“Mom” returned for its eighth season on Thursday, but the CBS sitcom was down one major family member.
Star Anna Faris announced in September that she wouldn’t be returning for the upcoming season, and the show wasted no time addressing the absence of her character, Christy, who has moved across the country to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer.
The premiere opened with Christy’s mom, Bonnie (Allison Janney) and her husband, Adam (William Fichtner), driving back from the airport, where they’ve just dropped Christy off. The two are emotional, but excited for Christy’s major step.
“Every mom dreams of the day when they drop their 42-year-old daughter off at the airport to go to school,” Bonnie jokes, sharing that Christy has scored a full scholarship to Georgetown Law School.
A later scene at Bonnie’s Alcoholics Anonymous meeting finds her friends feeling Christy’s absence as well, as Jill (Jaime Pressly), Tammy (Kristen Johnston), Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy), and Wendy (Beth Hall) realize that how integral she was to their group — from cleaning the coffee pot to “rolling her eyes” at Bonnie’s sharing.
“Apparently, she was the one vacuuming the living room!” Bonnie notes with a laugh. There is mention of the two staying in contact, however, as Bonnie remarks that her daughter “doesn’t understand time zones” and tends to call her from the East Coast in the early morning hours. “She’s smart enough to get a scholarship to law school, but she can’t grasp the fact that her 7 a.m. is my 4 a.m.”
Faris is also no longer part of the show’s opening credits, which now focus solely on Bonnie and her AA pals.
Janney and her co-stars sat down with ET last week to discuss Faris’ absence from the upcoming season and how Christy might still be a part of the series moving forward. (In the final moments of the premiere episode, Bonnie receives a call from her daughter — at 4 a.m., of course — though Faris isn’t seen or heard on the other end of the phone.)
“It’s a huge loss for the show to not have Anna because she was part of creating a character, Christy, that everyone fell in love with, who was so lovable and warm and gullible and funny and we will miss her so much,” Janney told ET. “I think I’ll miss the most, for me, the relationship between Bonnie and Christy, even though that will still continue. But she won’t be present. That’s what I’ll miss.”
See more in the video below. “Mom” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. PT/ET on CBS.