SIGNIFICANT MOTHER episode 1: Welcome To Bonetown

Written by Erin Cardillo and Richard Keith
Directed by John Putch

I’ve been looking forward to this show ever since I first heard of it back in April. My interest was mainly (okay, solely) due to the involvement of Krista Allen, an actress I’ve been a fan of for about 20 years now (and whom I’ve written about on this blog before, in my review of her film Totally Blonde and the two episodes of Mistresses that she appeared in last year). While she’s been doing a lot of guest-appearances on various shows over the past decade, this is her first starring role on an ongoing series since Baywatch Hawaii ended in 2001. Thankfully, show creators (and head writers) Erin Cardillo and Richard Keith have crafted an intriguing new role for her.

Krista stars as Lydia, a recently separated woman who has just started dating a man named Jimmy (played by Nathaniel Buzolic) who happens to be young enough to be her son. Not that a woman in her 40’s dating a much younger man is really a problem these days, but in this case it is because the young man in question also happens to be her son’s lifelong best friend and current roommate. Josh Zuckerman plays Lydia’s son Nate, who is understandably shocked when he comes home from a business trip to discover that his mother and his best friend have hooked up. Hilarity ensues. And I mean that, as the rest of this episode mostly deals with the fallout of this new relationship between Lydia and Jimmy.

Zuckerman plays Nate as a charmingly neurotic young man, who does his best to come to terms with what’s happening between Lydia and Jimmy. Part of the problem is that it is soon established that Jimmy has a history of womanizing, and so Nate doesn’t like the idea of his mother being treated and disposed of the way so many of Jimmy’s previous partners have been. This factor is key, as it gives Nate’s character another dimension, he’s not just against his mother dating a younger man because it’s “icky” or whatever, but he also doesn’t want his mother to get hurt, which I think most people will be able to relate to. Matters become even more complicated for Nate when his father Harrison (Jonathan Silverman) gets involved, deciding that he wants to reconcile with Lydia. Silverman is very good in this role (the look on his face when he finds out that Lydia is sleeping with Jimmy is priceless), as the writers wisely keep his motivations a bit mysterious here, does he want Lydia back because of genuine feelings, or is he simply jealous of Lydia’s newfound romance? It will be interesting to see how that subplot plays out.

Credit is also due to Buzolic, who plays Jimmy sincerely enough, despite the fact that (it could be argued) he has betrayed his closest friend. And despite the revelations about his past, he’s not played as a “bad guy” here.  And Krista really stands out with her comedic timing. She plays Lydia as a carefree woman enjoying her life. But she also cares about her son, and feels guilty for her actions, spending most of the episode switching from angry to frantic, with a slice of vulnerability. And it helps that Allen and Busolic have excellent chemistry together, whether they’re jumping into bed, or trying to figure out how to apologize to Nate. In the beginning, both characters insist that their hookup was just casual and didn’t mean anything (I’m not sure if that would make it better or worse, in real life), although it becomes clear that it meant more to both of them they expected. By the end of the episode, you’re rooting for Lydia and Jimmy to make this work.

Rounding out the main cast are Emma Fitzpatrick and Jay Ali as Sam, an employee at Nate’s restaurant, and Atticus, her boyfriend. In typical sitcom/soap opera fashion, Sam is currently unaware of his obvious attraction to her, so that’s another plot-thread that I’m interested in seeing how it plays out.

Overall, this was a very satisfying first episode. Highlights include Nate and Jimmy playing a game of drunken hopscotch, Sam singing a song to Nate about how “Jimmy banged your mom” and Lydia’s crowd-rousing speech to the men about how they’re all thinking more about what they want than about what she wants, and a hilarious closing scene which I will not spoil. Despite some risqué dialog and several double entendres sprinkled throughout, the show never crosses the line into becoming raunchy. As such, I believe that it will be equally appealing to men and women. This is the first episode of what I believe (and hope) will be many seasons to come.



Significant Mother airs Mondays at 9:30pm on The CW


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