'Mom' Producer on Series Finale and Why Anna Faris Won't Appear
Mom is signing off.
The CBS sitcom closes its doors one last time with an emotional wrap-up as audiences prepare to say goodbye to Bonnie (Allison Janney) and her friends. On Thursday’s series finale, titled “My Kinda People and the Big To-Do,” Bonnie gains a new outlook on her sobriety after receiving difficult news. Executive producer/showrunner Gemma Baker opened up about the challenging task of finishing out the long-running series amid a pandemic and without a full season to properly arc out a natural end point.
“When we found out that we weren’t coming back, it honestly was a big surprise,” Baker tells ET. “We put our focus into what is the best way to bring this home. Given what the show is about, which is really showing up for life on life’s terms, we never would have wrapped it up in a tidy bow. Because that’s not how life is and not how recovery is, so that was really important to us. It was important to show that these stories are all going to continue.”
Ahead of the final episode, Baker discusses the series finale, what her proudest accomplishment is over the last eight seasons and if she reached out to former cast member Anna Faris for one final return.
ET: How did you navigate wrapping up the show and what was your approach after finding out this was going to be it?
Gemma Baker: This whole season has been a bit challenging. This whole year has been a bit challenging for everyone in terms of the pandemic and everything else that we’ve been facing. This season was just one thing after another and doing what was in front of us to really get a show on the air in the midst of a global pandemic. When we found out that we weren’t coming back, it honestly was a big surprise. We all love what we do, we love this show. We’re so proud of it and we’ve been together for eight seasons and I’ll be honest, we weren’t excited about the idea of not making this show anymore and not being together. So to then wrap up a series with just a few episodes was challenging, but I think that’s where we put our energy. We put our focus into what is the best way to bring this home. Given what the show is about, which is really showing up for life on life’s terms, we never would have wrapped it up in a tidy bow. Because that’s not how life is and not how recovery is, so that was really important to us. It was important to show that these stories are all going to continue.
Without having a full season to properly wrap up everyone’s arcs, what were the important beats that you wanted to make sure this final episode touched on? What were the emotions you wanted viewers to feel?
Mom began with the question of, “Can we do a sitcom that’s about redemption and hope?” The finale hopefully answers that question. But I also think that there were certain things that we wanted to give our audience, as they have watched these characters with particular struggles for years, and we wanted there to be some good news too. Or, we wanted there to be some good news.
Was there a conversation that you had with Anna about possibly coming back one more time for this final episode?
It’s funny, we didn’t revisit it. We honored her decision to leave the show and it wasn’t really a discussion. The last two seasons have really been about the ensemble and we were just putting our energy into, “How do we wrap up these stories that we’ve been telling over the years, but also this season?”
What are you the proudest of accomplishing with the show?
We weren’t the first ones to deal with serious subject matter in the sitcom format; certainly Norman Lear did so before us. But I do think that we were able to do it recently and to show that audiences really have an appetite for shows that are about something and that there’s room to deal with difficult subject matter and still be funny. It sort of pushes what people expect from the multi-cam format a little bit further. We’re so lucky that CBS and Warner Bros. was willing to take a risk with our show and so glad that it worked out, and hopefully it’ll make it easier for other people who want to tell stories that we haven’t seen in the multi-cam format to do so.
In the age of sequel series, updates and revivals, would these be characters you would like to revisit five years down the line?
I love the cast and the writers and the crew so much, so if there is a reason for us to get back together, I’m sure we would all be excited for that.
The Mom series finale airs Thursday, May 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Check back at ETonline.com after the finale for more on the last episode. For more, watch below.
Allison Janney Gushes About Working With 'Mom' Co-Star Anna Faris (Exclusive)
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