*Mom* Recap: Anna Faris' Character Christy Comes Face-to-Face with the Man Who Raped Her


Mom may be a sitcom, but it’s never been afraid to take on tough or uncomfortable topics. In four seasons, the CBS comedy has covered addiction, recovery, drug overdose, and sexual assault, all while masterfully balancing humor with tragedy.

And on tonight’s episode (“A Cricket and a Hedge Made of Gold”), Christy (played by Anna Faris) came face-to-face with the man who raped her years earlier. The encounter happened at one of Christy’s AA meetings, but the two never have a direct confrontation. Instead, Christy delivered this speech to the room:

“Sixteen years ago I was sexually assaulted. You know what, forget
that. I was raped. That’s the first time I’ve ever called it what it
was. Mugging victims aren’t ashamed they were robbed. Why should I
feel ashamed I was raped? What I am ashamed of is that I kept it a
secret. This guy counted on me being too embarrassed and afraid to
come forward and you know what? He was right. Tonight I would like to
make amends to any woman who might have been hurt because I was too
scared to say anything. If my silence encouraged him to believe that
he could attack or intimidate or even grab another woman without
consequence, I am so so sorry. Maybe I can’t change the past, but from
now on I’m going to speak out, shout out, shine a light down that can
be seen from outer space if it can stop this from happening to anyone
else. Thank you.”

It’s a powerful, chilling moment to watch, so we asked co-creator and executive producer Gemma Baker to tell us more about how the episode came together. “The episode was very important to all of us, and it felt like an important story to tell and an important time to tell it,” she explained. “It felt really personal…the cast and the writers all felt strongly about that.”

But if you’re wondering why Christy and her rapist (whom she hasn’t seen in 16 years) don’t exchange words, even though they’re in the same room, Baker said that was a deliberate choice. “That was a hard decision to make,” Baker explained. “It was felt that after the monologue you didn’t need to then have a confrontation, but it was definitely discussed. Nathan Anderson (“Viceroy Lights”) had no lines, but he was able to convey so much.”

PHOTO: CBS/Warner Bros. Television

Baker has a point—Christy conveyed everything she needed to say in his presence through her speech at AA. Besides, any direct interaction with “Viceroy Lights” might have actually done more harm than good depending on his recollection of that awful night or his views of it now. “We also didn’t want to tie it up with a bow or anything that resembled us going for a happy ending,” Baker explained. “That scene [where Christy speaks in front of everyone—and him—at the AA meeting] was about her having a voice and standing up for herself.”

It’s also the first time Christy refers to her sexual assault as rape. “It was a conscious decision by the writers to only use the word ‘rape’ once in the episode,” Baker said. “It was important that when Christy uses the word that it’s her first time [saying it]. This was about her being really clear about what happened to her without guilt or shame.”

Impressively, the speech that Faris delivered didn’t undergo any changes from conception to air—a rarity in TV sitcoms and dramas. “We usually write everything in a group, but that speech was written by one person,” Baker revealed. “Normally the script changes quite a bit from the first draft to when the episode is shot but not one word of that speech was changed. Anne Flett-Giordano did a beautiful job.”
 
As for why the show decided to revisit something that happened so long ago, Baker explained that oftentimes we’re unable to truly process trauma until years later: “When you’re going through something extremely upsetting…it can be hard to have your feelings in real time. [Sometimes] feelings often come out totally sideways.” In this case, that manifested with Christy not being able to capture an annoying cricket. “We liked that Christy could only get to her real feelings over not being able to find that cricket. I think it had to do with not being able to control the situation. It was a powerful moment during the taping.”

That moment, of course, was heightened by Anna Faris’s tremendous internal dialogue, which was painfully obvious during the course of the scene. “She gave an incredible performance in this episode, playing all the different levels,” Baker said. “The studio—Warner Bros. Television—and the network—CBS—gave us 100% support [as well]. We are so lucky [because] we would never be able to make episodes like this without [their] trust and encouragement.”

It seems like a no-brainer that the studio and network would encourage honest and important storytelling, but it’s important to note that the circumstances surrounding Christy’s rape are unfortunately still a point of contention in today’s world. She was drunk and doing a line of coke with “Viceroy Lights” when the rape happened, and, as she points out, “I was too messed up to fight him off of me. I didn’t report it. It would have been his word against mine. Who would believe a drunk stripper?”

And then, her sponsor Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy) had this to say to Christy: “It doesn’t matter how drunk you were. What happened wasn’t your fault.”

PHOTO: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment

When Christy countered that if she hadn’t been drinking, it wouldn’t have happened, Marjorie quickly stopped her and said she doesn’t know that. It still could have happened. Still, Christy wondered: If her life hadn’t been such a train wreck, would she have done something about it? “Honey, it’s OK to look back at the past,” Marjorie responded. “Just don’t stare too long. Be grateful you’re sober now and have a voice.”

“I love that [that line] is about being aware of the past but not getting stuck in it or allowing it to dictate the future,” Baker told us. “You know, not continuing to hurt ourselves because someone hurt us a long time ago. I think that was part of what Marjorie was saying…acknowledging that something terrible had happened to Christy but at the same time helping her to take her power back and move on from it.”



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