I have a high bar for what tv sitcoms shows I will watch. Even some critically acclaimed ones just do not make the cut. The older I get the less tolerance I have for humor at someone else’s expense and general meanest. Having grown up on All In The Family and Mash the foil character[s] did not seem to bother me. There seemed to be a sense of a greater good. I struggled with Seinfeld. For people in the same general social orbit who are supposed to care about each other I found every character a bit too self-serving. There just was not a lot of openness, caring and general concern for my taste. It is just my opinion, and I could be wrong.
For the past eight years I have been enamored with the weekly comedy “Mom” even though the lead character “Bonnie” is more often than not caustic and demeaning. Historically her type of character would have been enough to turn me permanently off to the show. I guess because the show centered around recovery from addiction, I hung in there with it. I just attributed her “character defects” to a lack of step work and a strong case of narcissism, things that are quite common in every addict especially in early recovery.
Mom is an American television sitcom created by Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker that ran on CBS from September 23, 2013 to May 13, 2021, lasting eight seasons. Set in California, it follows dysfunctional daughter/mother duo Christy and Bonnie Plunkett, who, after having been estranged for years while both were struggling with addiction, attempt to pull their lives and their relationship together by trying to stay sober and attending Alcoholics Anonymous.
Mom follows Christy Plunkett (Anna Faris), a single mother who, after dealing with her battle with alcoholism and drug abuse, decides to restart her life, working as a waitress and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Her mother, Bonnie Plunkett, (Allison Janney) is also a recovering addict.
Christy’s daughter, Violet (Sadie Calvano), who was born when Christy was 17, has also become a teen mother by her boyfriend, Luke (Spencer Daniels). Christy also has a young son, Roscoe (Blake Garrett Rosenthal) by her ex-husband, Baxter (Matt Jones), a deadbeat but likable pothead. Their roles lost importance over the eight years.
Christy eventually goes back to school and pursues her dream of becoming a lawyer, while Bonnie develops a romantic relationship with a retired stuntman named Adam Janikowski (William Fichtner), whom she eventually marries. Through it all, Christy and Bonnie rely on their support system from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), including the wise Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy), the wealthy and materialistic Jill (Jaime Pressly), the submissive and sometimes overly-emotional Wendy (Beth Hall), and the loudmouthed but sweet Tammy (Kristen Johnston). Collectively, they help each other stay sober in the face of the conflicts they face in each episode.
A major draw for me was the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) recovery language that ran through the course of the show. I always had a sense that someone on the writing staff had to be in personal recovery to get it so right or maybe is just my magical thinking. For me, this show will be missed. Spoiler alert: Bonnie at the very end shows that recovery is working. Hope springs eternal.
Charles Michael “Chuck” Lorre is an American television director, writer, producer, composer, and actor. Called the “King of Sitcoms” during the 2010s, he has created and produced sitcoms including Grace Under Fire, Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, Mom, Young Sheldon, The Kominsky Method, Disjointed, Bob Hearts Abishola, B Positive, and United States of Al. He also served as an executive producer of Roseanne.
The unique vanity cards for Chuck Lorre Productions have become a “trademark” for Lorre. Typically, on the end of every episode of his productions beginning with Dharma & Greg (an Apple Macintosh computer was used for Lorre’s production card on Grace Under Fire and Cybill), Lorre includes a different message that usually reads like an editorial, essay, or observation on life. A typical card might include a range of topics as diverse as what the Bee Gees never learned, the cancellation of Dharma & Greg, his support of Barack Obama, the competence of AOL Time Warner management, and the genesis of Two and a Half Men.
The card is shown for only a few seconds at most, so longer messages cannot be read unless recorded and paused, although Lorre now posts the cards on his website. CBS has censored Lorre’s vanity cards on several occasions: Lorre posts both the censored and uncensored versions of the cards.
During Charlie Sheen’s controversial departure from Two and a Half Men in 2011, Lorre referenced Sheen in several cards. Lorre used the vanity card for the series finale, “Of Course He’s Dead”, to address the circumstances of Sheen’s absence from the episode.
Lorre published a compilation of his vanity cards in a coffee table book titled What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Bitter, released on October 16, 2012. The book takes its title from Vanity Card #1, which first aired following the first episode of Dharma & Greg on September 24, 1997.
During The Big Bang Theory episode titled “The Hook-Up Reverberation” Vanity card #463 was displayed. Vanity card #463 discussed Lorre’s lost or matured angst along with the news that he will stop writing the vanity cards. Vanity card #464 was displayed in the next episode stating it was his last and that he felt like they would not be missed. However, he resumed his cards; Vanity card #493 on March 5, 2015, featured a tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy, who had guest starred on the show as the voice of Sheldon’s conscience three years before. In 2017 with the premiere of Disjointed, for the first time since Dharma & Greg premiered in 1997, a new show of Lorre’s did not use his traditional Vanity Card. Instead, a standard production logo was used. The vanity cards have since reappeared on Lorre’s Netflix original series, The Kominsky Method.
This is his last Vanity card at the end of Mom. For me it says it all:
Chuck Lorre Productions, #673
Eight years ago we set out to make a comedy whose central theme was hope. Hope that recovery from alcoholism and addiction is possible. Hope that the journey can be filled with love, friendship and laughter. Hope that people can change, mistakes can be forgiven, and shattered relationships can be healed. And finally, hope that life, through all its ups and downs, never has to be faced alone. So that was our goal. Our not-so-secret agenda. For one hundred and seventy episodes we wrapped jokes around hope. On behalf of everyone involved in the making of Mom, thank you for watching. Thank you for your support. And, most importantly, thank you to all the men and women who have, for generations, carried the message: There is a solution.
“There is a solution” is the motto of No More Secrets (NMS). We believe that this is a treatable illness, and no one needs to die a premature, alone addicts’ death. If you are struggling or just want to talk reach out. You are not alone and remember do not leave before the miracle.