Friday, September 20, 2013

CBS Fall Pilot Review: Mom - Premieres September 23; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 23, 2013)

Mom

Mom - Mondays at 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Todd

Mom is a comedy from executive producer Chuck Lorre starring Anna Faris as a newly sober single mom raising two children in a world full of temptations and pitfalls, and multiple Emmy Award winner Allison Janney as her critical, estranged mother. Christy is a waitress at a posh Napa Valley establishment who is four months clean and doing her best to be a good mom and overcome a history of questionable choices. Her sobriety is tested when her recovering alcoholic mom Bonnie reappears, chock-full of passive-aggressive insights into Christy’s many mistakes. Bonnie joins Christy’s already complicated circle of relationships: her handsome, married boss – and lover – Gabriel; the restaurant’s hot-tempered chef, Rudy; her pretty, 16-going-on-25-year-old daughter, Violet; her sweet but overly honest son, Roscoe; her irresponsible ex and Roscoe’s father, Baxter; and Violet’s clueless boyfriend, Luke. Christy tries to remain positive as she pursues her new path in life, but she faces an uphill battle, surrounded by a dubious support system – and a copious amount of dysfunction.

Cast Details:
Anna Faris as Christy
Allison Janney as Bonnie
Nate Corddry as Gabriel
Matt Jones as Baxter
Sadie Calvano as Violet
Blake Garrett Rosenthal as Roscoe
Spencer Daniels as Luke
French Stewart as Chef Rudy

Anna Faris (Christy) is perhaps best known for her comedic roles in the Scary Movie film franchise. Her other film credits include The Dictator, What's Your Number?, The House Bunny, Just Friends and Lost in Translation. She has appeared in television series such as Entourage and Friends.

Allison Janney (Bonnie) won four Emmy Awards and four SAG Awards for her role as White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg in The West Wing. She has appeared in sitcoms such as Veep, Mr. Sunshine, Two and a Half Men and Frasier. Her film credits include Big Night, Primary Colors, Drop Dead Gorgeous, American Beauty, The Hours, Finding Nemo, Hairspray, Juno and The Help.

Nate Corddry (Gabriel) has appeared on television series such as Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, The Daily Show, United States of Tara and Harry's Law. His other television credits include the HBO miniseries The Pacific, 30 Rock, Tron: Uprising and Children's Hospital.

Matt Jones (Baxter) appears in the recurring role as Badger on Breaking Bad. His other television credits include The Office, CSI: NY, NCIS, How I Met Your Mother and Community.

Sadie Calvano (Violet) has appeared on television in Eagleheart, NCIS, Kickin' It, Crash & Bernstein and Melissa & Joey.

Blake Garrett Rosenthal (Roscoe) has appeared in the films Bridesmaids and Crazy Eyes. His television credits include New Girl and The Office.

Spencer Daniels (Luke) television credits include Shake It Up, CSI: Miami, NCIS, Crash, The Office and Cold Case. His film credits include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Star Trek and The Midnight Game.

French Stewart (Chef Rudy) is perhaps best known for his role as Harry Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun. His many other television guest appearances include Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show, Just Shoot Me, The Drew Carey Show, NewsRadio and The Middle. He has had roles in films such as Stargate, Leaving Las Vegas, Surveillance, The Flock and cult favorite Love Stinks.



Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (airs Monday, September 23 at 9:30PM ET/PT)

Christy, a newly sober single mother, is trying to get her life together. She is challenged when her estranged mother, Bonnie, comes back into the picture.

Story by Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker
Teleplay by Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Guest stars: David de Lautour as Greg, Courtney Henggeler as Claudia, Reggie De Leon as Paul, Duane Shepard, Sr. as Al

Analysis:

Mom is the latest multi-camera sitcom from creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre. He already has three hits on the air on CBS with Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike and Molly. Mom caps the grand slam of comedy successes for him. The series is clearly one of the fall's best new sitcoms to watch.

In the pilot episode's opening scene, we meet waitress Christy who is serving customers and crying about her problems. She says some days are better than others. 2004 was a great year for the wine she is serving, but not so much for her. Chef Rudy talks to his employees in the restaurant's kitchen. Christy's boss Gabriel tells her that he is getting a lot of complaints about one of his waitresses having a nervous breakdown. While on her way home, Christy listens to a self help CD and witnesses a boy falling out of her daughter's bedroom window. She speaks to her daughter Violet about her past problems. She later carries her son Roscoe out of her bed who confirms what he saw of Violet and her boyfriend. Gabriel comes to the house to talk to Christy. Christy rushes to the school the next day to see the talent show, but discovers it's not on that day. Christy speaks at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting about not wanting to become like her mother. Her mother Bonnie then speaks with her at the meeting. After not speaking for a couple of years, they have a heartfelt talk at a diner. Christy goes to the restaurant to talk to Gabriel and is surprised to see that he is already married to a woman named Claudia. She returns home and talks to her ex-husband, Roscoe. They talk to Violet's boyfriend, Luke. Violet and Christy have a heated talk. Christy calls her mom and offers to forgive her for everything she did growing up. The episode concludes with Bonnie talking to Christy at the house.

I've been a long-time fan of Anna Faris from her films such as the Scary Movie franchise, Just Friends and The House Bunny. She has appeared in a handful of television series, but this is her first lead role. It will be great to see her comedic and acting talents on a weekly basis. This seems like the perfect vehicle for her. She is very good at crying and being funny at the same time. The rest of the cast is strong. Allison Janney is a four-time Emmy Award winner mostly known for her drama work, but she shows she can do comedy just as well here. Janney and Faris have good chemistry and comedic timing as mother and daughter. French Stewart makes a welcome return as a television regular as the hot-tempered Chef Rudy. He has some funny one-liners. Sadie Calvano and Blake Garrett Rosenthal have some good dramatic and comedic moments as Christy's children. The rest of the cast includes Nate Corddry as her married boss and boyfriend, Gabriel; Matt Jones as Christy's ex-husband, Baxter; and Spencer Daniels as Violet's boyfriend, Luke. It will be interesting to see how these characters are developed in future episodes.

The pilot has a nice mix of comedy and heartfelt drama. They managed to fit in many background details and introduced a number of characters in a short period of time. The highlight of the episode and the longest scene is when Christy and Bonnie reconnect and talk at a diner after attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. There are several memorable quotes during this extended scene. Christy tells Bonnie that while other mothers were cooking dinner, she was cooking meth. Bonnie replies that is otherwise known as working. I don't see any real weaknesses with the pilot. There are quite a few drug and alcohol references, which may surprise and shock people. They will probably tone that down a bit in future episodes. Look for a fun surprise cameo by one of CBS' television stars in the opening minutes. Overall, it's just a very well made, hilarious and heartfelt pilot that I think will instantly hook in viewers. The way they deal with a serious topic like alcohol addiction is funny and poignant.


Conclusion:

Mom is one of the fall's most promising new sitcoms. Creator and Executive Producer Chuck Lorre has had a string of successes on CBS with Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike and Molly. I can't see that streak ending here. He has hit a grand slam with Mom. It should be an instant hit and have a strong rookie season. Anna Faris is already a popular film actress, but she is set to become one of the fall's breakout TV stars. Her fresh face on television is welcome. It will be a joy to see her talents on a weekly basis. The rest of the cast is strong with a pro like Allison Janney and the underrated French Stewart who plays a very funny and a bit evil character here.

Mom has a comfortable timeslot airing after 2 Broke Girls. They should work well together with their edgy type of humor and form a funny hour of television. If you think your mom drives you crazy, wait until you meet Christy and Bonnie and see their wild antics. In the battle of new sitcoms and dysfunctional families on Mom vs. Dads, Mom is the clear winner.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Moms Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars, so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
    For the week of Sept. 23-27, 2013, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! All times listed are Eastern. So get your DVRs (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

    Monday, September 23, 2013
    • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Watch Jesse on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Zachary Levi (Less Than Perfect) - Zachary appears on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
    • Toni Collette (United States of Tara) - Toni is a guest on CBS This Morning between 7-9am.
    • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am. She will also appear on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. Finally earlier in the day in NYC, she will be on New York Live on WNBC-NY at 12:30pm.
    • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step/She's the Sheriff) - Suzanne discusses her new book, I'm Too Young for This!, on ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am.
    • Ana Gasteyer (Suburgatory) - Ana will be on New York Live on WNBC-NY at 12:30pm.
    • Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life) - Lisa shares her inside story about her experience on Survivor on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am.
    • Allison Janney and Anna Faris (Mom) - The stars of Mom are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss) - Alyssa is a guest on Larry King Now on Ora TV and Hulu at 2/5pm PT/ET.
    Tuesday, September 24, 2013
    • Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Adam on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Lizzy Caplan (Party Down/The Class) - Lizzy stops by The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on Popcorn with Peter Travers on ABC News Now.
    • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray is a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph appears on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
    • Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies) - Stephen drops by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
    • Clark Gregg (The New Adventures of Old Christine) - Clark visits ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
    • Richard Lewis (Anything But Love) - Richard chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Malin Akerman (Trophy Wife) - Malin talks about her new sitcom Trophy Wife on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. Later she cooks with Clinton Kelly on The Chew on ABC at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
    • Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing) - Kaitlyn stops by Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am.
    • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step/She's the Sheriff) - Suzanne talks about her new book and top secrets to living the ultimate healthy - and natural - lifestyle on Katie, so check your local listings. She will also appear on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Rene Auberjonois (Benson) - Rene talks about The Little Mermaid on The Couch in New York on WLNY-TV 10/55 between 7-9am.
    Wednesday, September 25, 2013
    • Robin Williams (The Crazy Ones/Mork & Mindy) - Watch Robin on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke appears on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Michael J. Fox (The Michael J. Fox Show/Spin City/Family Ties) - Michael visits Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC. He will also be on NBC's Today between 7-9am. Finally, he will appear on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
    • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph is a guest on The Colbert Report at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
    • Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Charlie, Rob and Glenn are guests on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/Hot Properties/The Knights of Prosperity) - Tune in to see Sofia on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
    • James Caan (Back in the Game) - James chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am. Finally, he will be a guest on Crowd Goes Wild on Fox Sports 1 at 5pm.
    • Lizzy Caplan (Party Down/The Class) - Lizzy appears on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step/She's the Sheriff) - Suzanne is a guest on New York Live on WNBC-NY at 12:30pm. Earlier in the day, she visits Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel sometime between 6-9am.
    • Tia Mowry (The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia will be on New York Live on WNBC-NY at 12:30PM.
    • Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother/Free Spirit) - Alyson dishes on finally meeting the mom on How I Met Your Mother on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is part of the guest panel on Bethenny, so check your local listings.
    • Malin Akerman (Trophy Wife) - Malin appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Atticus Shaffer (The Middle) - Atticus is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
    • Rachael Harris (My Boys/Cougar Town/Fat Actress) and Cheryl Hines (Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Two of the stars of We Need Help are guests on Larry King Now on Ora TV and Hulu at 2/5pm PT/ET.
    Thursday, September 26, 2013
    • Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne) - Catch Johnny on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Julia visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Rebel Wilson (Super Fun Night) - Rebel stops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph continues to make the rounds on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS. He also talks about his latest movie, Don Jon, on Katie, so check your local listings.
    • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Tina appears on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
    • Robin Williams (The Crazy Ones/Mork & Mindy) - Robin appears on CBS This Morning between 7-9am. He will then be on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings. Next, he will appear with his The Crazy Ones co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. Finally, Robin is a guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 11pm.
    • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Peter Krause (Sports Night/Cybill) - Peter appears on NBC's Today between 7-am. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings. Finally, he is a guest on New York Live on WNBC-NY at 12:30pm.
    • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Katie Finneran (I Hate My Teenage Daughter/Bram and Alice) - Katie is a guest on New York Live on WNBC-NY at 12:30pm.
    • Vanessa Lachey (Dads) - Vanessa shares her beauty tips on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Lizzy Caplan (Party Down/The Class) - Lizzy appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Tony Danza (Who's the Boss?/Taxi) - Tony visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies) - Stephen is a guest on Katie, so check your local listings.
    • Scott Baio (See Dad Run/Charles in Charge/Happy Days) - Scott stops by The Better Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sheryl Lee Ralph (Instant Mom/It's a Living) - Sheryl discusses Instant Mom on The Couch in New York on WLNY-TV 10/55 between 7-9am.
    Friday, September 27, 2013
    • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Watch Julia on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Julie appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
    • Kenan Thompson (Kenan & Kel) - Kenan talks about Saturday Night Live on NBC's Today between 7-9am. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/Hot Properties/The Knights of Prosperity) - Sofia dresses audience members in her Kmart fashion line on The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
    • Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) - Josh is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
    • Tia Mowry (The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia talks about her new sitcom Instant Mom on The Better Show, so check your local listings. She will also be on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 between 7-9am.
    • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step/She's the Sheriff) - Suzanne wraps up her appearances this week on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 between 7-9am.
    • Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) - Amy appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland, One Day at a Time) - Valerie stops by The Chew at 1pm ET/12PM PT-CT on ABC and makes Chocolate Chicken Mole with Chef Mario Batali.
    • Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies) - Stephen is a guest on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, August 16

    What We Do in the Shadows - "Pine Barrens" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Nandor and Lazslo air out their differences on a hunting trip at an isolated cabin; Nadja has a girls' night; Guillermo reconnects with his family for the first time in 12 years.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 15)

    Tuesday, August 16

    • Bob Odenkirk (The Larry Sanders Show) - Catch Bob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Al Franken (LateLine) - Al guest hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi is a musical guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Murray Bartlett (Physical/Looking) - Murray is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Vanessa Bayer (I Love That for You) - Vanessa will be on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Amanda Peet (Brockmire/Togetherness/Bent) - Amanda is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Brett Gelman (Fleabag/Married/Go On) - Brett appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Kyle Richards (Down to Earth) - Kyle is a guest on a repeat of Watch What Happens: Live at 3:30am on Bravo.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. She guest hosts a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Rebel Wilson (Super Fun Night) - Rebel will be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Sterling K. Brown (Starved) - Sterling talks about Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie is a guest on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
    • Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland/Big Day/Jake in Progress/Just Shoot Me!) - Wendie talks about her new movie Mack & Rita on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
    • Melba Moore (Melba) - Melba will be on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 9:40am.
    • Suraj Sharma (How I Met Your Father) - Suraj appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.


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