×

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

  • Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as

    Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as CEO of VFX Firm Foundry

    Jody Madden has been upped to CEO at U.K.-based VFX outfit Foundry. She steps up having been chief product officer and replaces Craig Rodgerson, who joined the company in late 2017. Foundry was bought by U.S. tech firm Roper Technologies earlier this year in a £410 million ($509 million) deal. The London-based business provides software [...]

  • La Linea Invisible

    Mariano Barroso Shoots Basque Conflict Origins Story ‘La Linea Invisible’

    IRUN, Spain  — When- and why – do people begin to kill for a cause? Having created “What the Future Holds,” maybe the best reviewed to date of any Movistar + Original Series, Spain’s Mariano Barroso (“The Wolves of Washington”) tackles this question head on in “La Línea Invisible,” a six-part series, again from Movistar [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Leaders Warn Members About Contact With Fired Agents

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America are warning members about being contacted by their former agents — asserting that such efforts are an attempt to undermine the WGA and its members. The missive, sent Tuesday from the WGA negotiating committee, came with the guild in a bitter three-month standoff with talent agents that appears [...]

  • Mike Fleiss

    ‘The Bachelor’ Creator Mike Fleiss Accused of Attacking Wife

    “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” creator Mike Fleiss has been accused of attacking his wife Laura Fleiss at their home in Hawaii on July 4, according to documents obtained by Variety. The documents show that Laura Fleiss, who is currently pregnant, filed for an emergency domestic violence restraining order against her husband after he allegedly [...]

  • James Cordon Drag Race Handmaids Tale

    Emmys Trivia: 20 Surprising Facts From 2019's Nominations

    For a show that technically wasn’t eligible at the Emmy Awards in 2019, “The Handmaid’s Tale” did quite well this year. The Hulu drama picked up 11 nominations, including major ones like outstanding directing, writing, guest actress and guest actor, thanks to a quirk in the TV Academy’s Emmy rules. As previously noted, most of [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Emmy Nominations Give Boost

    'Schitt's Creek' Emmy Nominations Give Boost to Pop's Profile

    The core executive team at Pop TV expected to be disappointed, but they still gathered at the CBS-owned cable channel’s Playa Vista offices early Tuesday morning for the reveal of this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards nominations. They were not disappointed. “Schitt’s Creek,” the quirky comedy series that has punched above its weight for Pop since [...]

  • Beyonce-HOMECOMING-Netflix

    Beyoncé, Sara Bareilles Vie for First Emmys as Ramin Djawadi Looks to Reclaim Throne

    Beyoncé and Sara Bareilles could add Emmy trophies to their awards shelves this year, having been nominated in key music categories Tuesday by the Television Academy. Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” special on Netflix was nominated in six categories, and four of those include a nod for the pop superstar herself. Only one of those is in a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content