Although “Mom” is shot in front of a studio audience, airs with other CBS comedies and features often very funny performances by stars Anna Faris and Allison Janney, it’s not your typical situation comedy.
If you saw the deeply emotional episode last year when they made the decision to give up a baby for adoption, you know that’s not the kind of story line most TV comedies do. There is a similar episode on Thursday, Jan. 22. It features at least three performances that will get the attention of Emmy voters.
Faris says she knew “Mom” wasn’t typical as soon as she read the script for the episode, which had the main characters dealing with addiction, abandonment and teen-age pregnancy.
“As an actor, to get to play a character who is going through some very, very personal stuff is amazing,” Faris says during an interview at the Warner Bros. Studio lot where the show is filmed. “Being vulnerable in front of a live audience is rewarding in a way that I can’t explain. Then there is enough comedy that it lets you off the hook a little bit after those big moments.”
Faris is excited that the network doesn’t make the show follow traditional comedy paths.
The Jan. 22 episode definitely pushes all of the cast — especially Faris, Janney and Sadie Calvano (who plays Faris’ daughter) — to dark and heart-breaking emotional moments.
Faris would like to do a pure comedy movie during her next break. She would love to find a project that she and her husband — “Parks and Recreation” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Chris Pratt — can do together.
That would help because the final episodes of NBC’s “Parks” have been filmed and Faris says her husband is just hanging around the house. When he does come to see her at work, she doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with him since all of the men in the cast and crew want to talk to Pratt now that he’s a big action star.
Brec Bassinger grew up in Texas where high school football is almost a religion. Before the 15-year-old actress moved to Los Angeles, she was a cheerleader.
It’s a good thing she became a cheerleader because those skills will help the Texan with her new Nickelodeon series, “Bella and the Bulldogs.” It launched at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17.
She plays a girl at a Texas middle school who is a cheerleader one day and the football team’s starting quarterback the next. This creates tension with the boys on the team who don’t like having a girl as the starting quarterback. Bella also has to deal with the problems that come up when she can no longer spend time with her friends on the cheer squad.
“When she joins the team, the guys are definitely apprehensive towards her being a girl. So I would say the main thing she has to overcome is them accepting her and her becoming one of the guys,” Brec says.
Jonathan Butler and Gabe Garza are the co-creators.
“The core of the show is a girl entering a boy’s world and those two worlds colliding, and we were interested in that. So we pitched that, and they were like, ‘Oh, we really, really love that,’ ” Garza says. “I’m from Texas, so I was like football. You’re always looking for what’s going to be most difficult for my protagonist.
“If a girl’s going to succeed in a sport, football’s the one you would pick. Like, how many obstacles? There’s so much to overcome. And things started to fall into place after that.”
Brec was ready when it came to the cheer elements. To get ready for the football parts, she and the rest of the cast were put through a football training camp so that their game movements would look as real as possible.
It also helped that Brec had two older brothers she could call on.
Brec also understood how Bella felt being told by everyone that she should not tryout for the football team because she would fail. She met plenty of naysayers who told her acting was a nearly impossible world to crack.
“Being an actress isn’t the most normal job, so you have a lot of people tell you that you can’t do it, and you face a lot of the same obstacles that Bella does,” Brec says.