November 2, 2015 at 1:59 am #364393
The third season premiere on “Mom” airs on Thursday, November 5, 2015 @ 9 PM ET on CBS.
Returning are Anna Faris, Emmy winner Allison Janney, Mimi Kennedy, & Nate Corddry, Ellen Burstyn will guest star as Bonnie’s mother this season.November 2, 2015 at 2:08 pm #364396
I didn’t realize Burstyn was guest starring this season! That’s amazing! Maybe she can help this show boost in nominations at the EmmysNovember 5, 2015 at 8:55 pm #364397
CBS’ “Mom” still neatly balancing comedy and drama in season 3
Janney and Anna Faris welcome Ellen Burstyn to the family in tonight’s premiere.
by Alan Sepinwall @Sepinwall | Thursday, Nov 5, 2015
One unexpected side effect of Peak TV in America has been
the way lines between categories of TV shows have blurred to the point of being
non-existent. Is “Orange Is the New Black” a comedy or a drama? What
should we call “Transparent”? Is “Fargo” a series of
miniseries, or not, because some characters recur in each season?
The only place this confusion really matters at all is
come awards time, where the Emmys keep scrambling to make sense of things. But
the trend reflects a desire to make shows that reflect a distinct creative
vision, categories be damned. If Louis C.K. wants to tell fart jokes on
“Louie” one week, he can, and if he thinks the story needs to be
darker and more introspective the next, great.
The one type of show that has stayed largely immune from
that confusion is the traditional multi-camera sitcom. A “Big Bang
Theory” or an “Undateable” might occasionally reach for a more
poignant moment, but for the most part, multi-cams remain comfortable as joke
delivery systems where you know what you’re going to get from week to week, and
even scene to scene.
But then there’s “Mom,” which begins its third
season tonight at 9 on CBS. Created by Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, and Gemma
Baker, it remains a throwback to ’70s and ’80s comedies like “All in the
Family,” “Taxi,” and even “Cheers,” which took their
characters seriously enough to be comfortable with purely dramatic scenes,
which in turn only makes the laughter feel more potent.
The show’s main characters, single Christy (Anna Faris)
and her own mother Bonnie (Allison Janney), are both recovering addicts,
perpetuating a cycle of setting bad examples to their children. Last season,
the family was briefly homeless, Christy’s father died while having sex with
Bonnie, and Bonnie fell off the wagon when a back injury forced her to take
pain medication. The show doesn’t flinch from the complicated emotional
realities of its characters’ lives—the heavy stuff is likely what’s won Janney
two Emmys so far for the role—and has no qualms about doing long dramatic
scenes that leave the studio audience silent (*) as Christy, Bonnie, and their
loved ones grapple with mistakes in the past and present, as well as ones they
fear they’ll keep making in the future.
That’s one notable change from the ’70s. Go back and watch some of those
heavier episodes of “All in the Family” or “Taxi,” and you
can hear the studio audience laughing wildly at anything even vaguely
resembling a joke, because they understandably expected to be having a fun
time. Other sitcoms (particularly ABC’s TGIF shows in the ’80s and ’90s) would
occasionally drop the jokes in favor of shameless sentimentality designed to
elicit loud “Awwwwww”s; this is much quieter and more genuine than
The third season premiere expands the generational
approach with the introduction of Ellen Burstyn as the mother Bonnie hasn’t
seen since she was very little. Burstyn has plenty of experience at comedy, and
Janney’s great at it, but when the two women are together (**), there’s a lot
of pain to deal with first, and the jokes are comfortably nudged to the corners
of the episode. It’s smart, and honest, and doesn’t try to oversimplify the
situation for the sake of getting in and out of it in 20-odd minutes of TV.
For a few moments, the show has Oscar winner Burstyn, Emmy winner Janney, and
Oscar nominee June Squibb all interacting, which is not too shabby. And Squibb
is very funny.
Next week’s episode (the second of two that CBS made
available to critics) is more straightforwardly comedic, with Christy dealing
with an uncomfortable new situation at work, and a lot of banter among the
women at the regular AA meeting (Jaime Pressly and Beth Hall are now cast
regulars, following last season’s similar promotion of Mimi Kennedy). But the
emotional grounding the show gets from the more dramatic material gives the
comedy more richness. When Christy considers quitting her job, it’s a much more
fraught situation than it would be if she didn’t so desperately need the
stability and structure it provides. It works the other way, too: when Bonnie
and Christy play host to a recovering young addict (Emily Osment) with no place
else to go, the sadness of the situation gets leavened a bit—without ever being
cheapened—by Bonnie’s understandable fear that the girl might steal their stuff
and sell it to buy more drugs.
These days, it’s not the least bit surprising when
single-camera comedies take a turn for the dramatic (like the clinical
depression arc this season on “You’re the Worst”). It would be very
easy for the remaining producers of multi-cam to leave that stuff to their more
fashionable counterparts and just stick to telling jokes. “Mom,”
thankfully, is a strong reminder of just how elastic this 64-year-old format
is.November 5, 2015 at 9:03 pm #364398
Janney Watch: Mom Will Meet Her Mom on “Mom”
Critic-at-Large, Yahoo TV
November 4, 2015
“Mom” is back for a third season on Thursday night, and
the sitcom has really found its comic groove. Also its tragic groove. Because
that’s the way “Mom” works—its present-day laughs are always threatened by
fragile futures and haunted pasts.
The season picks up where last season left off, with
Bonnie (Allison Janney, fresh from winning her second Emmy for this show)
feeling pretty cocky about her post-relapse sobriety. The series co-created by
Chuck Lorre, Gemma Baker, and Eddie Gorodetsky has figured out its strengths—and
so early on we get one of those scenes of Bonnie, daughter Christie (Anna
Faris) and sober pals Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy), Jill (Jaime Pressly), and Wendy
(Beth Hall) sitting around chatting during a post-Alcoholics-Anonymous-meeting
diner meal. It’s a simple set-up, but it always accomplishes a few things: The
rapid-fire chatter is a good source of jokes; it rings true to the 12-step
experience of grabbing a bite after a meeting; and it reaffirms the show’s
commitment to showing women relating to each other on a wide variety of levels.
I’ve come to think of “Mom” as Chuck Lorre’s penance for all those years of
male-triumphalism during the Charlie Sheen years of “Two and a Half Men.”
In the season premiere, Bonnie is contacted by her
long-lost mother, played by Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn. Her character gave
Bonnie up for adoption when the girl was very young, and the mother’s attempt
to makes amends sorely tests everything Bonnie has learned in AA about
As usual in “Mom,” there are serious moments that bring
the studio audience to dead silence. I used to think this was shameless
Emmy-baiting on the part of the producers. Now I think it’s shameless
Emmy-baiting combined with a sincere attempt to capture, in a sitcom format,
what the experience of going through life as a recovering addict is like.
Burstyn is terrific, tremulously emotional without
falling apart, and Janney demonstrates why she keeps winning Emmys with a
subtle range of reactions to reconnecting with her mom. By the way, did you see
her on “The Late Show” Monday night, acting out Foreigner song lyrics with
Next week, “Young & Hungry”’s Emily Osment joins the
cast for a story arc about a young drug addict whom the “Mom” gang tries to
help. “Mom” seems off to a solid third-season start.
“Mom” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBS.November 5, 2015 at 9:05 pm #364399
Episode Title: “Terrorists & Gingerbread”
Synopsis: Bonnie’s mother, Shirley, who abandoned Bonnie when
she was young, suddenly wants to be a part of Christy’s and Bonnie’s
Guest Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Jaime Pressly, June Squibb
Discuss.November 5, 2015 at 9:42 pm #364400
Great episode! I hope we see more of Squibb and BurstynNovember 7, 2015 at 2:42 am #364401
Excellent premiere. It’s a marvel how this show can mine comedic gems out of dramatic material in an “outdated” format. Nice ensemble work throughout with Anna Faris and Queen Allison Janney having shining chemistry together. At first, I thought this premise and show were beneath the both of them. Maybe the show never truly reaches what they’re bringing to the table every season, but at least it’s making the effort. Ellen Burstyn was great and will hopefully return for future episodes. And yes, she could very well be nominated next year and finally make this more than a single Emmy-nominated show for three years running. June Squibb should return as well and seems more likely lol.
Grade for “Terrorists & Gingerbread”: A-November 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm #364402
Great premiere! The mix of comedy and drama is the highlight of Mom, and was really accurate in this episode.November 9, 2015 at 11:02 am #364403
Minus Rosco in the last scene, there were no male characters in last night’s episode. The emphasis on the female ensemble (particularly Anna Faris and Allison Janney) makes this show so unique, in addition to the way it handles comedic and dramatic elements in the multicam format. Very happy it’s back.November 13, 2015 at 7:55 am #364404
Anna Faris dominated this episode and I think it puts to bed the conversation that Allison Janney is “more of a lead” than Faris. Another very good episode and Faris’ best showcase in a while. She definitely deserves some recognition. I just can’t get over the fact that this show is based nearly entirely on an all-female ensemble. The turn at the end with Emily Osment’s character looks to set up a new arc and seeing that tie back together with everything that happened with Christy in this episode was nice. I hope critics are still watching and the show can retain (and hopefully add) to its Critics Choice nominations from last year.November 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm #364405
Sobering second episode with the young addict/abuse victim, Christy losing her manager job and being demoted, and Roscoe slowly preferring to live with his father. That kind of bleakness really shouldn’t work for a show like this, but it does beautifully. Strong starts to the new season!December 6, 2015 at 7:32 am #364406
Caught up with the last two episodes. The one with Christy and Bonnie helping out the teen addict and getting her on the right track was the better of the two. Judy Greer also guest-starred in this one and killed it! The latest episode focused on Violet and her older boyfriend, and all of that brought down the episode. I will say that making Violet far less petulant and more mature is a promising sign, but I’ve always advocated for the show focusing on Faris, Janney, Kennedy, and a mix of the AA ladies and scrap all mentions of the kids for good (let Violet ride off in the sunset with her guy, and send the annoying son to live with his reformed stoner dad and too-perky stepmother). All fixed now! Please send me my consulting fee, Chuck Lorre lol!February 15, 2016 at 10:04 am #364408
Not sure if anyone watched this week’s episode of “Mom” but it was EXCELLENT as always! Amazing episode for Jaime Pressley, who I think is funny enough to get a nomination in supporting (in a perfect world). I also thought this was a great guest spot for Joe manganiello, and gave Anna Faris a lot to work with. The balance between comedy and drama is perfect in this show. I hope it can gain more emmy love.