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Allison Janney is the Only Reason to Watch 'Mom'

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Dec 24, 2013 | 8:00am EST

Allison Janney, MomCBS

Mom is yet another 12-step/addiction based comedy by Chuck Lorre. Anna Faris plays Christy, a former party girl and mother of two who has newly entered Alcoholics Anonymous. While there, she reconnects with her estranged mother Bonnie (Allison Janney). Meanwhile, Christy’s ex-husband is a loser, her daughter is pregnant, and she works for a verbally abusive chef (French Stewart).

Sadly, playing an alcoholic, Faris cannot be the kooky Anna Faris we fell in love with in the Scary Movie films and The House Bunny. Instead, she’s needlessly harsh and angry, with no likable qualities. The other cursory characters are also kind of forgettable. However, Janney reigns supreme and shines in this series with A Beautiful Mind-style understanding of comedy.

Janney is a gifted dramatic actress. We all know that. It’s clear from her many award wins for The West Wing.  Just recently, she starred in an amazing arc on Masters of Sex as a neglected 1950s housewife that discovers love for the first time during an affair. But who knew she could play comedy so well!

Nothing is off limits for the actress. She does physical comedy, biting dialogue, and just keeps finding new and deeper levels for her character. It’s like watching Stephen Hawking take a 5th grade math quiz. She shines in the role of Bonnie and even helps elevate the series. Her interactions with her castmates fuel more fun than you might expect from some of the outlandish and unfunny premises.

Janney has proven herself an acting virtuoso gifted in comedy and drama. Luckily, she can be enjoyed while Mom is still on the air. Sadly, the non-Janney elements of Mom need some tweaking. Who knows, maybe if the show gets cancelled her character might get new life on a new show. Like when Ugly Betty was cancelled and Vanessa Williams popped up on Desperate Housewives  with a shockingly similar character. 

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