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And Allison Janney delivers yet another pitch-perfect performance
A death shocks the group on Thursday's episode
Based on the loglines for recent episodes of CBS' Mom, unfamiliar viewers may not realize that the show is a sitcom. One recent episode saw Allison Janney's alcoholic character Bonnie relapse after two years of being sober, and in Monday's installment, Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy) is diagnosed with breast cancer. But part of Mom's charm is finding the humor even in horrible situations.
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!"