In the Motherhood Lets Us Down a Little

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Photo: Courtesy of ABC

We had hopes for In the Motherhood, the mom-driven sitcom that premiered last night on ABC. Not high ones or anything, but certainly hopes. Though its original inspiration — a series of seven-minute webisodes starring Leah Remeni and Jenny Garth McCarthy and based on real-life family horror stories submitted by actual moms — is only semi-funny, for the TV version, ABC upped the budget and recast Cheryl Hines and Megan Mullally, two of television's funniest actresses, as the leads. So why, then, was it so painfully bad? We didn’t laugh once during the 21-minute episode, not even when someone fell off the roof — and we always laugh when people fall off roofs!

In the transition from the web, the show lost a key element when real-mother-generated stories became off-limits (see here). The situations in last night's episode — a child tells his class that Santa Claus is a lie, one mom pretends to be pregnant for the attention, a single mom haplessly dates her colleague — felt too neat and, well, sitcom-y, to have come from the real world, and therefore weren't as amusing. The gloss of network TV makes the show seem recycled in a "haven't I seen this dumb show before?" kind of way, and the laugh track kills any desire you might have to actually chuckle. It's a shame that the talents of Hines and Mullally were so wasted.