Subtlety has never been his strong point, but Chuck Lorre is even more predictable and formulaic in the new CBS/ITV2 comedy Mom.
The show follows recovering alcoholic single mother Christy (Anna Faris), who is struggling with her children and the return of her recovering alcoholic, drug-addict mother (Allison Janney). Christy’s life has been a disappointment to her, feeling that it was cut short by dropping out of school, alcohol and the birth of her rebellious daughter Violet (Sadie Calvano). Unlike most sitcoms there is a very clear storyline from the offset and surprisingly it’s not the story that lets it down.
However, what could have been a comedic and intriguing exploration of substance abuse and family bonds is brought down by the poor script writing. The jokes about alcohol and bad parenting become repetitive by the end of the first episode, and the second episode has little new to offer. The prolonged laughing track is even more unbearable than in Big Bang Theory, and every sentimental moment is followed up by something so desperately unfunny that by the end I was losing all hope. Matt Jones (Breaking Bad), did manage to rouse me from my state of despair with a scream of “BADGER”, but even his portrayal of Christy’s ex and aspiring drug dealer (sound familiar?) couldn’t save the episode. The overwhelming sensation was one of pity, and something that actors may have taken on as an interesting project has clearly escalated into a less funny version of Two and a Half Men.
That’s not to say that if you have an hour to waste it’s not the ideal thing to mindlessly have on in the background as you contemplate global issues and prices of pizza in Sainsbury’s. Despite all its flaws the show is endearing and has potential. Grappling with reasonably serious and easily identifiable situations, there are a number of heart-warming scenes throughout. However, this says more about the calibre of the cast than the show – Allison Janney and Anna Faris are fantastic. Even with the terrible script writing, Allison Janney seems to be able to pull it out of the hat every time; Faris makes you empathise with her, no matter how crude the jokes either side of her breakdowns are. French Stewart also breathes some life into the otherwise mundane humour with his deadpan delivery of sexual innuendo and ill temper as the chef at the restaurant where Christy works. If you can bear to sit through the first two episodes, there might be hope for it yet.
Watch Mom, Mondays on ITV2 at 9pm or on ITV player now.