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SMILF shows us how you do flawed heroines: Schneller

The Show: SMILF, Season 1, Episode 2 (CraveTV) The Moment: The secret fast food

Bridgette (Frankie Shaw) both loves her little son and feels pinned under him in SMILF.

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Bridgette (Frankie Shaw) both loves her little son and feels pinned under him in SMILF.

The Show: SMILF, Season 1, Episode 2 (CraveTV)

The Moment: The secret fast food

Bridgette, the young single mother of the title (Frankie Shaw, who also writes and directs the series), is supposed to be tutoring the entitled children of Ally (Connie Britton, terrific). Instead, she spent the afternoon in Ally’s cashmere bathrobe, breaking taboos.

Wandering into the garage, Bridgette spies Ally hiding in her car, scarfing fast food. “I was on my way to yoga and then I was like (eye roll), I’m going to yoga,” Ally explains. “I used to be a lawyer. Do you like McDonald’s?”

Bridgette climbs in, pushing aside takeout bags. “Just don’t let it fall out of the car,” Ally says, “because I have to take it to throw it away in a different neighbourhood.”

They eat. “I’m not that good of a tutor,” Bridgette blurts. “I write their essays for them sometimes. I also got into your bath. The same dirty bathwater.”

Now this is how you do flawed heroines. Their mistakes aren’t applied to them like temporary tattoos. They’re inherent to their characters. They’re not justified, they’re explained — we see just enough of Ally’s fluttery, unconfident mothering to feel for her. We learn just enough about Bridgette’s prior ambitions to understand her frustration. Spending time with Bridgette’s mom (Rosie O’Donnell, excellent) tells us a lot, too. Most importantly, we see that Bridgette both loves her little son and feels pinned under him.

She’s going to do risky, stupid things. (The humour is decidedly adult.) But instead of yelling at her, Shaw will make you cringe for her and fervently hope she makes it out.

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