Series / Mom
Mommy dearest...

Mom is a Chuck Lorre-produced sitcom on CBS that debuted during the 2013-2014 TV season. It stars Anna Faris as Christy and Allison Janney as Bonnie, Christy's mother, and revolves around two substance abusers trying to rebuild their broken relationship and maintain their sobriety while dealing with all sorts of other issues life throws at them.

Allison Janney won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Musical for her portrayal of Bonnie.

Not ever to be confused with the dark horror-comedy about a son who deals with the terrifying, all-too-likely scenario of a mother turned into a flesh-eating ghoul starring the late Jeanne Bates.

The show includes examples of:

  • Advertised Extra:
    • The restaurant staff were featured less and less as the series went on. Gabriel was fired as manager, going partway through season 2. Chef Rudy and the rest of the staff followed suit shortly into season 3.
    • Luke only appears in the first few episodes of season 2, but is credited as a regular throughout.
    • Christy's children have moved out by Season 3 (Roscoe is now permanently with his father and Violet moves in with her professor) and make very occasional appearances despite being prominently featured in the title sequence.
  • The Alcoholic: Christy and Bonnie are substance abusers in recovery. Alcohol was just one of their many vices.
  • Almighty Janitor: Bonnie becomes a building manager in Season 2. She's incompetent at the job but has all her tenants kowtowing to her after she reveals that she knows everyone's dirty secrets and won't hesitate to make them public if the tenants try to get her fired.
  • Amicable Exes: Christy and Baxter get along fairly well, even though Baxter lives out of a van and is perpetually late with his child support payments. When he does manage to pay her, she'll cheerfully have casual sex with him. It helps that, in spite of his shortcomings, Baxter is an attentive father to Roscoe and shows concern for Violet even though she's not his biological daughter.
  • Ascended Extra: Jill and Wendy were both minor characters at the meetings when they first appeared, but as their friendship with the Plunketts grew they were eventually promoted to regulars in season 3.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Roscoe, being the youngest, is the most innocent member of the cast but can be quite intimidating when he gets angry.
  • Black Best Friend: Regina to both Bonnie and Christy.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Bonnie's raison d'etre.
  • Comically Missing the Point: One of the schticks of Luke's character, a combination of his being high and not being particularly bright in the first place.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Marjorie has eight cats that she dotes on. It's implied that she mothers them because her son refuses to have anything to do with her in light of her alcohol and drug filled past.
  • Deceptive Legacy: Christy keeps Violet in the dark about her father's true identity for years until finally revealing he was abusive. She brings Violet to a grave to talk about wanting to put it totally behind her and let it stay buried and Violet accepts that. As she walks off, Bonnie asks Christy, "So, whose grave is that?" Meaning that Violet's dad is still alive but Christy much prefers she think him dead.
  • Disappeared Dad: Alvin, Christy's father and Bonnie's true love, abandoned them right after Christy was born. Christy tracks Alvin down years later and after a rocky introduction, Alvin decides that he should try and make an effort to get to know Christy and her family, even introducing Christy to her half-brothers. Unfortunately for Alvin, the decision ends up costing him his current marriage.
    • There is no mention of Violet's father until Bonnie reveals that he used to beat Christy until she left him.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Christy and Bonnie take Marjorie to her chemotherapy appointment as a sign of support but immediately forget about her when the hunky doctor walks into the waiting room.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Whenever Christy and Bonnie's shared past is brought up, it's usually accompanied by a Noodle Incident story that shows just how checkered Bonnie's past is and that it's a miracle that Christy is as well-adjusted as she is.
    • Marjorie was apparently quite the hell-raiser before she became sober, including time spent in prison. According to her, she had her own harem and would have been tough enough to completely dominate Bonnie before she got sober and became the matronly figure on the show.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Bonnie, while visiting Marjorie and her many cats, holds a fuzzy white cat between her legs to depict how a much older member of their AA meetings looks while wearing a miniskirt sans underwear.
    • Bonnie and Chef Rudy go on a date an proceed to have an incredibly thinly-veiled innuendo-laced conversation about flavor combinations.
      Bonnie: "Cherry? Squirt? Fleshy? You can't help yourself, can you?"
      Chef Rudy: "It's very hard."
      And a little later:
      Bonnie: "'s not sweet like a tomato or sour like vinegar..."
      Chef Rudy: "Exactly. It's a third thing that didn't exist until one was driven deep inside the other. And yes, I know what I just said."
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Bonnie gets visited by her bad self (dressed as a Biker Babe) and her good self (dressed as Glinda the Good Witch of the North) while recovering from her second relapse. After their arguing upsets Bonnie, they are shooed away by Jesus.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Christy's childhood was spent being dragged and abandoned all around the Americas as Bonnie engaged in all sorts of borderline and outright illegal activities. It's all Played for Laughs, but it was pretty much inevitable that Christy would fall into self-destructive habits.
    • Violet and Roscoe, though to a much lesser degree than Christy's, were this as well before Christy went sober.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Bonnie, Christy, Jill and Wendy eat Adam's cookies without knowing that they had marijuana in them. Christy freaks out because she thinks she'd lost her sobriety, but Marjorie tells her that since they took it accidentally, their sobriety is intact.
  • Jerk Ass: Chef Rudy is extremely blunt and doesn't care who he insults/hurts/offends/etc. and he has yet to exhibit any redeeming qualities.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bonnie isn't the easiest person to get along with and there is the genuine possibility she will shoot someone who pisses her off enough, not to mention the fact that she was a horrible mother when Christy was a child. But she does genuinely care for those in her life, although that part of her is buried beneath a significant layer of snark.
  • Lives in a Van: Baxter lives in a red car. When Christy comments that it's being towed, he runs out muttering about his cleaning lady still being in there.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Invoked by Bonnie as being one of the benefits of having a child at an incredibly young age. She used to pass Christy off as her own sister. Christy really does look young enough to pass for Violet's older sister, but acknowledges that she's a mother.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-universe, Chef Rudy has a working-class Boston background but uses a generic accent to hide his humble origins. He reverts to his Boston accentnote  when Bonnie tortures him and he's too distraught to maintain the facade.
    Chef Rudy: "Hahd to chahge sixty bucks for lobstah chowda with capers."
  • Out of Focus: The show originally gave equal focus to Christy's home and work life. Then plots started focusing more and more on the Plunketts' family dynamics and the restaurant cast was quietly dropped by the end of Season 1. By the end of Season 2, the show's focus shifted again to Christy and Bonnie's support group and Christy's children were mostly written out by the start of Season 3.
  • Parental Substitute: Marjorie provides a maternal figure to Christy, to Bonnie's intense dislike.
    • Bonnie becomes one to Violet and Roscoe in the pilot to weasel her way back into Christy's life (while insisting that she be called (Aunt) Bonnie because she doesn't want to feel old). She keeps it up, however, out of a genuine wish to help Christy and her family and even accepts being called 'Grandma'. The lessons Bonnie passes on aren't exactly family friendly aesops, thoughnote .
  • Promotion to Parent: Christy finds out that because of her years of substance abuse and continued self-absorption (even in the wake of her sobriety), Violet has assumed the role of mothering Roscoe and does an incredibly good job at it.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The show uses pieces of classical music for its soundtrack, namely snippets from the overture to ''Ruslan and Lyudmila''.
  • Reality Ensues: When Christy gets angry at a rude salesperson, she starts stealing from her store as payback. She keeps going until Marjorie relates a similar story that makes her feel bad. She goes back to the store and returns the items, apologizing. The salesperson accepts... only to pick up the phone to call the police, as Christy committed a crime.
  • Really Gets Around: Christy, before she got sober, and Bonnie, for whom it doesn't matter if she's sober or not. Even while sober, Christy can revert back to this in her lower moments.
    • Chef Rudy likes to sleep around and by what he says on the show, his tastes are... eclectic.
  • Remember the New Guy: Wendy, who made previous appearances but never interacted with the main characters, is suddenly thrust into the forefront during the arc about Bonnie's second relapse and everyone acts as if she was always part of the group.
  • Recovered Addict: The series is about two such characters, Christy and her mother Bonnie, as they struggle to remain sober and rebuild their lives.
    • Marjorie qualifies as well, having been as bad as Bonnie in her drunken days.
  • Silent Snarker: Paul, Chef Rudy's main assistant, hasn't said a word so far but says more with a single expression than most characters can with pages of dialogue.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Bonnie and Marjorie to each other. It's gotten better over the years, but they still mostly dislike each other.
  • The Stoner: A good chunk of the characters smoke weed. While the show doesn't take much a moral stance for or against it, it does highlight the stupid and/or dangerous things people can do while high and how such behavior can anger/annoy those who don't partake.
    • Luke smokes, although it's implied that it's as much recreational as it is to try and cope with his overbearing father. It's also shown that being perpetually high doesn't do him any favors. With or without the pot, however, he is a good-natured, but extremely dim, goof.
    • Baxter sees being high as a good thing, even when it comes to issues of personal safety. Baxter, however, eventually quits smoking weed and generally cleans up his act when he gets together with a woman from a fairly wealthy family. Violet notes that he seems more intelligent now that he's not toking.
    Baxter: "Never fall sober! You tense up!"
    Christy: "Thanks for the tip."
    Baxter: "It's a scientific fact: you can't get hurt when you're high. I don't make the rules!"
    • Marijuana is probably the least of Chef Rudy's vices, as the show reveals that he takes and deals in a wide variety of substances and sexual fetishes. The substance abuse element of Rudy's character is Truth in Television for many people trying to cope in the incredibly stressful food industry.
    • Adam, Bonnie's boyfriend in season 3, keeps a jar of pot cookies hidden. Bonnie finds it and shares them with Christy, Jill and Wendy without knowing what they are.
  • Studio Audience: This show is a shining example of what traditional multi-cam sitcoms with studio audiences are capable of in an age when they're regarded as old-fashioned and trite. The scripts and actors often play emotional scenes to the hilt, instead of veering off into a punchline for a laugh. At these moments, the studio audience is audibly uncomfortable with what they're watching, not knowing if they should laugh, cry, or applaud, reflecting how viewers at home feel. You'll often hear conflicting responses from the audience, with one part chuckling uncomfortably while another let out gasps and groans of sympathy for the characters.
  • Team Mom: Marjorie, being considerably older than the rest of the cast, and always the one to be relied upon to give good advice.
  • Teen Pregnancy: One of the overarching plots of the first season is Violet's unexpected pregnancy and how she has to come to grips with the impact it has on her goals.
  • Those Two Guys: Chef Rudy and Paul take on this role in any scene taking place in the restaurant's kitchen, with Rudy providing the zinger while Paul drives it in further with his facial expressions.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Bonnie and Chef Rudy have a one night stand and Bonnie is then given the brush off through Christy. Keen to get revenge, Bonnie realizes that Chef Rudy would probably take pleasure in any physical pain she might inflict so she decides to take her anger out on his incredibly expensive wine collection instead. It still ends up arousing the both of them.
  • Troll: Bonnie loves to mess with people she takes a disliking to, even if it means interfering with Christy's sincere attempts at bridge building.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Bonnie and Marjorie will inevitably start sniping at one another, but they find enjoyment in the mutual snarking and Bonnie does provide genuine, though hilariously inappropriate, support during Marjorie's cancer fight.
    • Bonnie and Regina are also an example, although their altercations have actually become physical.