MOM Series Finale Post-Mortem: Gemma Baker on the Open-Ended Finale and Time Jump Shockers - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

MOM Series Finale Post-Mortem: Gemma Baker on the Open-Ended Finale and Time Jump Shockers

May 13, 2021 by  

Mom series finale spoilers

“My Kinda People and the Big To-Do” — Bonnie gains a new outlook on her sobriety after dealing with difficult news. Also, Jill and Andy take a big step in their relationship, on the series finale of MOM, Thursday, May 13 (9:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Melanie Lynskey and Rondi Reed guest star. Pictured (L-R): Kristen Johnston as Tammy, Mimi Kennedy as Marjorie, Kristen Johnston as Tammy, Jaime Pressly as Jill, Beth Hall as Wendy, Will Sasso as Andy, and William Fichtner as Adam Photo: Michael Yarish/©2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the MOM series finale.]

MOM went out with a couple of tricks up its sleeve.

The CBS comedy closed out its eight-season run with the expected—a pregnant Jill (Jaime Pressly) wed Andy (Will Sasso)—but had one heck of a twist: Adam (William Fichtner) has (treatable) cancer.

As the women tried to deal with the highs and lows, they also met a dysfunctional pair of mother-daughter (played by Melanie Lynskey and Rondi Reed) addicts, who were on the verge of being ready to join the AA group.

The series ended with Bonnie (Allison Janney) noting she had achieved what she previously thought was the unbelievable: she was a grateful alcoholic.

Here, co-creator Gemma Baker breaks down the final episode, from the open-ended stories, the time jump, why Christy (Anna Faris) wasn’t in the episode, and more…

Normally, MOM was a show where you would approach each episode as it came. When it was apparent the show was ending, what was important to you to highlight in the finale?
We didn’t have a lot of time to think about it, or plan. And we were also—we were surprised that it was ending so soon, and dealing with our own feelings about that. But also wanting to write the best ending to the series that we possibly could.

The series started with the question of could we do a sitcom that was about hope and redemption? And we felt like this finale was the best answer to that question. Redemption in terms of how much Bonnie had grown, and hope, in terms of the newcomers beginning their journey.

How much of the final arc—Jill’s pregnancy, Adam’s illness—were pieces you were putting into place in the show and what did you add because you knew it was the end?
We had five episodes left to shoot [when we were canceled]. And two [of the five] were already written. So we had three episodes to wrap up. But in a way…sure, if we had more time, we probably would have addressed other things, and maybe driven toward an ending in a specific way. But the truth is, we never wanted to end the show all wrapped up in a neat bow. I think that is clear in finale: that life is going to continue to go on. And these women are going to continue to show up for each other.

We did speed the Jill story along much more quickly than we would have, but we felt because the audience had watched Jill’s journey to becoming a mother, and all of the different ways she attempted that for so many seasons, that it was nice to see her pregnant and showing. So we jumped ahead just enough to do that. Jumping time isn’t something that we normally did, but we made a couple exceptions given the circumstances.

Was there ever any version of the finale where you jumped ahead to her giving birth to parallel the first season finale? Or did you feel you had already shown that and the wedding was the better point to showcase?
No, that’s a great idea. Where were you? [Laughs.] No, we didn’t think of that; there wasn’t a lot of time to discuss all the possibilities. But also because we didn’t usually jump time in that way, it felt like what we were doing was a big enough jump forward, and that it might be a little jarring to jump that far ahead and end.

To dig a little deeper into the Adam storyline, what led to the decision to make him sick? And how important was it for you to make it clear that he would recover?
The Adam storyline is important, because it’s a challenge that Bonnie and Adam are going to face together. I think it’s what keeps it from being a happy ending, all wrapped up in a bow. It just didn’t feel like that was a neat and tidy ending was the appropriate way to end the show that was about, and has always been about, facing life on life’s terms. And some of those terms are good and some of them are difficult. But it’s been a show about the difficulties of life. And it’s about these women facing those things together. But we did not want it to seem like it was going to be a tragic ending for any of our characters. The audience can know that they’re continuing on their journey, and life continues to happen.

Christy was absent from the finale. Was there ever a version in which her return was feasible? Or did the late-notice cancellation make it impossible?
We really wanted to honor Anna’s decision to leave the show. So, [Christy’s] story continues. We mentioned her throughout the season and in the finale. And we felt like the casual mention sort of indicates that Bonnie and Christy have healed their relationship; they’re still very much a part of each other’s lives. Christy is becoming a lawyer and that she had overcome all of these obstacles in order to get to that place. And so, hopefully, our audience will know that she’s doing well.

Was any part of the decision to have Jill elope versus showcasing a planned-out wedding a way to get out of justifying why Christy wouldn’t be there?
No. [Laughs.] These are all things that we didn’t get around to discussing. We really didn’t have a lot of time to explore what we wanted to do. We just started to do it, and it unfolded in a way that felt organic to Bonnie’s journey, and we went with that.

There was a fun quasi-homage to the pilot in that TWO AND A HALF MEN’s Melanie Lynskey guest-starred a new, reluctant member to the group. (Whereas TAAHM’s Jon Cryer appeared in the pilot.) How intentional was that homage to MOM EP Chuck Lorre’s past show? And why was exploring the mother-daughter relationship between the two group newbies something you wanted to play with?
That’s so funny. There are a few things that mirror the pilot that we didn’t do intentionally. I will say, I didn’t even catch the one that you’re mentioning.

One of the other things that sort of mirrored the pilot is that the mother and daughter in the finale are sitting in, if not the exact seats that Bonnie and Christy sat in the pilot, at least very close. And that’s not something that we did intentionally, it just happened.

But I think that it tells sort of that full-circle [story]: that Bonnie started there, and now she’s in a much different place. That she was reluctant to get sober, and now she’s grateful for it, and is willing to, and wants to, help these two new women.

So much of recovery is about getting out of one’s self, and helping another person. And so it felt like that was an important story to tell in the finale.

As you prepare to say goodbye to the show, what has this experience meant to you?
I hope to always work on a show that’s about something. I know that the cast and the writers and crew were so moved by the petition to save our show. Reading some of those comments…that this show, some people credit in any way of being helpful, is much more than I ever could have imagined when we first started talking about this idea.

Who knows if I’ll ever get the opportunity to work on a show for eight seasons again? That’s rare, and I’m just so grateful we got to create this show that was so much more than a job for all of us. We were really proud of it. And so grateful we had that opportunity. I think the thing I’ll take away from it is what starts with a question—which was could we do a sitcom about hope?—could turn into many, many, many seasons and an incredible experience.



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One Response to “MOM Series Finale Post-Mortem: Gemma Baker on the Open-Ended Finale and Time Jump Shockers”

  1. Bob Murphy on May 14th, 2021 5:57 pm

    Great shows but the ending was a dud could of put a little more effort in the last show