Is 'Mom' a sitcom?

For a long time now, the line between comedy and drama has gotten a lot smaller. There are dramas that have some very comedic tones and moments, and there are comedies that are quite dramatic. For the past few years “Nurse Jackie” has been a constant presence in the comedy awards lineups though many feel it’s more of a drama. You could argue something similar with “Orange is the New Black” and “Girls.”

But Networks haven’t fallen into that trap. Sitcoms are, for the most part, sitcoms. But CBS might be challenging that with “Mom.” Sure, there are slapstick sitcom moments on “Mom.” Anna Faris and Alison Janney are talented actresses that have good comedic timing. But in this second season in particular, the story has gotten quite heavy.

Last season we were introduced to Christy (Faris), her family, and her challenges. She’s a recovering alcoholic. She has two kids and a unique relationship with her mother (Janney), also a recovering alcoholic. In the first season she struggled to get her life together while her daughter (Sadie Calvano) became a teen mother. That’s not the typical set up for a sitcom, but “Mom” made it work.

I haven’t always loved the show, but I’ve been fascinated by the strong work done. That’s continued in this second season. Christy lost her home and has struggled to maintain her sobriety and restore relationships with her mother, her daughter, and the father of her son. That has led to plenty of dramatic and sobering moments.

Last night’s episode might be the best example of that, as Christy finally revealed to her daughter that she’s not with her daughter’s father anymore because he was abusive. The scenes in which she revealed that secret and detailed what was done to her were far from comedic. They were serious moments handled seriously by this show. There were a few laughs, but it was the depth of the drama that stood out.

For a network that’s had light, crude, or a combination of both in its comedies (aside from the now departed “How I Met Your Mother”), this felt like a switch. For years cable has scored by deftly moving between drama and comedy, and now it feels like CBS is doing the same.


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