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Jenny, Anne, Kate, and Frankie attend maternity class with their babies.
WORKIN' MOMS - Pictured: (l-r) Jessalyn Wanlim as Jenny, Dani Kind as Anne, Catherine Reitman as Kate, Juno Rinaldi as Frankie - (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

‘Workin’ Moms’ Season One: Review

‘Workin’ Moms’ is the story about four women returning from maternity leave, and how they live their lives trying to balance work, family, and life, living in Toronto. Already a critical hit in Canada, the series is trying to branch internationally, debuting their first season on Netflix last February.

We reviewed ‘Workin’ Moms Season one’ on TV Talk, Episode 3.

‘Workin’ Moms’ is a 22-minute drama comedy or dramedy, consisting of 13 episodes. It was created by Catherine Reitman, of the famous Reitman family, and Phillip Sternberg, Reitman’s husband both in real life and on the show. ‘Workin Moms’ is that rare combination of drama, comedy, and most importantly: a three-dimensional portrayal of working women.

The show follows Kate (Catherine Reitman), an in your face ad executive trying to balance career and motherhood. She is blunt and assertive, though usually struggles with sexism at work, which makes her life all the more difficult – because she’s damn good at her job. Supporting her, as well as each other, are her friends from the ‘Mommy and Me’ class: Anne (Dani Kind), a psychiatrist dealing with an unwanted pregnancy and a 9-year old daughter – who has become an ‘early bloomer’ in terms of exploring her sexuality at her gradeschool as of late (though its mostly just kisses, provocative dressing, and flashing), Frankie (Juno Rinaldi), a mother struggling as a real estate broker who is in denial about the severity of her postpartum depression, and Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim) a woman having an early midlife crises, who wants to have an affair with her manager as she is no longer attracted to her husband.

The four are rather acerbic characters, in that many of their decisions are cringe-worthy, they also authentic in its portrayal of just how much mothers need to put up with to reenter their jobs after having a baby. A lot of the noteworthy moments in the show come from all four of the women characters approach to just go for it in life – often pushing the line for the punchline or dramatic beat. They meet up for a “Mommy and Me” class every episode, where they let their kids bond – while all the while, share their personal experiences about their lives and motherhood in the episode. They discuss everything from breastfeed shaming, to saying no to your child without actually saying the word ‘no’, to even such extremes such as Japanese Hentai in regards to favorite pornography. These episodic bits are usually executed in hilarious fashion, especially in regards to the other women in the class which the core four utterly disregard at times.

Although a critical hit in Canada, the show’s wide release has had a lukewarm reception internationally. Personally, I enjoyed it, but I think the problems are in a little of the characterization (though it’s comparable to something like ‘Girls’ so I don’t personally think that’s an issue), but more importantly, that people don’t always have the best criticisms for a dramatic comedy. As a professional screenwriter myself, I can vouch there are notes I’ve gotten saying there was not enough drama and too much comedy, and vice versa – it’s kind of hard to gauge, and is totally up to the reception of the viewer’s personally preference.

Though what’s great about the show is how open it is about its portrayal of struggling working mothers.  Issues such as feeling inferior to your nannies who is becoming more of the parent, missing out on your child’s major events due to work, competing in work when you have so much less time due to obligations to the baby, and even big subjects such as abortion and extramarital affairs.

The show does a pretty good job capturing this thin slice of life and oddly enough, I learned a lot more about being a parent by watching this TV show. I definitely recemond it for recent parents.

You Can Watch ‘Workin’ Moms’ season one streaming on Netflix

About Christian Angeles

Christian Angeles likes to watch the moving pictures. He also listens to words on the page and writes in ways that make people feel things. All on a laptop. Sometimes from an app on his phone. You can follow him on Facebook or Instagram. Read his literature reviews on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/xnangeles. Or read his articles in NewBrunswickToday: http://newbrunswicktoday.com/author/christian-angeles

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