ABC’s newest sitcom, “Call Your Mother” stars Kyra Sedgwick as Jean Raines, a widow, and empty-nester, who uproots her happy life in Iowa to be with her children who live in Los Angeles because she hasn’t heard from her son in four days. But the surprise visit is not without its complications. She will quickly realize the cultural and generational gap that is between her and her kids. Not only that, but there is a bit of trouble within her own family as she comes to find out that her kids have not been talking to each other for months, which throws the once happy family dynamic Jean knew into disarray. So, being the mother that she is, she devises ways to bring the family together to patch things up.
ThatsItLA attended a Virtual Premiere Event talk to Sedgwick and “Call Your Mother” creator Kari Lizer about the show, how it relates to them, and how it may resonate with audiences, and a canine co-star. Here are some small facts that we took away from it.
– Philosophical Helicopter Mom
“Call Your Mother” could best be described in a question that Jean asks herself in the pilot episode. “If she isn’t mothering any more, is she a mother?” It’s a question to an existential crisis that any mother demands answers to. So much so that she is willing to travel across the country to get them.
Part of the story is based on Lizer’s personal experience, as three of her kids have left her household. The only part that is not true is that she hasn’t traveled and chased them worldwide. She found herself in that same frame of life, asking about what her next phase in life is.
Sedgwick said she could relate to a lot of what her character Jean is going through. You want to hang out with them because you birth them. Adding with parenting, if you do your job right, you get fired.
– Based In Reality
While sitcoms exaggerate real stories for a comedic effect, there was no getting away from COVID-19. Lizer wanted to be sure that this wasn’t just a sitcom that took place in a fantasy where the pandemic never took place. Even though they never planned for something like this, some aspects of the pandemic will help play into the disconnect and add to the isolation between Jean and her kids.
– Multicamera debut for Kyra
Sedgwick is no stranger to comedy, having starring roles in sitcoms like Corporate and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but “Call Your Mother” is the first to lead. During the press conference, she quickly realized that “It’s true what they say that drama is easy, and comedy is hard.” Despite that, she is having a great time as the cast and crew spend the whole day laughing and aiming to be funny and real.
Sedgwick commented on how she cannot wait to have a real audience sit in with them because there is nothing like getting a buzz when a joke hits and people laugh.
– Relate to characters
Kyra can relate to what her character Jean is going through being a mother whose children have left the nest. But she will always be a mother to them regardless of where they are. It’s to a point where she justifies wanting to hang out with them because she birthed them. At the same time, she knows that with parenting, if any parent does their job right, they get fired.
– Dog Days
In the pilot episode, we see that Jean takes up residence in an Airbnb run by Danny, an English divorcee who tends to overshare his life story. Though he is set up as a potential love interest, Danny has a very adorable dog named Ripper, who seems to be more of a pet to Danny and a therapy dog to Jean.
In reality, Ripper is a five-year-old acting dog named Orbit. One of his most recent credits includes “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” where he played Enzo, a loyal golden retriever to Milo Ventimiglia.
Lizer, who has a golden retriever who is a therapy dog, said while Orbit is not a therapy dog, he is a damn good acting dog. Sedgwick added she was appreciative of Orbit because he was very calming when the stress level was high.
“Call Your Mother” premieres Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
All Photos Courtesy of ABC.