This Is Why Anna Faris Had To Leave Mom

Mom made its Season 8 premiere in early November 2020, without star Anna Faris, after she announced in September that she would not be returning to the popular CBS sitcom. While many fans worried they would kill Faris' character Christy off to explain her sudden departure, the writers took the much better option of sending her off to law school on the East Coast as a happy ending for the character that started it all. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mom showrunner Gemma Baker explained, "Although our show has killed characters off in the past, we never considered this as an option for Christy. Our audience has been rooting for her for seven seasons and that loss felt like it would be too devastating for them and for our other characters. It was important to us that Christy moved on to bigger things."

While Faris' decision to move on from the show seemed sudden to cast members and longtime fans, it was a decision the 43-year-old star felt she had to make in order to explore different career options. In a statement announcing her departure Faris explained, "The past seven years on Mom have been some of the most fulfilling and rewarding of my career. I'm so thankful to Chuck, the writers, and my amazing castmates for creating a truly wonderful work experience." She further clarified, "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" (via People).

Anna Faris' departure was a surprise to the entire show crew and even CBS executives

According to Newsweek, Anna Faris was only halfway through her contract, which was set to expire at the end of Season 8, when she announced her departure in September. Her upcoming project — Summer Madness, an independent comedy in which she will be playing twins — is still in pre-production, according to IMDbSummer Madness was announced last year, well before Faris' decision to leave Mom. An anonymous insider revealed to People, "It was a surprise to hear that Anna was leaving... It was sudden and unwelcome, and it left the entire network scrambling."

For the cast, especially co-star Allison Janney, it was particularly upsetting. Janney told Entertainment Tonight, "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, who was so lovable and warm and gullible and funny and we will miss her so much."

According to Jaime Pressly, the Season 8 scripts still include plenty of Christy, saying "We still hear the name, we still talk about her. She's not gone as far as we're concerned... so we're happy for her and we miss her no matter what."

Fans will certainly be keeping their eyes open for new projects from the comedic Faris, and thankfully they can still get updates on their favorite character Christy through the storyline of Mom, even if she isn't acting on the show anymore.

Faris's Mom co-stars had lots of changes to deal with

Faris' departure wasn't the only thing that changed for the cast of Mom. As production resumed following the COVID-19 pandemic, the necessary safety measures have drastically changed the filming process. "Also dealing with all the COVID precautions and everything... it's a whole different set right now," Pressly admitted.

In September, Janney shared a behind-the-scenes video on Twitter, showing herself, Pressly, and the production team wearing masks. "It's a whole new territory, but we're excited for season 8 to begin!" Janney enthused. Pressly, on the other hand, had an honest but less positive reaction. Pointing at her mask, she declared frankly, "This sucks."

The pandemic is not being addressed in the actual show. "Ultimately, we decided not to address it since we've never incorporated current events into our episodes before... Hopefully our audience will enjoy a break when they watch our show," showrunner Gemma Baker told Entertainment Weekly.

So what's next for Mom now that one its biggest characters has exited? With her daughter moved out, Janney reported that her character, Bonnie, would be focusing on a different relationship: the one with her husband. "It's been actually fun because Adam, Bonnie's husband, we find that we have more time to discover our relationship and that we in fact do like each other very much," Janney told Entertainment Tonight. "In fact, we think we're so good at being in a relationship that we decide we can give advice to other people in relationships."

6 Episodes into Season 8 and fans have mixed feelings about Mom without Anna Faris

While Anna Faris has been keeping busy with her popular podcast, Unqualified, many Mom fans are lamenting her absence from their favorite sitcom. Jeff N shared on Rotten Tomatoes, "The show has lost its taste with Christy being out of the picture. With her being gone, 'Mom' no longer applies as the title. Granted I still like the show but season 8 is quite the letdown. We miss you Christy." Reddit user iceamn1685 observed, "Anna leaving is a massive problem. Lots of the laughs of the 1st 7 seasons was between mom and daughter hence the shows name."

But not all viewers feel Christy's absence hurts the new season. Reddit user AnnaK22 explained, "As much as I like Anna Faris and I will miss seeing her on screen, I actually think the show is much better without her. It felt a little more mature and evolved. I never realized how much Christy was bringing the group down."

For now, it's too early to tell how Mom will fare in terms of future seasons and ratings, but even with the major changes to the cast and storyline, it seems most viewers are keeping an open mind about Season 8.