Friday, November 16, 2018

REVIEW: 'Mom' - Christy Is Surprised to See How Well Violet Is Doing in 'Jell-O Shots and the Truth About Santa'

CBS' Mom - Episode 6.08 "Jell-O Shots and the Truth About Santa"

Bonnie pushes Christy to mend her relationship with Violet. Adam prepares for the grand opening of his bar.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of CBS' Mom.

"Jell-O Shots and the Truth About Santa" was directed by James Widdoes with story by Susan McMartin & Anne Flett-Giordano and teleplay by Gemma Baker, Adam Chase & Sheldon Bull

Mom hasn't told stories about Christy's kids in awhile. It's been a couple of seasons actually. The fourth season was the last that either of them were seen. As such, it was always expected that when they did return they would be in completely different positions in their lives. It was inferred to the audience that Violet was off on her own and no longer needed the support of Christy or Bonnie. Meanwhile, Roscoe is just now living with Baxter and Candace. All of that was perfectly normalized. The title of the show still makes sense because the relationship between Christy and Bonnie is still always fraught with tension and humor. Sure, the ongoing issues of sobriety always received more focus than these difficult personal relationships. Bonnie and Christy are trying to address their problems so that they can better be there for the people in their lives. And yet, this episode suggests that the damage has already been done. No matter how good Christy is now, she can't make up for the neglectful childhood she forced onto Violet. In fact, it's really surprising to see how mature Violet is about all of this. She's being completely rational. She has found a way to cope with her upbringing. She was never really allowed to be a kid. When her mother started getting her life together, that's when Violet's became complicated with a pregnancy. She had the strength to give that baby up for adoption and break the abusive cycle of this family. And now, she is taking that one step further by removing herself from the family altogether. She doesn't want a relationship with her mother. She refers to Bonnie as her life vest. She has more compassion for her because of the support she always got. And yet, it never really seems like Bonnie has a meaningful relationship with Violet either. She just happens to know her new phone number and address. That's information that Christy doesn't have. Bonnie isn't choosing to exploit it either. She doesn't know everything that is going on in Violet's life. She is just as surprised by the podcast that she is doing about the mother of all problems. But she enjoys listening to it as well because she is painted in a flattering light. It forces Christy to once again address all of the actions she did when she was drinking. It will take a lot for Violet to ever feel comfortable having her mom in her life again. That's absolutely tragic. Christy clearly wants this kind of relationship again. She never really had it in the first place. She hopes that because her life is together now she can mend fences with Violet. But it's not as easy as that. Marjorie can't even offer the best advice for the situation because she too is estranged from a child who was hurt by her drinking. She doesn't know the right answer. Otherwise, she would have done it herself. Christy has been solid in working the program. She hasn't slipped up. She has started sponsoring other women. And yet, she caused Violet distress even when she was sober as well. That means that there is still further for Christy to go to fix this dynamic. She doesn't know what the future holds. Bonnie wasn't expecting Adam to open a bar. But that has become a reality for him. Sure, it's awkward that all of his customers on opening night are Bonnie's friends from the program who can't drink. But it's a solid place to start. This moment may be heartbreaking for Christy. But there's still the potential of Violet being seen more in the future. Bonnie is getting married after all. It would be reasonable to expect that Violet gets an invitation to the wedding.