The Rape of Heather Willis
|"The Rape of Heather Willis"|
|Queen of the Willis episode|
Promotional image for "The Rape of Heather Willis"
|Episode no.||Season 7|
|Directed by||Ava Zinn|
|Written by||Ava Zinn|
|Featured music||"You Never Miss a Real Good Thing" and The Woman in Me|
by Crystal Gayle
|Original air date|
The episode deals with Heather grappling with the effects and aftermath and being pregnant from the rape, after she was attacked and raped by one of the male employees at Craven Gifts who was a former classmate of Deanna's at Babyface High School, whom Deanna herself reveals to Ava and Angie she too was raped by another classmate and now Craven Gifts' biggeet deadbeat customer, Horatio Cruz. Forty-five years after stalking Angie for a relationship, it was revelaed that "Fat Bifoot Bobcat" brutally raped her in 1983. Ava and Heather are badly injured and must recover quickly, then go to the suspect's home to dispense justice. This episode is considered very controversial for its realistic and shocking depiction of a violent rape, which is unusual for an animated sitcom. Because of the controversial plot and voice acting, "The Rape of Heather Willis" is one of the most remembered and popular episodes of the series' revival.
The rest of the epsidoe deals with the efforts to bring not only the rapists of Heather and Deanna, but also "Fat Bigfoot Bobcat" to justice and the subsequent harassment that the Willis family receive. It also marks the final appearance of Tiffani Donovan, Anna Pamhouser, Lando Abhrams, Lilly Abhrams, and Trevelle Abhrams, of which the former two were shot and killed at the police station and the latter three were murdered.
The episode saw the introduction of Quillsville Police officers Ramona Battishill, Kymberly Millspaugh, and Elaine Reed as well as Craven Gifts employees Bobby Joe Bones, Zelda Kellie Martin, Amber Jena Irene Battishill, and Natalia Lightner, Craven North manager Ray Grissom, Craven North Assistant manager Hunter Boyd, Craven East manager Shane Kinney, Craven East assistant manager Caitlyn Sparks, Craven West manager Ben Sykes, and Craven West assistant manager Eliot Clingens.
The four-part episode's story was written and directed by series creator Ava Zinn and the teleplay was written by Nancy Boyd, Charlotte Clay, Thomas Higgins, and Dallas Barnes. It was rated TV-14 for intensely suggestive dialogue (D), strong coarse language (L), sexual situations (S) and intense violence (V). The episode was based on Zinn's experience as a three time survivor of rape and featured a live-action disclaimer and warning from Zinn herself.
It received generally mixed reviews, in addition to receiving some criticism for its portrayal of rape and sexual assault. It is mostly known for heavy use of profanity as the episode was bleep censored 212 times on the broadcast version. Ava Zinn revealed 16 of the characters used profanity as follows: fuck was said 149 times on the uncensored version.
Heather is raped by Deanna's former classmate Bobby Joe Bones after she comes home from grocery shopping. Heather says it was Bobby Joe Bones (who happens to be an intern at Craven Gifts) that raped her even though she never saw his face but she recognized his voice after he blindfolded Heather and eventually gets her pregnant.
Upon arriving at the hospital, Deanna becomes furious and lashes out in a profanity-driven tirade as Deanna was raped seven years ago by a fellow classmate Horatio Cruz, who happens to be notorious as Craven Gifts' biggest deadbeat customer, further enraging Ava. At the hospital, Deanna and Heather begin to talk about the situation as they both have been rape victims. It was revealed that Deanna was raped by Horatio Cruz, after attending a graduation party at IUPUI in Indianapolis. Upon learning about this by way of overhearing Heather and Detective Rush talking about the rape, Deanna states to Ava and Angie she never told them until now as Deanna only told her her paternal grandfather and paternal grandmother in 2011 and even tried talking about it to Tom shortly before his death.
Ava, Angie, and the Willis family has problems coming to grips on how Heather could let something like this happen to her which infuriates Heather as much as Deanna, whom herself tells Heather that she isn't alone. She reveals she was also raped and prasied Heather for reporting her rape.
Nancy Bones, who is Bobby Joe's wife, tells the Quillsville P.D. at the time of the rape, her husband Bobby Joe was at home with her which further complicates the charge against him. Bobbby Joe ends up threatening and harassing Heather about keeping quiet. When Ava and Deanna finds out about this, it sends Ava over the edge in which a confrontation ensues between Ava and her employee. Detective Lilly Rush works on trying to convince Nancy Bones to come clean about her husband's actions.
The Willis family and Quillsvillians are desperate to get justice for Heather and Deanna's rape and come up with several plans with only Ava, Heather, and Deanna being successful: Ava, with the help of her team of mostly females at Craven Gifts' main branch (as revealed by Ray Grissom and pointed out by Adrienne Fansler) obtain DNA evidence from Josh Kaufman, Bobby Joe, and Horatio Cruz, as well as Heather's rape kit and pregnancy test. Deanna has her own rape kit in the freezer as she held on to DNA evidence and called Maury Povich after she reveals that Horatio raped Deanna after Ava saw a child that looks familiar to Deanna.
After being felt ignored by the justice system years, Deanna finally turns on Ava and Angie. When Ava tries to tell her that she's taking her problems out on everyone else, she brings up her delinquent past and tells her that she is "the furthest thing from" the perfect father. Deanna also informs Ava that when she and Brandi have their second child, she is considering never seeing her again. Ava is reduced to tears and profusely apologizes to Deanna. Then Deanna confronts Angie who, unable to comprehend her insults, thinks that her transgendered daughter's argument is amusing, even when she points out her destructive tendencies and that she'd go to jail if anyone saw her treatment of her. It dawns on Angie that she's being insulted when Deanna calls him a "wasted woman." Shocked, she demands Ava make Deanna stop, but Deanna refuses on the grounds she didn't stand up for her. Within moments, all three of them turn their abusive criticisms on each other, ending with Angie running away to the master bedroom crying, and leaving Deanna and Heather to discuss what just happened. Despite Heather complimenting her for standing up for herself, Deanna concludes in a deleted scene that the family cannot survive without a "lightning rod" to absorb its dysfunction, and that the enduring antagonism helps keep them together.
Ava and Deanna tries to convince Heather to obtain as much evidence needed to catch her rapist, but Heather learns she is pregnant as a result of her rape. Later, at the alley, Ava, Melissa, Tiffani and Pamhouser discuss the matter, asking if the police can completely solve the situation. Melissa suggests that "police will not do shit" unless there's enough DNA evidence, she suggests killing the rapist, with Tiffani and Pamhouser (as a police officer and state trooper, respectively), is against the idea saying Heather could be charged with first degree murder and wiping out the rape while Ava says it does take one sperm to get pregnant (implying Heather's pregnancy test and rape kit are the only evidence). Tiffani and Pamhouser are still against the idea but Ava and Melissa are in favor of the idea as long as it is justified.
Heather, Deanna, Tabby and Shushu hear the conversation from the den, where Heather has been hiding as she has not been in the kitchen for two days, where Tabby and Shushu discuss gravely injuring the rapist if he does come back. Heather then goes to Quillsville United Methodist Church (with a flask of vodka), where she sits in the sancuary before being accompanied by Tabby and Shushu, who sense Bobby Joe is in the church's men's restroom waiting to attack Heather, but Tabby and Shushu growl, bark and meow Bobby Joe as he tries to apologise to Heather, who hides and is scared for her life. Tabby and Shushu continue growling as Heather arrives at the Willis home as Ava arrives as Angie is at The Drunken Hoosier with Stephanie, Christiana, Jennifer McDavid, and Lilly Abhrams.
Ava then tells Tabby and Shushu to come with her in her truck (who speeds off at 80 miles an hour), Ava, Tabby, and Shushu decide to vicously attack Bobby Joe at his home after learning Judge Akim Anastopuolo set Bobby Joe's bail at $10,000, which Nancy paid in full after selling Bobby Joe's guitar.
Having expected charges against her for assaulting Nancy and Bobby Joe herself with Tabby and Shushu involved, district attorney Pia Yoque reveals to Ava, Angie, Deanna, Heather, Mayor Kelso, Tina Kelso, Commissioner Wolf and Detective Rush they simply do not have enough evidence to proceed yet does inform Ava that her aggravated battey charge against Bobby Joe are nothing and tells Mayor Kelso his approval rating is at an all-time low. Ava and Heather lash out at Yoque attempting to prove her wrong as Ava convinces her she will have enough evidence to proceed once the DNA comes back. After informing Yoque about the fact she is two days pregnant and giving Yoque her positive pregnancy test, Heather flashes her breasts at Yoque and takes Tabby and Shushu (both give her the finger as they are about to leave) outisde the courthouse. After Heather leaves, Yoque decides to charge Ava and Heather for bribery and disorderly conduct and added indecent exposure to Heather as she flashed her breasts to Yoque in the courthouse as well as using excessive force on Nancy Bones. Ava convinces to changes Yoque's mind by sending in attorney Glenn Turner from Port Melissa.
At the Quillsville Police Station, Tiffani reveals to Detective Rush that Bobby Joe did in fact commit three rapes in high school (a 2006 rape of a 10 year old girl in Marion, a 2007 rape of a special education teacher in 2007 and a Babyface High School freshman in 2008). She also discovers Bobby's wife, Nancy, committed aggravated battery in 2004 in Port Melissa and arson in 2019).
Convinced that justice will not be served, Heather gets her own gun, however, as she enters the kitchen, she is knocked out so that Bobby Joe can rape her a second time, during which Heather is seemingly strangled to death. Bobby Joe then goes to grab Heather's body, but she throws Shushu on him (of which she claws him) and Bobby Joe get bit by Tabby. Heather then pulls her gun at Bobby Joe but she misses twice since he is only shot twice in the left side and on his right leg until one final shot hits him finally kills Bobby Joe. It is revealed to be Tabby taking that fatal shot by saying, "if anyone's going to take that bastard down, it's going to be me." Heather is relieved as she was the one to have solved her own rape case and becoming one of the few rape victims to do so. Heather's victory is briefly short lived as Tiffani arrests Heather for first degree murder.
Heather went to trial and testified in her own defense that she researched the 2007 Brigitte Harris case. In a deleted scene prosecutors maintained that Heather had intentionally wanted to take revenge on Bobby Joe. Heather revealed to Judge Akim Anastopoulo that her motive for the killing was not only revenge, but an act to prevent Bobby Joe from raping her and other women.
The judge found Heather not guilty of first-degree murder nor second-degree manslaughter. Anastopoulo stated on the news that "I did not feel that she (Heather) deserved to get any murder charges or anything. So I decided to rule against Mayor Kelso, the Quillsville Police and award the woman $250,000 plus some civil penalties." In Anastopolo's ruling, he states, "The only person who has to get murder charges has to be Bobby Joe Bones and Nancy Mughmaw Bones. The judge does give Heather six months of probation.
At a press conference at his house, Mayor Lee Kelso executes an order to ban all sex offenders and rapists from living and/or working from Quillsville, on the basis that Heather's rape was the 500th since January 2019. The deputy mayor is also present as Mayor Kelso quietly says through his teeth for her to be quiet.
In Part 2, Craven Gifts Manager Ava Willis, sex reassignment surgeon/bounty hunter Melissa Rose, Quillsville Detective Sergenant Tiffani Donovan and Indiana State Master Trooper Anna Pamhouser are undercover in downtown Quillsville are undercover as prostitutes and Tiffani busts a girl for solicitation after the woman tries to hire her to attend an orgy as an active participant. She turns out to be Quillsville First Lady and Craven Gifts Owner Tina Kelso.
Tina is indignant when Tiffani dares to arrest Tina and, citing her status in the community, she threatens to put in some calls to influential friends who will punish Tiffani for entrapment.
Upon processing the arrest Donovan joins partner Detective Sergeant Lilly Rush at the scene of a home invasion & rape which resulted in the accidental deaths of Lando and Lilly Abhrams.
The assailant is suspected to be a serial rapist dubbed 'Fat Bigfoot Bobcat' by the press. Tiffani and Lilly are ordered to work with colleagues Officer Dailey, Officer Reed, and Officer Battishill on the case. Lilly Rush speaks to media about the case. 'Fat Bigfoot Bobcat' watches Rush doing her news conference on TV and likes what he sees.
The same evening at Craven Gifts, Ava takes the statement of Trevelle who wants to report a murder and she details a grisly Satanic ritual she was hired to be a part of.
She claims another girl who went with her was killed. Though she might lack credibility in the court of public opinion Ava believes her. Ava suggests she go in to protective custody but she refuses. The next day she is tracked down by a henchman of the Satanic cult and barely escapes.
Tina Kelso makes good on her threat to call friends to attempt to quash the arrest. This filters down to police Commissioner Wolf who hates Tifani and Lilly anyway and she tries to pressure Tiffani to drop the charge against Tina Kelso.
Tiffani tries the same tactic with police Captain Brad Hunter and Lieutenant Rick Jeffries hoping to make the charge disappear without having to intervene in a way which can be traced to her.
In Part 3, Lilly Rush spends the night at Tiffani Donovan's house, as does Adrienne spending the night at Pamhouser's house, as well as Natalia Lightner and Zelda Kellie Martin spending the night at Melissa's house as well Deanna, Heather, Tabby, and Shushu staying put at the Willis' house, while in an effort to keep her family safe, Ava sends Angie, Ron, Stuart, Brian, Emilie, Hillary, Luanne, and Brynn to a motel after Ava recieves a threatening phone call from the man known as "Fat Bigfoot Bobcat", who they were investigating for the rapes in Quillsville.
Ava is also worried about the safety of Trevelle Abnrams who reported a murder committed by a Satanic cult. She refused Ava's offer of protective custody and has been pursued by the cult's henchman identified as Monique Cruz across East Quillsville.
Officer Elaine Reed's boyfriend kicks her out of the house and hits the QPD with a massive and somewhat humorous lawsuit, claiming their relationship was failing due to Elaine's "unusual appetite for sex" due to being paired up with attractive male and transfemale partners.
Tiffani remains under a cloud after busting Craven Gifts owner and Quillsville First Lady Tina Kelso for solicitation. She and her husband, Lee Kelso insists to TV news reporters that it was entrapment. Tiffani worries about HER reputation in the police community as Internal Affairs investigates her superior Commissioner Chelsea Wolf and Commander-in-chief Leanne McHugh who tried to intimidate Tiffani and multiple others into quashing the charge against both Lee and Tina.
Ava's investigation of Trevelle uncovers a local satanic cult, led by the same Tina Kelso that Tiffani arrested, who is now accusing her of entrapment. The affluent and powerful Satanic cult continues it's ritual abuse of barely legal prostitutes.
Serial rapist 'Fat Bigfoot Bobcat' identified as Todd Unger remains on the prowl though Lilly Rush, Ava, Melissa, Tiffani, Heather, and Pamhouser has figured out who he really is via solid police work by Tiffani Donovan and Lilly Rush and has units watching him. The Quillsville Police Department conduct a stakeout in an attempt to catch Fat Bigfoot Bobcat, but he outsmarts them and nearly claims Ava and Heather as his next victims.
Police brass are perturbed by obstruction of justice allegations about Commissioner Chelsea Wolf and Commander-in-chief Leanne McHugh, but are even more perturbed about the aforementioned $3 million lawsuit filed by the boyfriend of priapismic QPD Officer Elaine Reed. He claims they ruined his relationship to her by pairing her with attractive male and transfemale cops.
In Part 4, Quillsville Police had units watching the home of now-identified serial rapist 'Fat Bigfoot Bobcat' known as Todd Unger but he somehow slipped out, found his way to the Willis' home and attacked Ava, Angie (for the second time), Deanna, and Heather. Injured by the behemoth Heather and Ava nevertheless was able to fight him off but is reluctant to report the attack. It ties in with Tiffani having been accused of entrapment of Ava's boss (Craven Gifts Owner and Quillsville First Lady) Tina Kelso after Tiffani busted her for solicitation. Tiffani's fight to appeal her entrapment accusation uncovers corruption at the hands of the Quillsville Police Department's commander-in-chief Leanne McHugh, who resigns amid the controversy.
Ava ties Satanic cult ritual murders of underage prostitutes to Mayor Kelso via his henchman Monique Cruz but struggles waiting for both Mayor Kelso and Tina to incriminate themselves with something she can take to court to secure a conviction; therefore justifying Kelso's resignation as Mayor of Quillsville. Kelso has powerful friends and is a jurist himself. Any miscue jeopardizes the district attorney's attempt to convict.
Ava, Deanna, Heather, Tiffani and Pamhouser questions whether her word will be believed even though Melissa attempts to convince them to report it to police. Having been raped years earlier the attack brings back the feelings Tiffani, Deanna and Heather had, not only the trauma but the questioning of her credibility and the sense that Tiffani's fellow cops wouldn't look at her the same way again if identified herself as a victim, as Tiffani revelas she was raped by a male Marine in 1995. She resolves to find a way to settle it differently. As it turned out according to DNA results, Horatio Cruz allowed his sister, Monique, to rape Deanna in order for Monique to get pregnant by Horatio tying Deanna up and Monique actually raping Deanna (implying Deanna is the biological father of Monique's child) and Heather was in fact raped by Bobby Joe Bones and the biological father of Heather's unborn baby.
Officer Elaine Reed struggles to reconcile with her estranged boyfriend whilst doing her job. Officer Reed and Officer Dailey are part of the 'Fat Bigfoot Bobcat' investigation though it appears that only Tiffani is making any headway.
Trevelle Abharams, whom Ava had been keeping tabs on is murdered by a member of Mayor Kelso's cult. Mayor Kelso and Tina Kelso are arrested by Lilly Rush.
Todd Unger, known as "Fat Bigfoot Bobcat", is arrested after he beats and nearly rapes Heather and Ava. Mrs. Unger takes her own course of action against him, but not before fatally wounding Tiffani and Pamhouser.
Production and development
The episode's teleplay was written and directed by series creator and execuitive producer Ava Zinn and teleplay was written by Nancy Boyd, Charlotte Clay, Thomas Higgins, and Dallas Barnes and edited by Ava Zinn.
The episode saw the introduction of Quillsville Police officers Ramona Battishill, Kymberly Millspaugh, and Elaine Reed as well as Craven Gifts employees Bobby Joe Bones, Zelda Kellie Martin, Amber Jena Irene Battishill, and Natalia Lightner. Additional characters introduced are Craven North manager Ray Grissom, Craven North Assistant manager Hunter Boyd, Craven East manager Shane Kinney, Craven East assistant manager Caitlyn Sparks, Craven West manager Ben Sykes, and Craven West assistant manager Eliot Clingens. It also saw the final appearance of Tiffani Donovan, Anna Pamhouser, Lando Abhrams, Lilly Abhrams, and Trevelle Abhrams.
The episode reveals Craven Gifts' employees are diverse:
- Craven's main branch's staff of Bobby Joe Bones, Reginald Wilson, and Scott Schuller are the only remaining males at the main branch with Ava and Adrienne are Craven's only all-female management team.
- Ray Grissom reveals (and confirming Tina) that Craven Gifts staff are mostly have fat guys. Series creator Ava Zinn confirmed this was due to Indianapolis being one of the fattest cities in the United States.
- Eliot Clingens reveals that he is not only has been the assistant manager of Craven West since 1999, and the only females on the staff are an accountant and a few sales associates.
- During the conversation Ava and Adrienne have with the Craven Gifts meeting at The Broken Boilermaker, Ava reveals that Caitlyn is the assistant manager of the of Craven East.
In addition to the regular cast, Tracia Matthewson guest starred in the episode as Nancy Bones, Frank Davidson reprises his role as Officer Jarrett Dailey, actress Kathryn Morris reprises her role as Quillsville Police Sergeant Detective Lilly Rush, and David Caruso reprises his role as Harry Willis, who has provided his voice of Ava's father on five previous occasions ("Ten, Pretty, Pretty Angry Women", "The Unbearable Homophobia of Laying', "Buckeye Ava", "A Willis Thanksgiving" and "Quillsville Cold Case: Albert Willis").
In the episode, Heather decides to raise her child conceived in rape, the traumatic effect of the rape and the child's blood relationship to the rapist had the potential to create some psychological challenges (as Heather killed her rapist), but the circumstance of the child's conception is no guarantee to cause psychological problems. Ava Zinn states that Heather could have difficulty accepting the fact (as Heather wanted to have another child, yet it wasn't under the circumstances she dealt with). As Heather is already a mother of one daughter, series creator Ava Zinn states that she will give birth to a boy the following season.
In announcing the episode, Zinn states that Heather may also face legal difficulties as Heather's rape occured in Indiana. Had Bobby Joe survived, he would have maintained parental rights as Heather is to be the biological mother and Bobby Joe's paternal rights would be terminated anyway. Research by legal scholar Shauna Prewitt indicates that the resulting continued contact with the rapist is damaging for women who keep the child. She wrote in 2012 that in the US, 31 states allow rapists to assert custody and visitation rights over children conceived through rape.
Part 1 of the episode is based on Ava Zinn being raped by a female on April 22, 2015 (which was reported as a female on male rape) in Marion, Indiana, as well as two other times in 2002 and 2010.
Death of Pamhouser and Tiffani
In a Marti McDaniel Show interview with Karly Jameson that aired on CBS 13 Orlando in November 2019, Jameson revealed why they decided to kill off Pamhouser and Tiffani in the episode, saying: "Well, this was an idea that got pitched in the writers room a year ago and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up. As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes and future could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the dynamics and the characters." She also explained why they decided to kill off Pamhouser and Tiffani and not one of the other characters, saying: "It seemed more in the realm of a reality that two females (Tiffani and Pamhouser) would get shot and killed than if one of the transfemales (Ava and Melissa) died. As much as we love Pamhouser, and as much as everyone is loyal to their friends, we felt it would be more traumatic to lose Ava or Melissa, rather than the Pamhouser and Tiffani."
She also discussed how the other Queen of the Willis actors reacted when they heard Pamhouser and Tiffani would be killed in the episode, saying: "I think they were glad it wasn't them. [Laughs.] I think they were surprised, as anyone would be and I think they were pretty stunned especially this far into the show. They were as shocked as anyone." She also explained why they decided to replace Pamhouser and Tiffani with Alisan, Karly, Avril, and Kendra, saying: "It felt like the way that this show was conceived by Ava all those years ago, was this entire friend and family unit. So by losing Tiffani and Pamhouser, it felt like a void needed to be filled both comically, and also for the interpersonal relationships between all the characters. We felt that we needed to fill that role."
She went on to explain why they decided to place Kendra Kendall back to Quillsville saying: "I think it was Ava's idea actually place Kendra with Ava and Melissa. She loves television news and always loved the idea of Hoosier Anchorwoman! Kendra Kendall handing out with Diane Willis' cousin and Stephanie Rose's husband in particular and she thought it would be fun to write a character based around Kendra Kendall, her family and her personality and just who she was before Hoosier Anchorwoman! and now on Queen of the Willis." She went on to discuss if she was worried about the backlash from Queen of the Willis fans, saying: "I'm not, only because our fans are smart enough and have been loyal to our show for long enough, to know that they can trust us. We always make choices that always work to the greatest benefit of the series."
In January 2020, Ava Zinn spoke about how she was surprised by the fan reaction after Tiffani and Pamhouser were killed off, saying: "It surprised everyone. We were all very surprised, in a good way, that people still cared enough about those characters to be that angry. We thought it would create a little bit of a stir, but the rage wasn’t something we counted on."
"The Rape of Heather Willis" features several references to media, music, film, and other pop culture phenomena. The episode's title references series creator Ava Zinn's three sexual assaults from 2002, 2010, and 2015.
The character of Bobby Joe Bones is a parody of Nashville radio personality Bobby Bones. Ava Zinn began to write the episode just seconds after Bones was announced the winner of the 27th season of Dancing with the Stars.
Part 1 was bleep censored 157 times by 16 characters: Heather was bleep censored 47 times, Ava 32, Deanna 27, Angie 14, Nancy Bones 6, Bobby Joe Bones and Lilly Rush 5 each, Officer Battishill 3, Officer Dailey, Pia Yoque, and Tabby twice each, and Shushu, Ray Grissom, Amber Battishill, Akim Anastopolouo, and Officer Millspaugh once. This episode is notable for using the word "fuck" 118 times out of 157 (mostly "what the fuck").
"The Rape of Heather Willis" first aired on WXXC in Fort Wayne on April 5, 2019 at 8:00 PM preceding INNCD 47 Action News at 7 and succeeding INNCD 47 Action News at 9 and INNCD 47 Action News at 10. The episode first aired on WEVI the following Saturday at 5:00 PM in Indianapolis.
In Fort Wayne, the episode compete against Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless on ABC-owned WMRI, MacGyver on NoSirGifts flagship station and CBS affiliate WTOR, Blindspot on United Broadcasting-owned NBC affiliate WFTW, Last Man Standing and The Cool Kids on Fox-owned WINO+, Dynasty on United Broadcasting-owned CW affiliate WGOM, and a repeat of Hogan's Heros and WKRP in Cincinnati ABC-owned MeTV affiliate WECW.
In Indianapolis, the episode will compete against an NBA basketball game on ABC-owned WHOO, The Masters on NoSirGifts-owned CBS affiliate WIFX, IndyCar series or Golf on NBC-owned WNBI, The PGA on Fox-owned WIND, and repeats of The Rifleman on ABC-owned MeTV affiliate WICW.
This episode received mixed critical reviews. One critic wrote of the episode before it aired, "The chilling serious episode of Queen of the Willis cripples the show’s strengths." Other shows, even the procedurals with rape and incest, are playing around during prom season, Queen of the Willis went for an episode about rape that wrote off any chance that comedy could save it if things took a wrong turn." The critic praised Ava Zinn's performance Ava Willis and Heather Willis like we never saw them before. It made Ava Zinn endearing every bit the opposite from from a typical episode, and I applaud Zinn for taking part in the #MeToo movement"
Another critic gave the episode a slightly more positive review, writing, ""The Rape of Heather Willis", judging by only the title, could have been a Lifetime movie or a made for TV film in the Ava Zinn fashion or anything else than a typical episode of the show, but it was pretty much a typical episode of the show." He continued, "it's pretty much that episode where someone on the Queen of the Willis writing staff needed a new way to get out of its comfort zone and this episode saw a family dealing with rape."
- Prewitt, Shauna R. (2010). "Giving Birth to a 'Rapist's Child': A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape". Georgetown Law Journal 98 (3): 831–62. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. https://web.archive.org/web/20121024060610/http://georgetownlawjournal.org/articles/giving-birth-to-a-rapists-child-a-discussion-and-analysis-of-the-limited-legal-protections-afforded-to-women-who-become-mothers-through-rape/.
- Prewitt, Shauna (22 August 2012). Raped, pregnant and ordeal not over. CNN
- "Queen of the Willis' Shocking Death: Boss Reveals Why They Decided to Kill Off [Spoiler]!". WLOF-FTV. 2019-11-24.
- "Ava Zinn breaks silence on why she killed Pamhouser and Tiffani: Didn't expect 'rage'". 2020-01-07.
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