These days when a TV show runs eight seasons that's enough cause for celebration, but in the case of the CBS comedy Mom, there are multiple reasons to celebrate the show. Not only did they produce 170 episodes and receive 10 Emmy nominations over the course of the run, but they also did something very rare in television by focusing on a group of women of all ages, led by Allison Janney. It seems so simple yet it's almost unheard of, especially in network TV.
The series finale continued that tradition. The final episode found Adam (William Fichtner) worried about a call from his doctor telling him that he needs to see an oncologist because he may have a spot on his lung, even though he quit smoking twenty years earlier. While worrying about Adam, Bonnie met Shannon (Melanie Lynskey), a newcomer at her AA meeting. Bonnie tried to convince Shannon of the need to return for more meetings but it didn't take at first. An especially great scene had the group with newcomer Shannon at their diner comparing their own personal stories and showing that when you think yours is the worst story, someone has either matched it or done something even worse. Meanwhile, a pregnant Jill (Jaime Pressly) stressed about her upcoming nuptials to Andy (Will Sasso).
Bonnie juggled the chaos of Adam's doctor's appointment, Jill's impending City Hall wedding ceremony, and trying to help Shannon. In a moving and honest scene at an AA meeting, Bonnie talked about everything she was dealing with, and the moment she realized she no longer thought about herself at all because she was concerned about her friends and family. It was a beautiful moment, made even more so by Janney's pitch-perfect tone and delivery, showcasing just how far Bonnie has come since we first met her eight seasons ago.
Addiction is often used as a catalyst in dramas, but what Mom did especially well is show the constant struggle for sobriety. That struggle drove both the laughs and the serious moments. The writers were never afraid to tackle the darker and more emotional moments that are the natural result of these obstacles. This is one of the reasons the show was able to continue after Anna Faris' departure at the end of Season 7 when her character Christy went off to attend law school, leaving her mom Bonnie (Janney) and Adam behind. The show relied on its incredibly deep talent bench including Mimi Kennedy, Jaime Pressly, Beth Hall, and Kristen Johnson to continue the story after Faris' departure and the ensemble showed the true bonds of female friendship and the beautiful capacity for understanding and patience in the face of adversity.
While there are reasons to be sad about the end of a beloved show, let's choose to be happy we got to spend time with all of these fabulously talented women. Let's hope we see more shows where women tell their stories this truthfully and honestly.