Tonight’s ‘Significant Mother’ Episode Pays Homage to ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’

Edibles Wrecks
Scott Patrick Green/The CW
Significant Mother — “Edibles Wrecks” — Image Number: SGM104a_074.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jonathan Silverman as Harrison, Josh Zuckerman as Nate, Nathaniel Buzolic as Jimmy and guest-star Terry Kiser — Photo: Scott Patrick Green/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Highlights

Young restaurateur Nate (Josh Zuckerman) is dealing with the pressures of running a dining room in Significant Mother’s cutthroat culinary environs of Portland, Oregon—while hostess Sam (Emma Fitzpatrick), the girl of his dreams, is unfortunately dating a “biodynamic urban farmer.” Oh, and his studly best friend, Jimmy (Nathaniel Buzolic), just started dating…his mom (Krista Allen).

Adding to the stress tonight is a visit from a big-time food critic and, according to cocreator Richard Keith, what results is an homage to the 1989 madcap comedy Weekend at Bernie’s. Nate has accidentally eaten some of Jimmy and his mom’s marijuana-laced gummy bears, and it’s up to Sam and his dad, Harrison (Bernie’s vet Jonathan Silverman), to prop him up and keep the villainous gourmand (Terry Kiser, who famously played the dead-as-a-doornail Bernie) from noticing just how out of it the supposed wunderkind is. “It’s my favorite episode,” Keith says. “It’s more cinematic than the others.”

It was Silverman who initially pitched the idea of having Kiser come aboard to play the fussy critic: “I mean, how do you have a Weekend at Bernie’s–themed episode and not have Bernie himself in it?” Silverman says with a laugh. “It was great fun to work with him while he was playing a living, breathing character rather than a corpse.”

Shenanigans aside, Keith and cocreator Erin Cardillo’s aim is to keep the comedy focused on essentially good people. “There are so many shows nowadays where the characters do bad things for bad reasons,” Keith says. “There’s plenty of opportunity for good people to do terrible things and then make up for it.” That sentiment also enhances the show’s bright Portland setting, as Keith and Cardillo wanted their series to be a less acerbic counterpoint to IFC’s hipster-skewering satire Portlandia. “Instead of showing what’s ridiculous about the city, it’s our love letter to it,” Keith says. Well, given those pot-laced gummy bears, maybe with just a little ridiculousness thrown in.

Significant Mother, Mondays, 9:30/8:30c, The CW