Motherhood is not one path. It’s a journey, and it’s complex. It can’t be defined by any step-by-step manual and no two stories are alike. It’s easy to look at different women and to ignore their circumstances and judge their methods, but it’s much harder to be faced with tough situations and have to navigate them not only for yourself but for your children. But Cassie Calloway, Cam and M-Chuck’s mother on Survivor’s Remorse, manages to embody the reality of motherhood in a way that’s not often represented on TV.
Our mothers are real. They are not background characters nor side stories in our lives — and that’s well-represented by Cassie. From the beginning of the first season, we see Cassie’s pride in her son and her willingness to enrich the community around her. She gives away the family’s old belongings to the neighborhood before the family makes the move from Boston to Atlanta — even when some of those belongings later lead to Cam getting into a bit of trouble. Like many of our moms, Cassie isn’t perfect in her actions. But her intentions are pure.
As the seasons pass and we learn more about the Calloway family, more of Cassie’s quirks are explained. She’s not a perfect mom or a media-friendly mom — but then again neither are most of ours. Early on Cassie gets in trouble for her comments on whooping her kids when they were younger, which raises an important conversation around parenting and punishment that often happens with the cultural and generational shift that’s happened between our parents’ time and ours.
One thing that Survivor’s Remorse doesn’t shy away from is nuance, and Cassie is one of the strongest examples of this. She’s never afraid to laugh, to use a sharp tongue when she needs to and to do whatever she thinks is necessary in order to protect her children.
We even get to see Cam and M-Chuck, her adult children, struggle with the “Because I said so” reasoning that Cassie has given throughout their lives. And when push comes to shove and they question her enough for her to share the reasoning behind some of her parenting techniques, they are forced to meet the harsh reality of what their loving mother has been through in life.
For many of us, until hardships arise, it’s hard to remember that our mothers are humans first and moms second. But Cassie Calloway represents that well — even when she has to check her children and remind them that there are many things they’ll never understand about being a mother in the circumstances she endured.
When the Calloways suffer from a family tragedy later on in the show, we see Cassie struggle with the real human emotions of loss. In our lives, there are times when our seemingly strong mothers break down — and although it can be startling and scary, it’s real. Watching Cassie experience those emotions feels like seeing your own mother struggle. It’s hard to watch, but easy to relate to.
So if you’re looking for authentic representations of motherhood in television, let go of the picture-perfect archetypes in sitcoms and second-tier characters in other dramas. Tichina Arnold portrays Cassie Calloway in such a believable way you’ll want to call your mom and thank her for everything she’s done for you — and forgive her for her mistakes, too. The new season of Survivor’s Remorse premieres this Sunday only on STARZ and on the STARZ App. Catch the trailer below:
This post is brought to you in collaboration with STARZ.