Thursday, November 5, 2020

REVIEW: 'Mom' - Bonnie Says Goodbye to Christy While Tammy Dreads a Phone Call in 'Sex Bucket and the Grammar Police'

CBS' Mom - Episode 8.01 "Sex Bucket and the Grammar Police"

When Bonnie invites the ladies to a slumber party, childhood games reveal adult problems.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of CBS' Mom.

"Sex Bucket and the Grammar Police" was directed by James Widdoes with story by Gemma Baker, Anne Flett-Giordano & Chelsea Myers and teleplay by Alisa Neubauer, Adam Chase & Ilana Wernick

This season needed to address the exit of Anna Faris as Christy right away. It fortunately does so in the first scene. Bonnie and Adam are seen driving away from the airport after dropping Christy off to go to Georgetown Law School. That did somewhat feel like the convenient way to explain the sudden absence of the character. It would not have been rewarding to have learned she relapsed or suffered some other kind of tragic fate. The series to this point had really been an upward trajectory for her in her career. She fought for her success as a hopeful lawyer. And now, the show confirms that the future is bright for her. Of course, the narrative will now have to adjust itself because Christy was the focal point for the core structure. Her journey in recovery provided each season with its main anchor. Her years in sobriety converged with the passing of each season. She was newly sober at the start of the series. Every finale marked a new anniversary for her. She sought to give back to the program and help others remain sober. She fought this disease alongside her mother. The relationship between Christy and Bonnie truly was the core dynamic of the show. They had a difficult past but they found their way back to each other in a way that was truly rewarding for both of them. They could celebrate the various victories together. They could grow as mother and daughter. It was no longer a relationship filled with animosity. And now, the show can easily present Bonnie as its sole lead. It has always been very comfortable putting Bonnie's stories at the forefront. As such, the audience probably shouldn't expect any serious drop in quality with the sudden absence of this one character. Plus, the door is always open for Christy to return some day. That seems likely especially whenever CBS opts to end the show. Again, that relationship between Bonnie and Christy is so important. That means this premiere has to establish slightly more grounded stories for the rest of the ensemble. The other girls have long been able to carry their own stories in this world. However, they were always trusted to be the focus for only a handful of episodes each year. It never needed to be the consistent draw. And so, those expansion efforts for slightly more depth are apparent here. Tammy is afraid of a phone call she is expecting from her imprisoned father on her birthday. She doesn't know how to react to that news because she is still dealing with the trauma and grief of him killing her mother. She accepts the call and learns that he is sober too. However, her friendships are more vital in this moment. They offer her the support she can rely on. In fact, this entire group is comfortable with one another to share their deepest fears about their lives right now. With Bonnie, it's simple. She puts on a hard exterior and worries that her friends don't know how much she truly loves them. They know that but she still worries about how can still hurt others she cares about. The other characters are given plot points that can potentially expand in the future for more expansive stories. Wendy fears the decisions she has to make on a daily basis as a nurse. Jill worries that her relationship with Andy is starting to fade because they have nothing in common except a desire to have sex. And Marjorie learns that she needs to have a stent put into her heart. Again, the show is not at a loss for providing serious stories for these characters. But it still maintains a sense of joy by presenting all of this through a slumber party for the girls. This is something they all have actually wanted. Tammy gets it for her birthday. They have the chance to be honest with one another. They can celebrate what is happening in Christy's life. They provide support no matter what. So again, that mostly affirms that not much is going to change despite the void that was created in between seasons. Of course, Tammy's story of dealing with her father is something different than the show has done in the past. That is refreshing. The show never wants to betray these characters. It should never have to either. However, some of these plot points seem familiar as well which also highlights the age of the show and the broadness of the characters at this point in its run.