Tiny Beautiful Things, Single Drunk Female, The Goldbergs, Young Sheldon, The Last Thing He Told Me, andFirefly Lane
With Mother’s Day on the way, I wanted to recognize the moms that have made their mark on TV this season. So here are Amanda’s First Annual Mommy Awards.
Mothers Most Likely to Make You Cry, A Lot - I just finished watching FX/Hulu’s Tiny Beautiful Things and I am exhausted. This terrific miniseries is based on author Cheryl Strayed’s experience working through the grief over her mother’s death at 42. When we meet Clare (an Emmy-worth Kathryn Hahn), she is in a downward spiral, kicked out of her own home by her husband, in a prickly relationship with her teenage daughter and barely holding down a job in a nursing home, Clare is not rocking her 40s. We learn through flashbacks that young Clare (Sarah Pidgeon) grew up poor but loved by her adoring, optimistic, sacrificing mother (the always wonderful Merritt Wever). Clare’s life-long risk-taking and self-destructive behavior all goes back to her relationship with her mother and her untimely death. I cried several times watching Tiny Beautiful Things, thanks to the extraordinary performances of Hahn, Wever and Pidgeon, and a heart-tugging adaptation of Strayed’s book by Liz Tigelaar.
Most Clueless Mom Played by a Former Member of the Brat Pack – If you don’t have Freeform (yes that’s a network) or Hulu, you probably aren’t watching Single Drunk Female. This sophomore dramedy offers the most raw and realistic insight into addiction of any program on TV. Samantha Fink (Sofia Black D’Elia) is a recovering alcoholic who, due to many bad choices, has to move back in with her, uh, difficult mother. Carol (Ally Sheedy) is still dealing with the death of her husband/Sam’s dad. But it’s clear she was never a candidate for mother of the year. She manages to be both over-involved and distant, says the wrong thing the majority of the time and yes, even reads her daughter’s journal. Season two spends more time examining the mother/daughter dynamic and it gets very truthy. After you stop saying “How can the high school student in The Breakfast Club be the mother of a 29-year old? You will be really impressed by Sheedy’s performance.
Jewish Mother Who Puts the Mother in Smother - This week we say goodbye to a truly irritating mother as The Goldbergs ends its run on ABC after 10 years. How it lasted this long, I don’t know. It is not very funny, the actors playing the kids managed to get more annoying as adults and oy, the mother. I am a big fan of actress Wendi McLendon-Covey’s work in Reno 911! and the movie Bridesmaids but boy do I feel bad for her kids. Earning the nickname “Smother” she is skilled in the arts of meddling, embarrassment, relationship ruining and big hair styling. After bailing on the series in season two, I watched one episode recently and can confirm that The Goldbergs has not aged well. I hope McLendon-Covey finds a more challenging and less irritating role, and can I just say I feel sorry for show creator Adam Goldberg who based the character on his own mother.
Cool Grandma That Any Grandkid Would Be Lucky to Have - The best thing about the long-running CBS comedy Young Sheldon is not Sheldon. It’s Annie Potts as Meemaw Connie. This grandma has boyfriends, gambles, runs a slightly shady business and dresses much better than her daughter. It’s no surprise that her grandchildren seek her advice often over their own parents, and run away to her house. We should all have a Meemaw.
Stepmother Who Deserves Much Better Than Her Ungrateful Teenage Stepdaughter - I’m currently watching The Last Thing He Told Me on Apple+. I have to say that if I was Hannah (Jennifer Garner), the put-upon stepmother of thoroughly obnoxious Bailey, and I had the choice of running away and saving myself or risking my life to protect her, I would run. Leave the rude and snarky teen to her own devices. You’ve been through enough. Save yourself and enjoy your life. Trust me.
Normal Mother With Normal Teenage Daughter - SPOILER ALERT: Do not read further if you have not finished watching Firefly Lane (two seasons on Netflix). Kate (Sarah Chalke) has a good job, a beautiful home, a dashing husband with an accent, and the exceedingly rare nice teenage daughter. Obviously, this won’t end well. Firefly Lane is mainly about Kate’s relationship with her childhood friend Tully (Kathryn Heigl) but we do see that she’s a pretty terrific mother to her only child, Mara. However, we experienced TV viewers know that when everything is super awesome and you’re on top of the world, something not great is bound to happen.