MOM: Gemma Baker Breaks Down the Big Jill Twist | Give Me My Remote

MOM: Gemma Baker Breaks Down the Big Jill Twist

March 8, 2018 by  

Photo: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. ©2018 WBEI. All rights reserved.

[Warning: this post contains spoilers for the March 8 episode of MOM. Please watch that before you read this post.]

MOM—one of the best shows on television at blending comedy with drama—threw viewers a curveball in Thursday’s episode as Jill (Jaime Pressly) relapsed.

Jill, who recently struggled with food addiction and just returned from a retreat where she seemingly got things under control, reached out to her “inner strength coach” Miranda (guest star Kristin Chenoweth) for guidance. Miranda had varying results with the support group: she got Bonnie (Allison Janney) to open up and convinced Christy (Anna Faris) to fight for another chance to get into law school.

But Jill’s problems were deeper. Miranda told Jill she could live in moderation with food; Jill listened to that, but also attempted to drink in moderation, as well. Needless to say, it didn’t work, and Miranda called the support group over to help Jill.

As with real life relapses in sobriety, Jill’s slip won’t be easily swept under the rug. MOM co-creator Gemma Baker speaks with us about Jill’s struggles and what’s to come.

What conversations in the writers’ room led to Jill’s relapse?
You know, we really take these episodes one story at a time. We don’t plan way ahead. Sometimes, it just happens in the writing that we find an ending we weren’t expecting. This is one of those times. This wasn’t the plan: “Oh, she’ll come back and she’ll have a relapse!” We were writing this script, and this is where the story took us.

Christy is also going through a hard time with her law school rejections, and her sobriety seemed to be on shaky grounds as well. How is this impacting her as she sees Jill fall off the wagon?
I think this does help her double down and strengthen her resolve [to stay sober]. I realize the episodes are back to back, and that’s just how it happened. It wasn’t necessarily the plan! But as we were telling the stories, Christy has had this plan for years to go back to school and become a lawyer. The sense was if she tried her hardest, it was what was going to happen. And when she gets the news she didn’t get into school and then she happens to be in a bar, it was a split-second temptation. But Jill’s character has been struggling for a couple of seasons. This episode is the culmination of that struggle.

The women know she relapsed, and Jill does appear to have remorse. How much will she be actively struggling with sobriety going forward?
We will continue to deal with the ramifications of her relapse. I’ll just say it’s not just this episode. I think that’s a realistic [approach]. We try to be realistic to the experience. If someone relapses, things are not all okay the next day. We will address it again.

I think this was a hard decision, because you get attached to your characters and you don’t want them to be in painful situations. I think we had mixed feelings about this one. I think that’s also why we wanted to continue to explore it. But we’re trying to tell different stories. Jill’s situation is of someone who has been struggling for a long time and then puts something in front of her recovery. She’s been having a hard time. So when Miranda gives her the suggestion of moderation with food, with cookies—I think we were careful to say that this is definitely not Miranda’s fault. If Jill had been in a different place, she wouldn’t have tried to experiment with alcohol. That it just happened…she was looking for things outside of herself to make her feel better. And then she ended up drinking.

On a lighter note, you had Kristin Chenoweth as Miranda. What was it like having her for the episode, especially given her history with Allison?
Oh my God. She was so much fun to work with! She fit right in. It was as if she had always been here. She is so warm and funny and willing to do whatever it takes to make something work. She’s really willing to try anything, including riding a motorcycle. She’s so fun. She surprised us at the taping and sang “‘Til There Was You” to the audience. It was, I will say, one of my favorite taping moments of the whole series. It was really remarkable.

Are there any plans to bring Kristin back?
There are no immediate plans, but we would love to work with her again. I think that Miranda did have a positive impact on Christy and Bonnie. We were really careful to not make her character a con artist. Miranda really believes in what she’s doing, and she was able to help Christy and Bonnie.

Speaking of Christy, it does seem like she has a new path to law school redemption. What can you tease about that arc?
Christy will get a win this season. It’s long overdue! I like how we told the story. It wasn’t the plan for her to not get into school. We all assumed she would get into school. But when we were writing the episode, it just made sense that, oh, maybe she doesn’t. And then what happens? That’s what I love about working on this show: we really just follow where the story goes.

What can you preview about what else is coming up?
We are going to follow through with Jill’s relapse. And Christy’s relationship is going to hit a snag, let’s say. There is going to be trouble in paradise there. We’re going to explore Bonnie and Adam continuing to get closer to each other. I love watching that relationship. Being a loving partner does not come naturally to Bonnie. It’s fun to watch her change. Because we’re dealing with recovery, these characters are changing; they’ve all changed so much since we met them. We’ll see Marjorie go through some changes, too. It’s great to see these characters go through stuff and come out the other side.

Bonnie and Adam are still engaged. Bonnie wasn’t in a rush to get hitched, but as writers, are you looking to move that forward sooner versus later?
I think they are doing the best they can in getting closer to a wedding. [Laughs.] But I would not tease one is coming this season. Bonnie’s never been married before! It’s a cool situation for her to be in, and we’re going to have fun with it for a little bit longer.

MOM is now syndicated on a number of channels (and also streaming on Hulu). What impact have you noticed that has had on the show so far?
I definitely have seen an increase in the awareness of the show this year, and I think it’s because of syndication. I’m so glad people have had the opportunity to find us. There’s been more recognition when I’m asked what show I work on. I think more people have found us, and that’s wonderful!

MOM, Thursdays, 9/8c, CBS

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