‘Mom’ Series Premiere Review

Published 2 years ago by

mom premiere review Mom Series Premiere Review

Once upon a time, the TV landscape was dominated by strong, funny, working-class women on shows like Roseanne and Grace Under Fire, and then all of a sudden, those shows went away and very few replacements followed in their path. Could the Anna Faris-starring Mom make inroads toward honoring the ideals of those aforementioned shows? Perhaps, but it’s not there yet.

Created by Gemma Baker, Eddie Gorodetsky, and the King Midas of CBS sitcoms, producer Chuck Lorre (who spent time working on both Roseanne and Grace Under Fire in the early ’90s), Mom puts Faris into a character (Christy) that has seemingly just bounced off of rock-bottom. Christy is four months sober, a high school dropout, a former teen mom and current waitress who is sleeping with her married boss while trying to be a good mom; this doesn’t sound like a launchpad for comedy, but Faris makes it work and  makes us care.

This is a sitcom with a bit of heart and a lot of talent on the screen. Joining Faris is French Stewart (hilarious in small bites as an acid-tongued head chef named Rudy), Nathan Corddry (as Gabriel, Christy’s boss), Breaking Bad alum Matt Jones (as Baxter, Christy’s ex), and of course Allison Janney as Bonnie, Christy’s mom.

The similarities that connect Bonnie, Christy, and Christy’s teenage daughter Violet (Sadie Calvano) are a big part of this show. Christy is obsessed with righting her own personal ship so that she can stop acting like her mother – someone that she resents for both her hard-partying ways and the poor example that she set. It’s clear that Christy also blames Bonnie for her own fractured relationship with Violet, who resents her for the same reasons that Christy resents her mom – but there is definitely some projecting going on here.

There’s a great scene with Faris speaking up while at an AA meeting. She’s discussing her horrible upbringing, blaming her mother, while injecting a bit of well-timed humor to swaddle the seriousness of the moment. When Christy’s character sits down, though, she’s lightly confronted by Bonnie, whom she has been estranged from for quite some time.

mom premiere review kitchen Mom Series Premiere Review

The two go out for a meal at a cafe after AA, but the situation implodes when Bonnie reveals that she has set herself right and that she has a better relationship with Christy’s daughter Violet than Christy does. In that moment, jealousy takes over, but following that, Christy realizes that if she wants to mend fences with her daughter, she needs to set the right example and re-admit her mother into hers and her children’s lives.

Faris and Janney play well off of each other. Faris is slightly high-strung and cynical as Christy, but Bonnie is more easy-going and not-at-all self aware that she is embarrassing her daughter; but then again, what mother is?

Mom is clearly dedicated to telling a coherent story with these characters, and with that, the show is already better off than a lot of other cookie-cutter sitcoms that just go for the obvious joke, without letting the audience in to see them earn that moment of levity.

This is the kind of show that you want to root for. It’s relatable, but if there is any shortfall right now, it may be in the comedy department, because while the show is funny at times, most moments are merely smirk-worthy. On the plus side, though, one figures that better humor will come, since the minutiae of Christy’s life is fertile ground for it to bloom. Until that happens, though, this show is nowhere near the path to following the likes of Roseanne.


Mom airs Mondays @9:30 PM on CBS.

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. It’s on FOX? Cause it was on CBS when I watched it last night…. :)

    • Oops. Sorry about that. Fixed that up.

      • Nothing to apologize for Jason! Great work! Love your writing!

        • That’s very nice. Thank you.

  2. I watched it, I absolutely hated it. like Chuck Lorre’s other shows it looks like this show will have maybe one funny moment in an entire episode. To make matters worse the big difference in this show and Big Bang Theory, and Two and a Half Men is that the characters are extremely unlikable, horrible people, not in a It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia overblown funny horrible, like how actual detestable people act in the real world. The cast i will say is very good at their jobs, it’s not their fault that they were given nothing to work with. Between the unfunny writing, unlikable characters, and the very serious subject matter they’re trying joke about, it really is quite a dumpster fire of a show. I feel like this thing would never have been greenlit if Chuck Lorre name hadn’t been on it. The guy clearly knows how to pull in the same audience to the TV screen that Adam Sandler pulls in to the movie theater. Props to him on that, i’m sure this will become a hit and will win awards it has no business even being nominated for.

    • You expressed my feelings on this show perfectly. I hated it. I LOVE Big Bang Theory & I enjoy 2 & a half men from time to time. Typically I find that Chuck Lorre is associated with shows that can make dysfunction comical. This show? Not so much. It was abysmal & I found myself more irritated than anything else. I didn’t laugh at all. However, I don’t see it winning any awards. I think it will probably be cancelled if it keeps bringing in poor ratings.

  3. My first choice for an early cancellation. Any show that has such an
    annoying, overpowering laugh track is covering for a lack of comedy
    writing. Sorry, Chuck, a real loser. CB

    • I will admit that I always find laugh tracks to be jarring.

  4. i cant stand the Faris lady…but im pulling for Badger ha

  5. Oh don’t worry Jason. TV might have abandoned the “strong, working class woman” tokens, but the “weak,whining, cuckolded, pathetic” men have been burning up the TV shows and movies for decades now, with no end in sight. Yay for realistic, dominate women!!!

  6. is that Badger from Breaking Bad?

  7. I thought the best parts were the background throw-away scenes with French Stewart and his kitchen staff. I’ll give it my usual 3 episodes for them to get their sh*t together, mainly because I like Anna Faris; however, so far I’m not liking her character, or any of the other main ones for that matter. I have enough annoying, whiney people in my life. I’m not going to watch them on TV as well. Sadly, the annoying whiney generational axis of characters DOES seem to be their main hook, so I don’t think even French Stewart can save this.

  8. Love it!!!!! What a great show!!!

  9. Why is Violet always, always, always, always, always sitting at the kitchen table? It’s annoying the sh*t outta me

  10. The two shows mentioned at the beginning of the article, are, in fact, vintage Chuck Lorre. Just to point out.
    Mom blew me away with the first minutes of the first episode. It’s not about easy laughs squeezed from whimsical hijinks. It’s about confronting life without illusions, yet still to manage to laugh. Complaining about the characters not being ‘nice’ or the core plots of each episode ‘not being funny’ is like complaining that King’s Cujo ‘is just about a dog’.
    Mr. Lorre is in his 60′s now, and is getting his drama on. 2.5 men are painful to watch ever since wooden guttural women with lopsided smiles have been accepted as ‘a type of acting’ — and the only actor left — an aging Alan — is far from enough to save the show; but The Big Bang Theory is as strong as ever, and Mom — Mom is great. So far only 3-4 weak episodes out of 10, which is the most one can hope for when dealing with TV.

    • I agree that this is “vintage Chuck Lorre” – and those are the only ones I’ve ever liked to watch.
      “Mom” was something we just tuned into at the start of the season for lack of anything else to watch that night, and it’s quickly become one of our favorite programs of the week in my house.