Wait for it.
Granted, patience isn't necessarily a virtue – or even a good idea – when it comes to TV, a medium where bad, more often than not, turns to worse. But there are exceptions, and this sitcom from the current master of the form, Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, Mike and Molly, The Big Bang Theory), could be one of them.
A sweetly empathetic Anna Faris makes her TV starring debut here as a newly sober single mother of two clashing with her own newly (or sort of) sober mother, played by the always welcome Allison Janney. Despite their combined appeal, tonight's premiere takes a bit too long to get moving, as writers struggle to get us on board with two characters who might, in other hands, come across as hideously irresponsible. But eventually it does, and they do. And that's what matters.
Certainly, if your idea of the ideal TV mom is Carol Brady, you've come to the wrong place. Christy (Faris) is a waitress who can blame alcohol for a host of bad decisions, from her affair with her married boss (Nate Corddry) to the youthful indiscretions that left her with two children from two different losers. And she's still a model citizen compared to her own mother, Bonnie (Janney), a former coke user and meth cooker with a penchant for younger men.
A not-exactly repentant Bonnie wants back in Christy's life. Christy resists, until she realizes their estrangement is affecting her own children: A sweet younger son (Blake Garrett Rosenthal) and a 16-year-old daughter (Sadie Calvano) who is well on her way to repeating her mother's mistakes.
There's a reality to the emotions on display and the relationships at stake that work in the show's favor, along with a tendency to push past edgy to crude that doesn't. We could probably live without jokes about the daughter's sheets, nor do we need to hear Christy call her mother a prostitute, even if the joke is meant to be ironic.
Still, at its core, Mom has a solid group of characters and a very strong cast (including French Stewart as the restaurant's dictatorial chef) who, by the end of the episode, display the kind of chemistry sitcoms need. And, of course, there's Lorre, who has an almost unmatched ability to fix his shows as they go along, tweaking what works and dumping what doesn't. As witness the transformation of Big Bang from good pilot to great series.
If he can do the same for Mom, the wait will be worth it.