Showtime’s ‘SMILF’ Goes Where Most Shows Don’t — Working-Class, Single Motherhood

By Lorraine Ali
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A new Showtime program called “SMILF”, “is a candid, funny and raw take on how socio-economics and gender affect opportunity, and boy does life at the bottom look different from a female perspective.”

Los Angeles Times

Motherhood is messy. Single motherhood in your 20s is messier. Add to that poverty, co-parenting with an unemployed ex and dreams of making it as an actress, in South Boston, and you have the basic ingredients of “SMILF.”

Showtime’s half-hour comedy drama, created, written by and starring Frankie Shaw, goes where most series television doesn’t care to venture: the lower end of the U.S. economic strata. It’s a place that used to be called the working class, but now, a lot of that class is out of work.

The show, which premiered Sunday, is a candid, funny and raw take on how socio-economics and gender affect opportunity, and boy does life at the bottom look different from a female perspective.

The system may be broken, but it was never designed for a single mother like Bridgette Bird (Shaw) in the first place. She’s a smart, Catholic-school-educated Boston native raising her toddler son Larry alone, in a shabby one room apartment, with sporadic help from her unemployed baby daddy, Rafi (Miguel Gomez).

Motherhood came before achieving much else in life, such as honing employable skills or conquering her other vague dream of playing in the WNBA. Now there’s no time for anything other than survival, and maybe trying to find another man.

Sweatpants, hairbands and snack foods are Bridgette’s version of clothed, groomed and fed.

If you’re already demoralized, don’t watch “SMILF” when it premieres right after “Shameless”, another show you’re probably not watching if dysfunctional-blue-collar-family entertainment is not your bag. But if you’re predisposed to finding humor and humanity in the depths of desperation, “SMILF” delivers with crass wit, sharp insight and empathy.

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