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!"
Mark Harmon, Sean Murray, Emily Wickersham
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.")
Anna Faris and Allison Janney
CBS will air what Mom star Allison Janney is calling the sitcom's first "very special episode" on Nov. 18, when her recovering-alcoholic character, Bonnie, relapses. "It goes in a direction that not a lot of [cocreator and executive producer] Chuck Lorre's shows have gone," Janney says. "We go pretty deep and raw and have some moments you don't usually see in a half-hour sitcom."
Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette
Simplicity can be a helpful thing for an effective thriller — and that, sadly, is an attribute CBS's overwrought, underwatched Hostages (Monday, 10/9c) lacks altogether. The more complications this show introduces, the sillier it threatens to become. It's hard to imagine a subplot of less interest than the money problems of foxy hostage-taker Sandrine ...
Most Bones fans will likely agree with its title character (Emily Deschanel) when Brennan declares to her intended, Booth (David Boreanaz), "We've waited long enough." The wait is over, as the brusque forensic anthropologist and her impetuous FBI baby-daddy finally head to the altar — although for most of this endearing episode (Monday, 8/7c), nearly everyone in the Jeffersonian lab, including a full complement of returning Squints, is laying bets that the wedding will never happen. There's a new case, after all, and the real challenge is to keep Bones from becoming too distracted. Cyndi Lauper (returning as psychic Avalon Harmonia) is on hand to perform at the ceremony, but what she should really be singing is "Get Tempe to the Church on Time." There are additional complications and intimations of cold feet before the lovely finish, but Angela (Michaela Conlin) probably says it best: "You don't want your fingers to smell like death when Booth puts on the ring."
She's right. And: ew.
Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar
CBS has given full-season orders to The Crazy Ones, The Millers and Mom, the network announced Friday.
"We're proud of CBS's leadership position in comedy and excited to build on it with the back nine pick-ups of these three new comedies," said CBS Entertainment Nina Tassler.
Until CBS stops going for Broke, it may be hard for Mom, one of the season's more promising and pungent new comedies, to get the break it, and the title character, deserves. What's happening to CBS on Monday with its once-dominant comedy lineup is a slow-fade version of the freefall NBC experienced with its Thursday lineup in the wake of Friends. Holding on to shows too long (How I Met Your Mother, which could have wrapped this whole thing way earlier), promoting shows too soon with too little to offer (the shrill and increasingly charmless 2 Broke Girls), making odd decisions like keeping the award-winning Mike & Molly on the shelf in favor of an insta-dud like the abysmal We Are Men, this is one of those rare nights when CBS's programming acumen has mostly crapped out. (Monday's loss is, of course, Thursday's gain, with former Monday anchors The Big Bang Theory and, to a lesser degree these days, the played-out Two and a Half Men helping get early sampling for newbies The Millers and The Crazy Ones.)