The Cast of 'Mom' Wants to See the Show Tackle an Issue We Don't See on TV Enough


Tonight Mom becomes the sixth Chuck Lorre executive-produced series to hit the 100-episode mark, but for a myriad of reasons, it’s perhaps the most important show to reach this milestone. The series, which debuted in 2013 on CBS and stars Anna Faris and Allison Janney, has become more than just a sitcom about three generations of women. “Our vision has become clearer,” Lorre tells us. “We’ve homed in on what the show is and owned it. This is a family of people who are helping people survive a difficult, often terminal situation.”

From drug overdose to rape, Mom has been lauded for deftly balancing some of life’s toughest subject matters with the humor of a traditional multicamera comedy—a rarity for broadcast television. But for Warner Bros. Television (the studio behind Mom), doing so was a no-brainer. “This series hearkens back to the days of [All in the Family creator] Norman Lear, in which we take on the most difficult hardships of humankind [and do] it in such an authentic and funny way,” Warner Bros. TV president Peter Roth says. “I laughingly say to Chuck, ‘100 episodes! We’re halfway there!'”

Mom tackled sexual harassment before the Weinstein scandal broke open. Stories about gender equity were present way before Time’s Up became a movement. And it’s still one of the few comedies that have never featured a male lead consistently throughout their run. For Lorre—who has had a hand in creating everything from Two and a Half Men to The Big Bang Theory—it’s been more rewarding that way. “Women are more evolved, they are more empathetic, more articulate, and when they have a feeling, they can actually express that feeling,” he says. “[Usually] two men talking will be very shallow in the conversation, whereas two women talking will be in depth and meaningful. As a writer, that’s just more interesting.”

While Lorre and cocreator Gemma Baker swear they don’t have in-depth conversations about what social issue topics to tackle next (“We don’t start with topics; we start with characters,” Lorre says), they are adamant that whatever they write about, it won’t be preachy. “Nobody wants to do that, and nobody wants to watch a show that’s preachy,” Lorre notes. “At least I don’t think.”

PHOTO: Warner Bros.

As for the cast, they say they’d never attempt to try and craft their own stories—”It’s [the writers] vision, and it’s brilliant,” Anna Faris says—but they all have ideas they’d love to see in coming seasons. “I’d love to see the subject of aging,” Mimi Kennedy (Marjorie) tells us. “Each of us is in a different [age bracket], but there’s [always] that shame of aging, like, does anybody still love me? Am I invisible? There’s [an outdated way of thinking] like I’m too old, I won’t go out anymore, I missed the mark, I got sick, I put on too much weight, one of my children is unhappy, etc. No! I’m not interested in putting on a lot of fake eyelashes, but I am interested in being vital.”

Jaime Pressly (Jill) feels the same. “I think it’s important that we see a bunch of women 40 and over who are all totally different, totally flawed, unafraid to be flawed, and what their flaws are,” she says. “We’re all 40 and over [on this show], and everybody is pretty incredible in their own way. I’m 40 and wouldn’t go back to my twenties or thirties if you paid me. I love being 40. It only gets better.”

Oscar nominee Allison Janney echoes her costars wishes, adding, “It makes me even more proud that we’re on a show that has so many women and so many women over 40. There are so many strong, powerful women telling their stories.” And for Beth Hall, who plays Wendy, it’s an opportunity to showcase what it means to be over 40 and without a life partner. “Wendy is single and is always looking for a guy,” she explains. “As you get older, it can often be more difficult. Sometimes you’re seen as a lesser person as you get older.”

That’s why Mom has taken great pride in portraying the independence of its female leads, while also giving them a chance to thrive in new relationships. “It’s incredibly remarkable to have a female-centric show that’s not necessarily about getting the man,” Anna Faris says. “Still, I also want [Christy] to be in love.” (And for the record, she may get her wish: Steven Weber’s Patrick is sticking around for a bit.)

That’s not all Faris wants to see, though. “I would love to see Christy’s intelligence honored. She’s been trying to be a lawyer [for so long], so I would love for her to feel a sense of power in her career goals.” The stakes are a little less high, but no less important for Janney’s Bonnie, who says she’ll be focusing on self-improvement now that she’s engaged to Adam (William Fichtner). “She’s learning empathy. There are endless stories to mine in this woman’s life because life is endless in terms of what it throws at you and how you have to deal with it.



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