Why do I bother? I’ll tell you why: Megan Mullally and Cheryl Hines. Surely, someone cares, right?
Nope? Damnit. I didn’t think so. But it would be nice to see a television show — sitcom or drama — that was actually about parenting besides “Friday Night Lights” (and Coach Taylor and Tami really are the best parents in the history of television). There’s a lot that goes on in a typical parent’s life, all of it ripe for sitcom treatment. Like, when your child throws a tantrum because you’re tired of playing hide-and-seek. Or the hours you spend wiping crayon off of walls. Or the glory of a dirty diaper the day after you had corn for dinner. Brilliant stuff.
Which is why, I suppose, “In the Motherhood,” is only ostensibly about being a mother. Because nobody really cares about the mundane details of parenting, least of all television audiences who turn to the television to escape child-rearing duties, thus ensuring that the “leave me alone, I’m watching TV” refrain will survive another generation.
The television series “In the Motherhood” has seemingly already turned its back on whatever it was that made “In the Motherhood,” the web series, such a popular one (the web series starred Jenny McCarthy, Leah Remini, and Chelsea Handler, and ran on MSNBC for two years. I’d never before heard of it.). The original web series relied on viewer submissions: they were five to seven minute segments based on real stories from real mothers. “In the Motherhood,” the television series, stars Cheryl Hines, Megan Mullally, and Jessica St. Clair, and it’s based on stupid scripts from stupid writers — the Writer’s Guild apparently ruled out the possibility of using viewer submitted content.
St. Claire plays the enlightened, overzealous suburban mom — in the pilot episode, she decides that she can’t lie to her young children, revealing to them apropos of nothing that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny don’t exist. They relay that information to their grade-school class, and the hilarious unfunniness commences. Hines plays St. Claire’s older, divorced sister. She works long hours and allows a manny (Horatio Sanz) to do most of the child-rearing while she stays out late and drinks and attempts to get laid, here by straddling her Borat-impersonating supervisor (Ken Marino) after a sexual-harassment clinic. Meanwhile, Megan Mullaly — who is not actually a mother — basically plays a version of her character on “Will and Grace,” only older. In the pilot, she pretends to be pregnant in order to cut in line at Starbucks and extract other sympathy gifts from strangers.
There’s little to like about “In the Motherhood.” It feels like a show that should have a laugh track, and without it, it’s hard to know where to fake laugh. The humor is forced, the pilot’s storyline is trite and predictable, and the cast is completely wasted on bad material. In fact, the only thing intriguing about the first episode is Horatio Sanz — suddenly, he’s skinny and he miraculously manages to make it through the entire episode without laughing. But then again, so did I.