[03/26/09 - 12:10 AM]
The Futon's First Look: "In the Motherhood" (ABC)
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

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The network's description (March 26): "Mullally ("Will & Grace") and Cheryl Hines ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") star in the new comedy "In the Motherhood," which takes a look at the importance of family and friends while trying to juggle motherhood, work and love lives in an overly complicated modern world. The series premieres THURSDAY, MARCH 26 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. In the premiere episode, "It Takes a Village Idiot," Jane is finally back in the dating pool after a long, dry spell but afraid that she won't remember all of the romantic basics of courtship. Meanwhile, Rosemary discovers the special attention and perks that pregnant ladies are afforded and passes herself off as one -- with Horatio in on the ruse -- and Emily finds that honesty is not always the best policy when she decides to share the truth about certain childhood myths with her preschooler son."

The network's description (April 2): "Jane's vacation week alone with baby Sophie turns out to be anything but relaxing, Rosemary tries to unionize Horatio's fellow nannies to help them get the perks they deserve, and Emily and Jason's "stay-cation" at home gets a thumbs-down from their kids, on "In the Motherhood," THURSDAY, APRIL 2 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network."

What did they leave out? It's based on the Suave/Sprint-sponsored web series of the same name starring Chelsea Handler, Leah Remini and Jenny McCarthy.

The plot in a nutshell: Every day is an adventure for moms/best friends Jane (Cheryl Hines, the newly divorced, career-minded one), Emily (Jessica St. Clair, the overly involved, stay-at-home one) and Rosemary (Megan Mullally, the cynical, been-there/done-that one). Whether it be finding a babysitter, dealing with a crisis at your child's school or just wondering if you're doing enough for your kids, there's a battle to fight or a lesson to be learned around every corner. In the premiere, Jane endeavors to keep her all-important third date with Shep (the always-great-to-see Ken Marino) since nobody's seen "down there" since the divorce; Emily, to prove she's always honest with her kids, opts to tell them the truth about Santa Claus; and Rosemary, annoyed by the fact that pregnant ladies get preferential treatment, decides to pretend to be pregnant herself. The following week, Jane tries to go it alone without her manny Horatio (Horatio Sanz); Emily and husband Jason (RonReaco Lee) try to impress their kids with a "stay-cation"; and Rosemary organizes the local nannies to "sick out" their way to better treatment. As you might expect, nearly all of these scenarios end with "to disasterous results" as well intended gestures backfire and selfish exploits implode. Yup, just another day on the front lines of motherhood.

What works: More cute than actually funny and more sitcomy than actually real...

What doesn't: ..."Motherhood" never quite comes together. First and foremost, Jane, Emily and Rosemary don't come across as actual people, but rather as a loose collection of TV mom stereotypes: Jane's divorced and not quite together, Emily's married and a little too together and Rosemary's their uncensored friend! The plots likewise reek of sitcominess - Jane's so obsessed with getting laid she'll bulldoze her way through a sexual harassment seminar so she can have sex in her office in time to relieve the babysitter; Emily's kids literally cause a riot at their school after telling everyone that Santa isn't real; and Rosemary throws herself a shower for her faux pregnancy just to get the gifts. Really? These are the true stories of real moms? I mean, it's not that it doesn't have its moments - Horatio suggests that Jane thinks they have a "Who the Boss?" Tony/Angela thing going on while Emily laments that Jason should have knocked down their daughter and waited so she could see her first steps as well - it's just the bulk of them don't feel like they came from a real place. (The irony of course is that the show is supposedly based on real stories from real moms.) In any case, whether the concept's charm was lost in translation from the web to television or just a general case of sitcominess...

The bottom line: ...I can't quite see myself tuning in again.

  [march 2009]  


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