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'Mom' fan react: Personal Jesus

Season 2 | Episode 16 | “Dirty Money and a Woman Named Mike” | Aired Mar 5, 2015

EW Community contributors are chatting about each new episode of Mom. Here are Tamar Barbash and Sundi Rose Holt’s thoughts about this week’s mildly relgious episode, “Dirty Money and a Woman Named Mike.”

Sundi: Let’s start with Christy’s admission about stealing Regina’s money.

Tamar: I kind of like the idea that Bonnie and Christy still have to come to terms with some of the aftermath of the bad choices they’ve made.

Sundi: I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I want them to start moving toward a “normal” life, but I find it reassuring that they are held accountable for past stuff.

Tamar: Thematically, I found this episode a little gimmicky.

Sundi: I’m not entirely sure Mom handled the characters’ spirituality very well.

Tamar: I loved how it started. I really related to Bonnie’s initial reaction of anger when Regina suggested that Alvin was in a better place. That felt so authentic to me.

Sundi: Bonnie reacted to Regina’s conversion in an honest way, but Regina’s salvation quickly became a caricature.

Tamar: I am happy for Bonnie to find comfort somewhere. I just have a hard time believing it’s there.

Sundi: Bonnie obviously represents the skeptics, and does a good job in that role. However, Regina doesn’t do a great job at representing the population of recovering addicts that find value in religion.

Tamar: I kept wondering if there was some angle Regina was working. As in, she was trying to convince them she had found Jesus in order to get something. It felt that inauthentic to me.

Sundi: Yes! I agree. The whole bit with Regina was so over the top, it felt like satire, but I’m not entirely convinced it was. For a show that has dealt with addiction and recovery so adeptly and sensitively, it seems a little tone-deaf to treat spirituality so flippantly and stereotypically.

Tamar: Right. Because the idea of a higher power isn’t supposed to be that the second you ask for something, it appears. Having faith is still hard work.

Sundi: When Regina was “preaching” at the meeting … While I found it pretty funny, I felt a little guilty laughing at it. Exploitative, almost.

Tamar: I think in comedy nothing is off-limits. I don’t mind laughing at her religious epiphany, but I want that epiphany to feel real, not gimmicky.

Sundi: I’m probably being too sensitive. It’s the Southern Baptist in me.

Tamar: I think it’s also that it felt like Regina was making fun of it, too.

Sundi: See … that’s where’s I’m struggling. I can’t decide about how committed Regina is. I don’t know if it’s just for the laughs for tonight or for the long haul.

Tamar: Meanwhile, let’s talk about Christy outing Baxter to his new girlfriend.

Sundi: How much do we love Sara Rue? Her character is hilarious in a really sneaky, unexpected way.

Tamar: I laughed really hard during that scene.

Sundi: Me, too. Especially her reaction to Christy’s question about her mom. I thought it was a nice symmetry. I really liked how this week was a revisiting of sorts. There has been so much forward momentum in past weeks; I really liked checking back in with folks we haven’t heard from in a while.

Tamar: Yeah, although I’d still like to see Christy’s kids more. And again, there seem to be characters who are important one minute and gone the next.

Sundi: I agree. In fact, that’s been my beef with the show all along. The show is busy and frenetic and sometimes gets a little chaotic. Maybe that’s part of its charm.

Tamar: But I’d also like to know who I’m supposed to invest in. Maybe just Christy and Bonnie? Maybe that’s the point?

Sundi: That’s a really important question, and now I’m wondering the same thing!

Tamar: Because I definitely felt invested in Alvin.

Sundi: We invested in Violet, too, but we didn’t get much payoff in that area either. Being a fan of this show is like a juggling act, at times.

Tamar: “Jesus” did say, “I almost gave something away.” Maybe it was a hint. I kinda thought that was foreshadowing, although I’m not sure of what.

Sundi: As much griping as I’ve done about how they handled the religion, I found Bonnie’s Jesus to be the highlight of the show. It felt poignant and sincere, and it really seemed like Bonnie got some comfort from it.

Tamar: I actually agree with you. The conversation was really calming, and I didn’t feel like what he was saying was overly religious. I actually just wish it had happened with someone else.

Sundi: I don’t know … I think Bonnie needed it the most.

Tamar: No, I mean I wish Bonnie had had the conversation with someone else.

Sundi: Like who?

Tamar: I think it could have worked as a random conversation. Someone at AA, maybe. Somebody who heard her talk about what’s been going on. I just found it really hard to buy into Bonnie getting comfort from Jesus, and I felt that it really undermined the real anger she felt at Regina dismissing her pain.

Sundi: I see your point, and I am having a hard time reconciling it as well. Outside of its comedic purpose, it’s hard to put it in context.

Sundi: Before we go: Any predictions for next week?

Tamar: Not really, but I’m hopeful the previews mean we’ll get some more Violet.

Sundi: I think we are going to see more of Baxter and his wife. The onscreen chemistry between the three of them is fun.

Tamar: I do like the potential in the Regina-Jill living situation. There is some really important exploration that could happen in the way of spirituality.

Sundi: I like how the cast is evolving into this ensemble of ladies; all in recovery, and all bringing something different and interesting to the show.

Tamar: Yes! It’s really lovely, and Octavia Spencer brings in some much-needed diversity.

Mom airs Thursdays at 9:/8:30C 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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