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'Mom' react: Emotional breakthrough

Season 2 | Episode 13 | “Cheeseburger Salad and Jazz” | Aired Feb 5, 2015

EW Community contributors are chatting about each new episode of Mom this season. Here are Tamar Barbash, Sundi Rose Holt, and Julia Alexander’s thoughts about this week’s emotionally turbulent episode, “Cheeseburger, Salad, and Jazz.”

Tamar: Poor Bonnie!

Julia: Some of the scenes in this episode of Mom were devastating. At least we got a new character to focus on.

Sundi: Yes, but I didn’t really mind Bill, the tow-truck driver. I thought he was a real charmer. Who doesn’t appreciate a citrus gift?

Julia: Bill was adorable in the weirdest definition of the word.

Tamar: It was a little ridiculous that he moved in across the hall, but I appreciated the point that Bonnie was just trying so desperately to fill the void.

Julia: It’s like when someone breaks up with you and you just chase whoever’s closest to fill the hole. No pun intended.

Sundi: This episode pushed the silly threshold, but I didn’t mind it. I love when Christy gets all wild-eyed and twitchy. It shows her range. We still didn’t get to see Bonnie really deal with it, though. Do you think that’s all we’re going to get?

Tamar: I think it will probably continue to be in the air, though maybe not as much as a central theme.

Sundi: That would mean that Bonnie, and Christy for that matter, would have to be still with herself long enough to get down to it. Apparently the writers aren’t getting my letters.

Tamar: These are people who have always used substances to cope. They have no idea how to deal with intense emotions. Part of the Bill thing for me was Bonnie channeling her temptations into something.

Sundi: I like how the meetings anchor them, and sort of serves as a reminder to us that they are still struggling.

Julia: They use sex as a coping mechanism. It’s the new addiction. The meetings are an interesting place. It’s the only time they’re not putting up a facade.

Sundi: I agree about the sex—especially with Bonnie. Christy, not so much. She seems much more committed to do things the “right way” (emphasis on the quotes).

Tamar: A hundred percent. It was played for comedy, but Bonnie’s outburst at Marjorie was the most honest moment of the episode.

Sundi: That’s part of the reason I enjoyed the therapist scene so much. When Christy loses it, it feels good to see her exhale into her own emotions. She’s wound pretty tightly most of the time, while Bonnie is pretty loose with her expectations of her sobriety and lifestyle.

Julia: And she needs to lose it. She needs to experience new things and find an outlet for her emotions. This was a glimpse into what we can expect out of her, emotionally.

Sundi: I want that for Christy. On the one hand, I really want them to spend a little more time among themselves and develop their relationships with the family. But on the other hand, I want Christy to do a little personal development too.

Tamar: You mean, beside her budding relationship with her showerhead?

Sundi: Exactly. The water company will thank me.

Julia: A showerhead is a girl’s best friend.

Sundi: The episode marks a bit of a slower pace, but with Alvin dying, I think we need some down time. I enjoy the rhythm of this week.

Tamar: I did too. I want to see more of Christy at work. The law work, not the restaurant.

Julia: The downtime is a really good way to let the audience deal with what’s happened.

Sundi: I agree. We made such a big deal about the improbability of law school, but for nothing, since they forgot about it so quickly.

Julia: Oh, that’s right! I actually forgot that was a plot development.

Sundi: Mom does that: plants seeds, then forgets to water them. It feels a little disjointed, at times.

Tamar: Well, ponytail popped up last week for the will, so I have faith he’s hanging around.

Sundi: I hope so, Tamar. There’s real potential there. Think about what hijinks would ensue if they took it to the courtroom.

Julia: I hate when shows do this, though. Introduce a character or plot development and then bench it for a couple of weeks. I’m sure I’m not the only one who forgets about the details, and they lose importance after a while.

Sundi: This show is notorious for that very thing. Violet instantly got better. Roscoe’s dad got a new girlfriend that fell off the face of the earth. Jamie Pressly went back to rehab and apparently doesn’t need a house sitter.

Tamar: Alvin’s death feels like a big turning point in both Bonnie and Christy’s lives. I have a feeling the going back to school/working with the lawyer is going to be a big part of Christy’s “after.” But yes, Sundi, you’re right. All of those things seemed major and then disappeared.

Sundi: I hope it’s a turning point for the show as well. I am craving a little consistency, and if it can provide focus, then I’m all in.

Tamar: Agreed.

Sundi: I don’t want to end on a negative note, though. I like the tone of the “after” and think there is room for a lot of real growth.

Julia: I think this was the dramatic angle the show needed. I’m glad to see they’re still able to keep it lighthearted at times, though. Great proof of their comedic chops.

Sundi: And how long are Christy and Bonnie going to have to share a bed? They couldn’t have carved out a little of Alvin’s inheritance for an apartment? Or at least a roll-away cot?

Tamar: Or two twin beds! Why do they need a queen?!

Sundi: I’ll put that in my next letter.

Tamar: Good thinking.

Julia: Time to upgrade, ladies.

Sundi: Well, poor is the new middle class.

Tamar: Poor with no debt.

Mom airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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