Showtime’s newest comedy SMILF takes a gritty look at what it’s like to be a young, single mother whose trying to meet her personal needs without compromising the needs and well-being of her son.
Adapted from Frankie Shaw’s Sundance Film Festival Jury award-winning short film, Shaw stars as Bridgette Bird, a young single mom living in South Boston trying to make ends meet while she takes care of her young son, Larry — named after basketball legend and 1978 first round draft pick of the Boston Celtics, Larry Bird. The mother and son duo share a tiny studio apartment, leaving Bridgette little space to take care of her needs when time allows. While she does odd jobs like tutoring or auditioning for local commercials, Larry stays with Tutu, her mother, who is a tough broad played by none other than Rosie O’Donnell.
In the first episode alone, SMILF explores what it’s like to be a young mother with a fierce sex drive, forced to meet your baby daddy’s new girlfriend only to find out she’s already met your child without your knowledge while the nagging fear that having a baby ruined your downstairs forever dances in the back of your head. Shaw, who created, wrote, directs and stars in the show, takes a blunt and sharp angle to broaching tough subjects like the aforementioned as well as things like sexual abuse but somehow manages to soften the edges enough that slivers of dark humor seep through.
As the first episode of SMILF played on, I couldn’t help but think this is what HBO’s Girls could’ve been, if those girls felt more relatable and didn’t flatline after two or three seasons. Perhaps SMILF will find itself in that same category, but I doubt it. Bridgette is one of those characters that even if you don’t know what it’s like to be a severely broke single mother trying to figure out how to raise a two year old before you even really know how to handle yourself as an adult, it’s so easy to empathize with and understand her. Bridgette is flawed and she knows it and you love her for it.
Don’t miss the series premiere of SMILF on Sunday, November 5 at 10pm ET on Showtime, which is available for free to all customers this weekend only.