×

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

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Pleads Guilty to $40 Million Fraud

    The manager of a credit union for CBS employees pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court on Monday to a $40 million embezzlement scheme. Edward Rostohar, 62, was arrested in March after the scheme began to unravel. According to prosecutors, he admitted to stealing money from the bank for the last 20 years. Rostohar is [...]

  • EP_6_0036.ARW

    TV Review: 'Good Omens'

    Like Starz’s “American Gods” before it, Amazon’s newest limited series attempts to adapt the philosophically lofty, theologically-infused work of British novelist Neil Gaiman. In his 1990 novel “Good Omens” (co-written with Terry Pratchett), an odd-couple angel and demon attempt to avert the apocalypse in order to continue enjoying their unusual partnership. Onscreen, this pairing — [...]

  • Emmys: Second Annual FYC Independents Screenings

    Emmys: 'All American,' 'Atypical,' 'Vida' Actors Among Lineup for Second Annual FYC Independents Screenings (EXCLUSIVE)

    The FYC Independents Screenings will take place Friday, May 31 in Van Nuys, Calif, Variety has learned exclusively. Formerly the FYC U.S. Independents, this evening of screenings and schmoozing with talent from series such as the CW’s “All American,” Netflix’s “Atypical” and Starz’ “Vida” is thrown by actress and producer Meredith Thomas to increase visibility [...]

  • School of American Ballet, The Nutcracker

    Imagine Documentaries Teams With School of American Ballet, DCTV for 'On Pointe' Series

    Imagine Documentaries has partnered with DCTV and School of American Ballet for “On Pointe,” a docu series offering an inside look at the rigorous training program at the nation’s foremost school for ballet professionals. The deal calls for Imagine to work with DCTV and the School of American Ballet on a series chronicling the pursuit [...]

  • Lester Holt

    Chris Berend Tapped to Oversee NBC News' Digital Efforts

    Chris Berend, an executive who has been overseeing digital video for CNN and helped launch Great Big Story, a streaming-video site aimed at younger audiences, will jump to NBC News to lead its digital efforts. Berend will replace Nick Ascheim, who will move into a new role that is described as “improving digital and product [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content