Long-serv­ing ac­tress tells why she is ad­dicted to Mom.

The TV Guide - - NEWS -

It has taken more than 50 years, but Mom ac­tor Mimi Kennedy has fi­nally found her per­fect role. “It is the best work en­vi­ron­ment I have ever had, I think,” she says of play­ing re­formed al­co­holic and cat devo­tee Mar­jorie Arm­strong-Peru­gian in the hit com­edy.

Even an al­lergy to cats has failed to dampen the 69 year old’s en­thu­si­asm for the show.

“I loved kit­tens when I was a lit­tle girl, res­cued a lot of kit­tens, so I’m re­turn­ing to my child­hood love of kit­tens and cats – but I do have to take al­lergy pills to do it,” she says, laugh­ing.

Mom, now in its fifth sea­son, fol­lows the lives of dys­func­tional mother-and-daugh­ter duo Christy (Anna Faris) and Bon­nie Plun­kett (Al­li­son Jan­ney), both re­cov­er­ing al­co­hol and drug ad­dicts who are try­ing to re­build their lives and re­la­tion­ship in Napa, Cal­i­for­nia.

As their Al­co­holic Anony­mous spon­sor, Mar­jorie keeps the pair on the straight and nar­row. But, in re­al­ity, it is Faris and Jan­ney who are in con­trol, Kennedy says.

“Al­li­son and Anna take lead­er­ship se­ri­ously and it is so much fun be­cause they make it like a team,” she says, adding that work­ing on

Mom is so dif­fer­ent to her past ex­pe­ri­ences in the in­dus­try.

“It’s al­most a new tem­plate. I came into show­biz when there was a lot of bad be­hav­iour and there was a hi­er­ar­chi­cal star sys­tem. You had to know your place and there wasn’t a sense of ev­ery­body be­ing in it to­gether.

“But with Al­li­son and Anna, and I’d say Chuck Lorre’s writ­ing team, it’s re­ally there and the net­work sup­ports us be­cause ev­ery­body knows some­one who’s done (the AA) 12 steps or needs 12 steps.”

Kennedy started act­ing at age 12, and has ap­peared ex­ten­sively in movies (Erin Brock­ovich, The Five-Year En­gage­ment) and on tele­vi­sion but is prob­a­bly best known for her role as Abby O’Neil, the free-spir­ited mother of Dharma (Jenna Elfman) in the long-run­ning com­edy se­ries Dharma & Greg. Her role in Mom re­united Kennedy with Chuck Lorre, who also cre­ated Dharma & Greg, and other hits, in­clud­ing The Big Bang The­ory, Cy­bill and Two And A Half Men.

“It kind of came out of the blue for me,” she says. “I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it and didn’t know any­thing about it un­til some­one called me and went, ‘Chuck Lorre is look­ing for this part and some­body said Mimi Kennedy would give a bet­ter read­ing on this than any­thing we’ve seen so let’s ask her to do this and see how it goes’.”

Kennedy says the lat­est sto­ry­lines should not dis­ap­point fans.

“A big thing – lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively big – is that Ms Jaime Pressly, play­ing the svelte, beau­ti­ful rich Jill, got preg­nant with twins and re­turned to us with two big ba­bies in the oven.

“So they built her a fat suit, and the story is that be­cause she loses her foster child to the orig­i­nal bi­o­log­i­cal mother, she gets com­pletely de­pressed and eats her­self into obe­sity.”

It was a sto­ry­line that ini­tially con­fused the show’s live au­di­ence.

“We thought the au­di­ence would laugh and join in the joke but they did not be­cause they didn’t re­alise it was a joke. They thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this ac­tress has gained so much weight, they had to write about it’.”

Pressly gave birth to twin boys, Leo and Lenon in Oc­to­ber, and is on ma­ter­nity leave while Jill does time in re­hab for her food ad­dic­tion. It is just an­other ad­dic­tion in a long line to af­fect the show’s char­ac­ters.

“I must credit those old Ox­ford peo­ple who started AA a long time ago, for cre­at­ing some­thing that can sus­tain a lot of story and char­ac­ter,” Kennedy says.

“I didn’t know about 12 steps. I had to learn about 12 steps in or­der to play Mar­jorie. The more I knew the more I had no prob­lem play­ing any­thing be­cause I saw ev­ery­body falls off the wagon, no­body’s per­fect.

“I think for cer­tain kinds of peo­ple, cer­tainly a lot of us in the arts or the world of celebrity, we feel that we are alone and spe­cial and can’t ask for any­thing, but what I love about Mom is that it shows a com­mu­nity and they do ask.”

Mimi Kennedy, Anna Faris and Al­li­son Jan­ney

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