Mom 1×03 ‘A Small Nervous Breakdown and a Misplaced Fork’: Motivation

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I’m trying so hard to enjoy Mom but all throughout tonight’s episode I wondered, is anyone going to talk about this 30 minutes of television with their coworkers at work tomorrow? Will anyone rewatch a recording of this show? Will they recommend it to their friends? Based on the past three episodes, I can’t imagine that anyone would.

Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect a young-family-centered sitcom to be ground breaking but I wondered if the writers at Mom were even trying. I appreciate the effort given by Faris and Janney and the rest of the cast to bring these words to life but they aren’t given much to work with. A glaring example of lazy writing comes to light in the scene where Bonnie is helping Christy pick out an outfit for her date. Here’s the joke: they hold up a dress, and then they make fun of it. What an easy way to fill time! These jokes aren’t consequential or meaningful but what’s most frustrating is that they aren’t even funny. They add nothing to the show and, perhaps more broadly, they add nothing to the genre. I don’t care about their snarky dress comments just like I don’t care that later in the episode Bonnie plays blackjack with her grandson Roscoe.

Source: CBS

Here’s what worked for Mom this week: we get to see the restaurant employees bribe each other in the kitchen (which I’ve determined is the setting with the most comedic potential) and we get to see Christy’s role reverse as she rambles on at another restaurant, this time as a diner and not a waitress. Scenes that utilize silence really work best on this show (and I’m not being clever). When Christy is out in the world, whether at work or on a date, it’s funny and refreshing to see outsiders stunned into silence by her motor mouth. When she’s home with Bonnie, however, they fall into a predictable back and forth and I feel again that I’m watching Two and a Half Men. Faris truly is talented and I think it’s easiest to see her talent when she isn’t being overcrowded by Janney’s presence.

Source: CBS

Mom uses a motif in each episode where Christy is driving home listening to her motivational tape. The tape’s message works to show the audience where Christy is at emotionally and, because she’s a recovering alcoholic, it’s realistic that she would be listening to such tapes. It’s a unique mechanism that can be used to gauge Christy’s progress, but I think the viewers will need just as much, if not more, motivation than Christy to not give up on Mom.

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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