Taping Date: November 7th, 2014
Air Date: January 1722nd, 2015
Where to get tickets: https://www.tvtickets.com/
During a trip to Los Angeles, my friend and I were able to get tickets to see a taping of the sitcom Mom. The show stars Allison Janney and Anna Faris and films at Warner Bros. The taping was on November 7, 2014. The episode was entitled “Three Smiles and an Unpainted Ceiling”.
I hadn’t seen a sitcom taping since Will & Grace ten years earlier. My friend and I had booked the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in the afternoon. Once the tour was over we headed to the other side of the lot where audiences check in for shows.
Once it was time we followed the group over to Stage 20. As normal, we went through security and checked our phones as well. We were given our seats, which were in the front row, but at the far left of the studio. The families living room was right in front of us, and a temporary set of a bar was built to the right.
First the warm-up comedian came out and explained a bit about the show. They showed us the previously filmed episode on the screens above us. The previous show hadn’t aired yet, but the story was linked. Then the comedian introduced the cast, including the legendary Allison Janney.
As the first few scenes were filmed, it seemed like a typical funny sitcom episode. Then we were told a scene was filmed beforehand, and they would show us on the screen. As we watched, it became clear we were not at a typical episode. The scene featured the death of character Alvin, who was Christy’s father. After this scene, it felt like all the fun and excitement was sucked out of the studio, leaving shock and sadness instead. The remaining scenes were both touching and sad, including the bar scene where Christy and Bonnie talk about the death. It was incredibly well acted, and a great display of these actresses immense talent.
Once the show ended, the cast (including Alvin actor Kevin Pollak) took their bows, and we were ushered out of the studio. Looking back, it was not a very fun episode to attend, but it was one of the most pivotal episodes of the series. It is a great example of how a sitcom can tackle serious issues.
If you’d like to read more about this episode, check out this article from the Hollywood Reporter. They discuss filming of some scenes before the live audience was present.