Help, I've Been Peak TV'd!

Peak TV Treasure: Showtime's SMILF

Are you overwhelmed by how much television is available right now? Is life getting in the way of keeping up with the shows you wanna try out? We feel your tube-related pain. Here’s a handy feature that’ll help you locate the hidden gems in this era of Peak TV.


NETWORK | Showtime

CREATED BY | Frankie Shaw (based on her Sundance Jury Award-winning short film of the same name)

NUMBER OF EPISODES | 8 (as of Season 1)


PREMISE | This semi-autobiographical series — created by, starring and executive-produced by Shaw — follows Bridgette Bird, a young, working-class mother attempting to navigate life in South Boston. Her (non-existent) relationships, sex life and career (she has long dreamed of playing for the WNBA) take a backseat to raising her son, whose name is… Larry Bird.

Helping care for Larry are Bridgette’s mother Tutu (Rosie O’Donnell); baby daddy Rafi (The Strain’s Miguel Gomez); Rafi’s girlfriend Nelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘s Samara Weaving); and Bridgette’s best friend Eliza (Being Mary Jane’s Raven Goodwin). Also in the mix is Ally (9-1-1‘s Connie Britton), a rich housewife who technically hires Bridgette to tutor her kids, but really just wants a friend/personal assistant.

WORTH YOUR TIME IF YOU ENJOY… |  Shows with a strong female voice. Stories about complicated mother-daughter relationships (e.g. fellow Peak TV Treasure Better Things) and dysfunctional family antics (e.g. Shameless).

YOU SHOULD PROBABLY ALSO KNOW… | First and foremost, don’t be put off by the title. This is not a show about a single mother being objectified by thirsty men. (Shaw has said in interviews that she set out to reclaim the disgusting acronym.) Second, SMILF deals with some heavy issues, including the burden carried by both victims of childhood sexual abuse and their parents. The finale confronts the trauma in a completely unexpected way, while also drawing parallels to Woody Allen. Other issues addressed include eating disorders, drug and alcohol dependency and undiagnosed mental illness. Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t call attention to O’Donnell, who delivers the performance of her career as Bridgette’s emotionally unstable mother. Her Emmy-worthy showcase comes in the second-to-last episode of Season 1 — and boy is it a doozy.

IS IT COMING BACK? | Yes. Showtime has announced that Season 2 will premiere on Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10:30/9:30c.

WHERE CAN I WATCH IT? | As of now, the complete first season is available only to Showtime subscribers.

Will you be setting aside some time to get acquainted with Showtime’s SMILF? Perhaps you already have? Drop a comment and let us know!