It’s 5:30 am. The baby’s crying, but you need to finish prepping for your big pitch at work that morning. What do you do? You do the near impossible: both.
Workin’ Moms, created by Catherine Reitman, is a Canadian-produced comedy series that follows four different moms as they try to balance their work lives and their families. Currently streaming on Netflix, the series dives deep into these characters, as new situations continuously put them to the test.
I knew nothing about this show prior to watching it. I heard it referenced on a podcast and one night when I was looking for something new to watch, I decided to give it a shot. Within the first five minutes, I was immediately hooked. I binged the first four seasons. Workin’ Moms is brilliantly written, and led by fantastic actors who have such an innate sense of comedic timing. It feels genuine, and the passion behind this series is palpable on screen.
First and foremost, I have so much respect for the work Catherine Reitman puts into this show. She created it, she writes and directs a lot of the episodes, and she plays the leading role of Kate Foster. She fearlessly puts herself out there in terms of what she does on screen. I had no idea until researching later that Catherine Reitman is the daughter of Ghostbusters (1984) director Ivan Reitman, and is the sister of Up in the Air (2009) writer/director Jason Reitman. They were already a talented family, to begin with, but adding in Catherine’s work only ups the ante.
If you’re a fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, you may recognize Catherine Reitman as Maureen Ponderosa. She has also appeared in other films and shows such as Knocked Up (2007), I Love You, Man (2009), and Black-ish. While having many acting credits to her name, Workin’ Moms is the first thing Catherine Reitman has written or directed, which is incredibly impressive because nothing about this series feels amateur. There’s something special in those Reitman genes, evidently.
The supporting characters, and the cast that portrays them, are phenomenal. Anne (Dani Kind) wrestles with her temper as she tries to find the best way to parent her rebellious daughter. Frankie (Juno Rinaldi), struggles to connect with her wife, Giselle (Olunike Adeliyi), after the birth of their newborn, while also keeping her real estate job afloat. Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim) feels dissatisfied with her marriage to Ian (Dennis Andres) and is insecure about her competence as a mother.
The connection that these women share is they start their day in the same moms’ group, and then go about their lives from there. It’s really smart to frame the episodes this way, as each episode begins with this moms’ group, bringing the characters together before they diverge. It is a great way for the characters’ storylines to intersect. Watch the first episode and see what happens within the first few minutes at this moms’ group; that will tell you everything you need to know about what kind of show Workin’ Moms is.
One of the show’s most interesting aspects is its portrayal of the fathers. Oftentimes, men are shown to be disinterested fathers or incapable of rising to the occasion. Workin’ Moms approaches this with more nuance. Philip Sternberg plays Kate Foster’s husband, Nathan, and is actually married to Catherine Reitman in real life. In retrospect, this makes complete sense, as they have great chemistry together. While their relationship in the series has ups and downs, Nathan’s love for their children can never be questioned.
Anne’s husband, Lionel (Ryan Belleville), certainly plays up the goofy dad archetype, but he is 100% supportive of Anne and is there for her whenever she needs someone. As Jenny goes off on her own personal pursuit, Ian becomes their daughter’s main caretaker. I really like his character arc over the series, as he matures and comes into his own as a stay-at-home father.
The men in Workin’ Moms are never put down or disparaged for the sole purpose of making the women look better. That has happened both ways in movies and shows before, and it is never productive. Instead, the men have their own journeys and their own arcs that deepen as the series progresses, showing wisdom in the writing. The male characters aren’t merely there as devices to further the women’s story, but they have their own stories that allow for their own development.
Workin’ Moms does a really good job with its use of representation. The main characters are all women, showing sides of working motherhood that we don’t often see portrayed on screen. The show also features many gay characters and polyamorous relationships. While the series could have more People of Color, several of the supporting and side characters aren’t White. I think almost every show or movie has some room for improvement in regard to its inclusivity, but Workin’ Moms actively seizes opportunities to showcase diversity when they present themselves.
Overall, Workin’ Moms is a fantastic comedy series that is never afraid to dive into drama. The characters are portrayed earnestly and authentically and brought to life by an incredible ensemble of actors. The writing is sharp and witty, and every episode is thoroughly entertaining. I was not disappointed by this series in the slightest. Workin’ Moms is a series that I highly recommend, and is one that more people need to be talking about.
Seasons 1–7 of Workin’ Moms are available to stream on Netflix.
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