TV Review: Married— “The Cruise”

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Joanna Cassidy, Judy Greer, Nat Faxon (FX)

I love my mom. She’s nuts, but the nice, overly-supportive sort of nuts. Russ has the not-cute sort of crazy mom (played by the 70-year-old?!) Joanna Cassidy, who sweeps in and disrupt’s Russ’ life in the way only that sort of maternal monster can. Still—as is Married‘s wont—her Sharon is, in her brief appearance, a lot more interesting than her sitcom description makes her seem. From my review at the AV Club:

Tonight, the show introduces itself with the comforting promise of another standard sitcom setup—Russ’ difficult mother is coming to town for the weekend. And it’s true that, in the course of the episode, all the expected beats are hit—Russ’ mother Sharon (Joanna Cassidy) is impossible to please, talks down to daughter-in-law Lina, is inappropriate around her granddaughters (and her son), and generally acts as the single episode disruptive whirlwind of poor parenting most sitcoms trot out at one point or another. What “The Cruise” does—and what Married does—is ground Sharon’s actions in resolutely human terms that refuse to yield to easy laughs or to the genre necessity of closure at the end of a half-hour. Even on sitcoms that acknowledge the pain of having a shitty parent, an episode will include a feint toward reconciliation or at least connection. Married sticks to its guns here, as usual, making a case that family life is a continuum, and that people don’t really change. Certainly not in a half hour, and most likely not at all.

Married‘s only got a few episodes left—most likely ever, considering the ratings—and I’m pretty pissed about it. This is the sort of thoughtful, unique series TV needs to keep around.

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