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In the Falsehood

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I was watching the premiere of ABC's "In the Motherhood" last night looking forward to feeling comforted by television creators finally able to bring to the small screen the often frustrating minutia of life as a mother of small children.  More importantly, I was ready to laugh about it. Unfortunately, what I experienced most consistently was pure bafflement.  How could a TV show that came out of the real stories of real mothers who wrote in to a website just for them have strayed so far from authenticity?

I understand that in transferring "In the Motherhood" to television there was some issue with the Writer's Guild and that professional writers had to be brought in to pen the scripts, and I even understand, barely, that they had to switch out the original actresses from the webisodes, Leah Remini, Jenny McCarthy and the reliably unsentimental Chelsea Handler, but what I don't understand is how, with all the new and improved fancy talent, "In the Motherhood" ended up so comedically clunky and false. 

In the Motherhood

It's hard to blame the actresses, because the pacing, tone, and writing for the show, established by the producers and realized by the director, seem to be at the heart of the derailment.  It doesn't appear that Richard Shepard, the director, has much affection for us mothers, since Cheryl Hines, ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), and Jessica St. Claire ("Worst Week") who plays her supermom sister, have been encouraged to play their roles at fever, often to the point of hysterical, pitches.  And I couldn't help but notice that Lucy Ricardo had more affection for the salami she smuggled on a plane from Italy dressed up as a baby than Ms. Hines is allowed to have for her 15 month old on this show. The third wheel of this Mommy triumvirate, the reliably funny Megan Mullally, ("Will & Grace") employs her usual sarcastic detachment, but to little comic affect given the task at hand of faking a pregnancy for no other reason than getting free stuff.  It's too contrived for even someone with her talent to pull off. 

Running the risk of sounding "touchy-feely", where is the love here? The real comedic moments of being a parent come from the push me, pull you affects of loving something and hating something, someone, okay your own kid, at the same time.  Without the love, it's just schtick. 

Surprisingly, the laughs to be had are inspired by the Manny played with understated calm and a smoldering wit by Horatio Sanz.

"In the Mannyhood," anyone?

next: Camping Is the New Caribbean
14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous March 27, 2009, 1:44 PM

I thought it was awful. Completely awful. I, like you was ready to laugh out loud and thought I was going to really enjoy the show. It was terrible

NYCity Mama March 27, 2009, 2:49 PM

I was out last night and missed it, but everyone, everywhere I go in my social network says the same thing. How terrible! Thanks for the review, now I don’t feel so bad I wasn’t around to watch it. It’s a complicated emotion this love-hate relationship we have for our role as mother and sometimes for our children and family. It’s not easy at times for even us to communicate accurately without it being misinterpreted or translation of our emotions, thoughts or experiences being lost in the cloud of judgment. (Sigh)…just goes to show…people still don’t “get it”.

meregoddess March 27, 2009, 3:10 PM

This was so removed from anything I experience on a daily basis I started to question myself. Am I the odd one? Am I the only one who thinks that faking the pregnancy was really NOT THAT FUNNY? I mean it could have been, I guess. But the lack of attention to the kids is what really is missing. I am for showcasing the love hate relationship that one feels as part of motherhood but this really is not in touch with my reality AT ALL!

Jennifer March 27, 2009, 3:10 PM

I attempted to write in to ABC to complain but there web site wouldn’t let me log in to post a comment—I was SO furious over the Santa and Tooth Fairy material—9pm—fine but not at 7pm. My kids were still awake when I turned on my DVR—I was quite upset and had to turn the show off fast. Looked family friendly and funny but will never watch again.

Vita David March 27, 2009, 3:41 PM

I cannot believe how bad this was, and I was really looking forward to it. They should bring back Notes from the Underbelly that was a very cute show…I will watch it again next week just to see, but it cannot get much worse!!!

Mon March 27, 2009, 4:15 PM

Thank you! Now I don’t have to waste my time watching it, now that I know it’s no good. Too bad.

Brie March 27, 2009, 6:38 PM

I was disappointed…but I did think the faking the pregnancy for free stuff was funny. I hated being pregnant, the only part I liked was the free swag.

jackie March 27, 2009, 6:58 PM

hated it. totally hated it.
didn’t believe a second of it.
megan mullaly;s voice is so annoying.

it was totally unrealistic

Ashley March 27, 2009, 7:32 PM

I was so totally disappointed in this show! The commercials were so funny.. but the show itself.. total BOMB.

Anonymous March 28, 2009, 10:01 PM

Wow, I didn’t think it was that bad. I do agree that it was completely unrealistic, but it was still funny!

Lindy March 29, 2009, 11:23 AM

I was funny, but not as funny as the on line segments with Leah Remini, Chelsea Handler, and Jenny McCarthy.

Alicia March 30, 2009, 2:08 AM

I agree. I watched it hoping for a laugh, but I don’t think I laughed once. I will give it one more try this week, but if I am still dissapointed I will not watch again.

anony  March 30, 2009, 5:01 PM

Faking pregnancy for free stuff is far fetched but I thought the show was funny.

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 4:48 PM

Interesting post! Nice and fun reading. I’ve just got a single point to submit about funny t-shirts.

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