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'Workin' Moms,' Streaming on Netflix, Feels Familiar
February 22, 2019  | By David Hinckley
 

Take Sex and the City, marry those ladies off, give ‘em a few rugrats and you might get something a little like Workin’ Moms.

Workin’ Moms, a Canadian series that premiered north of the border in 2017 and just launched its third season there, makes its U.S. debut Friday on Netflix.

It’s a comedy with a bit more melodrama – okay, a bit more soap – than your average sitcom.

The good news is that the script isn’t designed to set up one-liners. We have actual story threads. The less buoyant news is that we have seen most of these threads before.

Catherine Reitman (top and right), who co-created the show, has directed many episodes and is a lead writer, also co-stars as Kate Foster, a high-stakes PR executive who, along with three women friends, is returning to work from maternity leave.

Kate is already besties with Anne Carlson (Dani Kind, top), a tough-love psychiatrist. At a support group for new and working mothers, they meet Frankie Coyne (Juno Rinaldi, top), a real estate agent, and Jenny Matthews (Jessalyn Wanlim, top), who works in IT.

Oh, look. Four successful career women, bonding over their stressful lives in a big city, albeit Toronto rather than New York.

They talk over drinks, though often the kind they must grab quickly on a short lunch break. They share details of the men in their lives – sometimes reluctantly, but not too reluctantly. They commiserate over issues faced by women and not by any other gender.

Conversely, our first big clue that Workin’ Moms will stop short of becoming Sex and the City 2.0 arrives in the opening scene of the first episode, which features the least sexy topless scene in modern television history.

Keep moving, everyone. No glamour or Manolos to see here.

While our four new women friends are glib and quick with one-liners, they’re also moving in uncharted waters. By all early appearances, Kate is terrific at her job. She’s also positioned to fall apart, and the expectations she keeps setting for herself don’t help.

When Kate insists she can arrange her schedule so she will be home in time to bathe the baby, viewers can safely start laughing long before it becomes clear to Kate that she might as well be planning a date with Justin Trudeau.  

Frankie’s admission that she might be feeling “a little postpartum” blossoms predictably into something else.  

There are, naturally, nanny issues, because these are women in circumstances that incorporate nannies. Like Sex and the City, Workin’ Moms does not feature what we traditionally would call the working class. No Laverne and Shirley here. 

The men, meanwhile, show less dimension than the women.

Anne’s husband Lionel (Ryan Belleville), also in psychiatry, introduces himself with a monologue so nonsensical you wonder why Anne doesn’t just lock him in a soundproof room and let him talk only to himself.

Kate’s husband Nathan (Philip Sternberg) seems like the patient spouse of a mildly neurotic woman, except we sense early on that he’s not that helpful.

Real-life working women can doubtless look at Workin’ Moms and say yes, we’ve been here. The problem may be that the rest of us can say that, too.

 
 
 
 
 
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