CBS at 9:30 p.m.
Chuck Lorre, CBS’s resident sitcom rainmaker, returns with “Mom.” Anna Faris plays Christy, a recovering alcoholic raising two children and working as a waitress at a fancy restaurant. At an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, she runs into her newly sober mother (Allison Janney), and they attempt to repair their testy relationship. “Some mothers teach their daughters how to bake,” Christy tells her AA group. “Mine taught me how to beat a cavity search and still look like a lady.”
“Mom” has a dismissive, certainly blunt, Charlie Sheen-like snarkitude about relationships, dysfunction, drug use, promiscuity, teen sex, deadbeat dads and whatever else comes its way. Some examples: At the restaurant, the snooty chef (French Stewart) tells an employee to “Beat those egg whites gently, as if they were a small, annoying child.” At another moment, Christy’s young son Roscoe (Blake Garrett Rosenthal) excitedly discovers a video game where, “If you hit the hooker enough times, she gives you your money back!” And when Christy’s teenage daughter (Sadie Calvano) swears she isn’t having sex, Christy replies: “Don’t lie to the woman who washes your sheets.”
Janney and Faris seem to have fun, even when the material in the pilot episode is a tad too seedy and even off-puttingly icy. If “Mom” could dial it down a notch, it would find a better balance between bawdy and snide. Grade: C+
— Hank Stuever