Allison Janney's alcoholic character Bonnie on Mom may have relapsed, but the actress feels that her character Margaret on Showtime's Masters of Sex is far more vulnerable.
With her floppy hat and flapping gums, Jackie "Moms" Mabley is mostly remembered these days for her outrageous appearances on late-'60s and '70s-era variety and talk shows, as mainstream as Ed Sullivan and as of-the-moment as the Smothers Brothers, performing racy and politically barbed stand-up routines whose sting was couched in a dirty-old-lady's guise.
Among those influenced by Mabley was Whoopi Goldberg, who performed an homage to the comedian early in her own career. In the HBO documentary Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley (Monday, 9/8c), the View personality directs and participates in this tribute to the pioneering comic's life and legacy, with TV clips and audio excerpts (enhanced with crude animation) from her many comedy albums, which hold up surprisingly well.
Substance abuse and addiction are typically played for laughs on the CBS comedy Mom, but that's not the case on Monday's "very special episode," in which Bonnie (Allison Janney) falls off the wagon. And she doesn't exactly have a soft landing.
"It's quite a look I sport in this episode," Janney tells TVGuide.com. "No vanity involved in this performance!"
These are the guest stars and events that the networks have planned for the third week of November sweeps:
Monday, Nov. 18
Almost Human (Fox)
On Night 2 of the season premiere, Detective John Kennex and Dorian are dispatched to investigate a murder and high-profile missing persons case that leads them into the highly profitable world of IRCs — Intimate Robot Companions — also known as sexbots.
There's another serious new player in the ever-expanding universe of online original-content providers (see: Netflix and Hulu) — and happily, Amazon's entry into this suddenly cluttered marketplace is not just seriously funny, but it's as bracingly timely as the latest exasperating political headline.
Alpha House (three episodes bow Friday on amazon.com, with future episodes available to Amazon Prime subscribers) is satire at its most blistering and biting, delivered by a master of the trade: Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau, whose contempt for political cynicism, venality and hypocrisy doesn't keep the jaded protagonists of this bawdy, brazen comedy from being great company. The setting is a Washington, D.C., row house, home away from home for four Republican senators, led by the fearlessly outrageous John Goodman as a good-old-boy/former football star who's outraged to discover he won't be able to coast through his next election. (His new opponent: a legendary Duke coach. As someone observes: "You're like a retired god. He's active.")