“Workin’ Moms”: Come For the Queerness, Stay for the Intimate and Chaotic Friendships

If left to my own devices, I probably never would have watched Workin’ Moms. It’s a show about a bunch of married women with babies around the same age, and even though one of them is a lesbian, as a single, childless person living in New York City, I was sure the themes of motherhood and suburban life weren’t going to be things that interested me at all. Readers, I was wrong. I was so wrong.

The reason I even tried it at all is because Dani Kind is in it. I became a fan of Dani from being part of the fandom that dubbed her Dani Fucking Kind after her stint on Wynonna Earp, and her comedic timing and all-around badassery compelled me to check her other show out. (Don’t get me started about how amazing she is in real life, because that would take a whole separate post.) By the end of the first scene I was sold. It was instantly clear to me that Workin’ Moms was bold and hilarious and raw and it not your everyday sitcom about modern motherhood.

workin' moms characters throwing axes

I mean, I’m pretty sure my mother has never thrown an axe. I have, though!

Generally, the show centers around friends in a Mommy and Me type of class (and their kooky teacher, Val), and highlights different types of women, families, and relationships amongst the people in this class. Some even to a hilariously exaggerated extent. For example, Kat Barrell guests sometimes as a bit of a caricature of the young, uptight, secretly-harried mom who thinks she knows the best way to raise her child and WILL judge you for doing anything different. (Side note: this is a great show to play Canadian Bingo with, since it features people like Jessalyn Wanlim from Orphan Black and a few more Wynonna Earp folks like Varun Saranga and Natalie Krill.)

kat barrell as her harried mom character

I bet there’s a Haught Mom AU fic out there…

The women of the show are all a little broken, occasionally problematic, they make bad life choices, bad parenting choices, bad relationship choices, bad drug consumption choices, and then have to suffer the consequences. It’s about how they handle mental health issues, loss, betrayal, assault, sexism, and general assholery. It’s about adult-aged women who don’t have it all figured out, because honestly who has it all figured out? Despite being in a different place in my life than these women, their stories still ring true for me in so many ways.

I’ve been watching TV obsessively and writing about its queer content where I can find it for years, and the past few years I’ve been lucky enough that I don’t have to dig too hard to find queer stories. So what this means is that I get to watch shows just because I like them, not because they have queer content. Two years ago, if you asked me about any show I was watching, I would lead with the queer subject matter first (whether it was canon or subtext) and then tell you about what the show was about overall.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed about this show is that I’ll ramble about all the things I love about it, and then the person I’m pitching the show to will ask if it’s queer. Luckily the answer is an enthusiastic yes, but it’s kind of nice that it’s not the REASON I’m watching the show. Frankie is so funny and her storylines are great, and while season one she’s really Going Through It, she eventually gets to have some fun dating antics as she searches for someone to love. But surprising even myself, Frankie’s relationships aren’t the make-or-break stories of this show for me.

Frankie, Anne and Kate

Though I am still invested in Frankie’s happiness, don’t get me wrong.

For me, the true love story is between Kate and Anne. Not romantic love, but that deep, platonic, friendship love between two adult women. I’ve always been the kind of person who has close friendships with other women, and Workin’ Moms does a great job of showing the trials and tribulations of having best friends as an adult with your own life to contend with. How does this best friend fit into your life, how does that relationship shift and grow or drift and change as big things happen to you? How do you fight as adults, how do you make up, what can an adult friendship survive, what SHOULD they survive? I won’t lie to you, while usually this show makes me laugh so hard I have tears streaming down my face, it has, on occasion, made me legitimately cry. In the best, most cathartic ways.

Anne and Kate at a child's birthday party having a serious conversation wearing silly crowns

Friendship is the best ship!

So between featuring queer actresses Dani Kind and Kat Barrell (and honestly possibly more of these lovely Canadians are queer that I don’t know about!), giving Frankie her own wild and wacky queer storylines, and the very relatable, complicated friendship between Kate and Anne, this show became one of my favorite go-tos for a little burst of joy in my life. If you’re into quirky comedies that center women without putting them on a pedestal, I think you’ll really enjoy this show if you give it a shot.

And lucky for you, it’s easy to do: All three seasons are on Netflix now, with a fourth season on the way later this year.

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Just a nerdy, TV-loving, Twitter-addicted Hufflepuff who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 187 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. Thanks for writing about this show, it’s interested me but I was on the fence and your post has pushed me over, I may check it out now.

    And also “Don’t get me started about how amazing she is in real life, because that would take a whole separate post.” yes, please write a whole separate post.

  2. I absolutely love this show, even though I had a similar hesitation because it really doesn’t relate to my life in any way (and, like most Canadian shows/shows in general is both whiter and straighter than my real-life friend group). Also want to mention that I believe it’s written by an all women team, and it was created by the star Catherine Reitman (who I love in Blackish as well) and produced by her and her husband, who also plays her husband on the show. I really think having such a woman-centric perspective really makes the difference with a show like this! I also like that in the second season they included a single dad in the main friend group to compare the way moms and dads are viewed, although including a queer dad as well would definitely be cool

  3. I feel ways about this show! It is extremely up my alley, and I really love a lot of it!

    I do have issues with their most recent season, specifically the episode about consent (frames it as strictly a thing dudes need to get, with no participation from women) and the lesbian character’s storyline, which goes completely off the rails and lets her be really predatory without checking her behavior at all? See also the moment when she sleeps with a fat character and I’m like oh wow we’re gonna see a fat queer person represented without anything negative! And then (of course) the character giggles and says “it’s weird, but I feel slim with you!” GROSS

    Anyway I’m sorry to bring this stuff up because prior to season 3, I fucking LOVED this show! And I still love so much about it. But I think they can do better than they did this time around!

  4. This show actually made lol on multiple occasions. Truth be told I went in ‘cuz Kat Barrell told me to =3 n stayed cuz Dani Kind is f*ng amazing in this show! 4realzingtons. One weekend later.. boom, all caught up n looking at motherhood via a diff lens. One that I NEVER Ever ever everrrr wanna venture into. XD

  5. I tried to give this show a shot but I only made it two episodes in. All of these people seem so fundamentally unhappy and it’s treated in a cutesy, normalizing way which just makes me feel sad. Don’t get me wrong, I love dark comedy (the suicide jokes in the first episode made me lol). But the general tone of this series seems a little off for me. And this far no queer stuff whatsoever :/

  6. I love this show. I have a 3 year old and really relate to a lot of the character’s struggles with work and identity and parenthood. There are definitely parts I don’t like and I don’t particularly like Kate as a person but that’s not a bad thing necessarily.

    The most unrealistic part of the entire show is that the parents can have half a conversation without being interrupted by their kids constantly. Those kids are so well behaved it’s ridiculous.

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