Post Mortems

Post Mortem: Mom Cast 'Sad,' But 'Proud' and 'In Awe' of Latest Twist

Mom Alvin Dies

CBS’ Mom, which in its first one-and-a-half seasons has tackled alcoholism, cancer, gambling and teen pregnancy, added another serious topic to its repertoire this Thursday night, with the sudden death of a major character.

The episode “Three Smiles And An Unpainted Ceiling” opened (too?) happily enough with the news that Alvin (recurring player Kevin Pollak) was moving into a vacant apartment just across the courtyard from where Bonnie (Emmy winner Allison Janney), daughter Christy (Anna Faris) and granddaughter Violet (Sadie Calvano) live. Later, as he and Bonnie went to “christen” his new bedroom, Alvin’s ticker gave out again, one final time, leaving Bonnie to bellow for Christy’s help.

In the aftermath, Bonnie nearly turned to drink, but instead — after a talk-down from Christy — opted to crash Alvin’s funeral, where she gave his ex-wife Lorraine a piece of her mind (and scurried away with a “souvenir”).

Sharing her first reaction to the somber twist, Allison Janney tells TVLine that Mom creator ChuckMom Alvin Dies Lorre “pulled Anna and me aside and told us at the same time what was going to be happening. Initially we were very surprised — ‘Why, oh why? Did Kevin get a better job??’ We were sad, because it was so much fun to play with Kevin. But Chuck was afraid that these characters were getting too comfortable,” reassembled as they basically were as a semi-functioning family unit.

“The root of the show is these two women surviving everything life throws at you, and they are definitely not exempt from losing someone they love,” Janney continues. And storyline-wise, “I think that ultimately there was more to be gained from having something like this happen, to watch how they deal with it. It might be helpful or relatable to someone out there, as with every issue we deal with on the show.” (Janney says she regularly fields thank-yous from real-life alcoholics pleased to see their struggles reflected on screen.) “Ours is not a TV land where everything is rosy and perfect.”

Indeed, Mom is doingMom Alvin Dies things that few sitcoms dare to try, effectively mixing (sometimes broad) laughs with sobering fare. As Faris puts it, “I’m devastated that Kevin[‘s character] had that journey, but also I’m so in awe of it — that we have writers and a studio (Warner Bros. TV) that will go to these places.” Janney concurs, saying: “Chuck loves that he’s able to do this kind of work with the half-hour format, to dig a little deeper. And Anna and I and the rest of the cast aren’t afraid to handle that material…. I’m really proud.”

What’s more, whereas some sitcoms — especially multi-cam comedies — can be rather standalone in nature, Mom will follow through on the reverberations of Alvin’s death, seeing as it robbed Bonnie of a second chance at great love, took from Christy the dad she barely knew and left Violet feeling guilty, since she selfishly blew off what turned out to be a last chance to hang with her grandfather.

“Subsequent episodes are not all about [that], but every episode has a little something in there,” Janney previews. “It’s a slow recovery.” Surveying Christy’s loss, Faris notes, “She didn’t get much time with him, but as Chuck says, ‘That’s life’s journey.'” And Calvano says that while Violet “typically is a pretty strong girl and it’s not very often you get to see her break, this definitely exposes a rare side of her,” as shown during her commiseration with mom Christy.

“We’re doing something incredibly special, telling stories that are important for people to hear,” Calvano continues. As such, she feels, Mom “has become a genre of its own, because we’re not like any other sitcom on television right now.”

Besides, the image of Alvin splayed out on the sheets — after aiming to “even the score” with Bonnie — might not be the last we see of the character. Hints Faris: “I think we’ll see a little bit of Kevin appearing in different, various ways….”

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210 Comments
  1. A. D. says:

    Sucks! I loved him on there!

  2. Dar Compagnon says:

    Bad move, writers u suck,

    • Chester says:

      Often, I will think that I will no longer watch a tv series because something bad happened, but I change my mind. Here, I will not change my mind. What’s the point of watching a show that kills people because the characters are getting too comfortable. They were still struggling even if they did have a man in their life. Oh the horror. A man.

      • Jomarch says:

        You don’t get it; it’s not that he was a man, but that it was changing the dynamic of the show. it wasn’t supposed to be the usual family sitcom.

    • Vanessa says:

      I agree, he(Kevin) added a funny completion to the story line.

  3. Nicole says:

    I get that it makes for good storylines but I liked seeing them with a little bit of happiness….it can’t be them struggling ALL the time, some good things need to happen too. He was great and had terrific on screen chemistry with Alison Janney.

  4. Very sad to see Kevin go! I feel he was a huge part of the show! Bad decision I beleive>

  5. Carolyn says:

    Terrible! Chuck Lorre I love you and all your shows but I think you goofed killing off one of the best characters not he show! Kevin Pollack had great chemistry with everyone on the show. You never should have killed him off!

  6. Laura says:

    It would have been much more interesting for his character to become undone and their characters working to help him out of the hole as well. Sad to see him go.

  7. lynn says:

    REALLY going to miss Him. Kevin Pollak really added a lot to the show. Wish he could have stayet on a while longer.

  8. U. Walker says:

    Killing Alvin was a big mistake. You’re headed down the NBC path with this move. Major disappointment.

  9. Martina says:

    Terrible decision, they could still struggle with Alvin in the show, I’ll miss him

  10. rob says:

    very disappointed whatever the “reasoning”
    a great character

  11. PLV says:

    BAD MOVE. He helped make this show !

  12. Trish says:

    Done with the show. Chuck, you blew it. Face it like a man and admit it. Show’s due for cancellation now. You think people aren’t going to notice killing off a male role model? CBS has made MANY mistakes in recent years, but the network has remained my favorite. After tonight, no longer.

  13. Jean Mitchell says:

    Allison Janney is one of the best actresses on tv today! I love her!

  14. Alison says:

    So sad! Love him on the show. So sad! Damn it.

  15. Sparky says:

    I am done with this show. I watch this show to laugh, not cry. I really will never watch it again. Death and loss is not funny. Dark comedy it is not.

  16. forg9587 says:

    Emotional episode. Mixed laughs with dramatic moments well. The acting was top notch

  17. Tran says:

    What a shocker. This is going to be bad news for the rest of Season Two.

    • trf2003 says:

      I think this is a dramedy. If we as viewers hate it so much, we will get to see these characters deal with as well. Granted, the writers could have played it safe, but this is not a big happy traditional family show according to what the article just revealed. I look forward to the great performances yet to be portrayed on this show. I’m sticking with it.

  18. chadcronin says:

    It was good and also very sad. I cried. Any idea why The Mccarthys didn’t air?

  19. Babybop says:

    I like Alvin, so I’m bummed that he’s killed off. I love the show though, not going to stop watching because of a character. Bonnie stealing the picture and running away was awesome!

  20. Mike says:

    After this episode I will stop watching this series.

  21. Nicole says:

    In this case I think they could have had way more storylines with him alive. His sons, his making up time with Christy etc. this just felt rushed and too soon. If they wanted to kill him off why not do in when they are even more invested with each other.

    • Stacy says:

      There could still be scenes with Christy and her brothers getting to know each other in his absence. I don’t think this limits the storyline at all.

  22. Asta says:

    who played his ex wife? it kinda looked like Beverly D’Angelo

  23. Jane says:

    Totally shocked and so sad that Kevin was killed off the show…loved the story line and chemistry of their new love blossoming…he just had a warmth about him…and the dry humor between Kevin and Bonnie was hilarious…one of the best episodes was when he was in the hospital after his heart attack…I don’t think the characters were getting too comfortable…I think there could have been many many new story lines because of Kevin…I also agree with another comment…love you Chuck…but I think you made a terrible mistake…

  24. Noelle says:

    Chuck Lorre sucks!
    I liked Kevin Pollak’s chartcher on MOM A show I’ve been watching like 2013
    ALvin should not have been killed off

  25. Shado says:

    I don’t understand why people are willing to give up on the show because Alvin died. That’s life people die in the blink of an eye.

    • TJ says:

      Because these kinds of shows are supposed to be funny and entertaining to distract us from real life, that’s why. I can read about death every day in my local paper.

      • Dan says:

        You’re watching a show about recovering alcoholics, a teenager who gives up a baby, and a woman with cancer. Clearly you’re watching the wrong show if you’re looking for nothing but chuckles.

        • TinLV says:

          Agree. This show is dark to begin with.The storyline is very much drama, the laughs lighten the mood, but its not “Happy Days”. Having Alvin die wasn’t that big a surprise to me.

      • Gee says:

        So very very true, I cannot understand what Chuck and his writers were thinking.

  26. TJ says:

    I hate that they killed off Alvin. The writers could have gotten much more mileage out of him and there was such chemistry between him and the rest of the cast. This show is only in its 2nd season and still very fresh. Sorry, I think Lorre made a huge mistake. I like the show, but it isn’t “cutting edge” enough to warrant a surprise exit of a major character so soon.

  27. Disappinted says:

    Bad move, they could just had him on less. The show really took off with him in it.

  28. Et al says:

    Based on the comments here, it’s clearly a bad idea to present the typical CBS viewer with things like storylines, character development, and strong acting. They just aren’t used to it.

    • Stacy says:

      Touché!

    • AH says:

      Or, maybe they are just reacting to a storyline that hit home to many of them who may have lost a loved one in their family. But, please go on with your snarky comments, oh anonymous poster who knows all….SMDH

    • dan says:

      Seriously! What will happen when TBBT tackles the death of Howard’s mom due to the death of actress Carole Ann Susi? I applaud Chuck Lorre for taking this route with a sitcom. Although I haven’t watched Mom on a weekly basis, I enjoy seeing the trials and tribulations of Christy and Bonnie when I do catch an episode. Sorry about Kevin’s character (and I agree that he and Allison had great chemistry) being killed off, but I think this will be good for future storylines.

    • TJ says:

      Did killing off Alvin develop his character more? Are we going to see strong acting by his corpse now?

      • Eithanvoc says:

        Jesus. You’re an idiot. Alvin was a supporting, ancillary character. He was always a guest star and had not been promoted to main cast. We’re going to see stronger acting from the MAIN CAST that goes directly to the central premise of the show, aka Janney and Farris. Sorry you’re irrationally butt hurt over the loss of a supporting character, but you’re naivete about TV (and life) sounds like you’re someone who thinks NCIS is award winning writing.

    • Eithanvoc says:

      Ugh. I know. These comments make me cry for the sake of humanity. Some incredibly shallow people on this thread.

    • sara says:

      Really?!

  29. Janelle says:

    This episode really hit home with me. I lost of dad at age 13 to cancer and I resembled a little of the Christy character where I didn’t get a lot of time with him and the Violet character where I felt selfish for not doing more with him.
    My mom re-married when I was 18 and we suddenly lost him to a heart attack just last year (12 years later). I see a lot of my mom in Allison Janeys character – strong, emotional, puts on a happy face! They found each other again and were able to fall back in love. And then to have that loss… You feel ripped off.
    I commend the show going this direction but he was a loveable character and he will be missed.
    I think this was the first sitcom to make me cry.

    • Nick says:

      Unfortunately, I know how you feel. When the loss is fresh, things like this in shows can really have an emotional impact.

  30. Sasha says:

    It reminds me of the shows from the 70’s and early 80’s that weren’t afraid to deal with these types of storylines and still be able to find the humor. It’s true to life. I really enjoyed this episode and love this show.

  31. Nick says:

    Glad I don’t watch this show. I was curious as to what happened based on the article title and the revelation wasn’t ideal. This one hit too close to home, and hopefully they treat an event like this properly.

    In November of last year, ironically during the airing of the Dr. Who episode Dark Water, my mother, who is ironically same age as Allison Janney, lost the man she was going to marry to an aortic dissection. He dropped her off at work and wasn’t able to pick her up. She waited for over an hour before getting a ride home to find him on the couch cold to the touch. The man was a fixture in my life for the past 4 years and I miss him everyday, to say nothing of my mother who has lost her hope and maybe even her will to live.

    A death on TV doesn’t mean a death in real life. Unfortunately, some of us get to experience that tragic irony. I’m not sharing this story for sympathy. There is no sense in making others feel bad on my behalf. Hopefully this post reminds people to make sure the people you love know how you feel and hear it often.

    • misery chick says:

      @ Nick-may I offer my condolences & sympathy to you and your mother even if you aren’t asking for it? I’m so sorry for your loss, and thanks for reminding us to love the people in our lives while we still have them.

  32. Network says:

    This is Allison’s lock for an Emmy next year. This was such a fantastic episode. It really had the tone of the best of the seasons of Roseanne (when chuck Lorre wrote and produced). Specifically the episode when Dan went under on his bike shop at the same time Roseanne lost her restaurant job.This stuff happens. Life will confine to kick you when you’re down. The interesting thing is watching the main characters triumph and survive. There are plenty of friends/big bang/modern family shows out there where nothing bad ever happens but it’s nice to have this peice of reality in comedy too.

  33. Bill Radlinger says:

    This had to be the dumbest stunt to pull in a great comedy. The ensemble chemistry was fantastic and you pull out a fine comedian. You’ve lost my interest and so has your sponsor.

  34. John says:

    Great episode but bad move the character was very likable. Saving something like this for towards the end of the run would have been better. Will have to see how it plays out but I think this could have started the end. I’ve thought this since seeing the preview last week

  35. Keth says:

    Alvin died way too soon! There ought to be a lot more to develop in the storyline between Alvin and Bonnie, his ex-wife and Bonnie or his sons and Christy….and eventually Alvin as a middle-man to bond the 2 families together. It’s truly a bad decision to kill this good character all of a sudden. Christy’s husband is moving his way up in the car sales business, does it mean that he will be killed too? What a shame of this bad move.

  36. Bridget says:

    It sucks! The show was good, but Kevin Pollack made it better.

  37. Peggy says:

    Alot of deadbeat dad’s could learn from this show. Christy ex should have gone. Do a Bob Newhart and Suzanne Pleschette and rethink. We need a campaign to bring Alvin back to show being a father and meaning of family. Lots of stories left behind

  38. jEN says:

    Terrible decision CBS. Mom is freaking depressing. The only good part of the show was the hilarious interaction between Alvin & Bonnie. You need to hand out antidepressants to people before viewing an episode.

  39. Maxsmom says:

    Kevin Pollack is a favorite, not sure why or when, I am just always happy to see him in anything, he is the reason I finally tried this show. I am going to miss him. Right now this feels like a reason to stop watching but I’d like to see the 1st couple of post-Alvin episodes before making any grand pronouncements…except Chuck Lorre is a Hack!

  40. Writers suck – he was such a likeable character that we looked forward to seeing every week

  41. Paul says:

    Looking forward to seeing Kevin in his own show

  42. Carol says:

    Isn’t this supposed to be a sitcom!? I’m not sure I’ll continue to watch. Bad move!

  43. diane says:

    i only watched because he was on the show..it was boring til he came on the show…..big mistake

  44. leo says:

    This is a show to make you laugh as I remembered from 1st episode you writers are out of ideas on how to make people enjoying this show

  45. Jack says:

    Love the show, but if this was a smart move, I don’t know … Think it will alienate viewers seriously, and it might be a huge dealbreaker for a lot of viewers. Really loved Alvin, cause he gave hope Christy & Bonnie and that they were/are on the road to recovery.

    Pretty dumb ass move …

  46. Darlene says:

    the character Alvin was great! Doesn’t make sense to get rid of him so soon! Very disappointed, because that the network didn’t give the family happiness for a little longer, because there is a lot of story lines that this show can go with and Alvin would have added to those situations tremendously!

  47. Jennifer Bates says:

    Disappointed- felt Kevin’s character had a lot more to give to the show. I would have liked to see him devel into the dynamics of his relationship with Christy and Violet. There was MUCH more to explore there. He could have developed a relationship with his step grandson. There are many facets left to explicate between these characters; not to mention the opportunity to unravel all the complexities of developing a relation with a child you did not even know you had (and meeting a father you had been told was dead.
    A lot left between Kevin & Alison also.
    Gone too soon -lost a great character.

  48. Caesar says:

    @AllisonBJanney @kevinpollak had such fantastic chemistry on the show! @AnnaKFaris is fantistic also. Biut i really enjoyed that couple! Chuck Lorre.. too comfortable NOPE !
    I hope (Alvin) returns as a ghost ?

  49. Mary says:

    Bad move, not sure I’ll watch anymore. Have it be a bad dream and bring Alvin back!

    • Roy Holsclaw says:

      Sorry to see Alvin go , I think the show will be missing a lot without him……..Wish they hadn,’t done that .

  50. Eran says:

    Can only speak for myself here obviously but I for one, as a viewer, do enjoy being challenged and have the rug pulled right from under me sometimes, if it serves the story and is true to the characters, be the genre a drama or a sitcom.
    Also, I’ve always believed that a sitcom’s true test of quality for longevity is how it handles drama for its characters and ‘Mom’ hit the nail on the head with this.
    I for one, had not grown heavily attached to Alvin’s character and so don’t feel as though the potential for endless stories untold has just been squandered.
    What’s more, death doesn’t check to see if your diary is free and can accommodate it, whether you’re fortune 500 or a struggling alcoholic. Death just comes. And I applaud Mom for telling it like it is. Sometimes, death will kick you when you’re already down.
    Television ties real struggles up in neat bows too quickly and far too often. This felt real. I expect the fallout will too. And most importantly, through it all, there WERE laugh out loud moments.
    Good sitcoms should know how to move you too. Hat’s off to Chuck Lorre and the cast.