Out and About
“Workin’ Moms” premiering January 10th, 2017 on CBC
The CBC has been doing quite well recently with their comedy series. First “Schitt’s Creek” took off a couple years back and will be heading into its third season later this month, then “Kim’s Convenience” debuted earlier this year and already has been confirmed for a second season. Now there’s a new kid on the block, well actually a few kids, who will be part of the new Workin’ Moms series that’s set to launch on January 10th.
Workin’ Moms is an original comedy series created by and starring Catherine Reitman that tests the modern ideal that women really can have it all. The series follows the lives of four women as they juggle love, careers, and parenthood. They support, challenge, and try not to judge each other as life throws them curve balls.
I had an opportunity to preview the first three episodes, and at this point I honestly don’t think this series has the same mainstream appeal as the other two. For one, the comedy is much different. It’s crass, in-your-face, and some might even say offensive. In this day and age with NetFlix, HBO, and web series, there’s not much that hasn’t been seen or said before. The difference here is that the CBC is a national entity that airs on public television that pretty much every Canadian has access to, which unfortunately still has limits.
I understand the CBC is aiming to push buttons and break down some barriers, and they may very well do this. However, my second point of contention is the writing seems to be lacking something. The humour comes across as very dry, and frankly, not funny at all. More childish, and immature, which I don’t think is what they are aiming for. As well, there doesn’t appear to be any one strong character in the cast, albeit as I mentioned I only had the opportunity to view the first three episodes.
Episode one opens in a new-mothers therapy group session, as do the following two episodes. Adding to the “shock” value, the first scene is an image of three of the mothers sitting topless, boobs fully exposed. Reitman states, “In most series, one typically gets to know the characters before they take their clothes off. However, there was something really fresh to me about the idea of meeting these three women [Kate, Anne, Frankie] with their hearts and breasts out. Again, kudos to the CBC for pushing boundaries, especially during prime time. However, a pair of women’s breasts does not solely make for a successful series.
The series is obviously filmed in Toronto, with the passing streetcars in the background, and street scenes throughout — Annex, Beaches, Harbord, Rosedale, Don Valley ravine, and establishments such as Colette Grand Café, Lee’s Palace, Flock Rotisserie + Greens, Clay Design and Good for Her. Additional exterior footage was also shot in Montreal. However, I wasn’t quite sure how the “bear in the woods” scene quite fit in at the end of episode one. Reitman explains, “We lived in Los Angeles at the time, on a mountaintop, and on one cold and early morning, a bear wandered down our driveway. Being the mother of a toddler and very pregnant, I decided to end the pilot with a show down that tests Kate’s fortitude, not just a mother, but as a human.”
Being progressive and diverse, as most every notable and worthy media should be in 2017, there is the token lesbian couple included in the cast. So episode one ends with not much fan fare, and only a brief introduction to the cast of nearly a dozen regulars.
Episode two and three delve deeper into the trials and tribulations of working mothers – post trauma, sex, breast pumps, managing careers, nannies, and public breast feeding. The recurring theme that seems to be happening is that not one of the mothers is happy in the place they are at. Each has their own issues – partner divisiveness, postpartum depression, managing time lines, and guilt complex. Could there not be that one couple who are happy and blissful to perhaps reflect on those mothers out there who are totally content with where they are in life?
Here’s the official CBC blurb to give you more details other than my own opinion. Whether it is an identity crisis, a huge job opportunity, postpartum depression, or an unplanned pregnancy – they face both the good and bad with grace and humour. Kate (Reitman) is the flawed and fearless heart and soul of the series, who has stark home/life decisions to make. She relies on her closest friend Anne (Dani Kind; The Good Witch), a no-nonsense psychiatrist and mother of two, who is facing a massive family challenge. Charming and unpredictable Frankie (Juno Rinaldi, The Killing) livens any dark moment as she struggles with her own instability and relationship malaise. And sweet, former sorority girl Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim; Orphan Black) seeks an uncharacteristically reckless awakening. Together the friends fearlessly confront the polarizing and unexpected realities of being working moms.
The series concept was developed by Canadian actress, comedian, producer, writer and director Catherine Reitman. In 2016, Reitman formed Wolf & Rabbit Entertainment ULC. with her husband Philip Sternberg to produce the half-hour, single-camera comedy Workin’ Moms for CBC. She is the creator, executive producer, writer and star of Workin’ Moms, starring alongside Sternberg. In addition, Reitman will be directing two of the 13 episodes, and Sternberg is executive producing Workin’ Moms and also starring in the series alongside Reitman. Workin’ Moms is largely drawn from Reitman’s own personal experiences. “Every story you see on the show is based on something real that’s happened to one of us so there’s a lot of truth in it and I think you can feel that,” shares Reitman.
BTW, there are connections to the previous two CBC series that I mentioned above. Paul Fox (Schitt’s Creek, This Life) directed seven episodes, and the series is written by Reitman, Rebecca Kohler (Kim’s Convenience, This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Karen Moore (What Would Sal Do, Rookie Blue), Diane Flacks (Baroness Von Sketch Show, Young Drunk Punk) and Ingrid Haas (The UCB Show, Vice).
So who knows, perhaps Workin’ Moms will grow on me, or the direction will change to more my liking. Anyway, what do I know about giving birth, breast-feeding, and writing a comedy series!
Catch Workin’ Moms on CBC Tuesdays nights at 9:30 PM, debuting January 10th, 2017.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.