One of my favorite things to do with my own mother is spending time watching sitcoms together. From “Big Bang Theory” to “3rd Rock From the Sun,” we’ve watched a large variety of shows. As people who love to laugh, we’re always looking for a new show to enjoy. Recently we’ve been watching CBS’s “Mom.” Personally I think this show offers a unique feel with almost endless laughs balanced by some genuinely touching moments. There have been moments that have made me almost cry and it takes a special show to put me on that kind of an emotional rollercoaster.
“Mom” is a show about a mother and her adult daughter, Bonnie and Christy, as they go through the ups and downs of addiction recovery. Both of them were alcoholics, drug addicts and Christy was even a stripper. Now they are both going to AA meetings while trying to mend their broken relationship with each other. Christy is also trying to be a better mother to her two children as she tries to clean up the mess she’s made in her life.
There’s a great supporting cast of friends that help them along the way. Marjorie is the typical crazy cat lady and a veteran of AA who acts as a mentor to the group. Jill is an out-of-touch wealthy divorcee who craves genuine friendship and acceptance. Wendy is a seemingly meek emotional wreck who turns into an assertive beast at work. All of them have struggled with the same things and now they support each other. No matter what one of them goes through, they’re always there for each other.
A lot of the show’s laughs come from the general banter between these ladies. There’s always quips and little insults flying left and right. All the characters, especially the two leads, have excellent chemistry together. It becomes easy to believe they are really a mother and daughter with a strained but improving relationship. Not to mention, each woman has a very unique personality that comes off in the way they speak and interact with each other, making for a fun variety in the style of jokes.
Along with the general sass, there’s also a lot of jokes on “Mom” about their past lives. Whether it’s drinking, doing drugs, drug dealing, stripping or all kinds of wild in-betweens, there’s nothing off the table. It helps to bring laughs while also giving a fuller background on the characters. The way the show tells its audience about these characters’ lives without hitting them over the head with exposition is kind of brilliant.
Despite all the jokes and banter, there are a lot of things that go very wrong for them. After Bonnie, the mom, gets back with Christy’s father, he dies. It’s something that eventually leads her to relapse on pain pills. Thankfully the push her daughter and friends give her helps her get back to sobriety. Bonnie isn’t the only one to relapse; Jill also falls back into old habits when she feels there’s no meaning in her life. The struggles they have in maintaining their sobriety makes the show feel real. They behave like real-life addicts — sometimes they mess up and don’t stay sober but they get back up and keep fighting.
But it isn’t just their struggles with sobriety that make them so authentic as characters. Beyond the death of Christy’s father, Marjorie also lost her husband. Bonnie was abused as a child and Christy was abused by the father of her daughter. Both Christy’s children decide they want nothing to do with her. Jill feels unwanted because her husband left her for another woman. She also loses her child to a miscarriage. It’s very relatable to watch because it allows them to battle the hardships in life while still maintaining a humorous attitude.
However, the most emotional moment in the show both brought the group together and split them apart. Christy and Bonnie are mentoring a young and recovering addict. As they begin to see her get better they fail to notice when she gets back with her addict ex-boyfriend. During Marjorie’s wedding the girl overdoses and dies. The group decides to wait and tell Marjorie when she gets back from her honeymoon, which upsets her. When they all finally reconcile and come to terms with the girl’s death, it is a powerful moment where they realize what could’ve been. This fate could’ve been met by any of them but they survived. It also acts as a chilling reminder that not everyone can be saved.
All this from a show with episode names like “Tantric Sex and the Sprouted Flute” or “A Few Thongs and a Hawaiian Funeral.”
“Mom” ends up being one of the most unique sitcoms I’ve ever watched. All the characters feel like real people who have to go through the ups and downs of recovery. The way it balances the funny and the sad in life feels very genuine. Despite all the painful circumstances, there’s still something to laugh about. I think that’s a message a lot of people need to see and it’s certainly one that I need.