The first two minutes of Season 2 of “Mom” appears to tear down everything the show spent its first season building: Christy falls off the wagon, badly, leading her to offer/demand sex from any of the sad sacks she works with at the restaurant.
But — whew — it’s just a dream, until Christy goes to tell her mom about it, and Bonnie’s getting ready to shoot up. That, of course, is a dream too, and a more obvious one than Christy’s moment. It’s a very sitcommy way to start the season, and it might be a good hook to catch “Big Bang Theory” viewers who might not have watched last season.
Fortunately for those who have been watching this prickly, honest gem of a show, it doesn’t undermine the delicate balance of broad comedy and earned drama and emotion that “Mom” manages to pull off more often than not.
Both Anna Faris and Allison Janney throw themselves into the “broad” part: Off kilter though they might have been, the dream scenes at the top of the episode are great showcases for their physical comedy and the timing they developed over the course of last season. But “Mom” lives in the smaller moments of Christy, Bonnie and Christy’s daughter, Violet (Sadie Calvano, increasingly up to sparring with Faris and Janney) just getting through the day-to-day of their lives and managing their addictions.
The season premiere introduces both a new character — Jill (Jaime Pressly), a newcomer to AA Christy takes under her shaky wing — and a new crisis: Christy has let her rent lapse thanks to another addictive behavior, gambling. It tees up a host of possible stories and conflicts to drive the season, and the comedy.
“Mom” earned a renewal last season despite middling ratings. Its run following “The Big Bang Theory” for the remainder of the fall should help with the numbers. If it can keep walking the line it found last season, any new viewers will find their time rewarded.
What did you think of the Season 2 premiere?