Thursday, November 2, 2017

REVIEW: 'Mom' - Adam Proposes to Bonnie While Christy Helps a New Friend in 'Twinkle Lights and Grandma Shoes'

CBS' Mom - Episode 5.01 "Twinkle Lights and Grandma Shoes"

Bonnie gets cold feet when considering her future with Adam. Christy risks failing an important test in order to help a fellow alcoholic.

Bonnie and Adam's relationship was a major story in the fourth season of Mom. It wasn't the only story of ongoing significance. Jill struggled to get pregnant and to foster a kid. Christy was doing her best in school while still running into the occasional problem with her kids (who appear less and less frequently now). But the Bonnie and Adam relationship seemed like it built the spine of the season. Their relationship was full of ups and downs. It was unclear if he was actually a good influence for her because he may be an alcoholic himself. His job can provide financial stability for her. But his friends partied way too hard and a secret stash of pot cookies almost ruined the sobriety for everyone in the group. They broke up and got back together. Bonnie had to deal with Adam's ex-wife who still wanted to be a part of his life. It was a story that was seemingly building to the two of them getting engaged by the end of the season. That did not happen. Instead, the season ended with Bonnie facing tax problems with the IRS and needing to ask for help from the brother she never knew she had. That was a strong story as well that gave Bonnie a new family connection. But it wasn't ultimately what the season was about. Yes, her brother appeared in one previous episode before the finale. Him being an addict and a lawyer ensures that he will remain a part of this family moving forward as well. But there wasn't a significant change to Bonnie and Adam's relationship even though the season felt like it was building to that moment.

And so, the show may be doing a bit of course correcting with "Twinkle Lights and Grandma Shoes." This is the episode where Bonnie and Adam actually get engaged. It is the main story for the premiere. It's sensible as well. This is something that the two of them should reasonably do. Last season highlighted how they are both good and bad for each other. It was a relationship of ups and downs with the show spending a lot of time on them. It would be good to have more stability in that relationship. Of course, things can only be so stable when Bonnie is involved. She's always created chaos that sucks down the people around her. As such, it makes sense that she freaks out about what getting married actually means. She wants to do this with Adam. She has finally found a guy she can imagine her future with. She's very much looking to be recognized when he puts the ring on her finger for the first time in the restaurant. She wants that outward praise that even though she is over 50 she is still seen as a sexual being who can land a man. But all of that is good in general for Bonnie. That's all she needs to do to prove herself to the outside world. But in examining how this would actually change her life is what ultimately gets her spiraling.

Bonnie does come across as very mean and erratic throughout this premiere. That has always been a part of the character. Her family and friends know that about her. They know that they can fling that tough love and hurtful comments right back at her knowing that she can take it. But she's very misleading to Adam regarding if she wants to get married or not. He has put in the work to get the ring and propose to her. He does it multiple times as well. Christy is happy to give her mom and Adam the romantic dream she has for getting proposed herself. She understands the significance of romance like this knowing fully well that she won't experience it herself any time soon. She gives that to them. And then, Bonnie is just a mess who can't decide if this is something that she actually wants. Yes, she does want to marry Adam. But she keeps saying no to him. She keeps coming back to him ready to say yes. But the wrong word still keeps coming out of her mouth. It's an amusing story that Allison Janney clearly has a lot of fun with. Once again, Marjorie may have a point in saying that deep down Bonnie believes she doesn't deserve happiness like this after everything she has done in her life. That's enough to get her through the proposal and actually putting the ring on and wearing it. But it doesn't make her feel all that better in the end.

That may not ultimately be the reason why Bonnie is so torn up right now as well. In fact, it's more like the fear of saying Adam will be the only person she will ever be with for the rest of her life. That has a lot of finality to it that is absolutely terrifying to her. She wonders if she can actually uphold that promise. She knows who she is as well. She knows she won't be a traditional wife who can give Adam everything he wants. He knows that about her and still loves her. But it's still a worry that is crippling to her. That's what makes it so compelling when Christy is the one to give her the solution for these feelings. She should approach marriage the same way that she approaches sobriety. She shouldn't think about the finality of it all. She should just take it one day at a time. That will ensure that she can focus on what she has in this relationship with Adam. And then, it's even more funny once Bonnie shares that she and Adam haven't set a date for the wedding yet. To Christy, that just proves that there is no reason for Bonnie to be worried about any of this. It's all just hypothetically in the future. She believes no man - especially Adam - would be the one to force all of the wedding planning. As long as Bonnie doesn't bring it up, then this engagement could go on and on for years. That's something that Bonnie could reasonably do. That's an amusing prospect even though it's probably unlikely to actually happen. But hopefully, this engagement allows the two of them to be stable as a couple so that the show can focus on other things this season. Of course, it does create the logistical problem of where Bonnie and Adam will live? Does this mean Christy will be on her own for the first time in awhile? Or can they still not stand to actually live together?

Christy is more than capable of handling that as well. She's juggling a lot throughout this episode. She is trying to cram for the test that will determine her academic future as a lawyer. That's been a dream of hers for a long time now. It's still appreciated that the show isn't accelerating the process so that it can have fun seeing Christy in the courtroom. It takes a lot of years in school to become a lawyer. It's been a long and arduous process for Christy. But she has proven to be good at it as well. She will make a great lawyer one day. She is able to get an average score on this test despite everything that is going on with Bonnie and Natasha. Bonnie is the more annoying of the two because she's just a constant fixture in Christy's life at the moment. Even though she's used to it by now, she's still annoyed when it comes time for her to study. Meanwhile, Natasha is still a new addition. She's the latest addict Christy is trying to help remain sober. There is a fascinating story here. Christy wants to help Natasha but that is creating new stress in her relationship with Jill, who is now eating her feelings. Jill fought so hard to become a foster parent. She succeeded because of her friendship with Christy. But now, Christy seems to be betraying her by helping Natasha. Of course, things are still a long ways off before Natasha can prove that she can take care of her daughter again. But the show is headed in that direction. Plus, Natasha is working at the diner. So, she will be seen a lot this season.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Twinkle Lights and Grandma Shoes" was directed by James Widdoes with story by Nick Bakay & Gemma Baker and teleplay by Adam Chase, Marco Pennette & Anne Flett-Giordano.
  • It's a huge surprise to see what Jill looks like at the start of this season. And for those in the audience who don't know, Jaime Pressly is wearing that fat suit now because she was pregnant in real life with twins. The babies were born in mid-October. So, this is going to be an important change to the character for this season.
  • But this weight change in Jill is such a radical difference for the character as well. She has always been so vain and narcissistic. That's been a defining quality for her. And yet, I understand that the writers needed to come up with a solution. It would have taken some of the impact out of the story with Natasha if Jill suddenly got pregnant after trying and failing last season.
  • Plus, it's great that Wendy is the one who explodes on Jill because she is complaining about her life right now. Jill's life is still pretty great. She's just facing new struggles as a parent who is still adjusting to the actual job. Her addiction is coming out again through food. I hope that the show properly explores that. Her weight is good for jokes here. But it should be an ongoing issue that the show takes seriously. She shouldn't be straight back to looking like her normal self once Pressly returns from maternity leave.
  • Adam proposes three times to Bonnie and they all basically go awry. The first one is the most visible for the audience. He had the restaurant bake the ring into the dessert. But then, Bonnie gets up to go to the bathroom right as he's about to propose which creates a fire that the waiter then has to put out. It's amusing while also being completely in line for a proposal that Bonnie would have.
  • Christy and Natasha have this connection because they used to strip together. Christy genuinely wants to help her. And yet, she's still not great as a sponsor. Natasha isn't the first person she has tried to help. But here, she's making sure that she's as nervous and scared as possible because of how high the stakes actually are in life. That's not good sponsorship. It just means she has more work to do with her.