Mom 1×01 ‘Pilot’: Whose couch is this?

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Chuck Lorre, the monster behind works such as Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Mike and Molly is at it again. This time it’s with Mom, a show with an all too familiar concept: a lovable character that is flawed has their world turned upside down when other lovable characters (who are flawed) come back into their life. Sure, life isn’t great, but they’re trying their best! And so is Mom.
What bothers me most about Mom is how incredibly ordinary it is. Though coined as a show about a recovering alcoholic single mom, we have seen versions of this show before. Just looking at the scenes in the family room, with a wide shot including the front door, the couch, and the entrance to the kitchen, I almost forgot what show I was watching. Beyond the eerily familiar set, the character dynamics have me worrying that this show will be more of the same. Anna Faris’ character Christy suffers with a promiscuous teenage daughter and an inappropriate mother who is more like herself than she’d like to admit. These sorts of relationships are overdone in the family-based sitcom genre, so what we can expect from Mom are the same jokes we’ve let seep into our brains (but haven’t laughed at) for years.

Source: CBS

Source: CBS

I found myself enjoying most the scenes that take place at the restaurant at which Christy is a waitress. A restaurant is a good setting for a show like this with a predictable family element; a revolving door of innocent restaurant patrons will balance nicely with the strong lead characters. Mom is funny when the diners watch in confusion as Christy cries through singing Happy Birthday. When Christy argues with her mother, Bonnie, it feels like the same joke construction I’ve grown to hate on Two and a Half Men. My favorite character is also found at the restaurant: Rudy, the head chef. His dead pan delivery is a great foil to Christy’s emotional display, and the moments when these two energies are on screen are moments that I might actually like to pay attention to. Mom has an advantage with an impressive supporting cast including Matt Jones, French Stewart, and Allison Janney, and if utilized correctly, could result in something actually watchable.

Caroline Duessel

is a student at Boston University. She isn’t studying screenwriting, but she pretends she is. On Saturdays you can find her at Costco.

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  • Anne

    your bio is cute. olive juice you.

  • Catstello

    I don’t think you can say this show is ordinary. A lot of the new pilots this year seem to be focusing on broken families, particularly a broken adult with issues with a certain parent. It’s good to see this because not everybody’s family is like ABC’s Modern Family.

    “Just looking at the scenes in the family room, with a wide shot including the front door, the couch, and the entrance to the kitchen, I almost forgot what show I was watching.” – most network comedies have similar sets, probably seen in other Chuck Lorre shows.

    As for your point about character dynamics being the same, I thought this was the one interesting part of the pilot. Particularly when Christy realises her daughter is angry at her for the same reasons she’s angry at her own mother. If they explore all the anger and issues correctly, it has the potential to be funny and heartwarming. I wouldn’t write this one off just yet.

    – Tara Costello