“MOM”……Funny, Messed Up, Heart-breaking & everything in Between

By Tabitha Makumi,
Ever heard of people with screwed up backgrounds? Really messed up in Amy Winehouse kind of way? You know, the sort of people you would rather slit your wrists than walk a day in their shoes? Because let’s face it, their world seems like something out of a miserable and depressing movie which has zilch chance of a happy ending.

That defines “Mum”, a superb CBS sitcom which has a way with humour as well as the power to leave you teary eyed and all mushy inside. You know the feeling? Just say yes, no one has to die today.  

You must know someone who loves the bottle a little too much. Rack your brain a little. There’s that someone, maybe a friend, a former high school teacher, a John Doe you’ve seen lying on the ditch on a freaking Monday morning and thought, “ Damn, don’t you give alcohol a bad name” and then you walked away, glad it wasn’t someone you knew.
But what if you did? What if that John Doe was someone close to you….say your mum? Unfathomable, huh? That’s what this sitcom “Mum” is all about. A journey between an ‘almost’ good for nothing mother (Allison Janney) and a daughter (Anna Faris) caught in a cross fire between her mum’s addiction to alcohol, cocaine and everything dark.

This is where you will hear lines such as “Hey, my name is Bonnie and I am an alcoholic” or “My name is Christie and I am an alcoholic…” a thousand times and recite along the characters. Or my all-time favourite, “It will never happen again…”

Personally, I love those AA meeting scenes. This is when people let their guard down and try to let you understand why they are the way they are. “Since I was seven, I watched my drunken father beat the crap out of my mum and sisters and I didn’t do anything about it……” or “I was twelve when my uncle raped me and I grew up believing it was my fault….”  You know those gory stories you watch on 9.00 O’clock news and shudder to think how those lives turn out?

But I digress. You’ve got to watch ‘Mum’ to get a perspective of what alcoholism does to families, the lies alcoholics tell to convince themselves there’s nothing wrong with them or the sad part when they relapse and swear to heaven and earth it will never happen again. But who are we kidding here, there’s always a heart-breaking relapse waiting to happen.

Chuck Lorre delivers on the humour as well. For instance there’s this hilarious scene in season one when Violet’s boyfriend comes to pick her up for a date and her grandmother tries to play the role of most TV dads… “I want my granddaughter’s hymen intact when you bring her back…” the guy’s jaw drops and then the grandmother says ….. “Who am I kidding, you already got her pregnant. You can do whatever you want….”  Now that’s funny.