Call Your Mother review – another bland, formulaic network sitcom

January 14, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV Reviews
2

Summary

Kyra Sedgwick fronts a bland, formulaic empty-nest sitcom in ABC’s Call Your Mother, about a helicopter mom who moves to L.A. on a whim to keep an eye on her kids.

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2

Summary

Kyra Sedgwick fronts a bland, formulaic empty-nest sitcom in ABC’s Call Your Mother, about a helicopter mom who moves to L.A. on a whim to keep an eye on her kids.

The point of parenting is to do a good enough job at it that your kids don’t need you anymore – but what do you do then? That’s the point of ABC’s formulaic new empty-nest sitcom Call Your Mother, in which Kyra Sedgwick plays Jean Raines, a helicopter mom who hovers all the way to L.A. virtually on a whim to keep an eye on her two more or less grown-up children, Jackie (Rachel Sennott) and Freddie (Joey Bragg).

Jean has what she thinks is a good reason for this since she hasn’t heard from Freddie in a few days (as it turns out, he’s been busy shacking up with a broad social media influencer parody, Celia, who Emma Caymares appropriately plays as a completely vacuous airhead.) Jean’s plight is too played-out to be funny or novel, and the writing in the premiere doesn’t unpack anything that you wouldn’t expect it to, and in much more heavy-handed ways that you’d probably like. She at least has a reason to stay in L.A., though, since sparks immediately begin flying between her and the owner of the property in which she’s staying, an English divorcee named Danny (Patrick Brammall).

The relationship between Jackie and Freddie is the most interesting, at least as far as I can tell. Freddie subverts the dummy archetype by being self-aware and relatively successful in his field, and his quibbles with his sister seem believable enough. Speaking of his sister, her gay best friend, Lane (Austin Crute), is easily the premiere’s most consistent source of laughs. But that core sibling dynamic has the most dramatic promise and doesn’t fit quite as neatly into obvious genre boxes as everything else does.

It’s hard to say whether future episodes will capitalize on that promise, though. Call Your Mother seems rather content to be bland, and reminiscent of a thousand other sitcoms that we’ve seen before. Sometimes there’s comfort in that kind of familiarity, but only rarely, and this doesn’t seem like one of the few exceptions.

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