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TV Series Review

Chuck Lorre is the creator of 2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men, and he's made a chunky fortune off traditionally shot sitcoms, off-color punchlines and sometimes loathsome characters. His shows have dominated CBS for years. And for the most part, that dominance has not been something to applaud. But when it comes to Mom co-created with Gemma Baker and Eddie Gorodetsky, we can say something truly surprising:

It's not altogether bad.

Mothers Know … Worst?

Oh, it can be bad. While sometimes funny, Mom will do anything for a laugh. Sex? Flatulence? Treating family members like something stuck to your shoe? Yeah, it's all there. Mom's metaphorical foyer is paved with swear words, its walls built of problematic content. And the actual moms who live there—well, to say that they're kinda flawed is to say that Fat Man and Little Boy were kinda dangerous.

Eldest mom Bonnie Plunkett is a former drug addict and dealer—a less-than-ideal materfamilias for her daughter Christy. The younger woman learned her mother's lessons well and became a drug addict and alcoholic herself, though she did steer away from Bonnie's illegal career path, opting instead for a more stable occupation … as a stripper. She got pregnant when she was 17 and gave birth to her own daughter, Violet—who, in turn, got pregnant when she was 17, too. Like mother, like daughter.

It seems that all these characters might've been served well in their younger days by some pragmatic advice from, I dunno, a family-focused Christian ministry of some sort. Or even just half-hearted help from more stable friends. Or almost anyone, really. Anyone this side of Kim Jong Un might be able to give the Plunketts cogent advice on family.

But here's the thing: In the midst of these flaws we see these women trying to move past the past and do what's right (though, admittedly, using their own faulty moral compasses).

Bonnie is trying to make up for past mistakes by now being a better mother and grandmother. Christy, no longer a stripper, did her best to love Violet through a very difficult time. And Violet, while no longer a regular on the show, gave her baby up for adoption, trying to break the cycle of bad choices she'd seen her family make. (That's both a responsible and strangely brave message for a show like Mom to proffer.) Both have found a supportive community in a group of women who gather for dinner, talk about their lives and, well, occasionally crack a nasty joke or two.

A Twelve Step Up

Nasty jokes aside, Mom is quite a departure from the typical Lorre vibe—typically caustic, crass one-liners in a sea of personal mismanagement. Two and a Half Men was so unrepentantly amoral and sexual that one of its stars, Angus T. Jones, begged people not to watch it once he became a Seventh-Day Adventist. 2 Broke Girls is littered with sexual innuendo and, according to some, shameful racial stereotypes. Even The Big Bang Theory, relatively innocent by comparison, is no stranger to Lorre's fascination with the crass double entendres and irresponsible behavior.

And sure, Mom is no innocent throwback to sitcoms of yesteryear. Sex is a plot point. Bonnie has been known to live with a boyfriend or two (and is now living with her fiancé). Bad decisions are made.

But Mom doesn't bathe its comedy, for the most part, in bad behavior. Rather, it's about encouraging better behavior—making healthier decisions each and every day. Both Bonnie and Christy are determined to stay sober and be wiser—for each other and for themselves.

For Allison Janney, the mom in Mom and recent Oscar-winner for her work in I, Tonya, the sitcom is more than a paycheck. She joined the show because of her brother, Hal, who was plagued with addiction issues killed himself in 2011. (Janney dedicated her Oscar to him, in fact.)

"I was around the world of recovery a lot, trying to get my brother to want to recover," Janney told CBS News in 2016. "He didn't. He lost his battle with addiction and other things. And I felt like this was important for me to take a part like this and be a part of a show that showed people in recovery, and also showed that there was hope."

Mom isn't about glorifying sin the way Two and a Half Men was. Not really. It is, in its own secular way, about redemption. It's not just about making its viewers laugh. It's about making them smile.

And then maybe grimace or wince or groan. But hey, it's a start.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Mom: Mar. 1, 2018 "Pudding and a Screen Door"
Mom: Feb. 9, 2017 "A Bouncy Castle and an Aneurysm"
Mom: 3-31-2014



Readability Age Range





Anna Faris as Christy; Allison Janney as Bonnie; Sadie Calvano as Violet; Nate Corddry as Gabriel; Matt Jones as Baxter; French Stewart as Rudy; Spencer Daniels as Luke; Blake Garrett Rosenthal as Roscoe; Kevin Pollak as Alvin






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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