TV Review: ‘Mom’

"Mom" TV review CBS

Polished CBS pilot will test '2 Broke Girls' lead-in - and Chuck Lorre's stamina

Chuck Lorre’s already-sizable CBS footprint continues to grow with “Mom,” joining “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and a midseason “Mike & Molly” to bring to four his one-man renaissance of the multicamera comedy. While the show breaks little ground, it’s a fairly polished and inordinately well-cast pilot, with a central duo and underlying theme — mother-daughter relationships, and repeating destructive patterns — that should resonate with a chunk of its target audience. At this point, the principal danger is whether in success Lorre might run out of cranky things to say on all those show-ending vanity cards.

Anna Faris stars as Christy, a woman for whom life hasn’t panned out as intended. She got knocked up early and is so distraught over working as a waitress in a high-end restaurant that a casual compliment about her service unleashes a torrent of tears.

Christy isn’t faring much better in raising her teenage daughter (Sadie Calvano), who is already exhibiting a rambunctious, sleep-around streak, prompting mom to tell her, “Don’t lie to the woman who washes your sheets.”

Seeking consolation at an AA meeting, Christy runs into her mother, Bonnie (Allison Janney). When Christy recalls seeing her mom snort cocaine out of shag carpeting, Bonnie cheerfully dismisses the maneuver as simply being “thrifty.” If Christy considers her mom with about as much enthusiasm as the title character in “Ray Donovan” reserves for his dad, the new and improved Bonnie is a sprightly sort and eager to help out, setting the foundation for the series in motion.

If that sounds like little more than “2 Rehabbing Gals” to follow “2 Broke Girls,” Lorre and co-creators Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker also have given “Mom” a fairly solid B-plot environment, with Nate Corddry as Christy’s manager and French Stewart as the restaurant’s imperious chef.

One suspects the show will ultimately rise or fall on the Faris-Janney material, and just how far it can push the you-were-an-awful-mother shtick, coupled with the occasionally warm-and-fuzzy flourish, without becoming stale.

Still, Janney seems like a natural for this sort of comedic turn, and her character’s zen-like attitude, not over-thinking things and living in the moment, hits home. By that measure, “Mom” has the bones of a pretty durable TV show. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how many laughs you can snort out of that carpet.

TV Review: 'Mom'

(Series; CBS, Mon. Sept. 23, 9:30 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles by Chuck Lorre Prods. in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Crew

Executive producers, Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, Nick Bakay; producers, Gemma Baker, Michael Collier; director, Pamela Fryman; writers, Lorre, Gorodetsky, Baker; camera, Steven V. Silver; production designer, John Shaffner; editor, Peter Chakos; casting, Nikki Valko, Ken Miller. 30 MIN.

Cast

Anna Faris, Allison Janney, Nate Corddry, Matt Jones, Sadie Calvano, Blake Garrett Rosenthal, Spencer Daniels, French Stewart

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  1. Maritsa Ramirez says:

    I really don’t understand why the show promotes recovery but then the Mom is dating a drunk. Me personally being in recovery it’s not something that should be promoted this kind of relationship does not work in real life it’s setting you up for relapsing..

  2. karen says:

    can’t stand this show can’t stand farris role whining about her mom get over it already cancel this forced mess please….

  3. The funniest show on T.V. From the minute the show starts, Im laughing hysterically! I cant believe it didnt win for best and funniest show!!! Everyone I know LOVE, Allison Janney and Anna Ferris! We love the characters on the show! Cant wait until Thutsday night to watch!!! Thank you, for such a hilarious show!!!and thank you for making Thursday night something to look forward to!!!

  4. David N. Seaman, Phd says:

    Spectacular review and easy upon which to comment 15 months later. Still, based upon the pilot, the craft way in which the story is laid out creates more and more connections for Americans. From affirmation tapes, problems in raising children as a single parent (“Mom, my underwear are crunchy; they were soft yesterday”) boyfriends sneaking out of windows and coping with the mistakes of one’s past.
    You don’t have to be in AA to relate to this. The pairing of Farris with Janney is hitting one over the green monster. Janney prooved her ability for physical comedy in the cold open of the pilot for “The West Wing.” Farris showed her exposed heart and honest performance in a long arc on “Friends” as the teen birth mother of Chandler and Monica’s twins, culminating in a scene stealing performance at child birth.
    Chuck Lorre knows how to surround himself with brilliant people and let them be brilliant, something he didn’t learn as a staff writer on “Roseanna.”
    As “Two And A Half Men” finally limps off the scene, “Mom” will replace it and Allison Janney, whose skill surpasses Charlie Sheen and work ethic is not about ego, will serve Lorre better, psrticularly for those of us who stopped watching “Men” shortly after Walden Schmidt came in and despite Kutcher’s gifts, he was nothing more than a battle of wills to show Sheen who was the bigger man. (“Anger Managment” leveled THAT field, particularly with the first ten seconds of the pilot.)
    Put the backstory back and enjoy this brilliant show.

  5. Steve says:

    I TRIED to like this show,BUT, NO WAY IT STINKS!

    Every few seconds the cheesy laughing track appears.

    I can’t stand the forced laughing track, it’s just weird. :/ Sorry.

  6. Barbara says:

    I absolutely love Mom! I laugh from start to finish! Anna Faris and Allison Janney are a perfect fit. CBS do not cancel this show! It is a hundred times better than “The Goldbergs” which I think is just awful!

  7. Harborgal says:

    Aren’t we past “LAUGH TRACKS”! Do you need to tell us when to laugh, apparently so in this comedy that is all about the ugly side of our society. . .drugs, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, hookers, etc. Where’s Bill Cosby when we need him!!

  8. Deb says:

    Ok I have given it two viewings….still not good. I love Allison Janney. Therefore, will probably give it one more chance but, I don’t think she is going to be able to lift up this low brow material.

  9. Bob Mck says:

    What is this show – drug addicts anonymous. Idiot writers… when Anna ask boyfriend if the boss is okay, he says, “Yah. He just bought an eight ball (1/8 ounce of cocaine) and went home with the pastry chef.” This is what young writers think is funny. And three other mentions of cocaine in the script. Have a Coke and smile, fire the writers and cancel the show. Dumb!

  10. Laura says:

    I cannot stand the laugh tracks – but that was the least of the issues I had with this show. Garbage, unfunny, not original.

  11. gleapman says:

    Interesting how all of the positive reviews are one line. Read like plants.

    Anybody with a brain and/or a sense of humor was unlikely to find anything funny in the pilot. IOW, it sucked. (And the over-the-top laugh track didn’t help.) But it’s never good to judge a show by the pilot. Give it two or three outings to see if it calms down and becomes funny.

  12. Patty says:

    this show was the worst show ever!!! I am very disapointed, I got stressed out even more by watching it. This tv show makes married with children look like role models. This show, should not be seen by young adults. What kind of message is it sending? It’s ok to be sleeping around with a married man? it’s ok for a teen to be pregnant? It’s ok for the older mom to have done major drugs, and all of the sudden, she’s there to help with her grandchildren? how about the dad? worthless, playing violent video games, with his extremely young son, and then asking for money to buy drugs? come on, please take it off the air, it’s embarrasing.

  13. Karen Jones says:

    I found this show offensive. There is nothing funny about any family going thru addiction problems and even worse nothing funny or cute about a un wed teen age girl becoming pregnant. The upper class who write this worthless junk – should try living it on an every day basis not funny at all. Garbage show that I hope gets cancelled shortly.

  14. James Carr says:

    That first show was AWESOME!! this is the best comedy I’ve seen in many years, this one better last!!

  15. Enza says:

    This is one of the best shows to come along in a long time!! Love it!!!! Anna Faris is awesome!!!

  16. Raymond says:

    Great new show!!! I love Anna Faris and she did not disappoint. Bottom line…it’s funny!

  17. Jeff says:

    Your review of Mom. Really?

    Dad playing GTA with a little kid and says “don’t be afraid to hit the hookers with a bat” ugh

    Later dad says that’s my semen at work.

    Shit writing. And that’s not even all the gags on alcoholics.

    Jeff

    Sent from my iPhone

  18. Jim says:

    “Mom”..good review(s). “Dads”..bad review(s).

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