A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mom is a sitcom about a clean and sober single mom made by the same comic minds who wrought Two and a Half Men upon the world; expect a similar tone, with frequent jibes about sex and drugs. Main character Christy (Anna Faris) doesn't drink and is shown attending AA meetings, but works in a restaurant where diners drink wine; her teenage daughter drinks and smokes pot (offscreen). Her ex-husband is also a pothead and would-be pot dealer, and her mom is an ex-cocaine user who still takes Xanax when she needs to "calm down." Sex is similarly played for laughs: Christy's teen daughter is sexually active and viewers see a teen boy leaving her room via the window. Viewers will also see adultery and some cartoonish violence.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Christy doesn't have to remember the mistakes of high school -- she's still living with them. She's a waitress instead of the psychologist she wanted to be. She has two kids, including a precocious teen. And she's only now starting to see eye to eye with her blithe floozy of a MOM (Allison Janney), who was too busy snorting cocaine and gallivanting with men to notice what her daughter was up to while she was growing up. Christy doesn't have it easy, particularly since she's newly sober. At least she has the support of her pals in Alcoholics Anonymous. But with daughter Violet smoking pot and sneaking her boyfriend in and out of her bedroom, her grade school son wishing wistfully for more mom time, and mother Bonnie causing behind-the-scenes complications with her difficult personal life, Christy's facing an uphill battle.
Is it any good?
There's the germ of a good comedy on Mom. Faris is as resolutely charming as ever, relatable whether she's crying theatrically over a restaurant table or trying to have a breakfast table heart-to-heart with her rebellious daughter. But the jokes are so broad and the laughter so loud, fake and laugh-track-y that it's a turnoff to the kind of viewer who prefers a subtler guffaw.
Nonetheless, Two and a Half Men is a giant hit for a reason: people like to laugh at pratfalls and hooker jokes. You'll find both here, and they're even occasionally funny. The best thing about Mom is its fabulous cast; the worst, the sitcommy writing and setups. But if Two and a Half Men-style comic stylings are your things, Mom could prove to be decent viewing, provided you're okay with giggling over cocaine addiction, teens who are an "easy lay," and cooking meth.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the relationship between Christy and her mother is realistic. Do they talk like real people? Do they act like them? Are real people ever funny enough to be on a television show?
Watch this show bookended by another mom-and-daughter(s) show, such as Gilmore Girls or Roseanne. How are the relationships between different TV moms and their daughters the same as on Mom? How are they different?
Mom showrunner Chuck Lorre also produces Two and a Half Men. How is Mom similar to Two and a Half Men? How is it different? Compare dialogue, costumes, characters, plots.
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