Odd Mom Out, a new sitcom premiering Monday night, is one of Bravo’s rare scripted shows, in this case a sitcom about a Manhattan, Upper East Side woman (show creator Jill Kargman) and her privileged travails as a posh wife and mother.
Based on Kargman’s 2007 book Momzillas, Odd Mom Out feels familiar yet comfy. When we see the brunette Jill Weber (Kargman) surrounded by a gaggle of snobby blondes led by Abby Elliott’s Brooke, and hear vulgar jokes such as “My vaj is like the Holland Tunnel,” we know what territory we’re in. This is Sex and the City/Gossip Girl stuff (which is not surprising given that two of the show’s EPs, Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky, are SATC vets).
The series operates as a mild critique of the rest of Bravo’s programming, a flippant variation on the Real Housewives franchise. A recurring joke here is women shrieking in horror when a waiter approaches their table with a basket of rolls (“No bread!” they yell). There are attempts to invent new comedy catchphrases such as “thass” — “thigh plus ass equals ‘thass,’” Jill explains to her husband. Actually, for all I know, “thass” is a “thing”; I don’t keep up with such neologisms. Kargman, who until now seems to have primarily been a writer, slips comfortably into a cast that includes such pros as Andy Buckley from The Office playing her lawyer-husband, and the excellently tart Joanna Cassidy as her mother-in-law.
It’s a tad unbelievable that, after years of marriage and child-rearing in this habitat, Jill Weber would still be quite so naïve and appalled by the behavior of the crass, wealthy women surrounding her. The show requires this contrast to place Jill in awkward comic situations, and works hard to make her seem like a normal person with whom the audience can identify — why, she doesn’t just like bread, she eats donuts, even if she does refer to them as “gay bagels.”
Odd Mom Out is uneven but ultimately likable, and Kargman and Buckley have a nice chemistry as husband and wife. Surrounded by such grasping, vain women straight out of the Real Housewives playbook, it would have been unbearable if Jill and Andy weren’t a couple we could root for. So if bearable comedy is what you’re looking for, here’s a summer show for you.
Odd Mom Out airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on Bravo.