The misadventures of single mom Christy Plunkett (Anna Faris), her mother Bonnie (Allison Janney), and Christy’s teenage daughter Violet (Sadie Calvano) are at the core of the off-kilter comedy dished out each week on CBS’ Mom. The irreverent and often-cynical sitcom has already been renewed for a third season and if you haven’t seen it yet, you really should. Here are six reasons why:
1: The Opening Title Theme
After each episode’s opening scene, there’s a quick parade of photos featuring Christy’s past – as a pole-dancing stripper, crawling her way through a pet door, hoisting a champagne bottle while lying in a shopping cart, and even posing for a police mug shot. The pics are a sharp contrast to the wholesome family portrait at the end – and the classy theme music that accompanies it all. But they do give you an idea of what life has been like for Christy – who, like her own mother, is not only a single parent but also a recovering alcoholic still struggling to stay sober.
2: Family Dynamics
It’s been said that history repeats itself – particularly family history. The multigenerational mother-daughter dynamics here aren’t made of typical, sanitized sitcom stuff. The relationships are often built on lying, cheating, general bad behavior and an overall struggle to keep their lives from falling apart. They are likable characters who mean well – but, hey, there’s still a definite skanky streak in each of them. Somehow, that makes them even more appealing.
3: Quirky Supporting Players
The Plunkett household’s assorted friends, relatives and other associates – played by, among others, Nate Corddry, Mimi Kennedy, Octavia Spencer, French Stewart and Jaime Pressly – provide good comedic and moral support. But they are often struggling with their own demons, too, whether it’s at the restaurant where Christy works or at the rehab meetings that she and Bonnie attend.
4: Offbeat Subject Matter
Alcoholism, teen pregnancy, homelessness, cancer, infidelity, domestic violence and even death … you name a dark theme and this show has tackled it masterfully, often making it touching as well as funny. Nothing seems to be off limits and no other sitcom on a broadcast television network tackles things in quite the same “how-do-they-get-away-with-that” way. This season, the show grappled with the rather surprising death of a major recurring character in a manner that easily evoked tears as well as laughter.
5: Allison Janney
She has come a long way from her days as White House press secretary C.J. Cregg on The West Wing. C.J. was a tough broad and Janney scored four Emmy Awards in that dramatic role. Bonnie is a tough broad, too, and Janney’s comedic timing and delivery shine. No wonder she has already snagged an Emmy for her work here, too.
6: Executive Producer Chuck Lorre
Also the creative boss behind Mike & Molly, The Big Bang Theory and the recently wrapped Two and a Half Men, Lorre is truly one of only a few super-producers in TV history. He gives each of his shows a unique feel. And he brings a bit of his brilliant intellect to the end of each show’s closing credits via a vanity card that features assorted rants, ramblings and plain old philosophical musings.
Mom – CBS – Thursdays
Robert Voets/CBS © 2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved