'Mom': Kevin Pollak appreciates the Allison Janney height sight gag
It turns out Alvin and Bonnie were very much in love, but he ran out on her when Christy was born, leaving Bonnie heartbroken and alone. Now that Christy knows about her father, she reached out to him in last week's episode but couldn't go through with telling him who she was.
This week Alvin is back, as Christy tries to forge a relationship with him and Bonnie works through some anger issues. As with "Mom" all season long, there are some emotionally heavy scenes, which Pollak tells Zap2it is what he loves about the CBS sitcom.
"That's what I adore about this show. What keeps me coming back is there's actual pathos in a sitcom. When done correctly, over many decades, these are the ones that keep us coming back," says Pollak. "I watched the episodes where Allison's character in particular is going through some very heavy life stuff, and the fact that it was happening on a sitcom -- it's when you keep your sense of humor about tragedy that it's survivable.
"We've all had tragedy in our lives at some point, so to find it in this sitcom setting is, I don't know, makes it more relatable to me. These are real, suffering people and the fact that they're eliciting the laughs that they do is a better definition of comic relief.
"This week, I'm in a lot more scenes, they really sort of devote the episode to the relationship between my character, Alvin, and Anna's character," Pollak continues. "And then Allison's character, I don't want to give too much away, but she and I have our first face-off since last we met ... [which is] so necessary because if there's a future for my character's and Anna's, Allison has to unload. And boy does she."
Despite the serious nature of the subject matter for a lot of Pollak's scenes, he says that getting to work with Faris and Janney is a blast.
"It's a little ridiculous how much fun it is," he says. "I had friends over the years do this type of format, a multi-camera sitcom. I'm not sure how this milieu eluded me for as long as it has, considering my initial life as a stand-up comedian and then an actor.
"It's kind of every tool I have lends itself to this version of show business," Pollak adds. "Then you add Allison Janney and Anna Faris and it's overkill on how much fun there is to be had. It's not even fair to others, I'm just wracked with guilt while doing it because it's so easy and so funny."
Within the drama, there are plenty of jokes -- it is a sitcom, after all. And one of the big laughs is the sight gag between Janney and Pollak, as she is quite a bit taller than he is.
"I don't want to say it's the only reason I was cast, that I got offered the job," says Pollak self-deprecatingly. "But I certainly was mature enough to embrace it as one of the attributes necessary for the character and an awfully fun one to play.
"It's quite funny and [Janney is] brilliant beyond belief with the drama as well as the comedy. There's nothing she can't do. It's impressive as hell to me to be in a scene with her. It's a rare opportunity, quite frankly, to play opposite both of their characters, the strength of these women is remarkable."
"Mom" airs Mondays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. This week, look for a special Chuck Lorre vanity card, discussing the recent intimate encounter he had with Ben Affleck.