Weeknight TV has two new moms: Anna Faris, who is one of two mothers and one mother-to-be on the sitcom Mom (CBS), and Wendi McLendon-Covey, wife and mother of three on The Goldbergs (ABC), a family comedy set in the 1980s. While Faris has made an appreciable splash as a kooky character on the big screen and McLendon-Covey has played some very broad comedic characters on the small screen, being the mom is a new role for both. How will these two take on this new challenge?
Anna Faris – The Scary Movie/House Bunny’s … Now a Mom
When television legend Chuck Lorre needed a quirky 30-something comedienne to play the role of Christy, a divorced, down-on-her luck, recovering alcoholic single mom for his sitcom of the same name, he turned to movie veteran Anna Faris. Best known for her role as Cindy Campbell in the Scary Movie parodies, she has also become familiar as the female lead in numerous rom-coms including The House Bunny and What’s Your Number. Faris has also become a regular voice actor in animated features (most recently in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked).
On Mom, which debuted September 23 on CBS, the diminutive blonde from Baltimore plays the daughter of Allison Janney, best known for her iconic role on The West Wing. This is not Janney’s first movie role as a mother (she was the mom in Juno, for example) and in this vehicle she plays an estranged mother who comes back in to her daughter’s life. That daughter, played by Anna Faris, is also a mom – and about to become a grandmother – as her daughter Violet (played by Sadie Calvano) is pregnant. How the two (soon to be three) moms deal with their similar problems in this multi-generational sitcom should appeal to most women – especially those who either need a good laugh or who have gone through or are going through the same kind of challenges as the characters.
Although critics did not give the show an overly warm reception on opening night, it is a Chuck Lorre production, and his name should buy the show some time. With last season’s hit Two Broke Girls as a lead in, and occupying the slot between that show and CBS’ new Hostages, Mom at least has a good chance of attracting an audience – especially the audience that has come to appreciate Anna Faris for her cute, struggling everywoman brand of PG-13 comedy.
Mom starring Anna Faris airs on CBS Mondays at 9:30 pm ET/8:30c.
Wendi McLendon-Covey Finally Gets to Play a “Normal” Role on The Goldbergs
Fans of the late and (not so lamented) CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement know Wendi McLendon-Covey for her role as the annoying neighbor, Liz, who eventually became the girlfriend of David Spade’s character on that show. In ABC’s The Goldbergs, which debuted on September 24, Wendi plays Beverly Goldberg, the wife and mother in the clan of the same name. In her very early forties, the often dressed-down but actually quite stunning comedic actress will finally get to play a fairly normal character – a mother of three married to Jeff Garlin and part of an extended family which includes George Segal as Albert “Pops” Solomon.
Unlike other comedies on TV, this one is set in the ‘80s, and program creator Adam Goldberg, who gave the comedic family his own last name, is banking on Wendi being able to pull off the fashions, hairdos and moods of the period. That she was in her teens in the age of Reagan at least means she can draw upon her own memories and experiences from the era, although the show seems to be going for a more retro-Modern Family or The Middle kind of audience than that which she played to in either Rules of Engagement or as Deputy Clementine Johnson and at least two other recurring characters on Reno 911!
The Goldbergs starring Wendi McLendon-Covey airs on ABC Tuesdays at 9:00 pm ET/8c.