Mom fans were gutted when Anna Faris left the sitcom. In September 2020, the star announced that she would not be returning for the eighth season of the show. Her time as Christy Plunkett had come to an end. Faris, now 44, plays ditzy blonde perfection. The witty actor is well known for the funny characters that she has played in films such as Scary Movie and The House Bunny. And as Mom fans know, she shined as Christy. The single mother was a recovering alcoholic who had a complicated relationship with her mother, Bonnie Plunkett (played by Allison Janney), who was also an addict.
The role fit Faris like a glove, which was why her sudden departure left such a gaping wound. After she quit Mom, Chuck Lorre Productions and Warner Brothers confirmed in a joint statement that Faris was key to the role. “From the inception of Mom, Anna was the first and only choice for the role of Christy,” they stated, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Then why did Faris quit Mom? What was the real reason she left a TV show that, according to TV Line, was averaging 5.1 million viewers per episode? Keep reading to find out why the actor decided to terminate her contract so abruptly.
Anna Faris reveals the reason she left 'Mom'
The last time fans saw Anna Faris in the role of Christy Plunkett was on April 16, 2020. The episode, entitled “Big Sad Eyes and a Wrinkled Hot Dog,” was the last show taped before production stopped due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Since Faris had signed a two-year contract with the series in 2019, her decision to leave Mom was unexpected. Her contract reportedly would have bound her until the end of season 8, and Faris was reportedly well-compensated for her role as Christy.
Faris revealed the reason that she left Mom in a telling statement, per Variety, in early September 2020 before the show began taping the next season. It seems as if she was thinking about her career prospects and felt that she needed to make a change.
“The past seven years on ‘Mom’ have been some of the most fulfilling and rewarding of my career. I’m so thankful to Chuck, the writers, and my amazing castmates for creating a truly wonderful work experience,” the actor said. “While my journey as Christy has come to an end, allowing me to pursue new opportunities, I’ll be watching next season and rooting for my TV family.”
Anna Faris' 'Mom' family reacts to her departure
People reported that the cast and crew of Mom were surprised by Anna Faris’ sudden departure. A source told the outlet about their reaction to Faris’ announcement. “It was a surprise to hear that Anna was leaving. None of us are happy about that,” they divulged. “It was sudden and unwelcome, and it left the entire network scrambling.”
Kristen Johnston, who plays Tammy Diffendorf, tried to be positive about Faris’ departure. “It doesn’t feel that different. I mean, obviously, I miss Anna, but it’s still just Mom,” she stated. Jaime Pressly, who plays Jill Kendall, thought that Christy’s exit story was uplifting because “it’s really important to [showrunner Gemma Baker] to portray a character that got sober and stayed sober, not somebody that fell apart and had to start all over again.” Allison Janney appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and confessed that it was “very odd” to be on set without Faris, per People. She also shared that “Anna is missed and her character on the show is missed.”
After learning that Faris was leaving, fans speculated about how the writers would explain the character’s absence. Gemma Baker, one of the show’s executive producers, assured Entertainment Weekly, “Although our show has killed characters off in the past, we never considered this as an option for Christy. Our audience has been rooting for her for seven seasons and that loss felt like it would be too devastating for them and for our other characters.”
CBS cancels 'Mom' one season after Anna Faris' exit
When the season 8 premiere episode of Mom aired, fans learned that Christy Plunkett left for Georgetown University to further her education goals. However, there were plenty of loose ends after the character’s abrupt departure. (Fans don’t understand how Christy suddenly got a scholarship at a prestigious university after struggling to get accepted into a community college.)
Although the sitcom is still attracting a large audience, the network recently shocked Mom viewers again. According to TV Line, CBS decided to cancel the hit TV show. The executive producers released a statement about Mom coming to an end. “For the past eight years, we’ve had the great honor to bring these wonderful characters to life, sharing their struggles and triumphs with millions of viewers every week … We are forever grateful to our brilliant cast and guest stars, wonderful writers, and amazing crew for going on this journey with us.”
Faris’ exit may have sparked the cancelation of the show, but it’s uncertain why CBS decided to can Mom. Other shows that did not survive the departure of the lead include Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher, who left That 70s Show, and Zach Braff, who left Scrubs. As for Faris, her podcast Unqualified is keeping her busy. Although her Mom fans miss her, Faris has found a new gig for which she may very well be qualified.
The final episode of CBS’ Mom will air on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
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