Column: Television comedy? Look a bit closer


There’s a person I’ve admired for some time for her acting skills.

Allison Janney played a no nonsense Presidential press secretary in the series West Wing.

Then, she found herself sharing space with a person portraying a notorious former President in a film about Bill Clinton.

I recently caught several recent episodes of a show named “Mom.”

This is not a feel good, loving show.

This is about a woman, and her daughter, who all have had battles with addictive things.

This is not about lusting too much for fine clothes, jewelry, food.

These are people who have had drinking problems. And the following, inevitable reliance on other things.

The odd thing about this show, produced by Chuck Lorre, is that it is intended to be a comedy.

You can sometimes live too close to someone who can’t limit himself or herself.

In the show, there are scenes where Janney is climbing into a bedroom window because she is trying to escape a cop.

Her daughter, for her part, goes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and cites the well known words many people have heard: “Hi. I’m Amy, and I am an alcoholic.”

Mom goes to these meetings sometimes, too.

Here is Janney, tall and thin beyond belief, telling people about all her bad habits.

It seems as the episodes go on, there are recurring examples of things she has done to abuse herself.

Somehow, on television, it comes across as funny.

Ah, the skills of a good actress.

There is a very sad reality occurring in all of the United States. The statistics on opioid abuse are soaring.

You hear people tell about a young person who gets hurt in some athletic event, and gets prescribed a heavy duty pain killer.

When the pain killer goes away, that desire for an nonthreatening existence remains constant. So, a kid searches through a medicine cabinet and finds something that a parent forgot.

This is how it starts.

Law enforcement officials will tell you that no village, bit of countryside or large city is immune.

Recently, one family in Bellville lost a daughter. She was addicted and her mother appeared before village council to tell others about the threats anyone can face when it comes to drugs.

I am not an avid television watcher. I refer a lot to “mindless” television programs.

How many times can a person force himself to watch a reality show?

There are others types of realities in life.

I watched this “Mom” show because the offerings were in my opinion, pretty slim.

I did laugh, here and there. I am almost ashamed to admit that.

It was late at night. A little humor always helps.

But there was another bit of truth that surfaced.

This show, intended to be inviting, had its very serious side.

It’s not funny to be on the down side of something that lures you in.

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McZENA MUSE

Louise Swartzwalder