby and Shushu are the respective diabolical dog and cat of ambiguous sexual orientation who have adult mannerisms and uses sterotypical archvillain phrases while Heather is teh witty, smoking, cocktail-swilling, sarcastic, English-speaking crab, though Tabby, Shushu, and Heather are still considered pets in many ways.
Ava and Angie have nine children (eight are living): transgendered son Tom Willis (voiced by Pauly Shore, later Leonard Lai), Deanna Willis (voiced by Candis Cayne, later Rachael Passalt), sextuplets (three sons Brian Willis, Ron Willis, and Stuart Willis; daughters Emilie Willis, Hillary Willis, and Luanne Willis), and daughter Brynn Willis (respectively voiced by Tim Doogan, Ava Zinn, Alexandra Moffitt, Jacqui Fountaine, Andrea Coolranch, Donna Doogan and Maribel Mort). Tom was an often-bullied teenage transgendered boy that was constantly ridiculed or ignored by the family until his death in the fifth season episode Quillsville Cold Case. Deanna, the transgendered daughter, is an awkward young adult who is generally friendly and well-liked, but not very bright, and often prone to making bad decisions, and in many respects is simply a younger version of her father. Brian, Emilie, Hillary, Luanne, Ron, and Stuart were born in the third season episode And Then There Were 13!. Brynn was born in the sixth season episode Moving On after the marriage counselor Lynsay Gerardo got prenant by Ava in Therapist Hopping 2. Ava also has four children from three previous relationships: a daughter, Breeanna Sellars with Christiana Sellars (voiced by Marla McClinton), a son and a daughter, Stan and Dominique with Brittani Hicks; and a son Dylan Porter with Alisan Porter. Deanna later marries Brandi Sousa (voiced by Crystal Bowersox, later Karly Jameson), a layabout who lives on the commissions she earns from real estate deals and gives Ava and Angie their first grandchild, Tessanne.
Throughout the series, Ava's nephew Austen Willis, the son of her brother Albert Willis and his alcoholic and scheming ex-wife Julie Crawford, and their dog, Baxter/Bianca, lives with the Willis family. Naive and very eal, Bianca was orginally encouraged to move out by her Aunt Ava, but over time, he accepts her and Austen as a member of the family. Bianca and Austen later respectively marries an unnamed transguy and girl in the eighth season.
Ava has a healthy relationship with her father, Harry Willis (voiced by David Caruso), a kind man who lives in Iowa. Ava is, at first, uncomfortable with her father being gay after he begins dating Clyde Claussen (voiced by Lai, later Phil Allen), a Muslim transman, but she is more reasonable when he marries Finola Atkinson (voiced by Finola Hughes). In contrast, Ava has a love/hate relationship with her neck-less mother, Master Educator Peggy Willis (voiced by Zinn), a hateful middle school and high school teacher who verbally abused Harry and Albert, and unapproving of Ava's gender transition during their marriage, leading to their divorce. Peggy, who spends most of her time at strip joints, later marries the much younger Charlie Harvey (voiced by Ted Shields, later Hunter Diaz), a candy striper who attended kindergarten when Ava was already an adult. Together, Peggy and Charlie have a daughter, "A.A." ("Amazing Ava"), who bears a striking resemblance to Deanna.
Angie, meanwhile had a love/hate relationship with her stepfather, Ned Shanks, over the religous views. In contrast, she has a healthy relationship with her mother Lisa Shanks, a kind woman who lives in Marion, Indiana. She divorces Ned in the fourth season episode "Sexist Father". Angie discovers in the fourth season episode Revenge of the Male Anchors 2 that longtime Indianapolis news anchor Bob Donaldson is the biological father of Angie Willis, and accepts him, his wife Skye, and his three children, Laura, Drew, and Sarah. Donaldson and Ava's cousin Diane Willis co anchor at Fox 11 Quillsville.
Other main characters include Ava's friends and their families. Melissa Rose (voiced by Alexis Arquette, later Kendra Ray) is the Willis' paranoid next-door neighbor and Ava's best friend. As a result of her paranoia, she does not trust the government or "the system". She owns her own medical practice performing sex reassignment surgeries on both humans and animals, and she is also a licensed bounty hunter and president of the Quillsville Mace Club. Melissa is married to Stephanie Rose (nee Dawson) (voiced by Robyn Hurd, later Kylie Dwyar), a weather girl—and later anchor woman—for the Channel 24 news and since season 8, at the new CBS 40. The only Rose child, Connie (voiced by Nichole Birky; later Karly Jameson and Alexandra Moffitt) is the result of Stephanie's 15-year-long affair with Reginald John (voiced by Luka Runecraft), a Native American healer. Their affair is obvious to everyone except Melissa and Angie, who suspects nothing, idealizing her philandering wife and considering Reginald John one of her best friends. Stephanie does break it off with Reginald John in the sixth season episode Stephanie Does Michiana. Melissa is so utterly oblivious that when someone finally tells her the truth, she denies it. She decides instead that the reason Connie looks so very un-Melissa-like is because aliens genetically modified the sperm which they had stolen from her (prior to her own gender transition) in order to secretly impregnate Stephanie. Connie's personality definitely resembles Melissa's: naive and not too bright, Connie likewise believes that Melissa is her biological father (though unlike Melissa, she eventually finds out). Whenever she has a problem, she seeks advice from her best friend, Deanna, and together they get into trouble as a result of their combined enthusiasm and naivety.
Living across from the Willis family was Quillsville Police Seargeant Tiffani Donovan (voiced by Alexandra Moffitt), an anorexic underweight, divorced, and clinically depressed woman. Tiffani was unlucky in love, though she finds near-success with several men and women, including the fictionalised daughter of former Indiana Governor Joe Kernan. The series briefly depicted her entering into a long-term relationship with Lando's father, though later format changes would retcon this. Throughout the series, she often expresses an unrequited attraction to Angie, which she occasionally uses to rope Tiffani into her schemes. Despite her popularity in high school, she was seen as a loser. Tiffani was a former a Sergeant in the United States Marines, where she gave haircuts to soldiers and currently to police officers.
Anna Pamhouser (voiced by Ava Zinn), known simply as "Pamhouser", also lived across from the Willis. Pamhouser was a slim chauvanist whose mutterings are hard to understand to the audience, but easily understood by her friends and most other characters. Despite her gibberish speech, she sang clearly; she also spoke fluent French. Her occupation was not explicitly stated; a single line early in the series indicates she was an electrician living on worker's comp. The sixth season finale revealed that she was a Indiana State Trooper. Her given name, "Anna", was not revealed until the fifth season.
Early in the series, the Abhrams, an upper-middle class Laotian family, move in next-door to the Willis. The family consists of the materialistic transman Lando (voiced by Leonard Lai), his social-climber wife Lilly (voiced by Karly Jameson), and their teenage daughter, Jen, Jr., or "Trevelle" (voiced by Candis Cayne; later Rachael Passalt). Lando, born female and transitioned to male—fled poverty in Laos to become a successful businessman in America—was often at odds with his neighbors, believing them to be hillbillies and rednecks due to their lower socioeconomic status. Lilly often became involved in activities with Angie, Stephanie, and later Jennifer and Christiana, whom she looks down on as uncivilized and ignorant, despite still considering them her best friends. Trevelle had been pushed by her father to become a child prodigy and excels at a variety of things from academics to music, though she rejects her father's materialism and judgmental nature. She developed a relationship with Tom that blossoms into romance over the the series before Tom's death. Trevelle often accompanied Deanna and Connie on their misadventures as a neglected voice of reason. Tiffani, Pamhouser, Lando, Lilly, and Trevelle die in the season 7 four-part episode "The Rape of Heather Willis."
In season 8, Kendra Kendall (Zinn) and her transgendered husband, Miles (Luka Runecraft) from Hoosier Anchorwoman!, Alisan Porter (herself), and Karly Jameson (herself) move in next door to the Willis. Kendra moves back to Quillsville from Michiana Falls while Alisan Porter moved back to Quillsville from Worchester, Massachuttess and Karly Jameson moves from Speedway to Quillsville.
Other minor characters include former Quillsville mayor Lee Kelso; Tina Craven (voiced by Alexandra Moffitt), Ava's licentious boss at Craven Gifts until the end of season 7; Jane Jill (voiced by Alexandra Moffitt) and Adrienne Fansler (Breeanna Sorensen), Ava's co-workers at Craven; Principal Eric Halvorson (voiced by himself), Tom and Deanna's principal at Kennth "Babyface" Edmonds Regional High School; Lynsay Gerardo (voiced by Ashley Gardner). Additional minor characters include Nicole Pence, who becomes Quillsville's mayor after Lee Kelso resigns, Quillsville police officers.
Because it replaced Hoosier Millionaire on the ATE Media Network, portions of Queen of the Willis episodes were often pre-empted by sporting events that ran into overtime; in season one especially, whole episodes were pre-empted. Ultimately, enough episodes were pre-empted that the majority of the series' 5th season—initially intended to be the final season, consisted of unaired fourth-season episodes. This lead to ATE Media canceling the show after its first season.
In 2006, NoSirGifts acquired the rights to Queen of the Willis. With the move to NoSirGifts, the second season premiere episode Therapist Hopping became the first episode of the series to be produced in widescreen high definition when it aired on November 26, 2007.
Queen of the Willis' fate was sealed on June 29, 2012 when srtong winds damaged NoSirGifts' productions and knocked production off schedule. Without enough money to rebuild the production suite, NoSirGifts on July 2, 2012 opted to cancel Queen of the Willis and focus on Vote for the Girls.
On May 24, 2018, in the wake of broadcast networks reviving their own popular classic series (Will & Grace on NBC, Roseanne on ABC, Murphy Brown on CBS and The X-Files for Fox), Fox Fantasy Televiision Stations announced it had given a series order to a thirteen episode revival of Queen of the Willis and Hoosier Anchorwoman! for the 2019–2020 season. Ava Zinn is set to return as executive producer. On August 27, 2018, it was announced that Season Atkins would direct the revival's pilot episode.
On July 16, 2018, it was announced during the upfronts presentation that the revival will have Ava becoming manager of Craven Gifts, Angie Willis working at the Mississinewa Cola Company, Deanna Willis and Heather Willis being unemployed, Rags undergoing a sex change and living as a female named Tabby, Shushu coming out as a bisexual, and the family struggling to support the Willis family as the Sextuplets turn 10, with Ava's old friends, co-workers at Craven Gifts adjust to Tina's retirement after marrying Mayor Lee Kelso. On September 9, 2018, it was announced that the series would premiere in the fall of 2019.
Alongside the initial announcement of the revival, it was confirmed that Ava Zinn would reprise her role as the voices of Ava Willis, Tabby Willis, Shushu Willis, and Pamhouser. On August 26, 2018, it was announced that Karly Jameson would take over the voice of Angie Willis and Brandi Sousa, and other roles formerly voiced by Holly Everman and Robyn Hurd; Rachael Passalt joining the cast and reprising her role as the voice of Deanna Willis, Kendra Ray joining the cast as the voice of Melissa Rose replacing Alexis Arquette; Lee Kelso, Bob Donaldson, Diane Willis also joining the recurring castand reprising their roles from the series' original run.
Several original cast members had died in the interim between the original and revival series: Garfield Everman (who played most of the male characters) died in 2011, Robyn Hurd (who played Adrienne Fansler, Angela Stroup, and several older female characters) died in 2012, Leonard Lai (who played Tom Willis) died in 2015, and Holly Everman (who played Angie Willis and other young female characters) died in 2017.
On November 19, 2018, Ava Zinn announced that she had brokered a deal with CBS Fantasy Television Distribution, ABC Fantasy Television Stations, DakMedia, United Broadcasting and NoSirGifts Broadcasting to see Queen of the Willis. Stations that also carried the original program, such as
Three United Broadcasting-owned stations: CW affiliates WEVI (instead of ABC-owned WHOO or NoSirGifts-owned CBS affiliate WIFX), WMIA (instead of NoSirGifts-owned CBS/independent duopoly WFSF-FTV/WAZN-FTV or ABC-owned WCBM-FTV) Miami and KIAA (instead of NoSirGifts-owned NBC/Fox duopoly KZCO-FTV/KDNC-FTV or ABC-owned KTRJ-FTV) Denver) and Fox-owned stations WSBI-FTV in the Michiana area (instead of NoSirGifts-owned CBS affiliate WXSB-FTV or ABC-owned WTXI-FTV), WTTD-FTV in the Detroit area (instead of NoSirGifts-owned CBS/MyNetworkTV duopoly WDMI-FTV/WWJD-FTV or ABC-owned WDET-FTV), WKYI-FTV in the Kentuckiana area (instead of NoSirGifts-owned CBS/independent duopoly affiliate WKJM-FTV/WSDF-FTV or ABC-owned WLOU-FTV), picked up the revived series as well.. ABC-owned stations in Chicago, Philadelphia, San Franscisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and NoSirGifts-owned stations airing QOTW include WFAN New York, KJLA in Los Angeles, KJTX in Dallas-Fort Worth, KWSH in Seattle, WNEI in Evansville, WVTH in Terre Haute, WLIN in Lafayette, IN and WXXC in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fox-owned stations airing QOTW are WBX (Fox 2) Boston, WXDC (Fox 9) Washington, DC, (Fox 5) Phoenix, (Fox 32) Lexington, and WKGR (Fox 36) Grand Rapids.
As part of the deal, WXXC in Fort Wayne would be the first to air the one-hour telecast Fridays at 8:00 p.m. (ET) with CW affiliate WEVI Indianapolis showing the telecast Saturdays at 5:00 p.m (ET) before the rest of the country.
The Queen of the Willis reboot premiered on Friday, March 1, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. on WXXC; Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. on WEVI. The show will air Saturdays at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT)/8:00 p.m. (CT/MT) on CW and MNT affiliates; Saturdays at 12:00 a.m. (ET/PT)/11:00 p.m. (CT/MT) on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates as part of their local schedules.
Setting and characters
2006-08 and 2019
In the opening sequence of the first two seasons of the original series and the first season of the revival, Ava joins Melissa, Tiffani, and Pamhauser (later Melissa, Kendra, Karly and Alisan) at the curb outside her house in the morning. When she opens her can of soda pop, the playback speed increases greatly and depicts other main and secondary characters carrying out various daily activities around them. Meanwhile, the four (later five) continue drinking soda and a nearby recycling bin fills with their empty cans. When Angie brings a bag of garbage out to Ava, the other three (later four) leave and the playback returns to normal speed as she takes it to the trash can and gathers with Angie, Deanna, Tom, and the Willis sextuplets.
The opening theme was "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis. For season finales there is a slight variation. Season one's finale added a "yahoo" to the beginning and the 2-6 finales accompanied the "yeehaw" with a dinner triangle.
Starting with "The Steak Nazi", a new version of the Queen of the Willis intro was created in-house which first appeared on the seventh season premiere of Vote for the Girls with Ava Zinn & Alexandra Moffitt. The opening sequence begins with a shot of Quillsville that is meant to represent the site's home base and ends with the Flag of Quillsville, a tribute to the American soap operas One Life to Live and All My Children. Then, transparent “glamour shots” of each character is superimposed over shots of buildings, landmarks and sights of the city are shown on the screen. The opening sequence added the names to the opening to help newer viewers pick up quicker on who is who.
Queen of the Willis is set in the fictional town of Quillsville, Indiana. In addition to drawing inspiration from Indianapolis, Zinn has described Quillsville as "a town like New Haven" (a suburb of Fort Wayne). Indianapolis Monthly magazine praised the authentic portrayal as the "most acutely observed, realistic sitcom about regional American life bar none". As seen in the episode, "Ava's Colt Movie" the town has a population of 290,600 people.
Though the location is based on suburbs of the Indianapolis, the physical location of Quillsville id directly east of Indianapolis. The area s on the Craven Gifts delivery trucks was "765" and later "463," indicating a setting of Anderson or Muncie. Three episodes give conflicting ZIP codes for the Willis residence: In a Season 4 episode, Ava receives a letter with her zip code 46301 which in real life is the town of Beverly Shores, Indiana, while in another episode the ZIP code is 46104, indicating that the Willis live in Arlington, Indiana. In a Season 3 episode Tiffani Donovan writes Melissa a check for a million dollars. Tiffani Donovan's checks has her address with ZIP code 46304, the ZIP code of of Chesterton, Indiana. The address of the First National Bank of Quillsville is different but illegible (4?1?? possibly, which would also be an unassigned Indiana ).
Quillsville includes settings such as Evansville Road, where the Willis' and other major characters reside, and Craven Gifts, Ava's employer until retiring at the end of season 7. Also included are parodies of well-known businesses, such as Aldi-Lo Mart (a parody of Aldi and Walmart), Bradidos (a parody of Bandidos), Karsh Supermarkets (a parody of Kroger and Marsh Supermarkets). Ava's friend and neighbor Tiffani Donovan was a hair stylist at Fort Indianapolis an army post (similar to Grissom AFB) near Quillsville. Most of the children in the show attend Vivica A. Fox Elementary School, Bart Peterson Middle School (named after the former Indianapolis Mayor), Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds High School. Early in the series, the schools are referred to as being in the Marion County School District (according to markings on the school buses), though in later seasons this is changed to Quillsville Independent School District.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||12||August 12, 2006||November 11, 2006|
|2||23||November 26, 2007||March 24, 2008|
|3||24||September 5, 2008||May 8, 2009|
|4||45||August 14, 2009||April 9, 2010|
|5||38||August 20, 2010||April 22, 2011|
|6||16||January 27, 2012||May 11, 2012|
| 7 (a)
|34|| March 1, 2019
July 12, 2019
| May 17, 2019|
November 22, 2019
|8||13||January 17, 2020||May 15, 2020|
|9||30||October 2, 2020||May 7, 2021|
|10||22||September 17, 2021||May 13, 2022|
|11||22||September 2, 2022||February 24, 2023|
|12||22||August 18 2023||May 17,2024|
|13||12||August 16, 2024||November 29, 2024|
|14||22||February 2025||Summer 2025|
|15||40||Fall 2025||August 7, 2026|
|Network||Originally aired||Nielsen ratings|
|Time slot (ET)||Season premiere||Season finale||Ranking|| Viewers|
|1st||2005–06||12|| ATE Media Corporation
ATE Media Indiana Network
|Saturday at 7:30 pm||August 12, 2006||September 30, 2006||#111||5.2|
|2nd||2006–07||23||NoSirGifts Fantasy Television Stations
|Varies by station||November 2006||May 20, 2007||#109||5.5|
|3rd||2007–08||24||September 22, 2007||May 17, 2008||#105||6.6|
|4th||2008–09||45||September 27, 2008||May 8, 2009||#95||6.0|
|5th||2009–10||38||August 14, 2009||April 9, 2010||#95||6.0|
|6th||2010–11||16||August 20, 2010||April 22, 2011||#95||6.0|
|7th||2018–19||12||First-run syndication||March 1, 2019||May 17, 2019||TBD||TBD|
|2019–20||22||July 12, 2019||November 22, 2019||TBD||TBD|
|8th||13||January 2020||May 2020||TBD||TBD|
- Television in the United States
- List of animated television series
- Queen of the Willis (soundtrack)
- List of Queen of the Willis episodes
- "Remote control: Back home in Indiana, Ava Zinn keeps 'Amanda & Elisa' clicking".
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