From abortion to postpartum depression to adultery, Season 1 of CBC’s Workin’ Moms has tackled some pretty tough issues. That may be surprising given that the show is a comedy, but we’d argue that it’s deftly handled each issue with the utmost care and attention, all while keeping a smile on our faces and our stomachs hurting from laughing. It’s a delicate balance, but one that the Catherine Reitman comedy has perfected week in and week out.
Perhaps no issue is more serious than the decision Anne (Dani Kind) has been facing over the past several weeks as she and her husband Lionel (Ryan Belleville) considered aborting their third child. After much back and forth, last week’s episode saw the couple headed into the doctor’s office to go through with the abortion. How will that decision affect Anne, her marriage, and her relationship with her existing children in the Season 1 finale airing Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m.?
It’s no secret that we here at The TV Junkies are huge fans of Kind’s and the work she has been doing as Anne all throughout Season 1. We recently spoke with her about what was really behind this decision for Anne and what it means for her going forward. Kind also touches on why she really respects the way the show has tackled an issue that isn’t often represented on screen.
The TV Junkies: Anne’s been dealing with a very heavy story in the last half of the season here as she considered abortion. It’s an interesting angle into the topic given we don’t see it discussed much for women who already have kids.
Dani Kind: Honestly, it’s not something I had even consciously thought of before I read the script, but of course that’s happening and of course that’s a thing. Nobody talks about it and I think it’s almost more taboo to have an abortion once you have kids than if you don’t have any. Catherine asked me ‘are you going to be OK with this storyline?’ She was so graceful about the whole thing and wanted to talk to me about it before. I didn’t even have to think twice because this storyline is so important.
I really hope that the majority of the show opens up a lot of conversations about people. It is funny, but the topics that they decided to tackle and the way they tackled them is like nothing I’ve ever seen on TV or film before. I have never seen a woman on a TV show or in a movie who is married, with her husband, decide to abort their third child. The way they had us walk into the abortion clinic, we had a big talk about it with the director and Catherine, but it was a decision that brought them peace. It was a beautiful thing they were doing together and had decided it together for their marriage and their family. I had never even thought of abortion in that way.
TTVJ: I had the same realization watching it that I’ve just never seen it. That’s what I love about Workin’ Moms though. Whether it’s abortion, postpartum or leaving your family for work, it’s not afraid to show how real, complicated, messy and sometimes even unlikable women can be, but then makes me laugh somehow at the same time.
DK: I feel a swing when I’m watching the show where I say ‘Oh I hate that chick, but I totally understand why she’s doing it!’ It’s beautiful the way they are doing it.
TTVJ: At the end of last week’s episode we saw Anne and Lionel headed in to get the abortion. We saw them really struggle with that decision, making pros/cons lists, but was the deciding factor?
DK: I don’t think there was one thing and it was a combination of everything leading up to it. She wasn’t happy she was pregnant, it was a stressful pregnancy, they didn’t have the money and she’s struggling so hard to connect to her oldest daughter already. That’s what weighed on Anne the most where ‘how am I going to raise another kid when I don’t even feel connected to my oldest child who I desperately want to connect to?’ She really put those relationships first and foremost and it was a stress on their marriage.
I loved the pros and cons scene because even though it was funny they were really listening to each other. They had had that fight about her going to the abortion clinic without him, but then they were open and receptive to each other. They were both really trying to make the best decision.
TTVJ: What kind of fallout will there be for Anne from her decision? Where’s she at emotionally in the finale?
DK: The abortion is the hot topic of her storyline, but her overall story of the season has really been about trying to connect with her daughter. The way they approach that in the last episode is epically beautiful. One of my most favorite things about the show is the scenes with no dialogue where they just have the characters behaving with each other and behaving in a private way. That happens in the last episode with her and her daughter and it’s really gut-wrenchingly beautiful.
TTVJ: While I adore Anne, she could’ve easily come off as mean and unlikeable. How did you keep that from happening to where we not only don’t hate her, but love her immensely?
DK: She’s definitely saying awful things, but she’s also the voice of the audience. She says the stuff that people wish they could say. Even in the Mommy and Me when they say ‘that’s horrible,’ she is still speaking for some of those women. Even in her battle with Alicia (Katherine Barrell), they butt heads so much because they see themselves in each other and trigger each other. I naturally have a harsh tone in my life and I went at this character with my best friend and sister in mind because combined they are Anne. Every time I felt like I was straying I’d go back to them because underneath the harsh tone is an immense amount of love and vulnerability. I think that’s why people can side with her.
TTVJ: What were those Mommy and Me class scenes like to film because I so look forward to them each and every week?
DK: It was one of the few times we all got to be together so it was really lovely to film them. There were six sets of twins on set so the energy was really high. You don’t know what the baby is going to do at any given moment which is a really beautiful thing for an actor. They were very long days but it was great. There was not a bad day on that set. The crew was really amazing and that makes a huge difference.
TTVJ: Do you have a favorite scene from this first season?
DK: The stuff I was dreading to shoot the most was all the stuff with my daughter [Sadie Munroe]. I was really scared to shoot that and in the end it ended up being my most favorite. It’s the most revealing because parents talk different to their kids in private and public. So that was the most revealing to me to talk to her in such a harsh way and it rocked me, but as an actor those were the best and I really liked working with Sadie. I had never worked with a child actor before so I didn’t know what to expect and I had never done comedy before so it was all new to me.
TTVJ: Given that you’re a working mom trying to balance work with family, how has being on the show changed your perspective on all that?
DK: I thought when I had kids my career would take a downward spiral. I had really great acting coaches telling me I’d have to work harder which is great. This past year has ended up being the greatest year for work I’ve been able to have. The biggest thing I learned is that it’s new for me to have kids and be in this industry, but it’s not new for the industry. The industry has had kids for a very long time. So bringing my kids to set and breastfeeding them, nobody batted an eye. I called my agent after my second kid and said ‘don’t worry I’m not having any more kids,’ and he was like ‘are you kidding? You’ve never worked more!’ It’s hard, but I’m not like a lawyer or doctor. I book a job and for those four months it’s insane, but then I get time with my kids so it balances out. Like any mom you just put your head down and figure it out.
What did you think of Anne’s decision and storyline? Have you enjoyed Season 1 as much as we have? Sound off in the comments below!
Workin’ Moms‘ Season 1 finale airs Tuesday, April 4 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBC.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.