×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Instant Mom’

Mother by marriage? Nick's 'Instant Mom' mirrors ABC's 'Trophy Wife'

With:

Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Michael Boatman, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Sydney Park, Tylen Williams, Damarr Calhoun

In one of those strange twists TV tends to produce, Nickelodeon and ABC have churned out almost exactly the same sitcom within a week of each other, only with different titles and racial make-ups. Enter “Instant Mom,” a fluffy half-hour of silliness coming to Nick at Nite, starring Tia Mowry-Hardrict as the young party gal who marries an older guy and inherits three kids. While this should not be confused with “Trophy Wife,” the ABC series, viewers who do are to be forgiven.

Granted, there are some cosmetic differences, like Sheryl Lee Ralph (currently featured on the other end of the spectrum in “Ray Donovan”) as the disapproving mother of Mowry-Hardrict’s Stephanie, who has trouble finding opportunities to have sex with her doctor husband Charlie (“Spin City’s” Michael Boatman) when the three kids are around.

Those weekend visits, however, are naturally about to become more permanent, further complicating Stephanie’s home life, as she struggles to be both a friend and authority figure to, in particular, Charlie’s teenage daughter (Sydney Park), even going so far as to share a slinky party dress with her, before being told she can’t let the kid go carousing on a school night.

Frankly, if there’s a weak link here, it’s Mowry-Hardrict, having spent so much time growing up in sitcoms with her twin sister Tamera that she seems virtually incapable of delivering a line without anticipating the rim shot. The kids, in fact, are actually pretty adorable, including Tylen Williams (a dead ringer for his older brother Tyler, who starred in “Everybody Hates Chris”) as the precocious middle child.

Overall, “Instant Mom” is mild and unobjectionable, and does touch (broadly) on blended-family scenarios with which a lot of kids can no doubt relate. It’s also worth noting the show is essentially color-blind — employing African-American actors, but dealing in universal themes and sitcom situations.

Nick airs this sort of thing largely to give the family an inoffensive option to watch as kids give up sole control of the box, and to that extent, “Instant Mom” fits those marching orders. Yet in terms of bringing anything fresh to the assignment, it’s perhaps a little too well titled, inasmuch as the moment it’s over, “Mom” is instantly forgotten.

TV Review: 'Instant Mom'

(Series; Nickelodeon, Sun. Sept. 29, 8:30 p.m.)

Production:

Filmed in Los Angeles by Kapital Entertainment.

Crew:

Executive producers, Howard Michael Gould, Aaron Kaplan; supervising producer, Jessica Bell; producers, Chris Arrington, Tia Mowry-Hardrict; director, John Fortenberry; writers, Jessica Butler, Warren Bell, Gould; production designer, Garvin Eddy; casting, Vickie Thomas. 30 MIN.

Cast:

Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Michael Boatman, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Sydney Park, Tylen Williams, Damarr Calhoun

More TV

  • Rakuten TV Preps New AVOD Channels

    Rakuten TV Preps New AVOD Channels and Originals for 2020 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rakuten TV has garnered 10 million views on its free on-demand service since its launch in October. The streamer’s CEO, Jacinto Roca, told Variety that, buoyed by the early AVOD success, it will launch a suite of new channels and original shows on the ad-supported service in 2020. He added that he hopes the free [...]

  • disney-logo

    K Madhavan Becomes India Manager at Disney

    K Madhavan has been promoted to country manager of all of Disney’s conventional TV businesses in the key Indian market. Madhavan was previously head of Disney’s regional language TV businesses in South India since 2016. Madhavan’s promotion was announced internally within Disney in India on Friday. He takes over from Sanjay Gupta, who has resigned [...]

  • _DSF7736.RAF

    How 'The Expanse' 'Died and Went to Heaven' at Amazon

    In the content space race currently being fought out in the entertainment industry, shows getting picked up by one platform after being dumped by another is becoming a more frequent phenomenon. Some moves feel more like a marriage of convenience, while others feel like a more obvious fit. Take “The Expanse” moving to Amazon Prime [...]

  • Lulu Wang Nicole Kidman

    Lulu Wang Boards Nicole Kidman Amazon Series 'The Expatriates'

    “The Farewell” writer and director Lulu Wang is teaming up with Nicole Kidman for the drama series “The Expatriates” at Amazon. The show had received a straight-to-series order at the streamer back in July. Wang is joining the series as a writer and executive producer and will also direct multiple episodes. Wang and Kidman had [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    Former 'Letterman' Head Writer Merrill Markoe to Receive Writers Guild Honor

    Merrill Markoe, longtime head writer at “Late Night With David Letterman,” will receive the Writers Guild of America West’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement. She will be honored at the Writers Guild Awards on Feb. 1 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. “Merrill Markoe’s pioneering work created what was then a new language [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content