[Contains Lemon Zest and SPOILERS!!!]
I was happy to see Mom return for a second season last week… until I got to the end of the premiere episode, and remembered why I’d grown so frustrated with it the first time around. To be fair, there are always a few very funny jokes delivered by very talented actresses… and I love the idea of a comedy trying to tackle serious subjects like poverty and addiction… but there’s often a clash between the subject matter and the style of humour favoured by the writers, so the moving performances and pathos are undermined by silly plot turns that play into the hoariest sitcom conventions.
For example: In the latest episode, ‘Bonnie’ (Allison Janney) discovered that her daughter ‘Christy’ (Anna Faris) was three months behind on the rent, and in imminent danger of being kicked out by their landlord. Christy, Bonnie and their friend ‘Marjorie’ (Mimi Kennedy)* managed to scrape a month’s rent together, to placate him… but Christy then decided to bet all the money on a college football game, after overhearing her boss (French Stewart!) claiming he had a hot tip. The gamble paid off, and Christy collected her winnings, only to see them immediately stolen by a pistol-packing mugger in the parking lot of the restaurant where she works… so now she’s been evicted with her family in tow, and everyone is cynically assuming she simply lost the money! The reason I found this so frustrating, was that it seemed like such a false and contrived set-back for the character… not the fact that she was evicted, but the way the money was snatched away… I mean, who walks across a dark car-park holding an envelope stuffed with dollar bills in their hand? And why does such a fancy restaurant have such crappy security? Gah!
Anyhoo, I’ll keep watching for the jokes and the Emmy-worthy acting, but I suspect I’ll spend most of the season shaking my head and wincing at the wasted potential, just like I did last year. Sigh…
* Kennedy was introduced as a recurring guest-star last season, but now she’s been promoted to regular status. Hurrah!