‘Mom’ Gets Emotional When Bonnie’s Birth Mother Suddenly Reappears

Mashed Potatoes and a Little Nitrous

Oh, mother. Grown-up foster kid Bonnie (Allison Janney) is getting a big surprise in Mom’s Season 3 premiere: a call from her birth mother, Shirley (Ellen Burstyn). The older woman wants to reconnect after nearly five decades, and there is no amount of snark that can cover up Bonnie’s mixed emotions. Her daughter, Christy (Anna Faris), however, is gung ho to meet grandma—until she makes friends with a much kinder lady (June Squibb) she’d much rather be related to.

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“The show has dealt so much with Bonnie and Christy’s relationship,” executive producer Gemma Baker says. “Now we get to see what Bonnie’s experience with her own mother was, and it explains why she is who she is in many ways.”

Uniting Oscar winner Burstyn (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) and Oscar nominee Squibb (Nebraska) with Mom’s female cast—which includes six-time Emmy winner Janney and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help)—for the first time turned out to be just as moving as the script itself. “At the table read, we had eight actresses over the age of 30 and an 11-year-old boy,” Baker says. “Just to have eight women is amazing, but then for them to also be such powerhouses was incredible—so much so that Anna took a moment before we began just to say how grateful she was for the opportunity to be there.”

Mom, Season premiere, Thursday, Nov. 5, 9/8c, CBS