This is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, literally. It’s midnight, and I was trying to fall asleep but found myself thinking about the episode of Mom that aired a few hours ago. Now I’m writing this.
Spoiler alert: I’m going to discuss some minor events of the plot from tonight’s episode, so if you haven’t seen it and you don’t want to know anything about what happened during it, stop reading now. Also, I don’t have the episode DVR’d so I haven’t re-watched it. I may recall some portion of this incorrectly. The point is not to have an eideic memory, it’s about the impression the show made on me, a viewer.
I keep thinking about Emily’s biological mom telling Christie (Anna Faris), “I kinda want to make out with you. I know that’s wrong.” When she first expressed a desire for physical intimacy with Christie my impression was favorable, because the show has been really good about including the possibility of same-gender desire. In fact, we’re told that Christie’s mother Bonnie (Allison Janney) had a same-gender relationship when Christie was very young. Like many relationships Bonnie has been in, her motives for being involved with the other person (played by Rosie O’Donnell) were questionable; she needed to put a roof over their heads, and so perhaps misled the other individual into thinking she was more interested than she truly was. That doesn’t say anything negative about lesbian relationships, it’s just Bonnie being Bonnie.
Earlier in tonight’s episode it was Christie who introduced the concept of a physical relationship with Emily’s biological mom, when she mentioned half-remembered makeout sessions they had back when they worked as strippers. (Half-remembered because Christie was an addict at the time. Emily’s mom is currently in rehab.) Okay, fine. But while counseling Emily’s mom about dealing with addiction, Christie blocked her convoluted trains of thought with “No, that’s wrong. That’s bad,” and that’s the sentiment that got attached to Emily’s mom’s desire for Christie. Suddenly we had, “I kinda want to make out with you. I know that’s wrong.”
It is? Why is it wrong? Christie isn’t currently in a relationship. We know almost nothing about Emily’s mom because she was just introduced in this episode, so we might assume she’s similarly unattached. Who cares if they get together? Why is it “wrong’? Why didn’t Christie counter that it wasn’t wrong, just inappropriate, since Emily’s mom is in rehab and might not be thinking clearly, or unfortunate, if Christie isn’t interested in her? (I’m assuming Christie is bisexual since she brought up their prior make-out sessions.) It’s worth noting that throughout the series both Bonnie and Christie have pursued potential heterosexual partners based on nothing more than seeing them across a crowded room. So why is physical attraction (“I kinda want to make out with you.”) wrong? It’s not, and in a world where the families of Chechen gay men are being told to kill their sons or the government will, saying so matters.