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In the Motherhood aired from March until June 2009 on ABC.

Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) came to ABC in the new comedy In the Motherhood, which took a look at the importance of family and friends while trying to juggle motherhood, work and love lives in an overly complicated modern world.

The story focused on Rosemary (Megan Mullally ), Jane (Cheryl Hines) and Emily (Jessica St. Clair), who represented mothers we all knew. Rosemary was a free-wheeling mom who played it fast and loose when it came to parenting her teenaged son, Syd. Married numerous times, but currently single, Rosemary lived by her own rules. Much to the amazement of the other moms, her nontraditional parenting style had yielded a son much more responsible than she. Rosemary's best friend, Jane, was a recently divorced working mother of a pre-teen, Annie, and a baby girl, Sophie, who was just trying to keep her career and home afloat. Having just returned to work after giving birth eight months ago, Jane struggled to find a happy balance - lucky for her she had her "manny," Horatio (Horatio Sanz, Saturday Night Live), to help out. Jane's younger sister, Emily, saw herself as the model stay-at-home-super-mom for her two young children, Esther and Bill. Emily's home was a work of art, and her kids were polite and sweet-everything had its place in her world. Married to Jason (RonReaco Lee), Emily took parenting as seriously as any mother could.

As for the men in their lives, Horatio, Jane's "manny," communicated with Jane's infant daughter through sign language and believed the baby was the only person who really understood him. He was a good-hearted lug who was also much more than a babysitter to the three ladies. Then there was Jason , Emily's husband, who was the uptight breadwinner, ready at any given moment to open a vein for his family. He liked his food to be organic and his wife, home and children at the top of their class. Basically he was an ulcer waiting to happen.

A Review from Variety

In the Motherhood
(Series -- ABC, Thurs. March 26, 8 p.m.)

Filmed in Los Angeles by Pointy Bird Prods. and MindShare Entertainment in association with ABC Studios. Executive producers, Jennifer Konner, Alexandra Rushfield, Stuart Bloomberg, David Lang, Richard Shepard; producer, P Todd Coe; director, Shepard; writers, Konner, Rushfield;

Jane - Cheryl Hines
Rosemary - Megan Mullally
Emily - Jessica St. Clair
Horatio - Horatio Sanz
Jason - RonReaco Lee

Transforming a Web series into a sitcom, "In the Motherhood" mostly demonstrates that enlarging a picture often does little more than exaggerate its flaws. Cheryl Hines, Megan Mullally and Jessica St. Clair portray three mothers juggling disparate problems, but the result is tonally uneven, too-rarely funny and rehashes material that isn't as relatable as it should be to the average parent. An amusing line occasionally burbles out, but ABC's latest attempt to establish a Thursday comedy beachhead mostly just manages to make the timeslot's usual occupant, "Ugly Betty," look gorgeous by comparison.

Hines stars as Jane, a divorced mom with two young kids (one a mere toddler) struggling to manage a career and get back into the dating scene. Her support system includes a "manny," Horatio ("Saturday Night Live's" Horatio Sanz); her sister Emily (St. Clair), who's raising two young kids with her equally yuppified husband Jason (RonReaco Lee); and the free-spirited Rosemary (Mullally), who has a teenage son and, apparently, an extremely fungible moral code.

If the Web inspiration demonstrated the guilt and apprehension associated with parenthood, the series appears content to attack this terrain as obviously as possible. The two central characters, moreover, ostensibly have nothing in common and come across as unlikely friends forced to share a disjointed comedy. So while Hines' character deals with problems that are at least somewhat reality based, Mullally never advances more than a half-step away from her over-the-top role on "Will and Grace."

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the ensuing half-hour is slightly confounding. In the premiere, Jane flirts with a co-worker, while Rosemary fakes being pregnant in order to secure various privileges and freebies. A subsequent (marginally better) episode finds Jane trying to enjoy some "me" time while Rosemary organizes a revolt among Horatio's fellow nannies -- a potentially promising gag that finally fizzles.

ABC is understandably eager to capitalize upon the "Grey's Anatomy" female fanbase by pairing this new program with "Samantha Who?" (even though its last Thursday sitcom, "Jake in Progress," couldn't establish a ratings toehold). Unfortunately, writer-producers Jennifer Konner and Alexandra Rushfield have adapted David Lang's Web creation without unearthing the inherent humanity (or much humor) in parents' fears that, amid the frenzy of modern life, they might forever scar their little angels. There's a mere hint of that, in fact, when Jane looks at her baby after screwing up and soberly says, "Now you bury that memory deep, deep down."

Not a bad line, but "In the Motherhood" doesn't birth enough of them -- which helps explain why the memory won't last for long.

Camera, Sarah Cawley; production designer, Victoria Paul; editor, David L. Bertman; music, Anna Waronker, Roddy Bottum; casting, Brett Greenstein, Collin Daniel. RUNNING TIME: 30 MIN.

A Review from The New York Times

Television Review | 'In the Motherhood'
TV Moms Without the Pearls

Published: March 25, 2009

Moms do the darnedest things.

They tell their kids they are working late while they are actually out drinking with their girlfriends, they pretend to be pregnant to cut in line at the coffee shop, and when they run out of diapers, they use paper towels instead.

In the Motherhood, a new comedy on ABC, tries to refresh the family sitcom with a jolt of deadpan satire in the style of The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm. The network enlisted two proven comic actresses, Cheryl Hines, of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Megan Mullally, of Will & Grace. It's an impressive cast and a perfectly good premise, but for some reason, Thursday's pilot episode is not very funny.

That could change with a little time and a few tweaks, but at the moment, the premiere serves mostly as a reminder of how hard it is to pull off comedy on television.

It's not an original show, which may be one of the problems. This sitcom is adapted from a series of webisodes, also called In the Motherhood, that began in 2007 and was based on real-life anecdotes submitted by online viewers. The cast included Chelsea Handler, the E! talk show host, and the actresses Jenny McCarthy and Leah Remini, of The King of Queens.

Those five- and seven-minute vignettes worked better, possibly because they were short and the expectations not very high. Ms. Remini and Ms. Handler, in particular, can display mean streaks that are genuinely scary and funny, a little like the callous heroines of the British series Absolutely Fabulous.

ABC's version waters down the fierce, farcical spirit of those webisodes to suit broadcast television tastes. As Rosemary, a former rock musician with a teenage son, Ms. Mullally is supposed to be the least conscientious, most outright slacker of the show's moms. But Rosemary is basically a lot like Karen, the screwball character that Ms. Mullally played on Will & Grace, only without the money, alcohol, pills and squeaky voice a flatter, PG-rated version.

Ms. Hines has a better showcase with Jane, a divorced mother of two who has an office job and relies on her manny, Horatio (Horatio Sanz), to watch her children. Viewers are introduced to Jane as she struggles to open her front door while cradling a cellphone to her ear. She explains that she can't go out because she had a long day at work and has yet to see her children. Jane opens the door, takes one look at the chaotic scene of a messy house, screaming baby, frantic sitter and sulky tween, and changes her mind. O.K., I've seen my kids, she says, shutting the door to run away and join her friends.

Rosemary and Jane are cheerfully laissez-faire mothers who strain against the superiority of Jane's younger sister, Emily (Jessica St. Clair), a high-powered stay-at-home mom whose children are so well-trained that they fold laundry for fun.

The writing on In the Motherhood isn't bad, but the material isn't surprising and is sometimes trite. It may be just too thin to make the transition to a half-hour comedy, particularly in the spare, unforgiving format of a single-camera comedy with no laugh track. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is much funnier as a Type B single mother on the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine, and that show sticks to a classic sitcom format.

Parental perfectionism New Age yummy mummies and their baby-yoga classes, children swaddled in homework coaches, afterschool enhancement classes and preschool SAT prep is always fun to parody. But lately it's been done a lot, on shows like The New Adventures of Old Christine and even The Real Housewives of New York City. The annoyingly competitive alpha mom is today's version of the interfering mother-in-law.

Mothers who look at the pratfalls and loopy improvisations that come with raising a family and say, My life could be a sitcom, be warned: Sometimes it can be a sitcom, just not a great one.


ABC, Thursday nights at 8, Eastern Time.

Premiere episode written by Jennifer Konner and Alexandra Rushfield and directed by Richard Shepard; Jennifer Konner and Alexandra Rushfield, Stuart Bloomberg and David Lang, executive producers

WITH: Megan Mullally (Rosemary), Cheryl Hines (Jane), Jessica St. Clair (Emily), Horatio Sanz (Horatio) and RonReaco Lee (Jason).

A Review from The Washington Post

'Motherhood': Gals Delivering Golden Quips

By Tom Shales
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 26, 2009

"In the Motherhood," an ABC sitcom premiering tonight, is based on a Web series of the same name, but what makes it work is that it's also based on recognizable human behavior -- the warp and woof (and the bow and the wow) of everyday life as lived by three allied moms. Together, they share grievances, experiences and witticisms -- many of them well worth sharing and very well shared.

Long story short: These girls are golden.

"Motherhood's" pluses include an awesome twosome: Cheryl Hines of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as Jane, a single mom with a job and a male nanny, and Megan Mullally of "Will and Grace" as Jane's friend Rosemary, a wisecracking troublemaker who's too funny for words -- most words, anyway. Mullally was more important to "Will and Grace" than either Will or Grace, or that other guy who was always hanging around.

"Oh, God, I miss being pregnant," Mullally says on the premiere. Why? Because "it makes your legs look so skinny." When she sees the polite deference a pregnant woman receives in the line at the coffee shop, she decides to have a pretend pregnancy of her own. It goes well -- a stranger fetches her a latte -- until a stuffed armadillo falls out of her coat during a tussle over a Blu-Ray player.

Mullally's meticulous timing, and her sardonic approach to the character, make her the most cherishable of the group. But there's one more funny mother involved: Jessica St. Clair as Emily, blond and, well, witchy. This character comes across as less likable than the other two, perhaps because she's depicted as adhering mindlessly to political correctness and also throws nasty tantrums when something ticks her off.

She looks and acts a little like Elizabeth Hasselbeck of "The View." In fact, "In the Motherhood" is sort of "The View" with mommies, and a script. The script -- in fact the first two, since both episodes were available for preview -- is a neatly balanced compilation of character comedy and sociocultural commentary.

The premiere even has a kind of theme -- when to tell the truth and when to substitute the expedient lie. Emily and her husband, determined to bring up their children by the book -- whichever book is currently in vogue -- decide that it's lying to let the kids continue to believe in Santa Claus. Cleaning up this lie results in confusion, hurt feelings and preschool pandemonium.

It's no spoiler to reveal that the Santa story line evolves in such a way as to give Mullally the last word, and the last line, in the episode: "That's not blood; it's Christmas juice." You'll have to be there.

One more sweet surprise on the show: Horatio Sanz, popping back after several years on "Saturday Night Live" and a few so-so movies. Some viewers may not recognize him: Not only has he grown a beard, but he has lost at least 40 pounds. He's also considerably subdued but still comedically proficient. He plays Jane's male nanny -- a "manny" -- who struggles to have a life of his own.

In another of tonight's plot threads, Jane has a date on Friday night, her first in too long a time, and she's very excited about it even though the guy keeps lapsing into Borat impressions ("great sook-sess!") at the office. The sex jokes are bawdy enough that they can't really be repeated here, and yet "Motherhood" is an 8 o'clock "family hour" show. Nobody seems to care much about that any more. Besides, when a show is genuinely funny, who wants to carp about racy references?

As fluidly directed by Richard Shepard, "In the Motherhood" pretty strongly makes the case that the death of the sitcom has been exaggerated. And yet the show (which is taped without a studio audience or a laugh track) doesn't quite have the aura of something that will be welcome in American homes for, say, the next four or five years. Maybe no sitcoms will be able to do that anymore; perhaps it's just one way that television and its viewers have changed.

The thing to do is to enjoy the good shows while they last, however many months or years that may be. "In the Motherhood" deserves a relatively long and reasonably happy life, but so have many other shows that nevertheless didn't get them.

In the Motherhood (30 minutes) premieres tonight at 8 on Channel 7.

A Review from The LA Times


'In the Motherhood'

As a Web series, it was great. As a network sitcom full of overused mom stereotypes, it's not. Thanks, ABC.


In terms of theatrical value, the business of raising children is limited. It lends itself to revealing anecdotes -- The Day I Glue-Gunned My Son's Face -- amusing little riffs, and the occasional soliloquy of love and rage.

Take it to long form and you can quickly run into trouble. Parenting often boils down to a series of repetitive tasks and maddening dialogue, much of which has to do with such fascinating topics as bedtime, personal hygiene, sibling-on-sibling violence and the nutritional value of Cheetos.
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Which is why television comedy writers so often either genetically manipulate the family -- the parents are liberals, the son's a Republican! ("Family Ties") -- or mix and match it -- look, three guys raising kids ("Full House"), two divorced women living together ("Kate and Allie"), a single mom and a male housekeeper ("Who's the Boss?") -- just to keep things interesting.

It also may be why "In the Motherhood" worked as a Web series based on real-life stories but not, it would seem, as a television series based on overused stereotypes.

"In the Motherhood," which premieres on ABC tonight, follows all the traditional formulas. Literally. All of them. You've got your neurotic single working mom, Jane (Cheryl Hines), and her "manny," Horatio (Horatio Sanz), and your obsessive-compulsive stay-at-home sister, Emily (Jessica St. Clair), and her with-the-program husband, Jason (RonReaco Lee). You've even got your wise-crackin', benignly neglectful single mom, Rosemary (Megan Mullally).

In fact, "In the Motherhood" has enough narrative fodder to fuel three separate family comedies, which maybe it should consider. Because what it doesn't have is any sign of working as it is.

OK, Mullally is consistently hilarious through the two episodes made available for review, and she manages to hitch Sanz to her wagon. So if the good folks at ABC somehow persuade the writing team to make the show about Rosemary and Horatio, maybe it would stand a chance.

But Jane is the central focus, and as much as everyone loved Hines in "Curb Your Enthusiasm," her character here is written in such a way that it is hard to believe she is a mother, a worker or a woman. (I don't want to spoil anything, but would any adult woman take the "third date rule" seriously enough to attempt intercourse in the middle of her just-emptied office because her baby-sitter meter is running out?)

And don't even get me started on Emily, yet another version of those handy picture-perfect mothers who conveniently make outrageously judgmental statements on the playground so writer-moms can vent their frustration in articles for the Atlantic Monthly or wherever. The Mean Girl Mom. What would we do without her?

As with most shows about family these days, the kids are either mysteriously absent (Jane's preteen daughter, Rosemary's teenage son) or mysteriously silent (Emily's young son and daughter, who like folding laundry).

So "In the Motherhood" isn't really about motherhood; it's about types of motherhood, as imagined by television executives or magazine editors. Ten years ago.

Now, full disclosure. I'm a mother, so if you're going to ask me to laugh at other mothers, you have to give me a good reason and people I recognize.

Actual living, loving, overworked and underappreciated crazy-imperfect mothers. I actually know a bunch of them, but none, apparently, live "In the Motherhood."

A Review from The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe
'Motherhood' is too nice for its own good

By Matthew Gilbert
Globe Staff / March 26, 2009

Megan Mullally makes callousness into a fine art. As Karen on "Will & Grace," and now as Rosemary on "In the Motherhood," she pitches insults with an expert drop curve. Her snipes begin as straight-ahead affronts, before veering down into disdain, mild pity, and indifference. One minute she's scrutinizing a face; the next, she's looking right through it. Mullally is among the few comedians I can imagine having played the ferociously self-interested Elaine on "Seinfeld," other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

On "In the Motherhood," which premieres tonight at 8 on Channel 5, Mullally is in fine form, without Karen's shrill voice but with plenty of shoulder-shrugging attitude. I knew I'd love her on this single-camera comedy when Rosemary spontaneously decides to fake being pregnant so she can cut in line at the coffee shop. On a series that obsessively exalts the trials of being an upper-middle-class mother, Mullally brings on a welcome bit of subversion.

Very welcome, really. "In the Motherhood" is an otherwise disappointing network adaptation of a spikier Web series starring Chelsea Handler, Jenny McCarthy, and Leah Remini. The ABC show, which costars Cheryl Hines and Jessica St. Clair as Mullally's buddies, seems overly concerned with appealing to - and not offending - a particular demographic. It's as if the writers' first goal is to grab a viewing audience of young mothers by staging a familiar litany of domestic problems; being funny is more like an afterthought. It's marketing as creative compass.

Hines, from "Curb Your Enthusiasm," is Jane, the newly divorced mother of a preteen and an 8-month-old. Jane has a demanding job and a "manny," played by Horatio Sanz, who holds the homestead together. In one of the two episodes provided by ABC, Jane learns that vacation is harder than work, when baby-sitting becomes more than she can handle. The plot is extremely predictable, and it devolves into inane sitcom filler when Jane accidentally locks herself out of the house and tries to break back in to get to her infant daughter. (A "Lost" plug doesn't make the scenario any more entertaining.) The fleeting moment when Sanz is debating when "Dora the Explorer" jumped the shark is a little more amusing.

Hines plays the straight character on the show, as she has on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." She means well but gets into crazy pickles, including an illicit affair at work. As her self-righteous, politically correct younger sister, Emily, St. Clair has a little more fun. Emily is a parody of those parents who pretend everything in their home is perfect. But St. Clair's moments barely register - she was more of a kick as Tara's short-term friend on "United States of Tara" - and the writers need to up the absurdity level of Emily, make her more twisted and less wan. St. Clair can handle it, I'm sure.

"In the Motherhood" is prettier and nicer than its fast-paced Web predecessor, which once had a kid poop in a department-store display toilet. To stand out from the pablum of domestic sitcoms, the series needs to lose the working-mom cliches and be more willing to be mean. As Louis-Dreyfus proves on "The New Adventures of Old Christine," bitterness can be a very good time.

To watch some clips from In the Motherhood go to

For a Website dedicated to Cheryl Hines go to

To join other Megan fans go to
Date: Sun August 29, 2010 � Filesize: 42.1kb � Dimensions: 460 x 345 �
Keywords: In Motherhood


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