Mom is officially down a mom.
When the CBS sitcom returned for season eight on Thursday, Nov. 5, it did so with an Anna Faris-sized hole in its cast. After starring as struggling alcoholic Christy Plunkett since the series' premiere in 2013, the actress shocked fans by announcing that she was leaving the role behind to pursue other opportunities. All this just days before production on the delayed new season was set to commence.
"The past seven years on Mom have been some of the most fulfilling and rewarding of my career," she said in an early September statement. "I'm so thankful to [Chuck Lorre], the writers, and my amazing castmates for creating a truly wonderful work experience. 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."
Faris' departure leaves Allison Janney, who stars as Christy's own mom and fellow AA attendee Bonnie, as the show's sole lead—though she remains supported by series regulars Mimi Kennedy, Jaime Pressly, Beth Hall, Kristen Johnston and William Fichtner.
Speaking with Entertainment Tonight about the path forward, Janney said, "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. I think I'll miss the most, for me, the relationship between Bonnie and Christy, even though that will still continue [off screen]."
And the season premiere made clear that, though Christy was gone, she wouldn't be forgotten. After pursuing a future as a lawyer over the last few seasons, she left Napa and her support group behind to study law across the country at Georgetown University. While Bonnie struggled to process her empty nest, she received a call from Christy. So fans can count on regular updates as she works towards her off-screen happy ending.
As co-creator Gemma Baker told TVLine prior to the premiere, "One of the beautiful things about recovery is that quite often people's lives get bigger and better than they could have imagined. And that will be Christy's experience. We are pretty sure that our audience, many of whom have been rooting for Christy since the pilot, will be happy for her and satisfied by her new path."
Mom is hardly the first series in TV history to lose a lead actor. Take a look at all those stars who've similarly left the party early.
Mom airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBS.
(Originally published on November 5, 2020, at 4 p.m. PST.)