{mom.me} Your Fall TV Cheat Sheet on Returning Shows

MMM Showcase Tuesday, September 23, 2014

As usual, there has been a lot of talk about the new shows hitting the small screen this fall. But, real talk? How many of them do you think are still going to be on the air come Christmas? Exactly. A slim few. It’s a regular deathwatch out here. And may the odds be ever in your favor. So instead, let’s talk about some of our battle-tested, network TV faves that are coming back and bringing excitement, fun and a little shelf life with them.

RELATED: 6 Things I Learned About Motherhood From Clair Huxtable

Here’s a quick who-what-when cheat sheet for the 10 returning shows we’ve been waiting for all summer. If you’re not caught up on the current seasons, be warned: We’re spillin’ and spoilin’. Bookmark this post and get your binge going.

1. “The Good Wife” (CBS, September 21, 9 p.m.)


That this show is entering its sixth season and still so strong, so sharp and so, well, good makes it somewhat of rarity. And last year’s action-packed season was a powerhouse. We were left shocked and shaken by Will Gardner’s death; reeling at Diane Lockhart ditching her firm and joining the Team Florrick/Agos; and intrigued at Eli Gold asking “Saint Alicia” to run for State’s Attorney — her husband and now Governor Peter Florrick’s old job. And we haven’t even begun to unpack the hot, complicated, double-crossing muddle that is the relationship between in-house investigator Kalinda Sharma and smirking law partner Cary Agos. We are ready for the ride, Good Wife!

2. “Homeland” (SHOWTIME, October 5, 9 p.m.)

Photograph by CBS via Getty Images

Full disclosure: I gave up on “Homeland” midway through season 2. But there are plenty of folks who have been edge-of-seat for almost a year waiting to see what happens next, and Season 4 promises to really shake things up. First off: Nick Brody is dead. Like, legit dead. No tricks. Meanwhile, Carrie Mathison, who was preggo with Brody’s baby, is struggling with single parenthood. The action shifts to Pakistan, as Carrie takes on the assignment of field operative there to overseeing a drone strike program. She leaves baby back in the U.S. (possibly for good?). Saul is back, as is Quinn, plus a bunch of new characters. However, knowing “Homeland,” the newbies might not last all 12 episodes.

3. “New Girl” (FOX, Sept. 16, 9.p.m.)

Photograph by FOX

After the will-they-won’t-they question around Nick and Jess was resolved (they did), and Schmidt started dating both Cece and Elizabeth, the show began drifting south. Then Schmidt moved into the empty flat across the hall and Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) returned — pushing poor Winston’s already back-burner storyline into Weirdo With Cat territory. It felt like the show lost its focus and fizz. The writers wisely decided to turn the boat around with a bombshell breakup of Nick and Jess and moved back to the hilarious hijinks we’ve come to expect from the group. Season 4’s premiere episode was funny ha-ha and felt like a reboot of sorts. A new “New Girl,” even. (Had to do it!)

4. “The Mindy Project” (FOX, Sept. 16, 9:30 p.m.)

Photograph by FOX

Sound the horns, release the doves: Mindy and Danny are together! The show’s second season was pretty great. They homed in on the right mix of hilarious and heartwarming: a steamy kiss on an airplane, Dr. L and Dr. C getting together only to later have the tear-soaked “I don’t want to mess up our friendship” break-up, and everyone running around NYC until the two finally made up and made out on the floor (literally) of the Empire State Building’s observation deck. It was like a mash-up of “When Harry Met Sally” and basically every Nora Ephron rom-com. Season 3’s first show was aces. Lots of laughs, raunchy jokes, plus a Dancing Danny — you can’t ask for much more.

5. “Modern Family” (ABC, Sept. 24, 9 p.m.)

Photograph by ABC

Phil Dunphy will always be my guy, but the fresh funny just wasn’t there for me these last two or three seasons. But that said, things definitely happened on the Emmy-winning show last year, the biggest being Mitchell and Cam’s wedding in the two-part finale. The planning of the nuptials took over most of the season, and this being a sitcom, naturally there were plenty of shenanigans leading up to the big event. In the end, Lilly’s dads were hitched surrounded by their large and ever-loving families. Season 6 promises the intro of a bunch of new guest-stars, and maybe — if we’re lucky — maybe that absent freshness will make an appearance too.

6. “Nashville” (ABC, Sept. 24, 10 p.m.)

Photograph by ABC

The big question from last season is: Whom will Rayna choose? Cowboy Luke, who popped the question on stage after their duet of “Ball and Chain”? (Of course.) Or will it be her original love, the wounded and recovered Deacon, who told her that he finally knows how to love her and gave her back their old engagement ring? Juliette is ready to come clean to Avery about sleeping with slimy Edgehill records chief Jeff Fordham, but it’s too late! That damn Gunnar and Zoey already filled Avery in. And another big secret is unwittingly spilled when Will tearfully confesses to Layla that he’s gay. Problem is, the reality show cameras are hidden and rolling. Oh, and Scarlett decided to pack it in after unraveling on stage, but Gunnar serenades her with one of sweet ditties and she just might change her mind about leaving.

7. “The Vampire Diaries” (The CW, Oct. 2, 8 p.m.)

Photograph by CW

The biggest news for Season 6 is bad boy vamp Damon Salvatore and good witch Bonnie Bennett are dead* after getting trapped on the Other Side when it imploded. The asterisk is because on this show, people rarely die and stay that way. Plus, Damon finally got the girl — Elena Gilbert — and they were happy. Elena’s vixen doppelgänger Katherine is no longer (boo.), while history teacher/vampire hunter-turned vampire Alaric Saltzman returns (yay.). Meanwhile, the Travelers’ spell left Mystic Falls drastically changed: No vampires can enter the town. It looks like Matt Donovan, basically the only human left on the show, is going to have to step up.

8. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC, Sept. 25, 8 p.m.)

Photograph by ABC

Moving into Season 11 without the excellent Cristina Yang roaming the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial eating people’s souls for breakfast, I’m not sure how Mer, Der and the team will fare. Last year, we found out that Meredith Grey has another half-sister (RIP Lexie) working at the hospital: cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Margaret Pierce, the love child of Dr. Richard Webber and Mer’s deceased mother Dr. Ellis Grey. And Meredith revealed to her longtime love Derek that she really doesn’t want to move to D.C. with him. Tension! Speaking of tense, Callie and Arizona broke up, made up and finally decided to use a surrogate to expand their cute family, while Jackson and April got hitched and — oops — got pregnant. Definitely makes room for some interesting developments this season.

9. “Scandal” (ABC, Sept. 25, 9 p.m.)

Photograph by ABC

Season 3 left us with Olivia Pope no longer able to handle President Fitz and their “difficult, devastating, life-changing, extraordinary love.” Liv shuts it all down and hops on a plane with backup boyfriend Jake Ballard to destinations unknown. A broken Fitz and first lady Mellie struggle to deal with the death of their son Jerry, Jr., who was actually poisoned by puppet master Papa Pope. On the subject of bad dads, Mellie reveals to Fitz that his father, Big Jerry, raped her 15 years ago, Awful! And self-proclaimed monster Cyrus Beene is a single dad after his husband James was shot in the face — by Jake! As for the rest of OPA: Harrison is likely a goner, and that Huckleberry Quinn romance (ew) still haunts my dreams. (P.S. I’ll be taking over Mom.me’s Twitter handle for Scandal’s Season 4 premiere. Join me!)

10. “Parenthood” (NBC, Sept. 25, 10 p.m.)

Photograph by NBC

Every episode brings waterworks, and with this being the final season, we need to just give into quivering lips and bring out the jumbo box of tissue. Last year Julia and her hubby Joel separated and considered divorce, while Sarah reconciled with mumbling Hank. Amber and her PTSD-suffering soldier, ex-fiancé Ryan had a quickie in the hospital bed after he was hurt, and we saw Amber buying a pregnancy test in the finale. Sweet-pie Drew’s college FWB Natalie became his full-fledged girlfriend, and he drove off to meet her in The Pontiac that Grandpa gifted him. Speaking of the elder Bravermans, Zeek and Camille finally moved out of the old family home. The show’s executive producer Jason Katims has hinted about “losing a member of the family” in this final season, so … gird yourselves! (BtwI will be recapping Parenthood’s farewell season every Friday here on mom.me!)

{mom.me} 6 Things I Learned About Motherhood From Clair Huxtable

MMM Showcase Friday, September 19, 2014

Are you sitting down? Because what I’m about to share is startling, and I’m only looking out for you here. Ready? All right. Here it is: This week, September 20, marks the 30th anniversary of “The Cosby Show.” This means the groundbreaking show debuted three decades ago, folks. It also means that we’re bloody old.


(Photo credit: Mom.me)

Like so many “Cosby Show” fans, I have a thousand favorite moments. Certain scenes left an indelible mark on that part of the brain where all things pop culture collect and take root. The whole Huxtable fam ja-ja-jaammin’ on the ones in the studio with Stevie Wonder(!). The Gordon Gartrell shirt. The excellent Elvin Tibideaux Takedown about his chauvinist ideas, masterfully delivered by head mama in charge Clair Huxtable: “And if you don’t get it together, and drop these macho attitudes, you are never gonna have anybody bringing you anything anywhere any place any time ever.” Man! It was classic wig snatching, and it was glorious.

RELATED: 9 Questions Moms Across the Land Are Tired of Answering

In fact, many of my top scenes involve Clair Huxtable. She was soft and solid, serious and silly, compassionate and commanding, confident and charming, and so damn fly in her jumbo earrings and shoulder pads. Clair Huxtable was the ultimate example of what having it all looked like way before it even became A Thing (granted, one that we soon realized was unattainable.)

So in honor of “The Cosby Show’s 30th anniversary, here are the 6 lessons I’ve picked up from Clair Huxtable on motherhood.

1. Mom Gets in the Picture

GIF via Tumblr

Whether it’s being part of a lip-syncing, choreographed dance routine to “Night Time Is the Right Time” to celebrate her in-laws’ wedding anniversary or snatching a hoagie from right under Cliff’s nose, Clair made sure she was in on the fun, experiencing things as a joyful participant instead of a smiling observer standing just outside the frame. It’s more fun inside the circle. And I’ve long made a strong effort to get — and stay — in the picture.

Read the full post on mom.me.

{mom.me} 9 Questions Moms Across the Land Are Tired of Answering

Life As Mom, MMM Showcase Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I get it. I do. There’s just something about babies that brings out the Barbara Walters in a lot people. These sweet, new, tiny human beings make folks feel like they can ask the mothers basically anything and, moreover, they expect us to be naturally ready with answers to all their queries — from the innocent to the downright intrusive.

The first few times we — if I may employ the Royal “We” here — are pretty OK with answering a couple of these questions. We’re even OK with responding to the same one a few times over. But there comes a moment where the line in the sand gets drawn and we’re done.

Lucille Ball

(image from GETTY IMAGES via Mom.me)

Maybe it’s the confluence of sleep deprivation and the ice-cold realization that our old life is at the bar laughing about us, and it all comes to a head. You’ve been asked that question too many times and it’s only causing the stress in the pit of your stomach to mount up at the back of your throat, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth. And if you had your druthers, you would look at the next person who rolls up on you toting those dingy queries with steely eyes and say: “Eff off! No, not yet!” It’s what I like to call FONNY™ (pronounced: phony).

Now, because we’re friends, and I want your friends and relations to be aware of the thin ice on which they are walking, here are nine of their questions that need to be voted off the island. Print it out and mail it over to them, with a real stamp and everything, because this is legit business.

Read the full post on Mom.me.

Been Around the World and I-I-I …

Life As Mom, MMM Showcase Friday, August 29, 2014

OK, so it’s not quite the world. More like the world wide web, but let’s not quibble, friends. Anyway, with the  holiday weekend here (already?? I know!) I figured I should use the “quieter” time to promote a few of the more popular posts I’ve written around the web lately. A Long Weekend Reader of sorts.

Sunflower | Ms. Mary Mack

So, I was over on Cool Mom Tech, pitching in on the grand Back to School Tech Guide 2014 with:

Also on CMT, I offered up 6 smart tips to help teach kids about photography. Maybe you can help the young’uns get in a few snaps before we blink and it’s time to for winter holiday displays. Speaking of youngsters, there was also this roundup of the 10 best apps for new moms and parents.

Then hop over to Mom.me for this piece about My Cringe-Filled Experiences Around Other People’s Kids and this fun one that spells out the 7 Hardened Rules of Little Kid Fashion.

Plus, there are lots of good bits on MMM itself. So, poke around, read up on some posts from earlier in August, like this guest post by my elementary school friend Donna, who went from honor student to teen mom to a restored, shame-free woman and a badass nurse.

All right! That’s enough plugging for now. Enjoy the last bits of summer, good people, and we’ll seeee youuuuu in Septemberrrr.


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