“It’s time for Frankie to have some wins,” Workin’ Moms creator Catherine Reitman said prior to Season 2 of the CBC comedy and that’s certainly been the case. After a rough first season that saw Frankie’s (Juno Rinaldi) relationship with Giselle (Olunike Adeliyi) end, partly due to how she was affected by Postpartum Depression, Frankie has jumped head first back into the dating pool, providing plenty of fun for Workin’ Moms viewers. While Kate (Reitman) and Anne (Dani Kind) have faced a lot of tension in their friendship, Frankie has been exploring herself and remained outside all the drama.
However, in this week’s episode, Frankie finds herself starting to feel a bit unsatisfied with the two relationships in her life. Dorothy’s (Angela Asher) possessiveness and Juniper’s (Aviva Mongillo) immaturity start to weigh on her, and it’s the start of a realization for Frankie that she may need something a little more stable and grounded Rinaldi told The TV Junkies in a recent chat. The award winning playwright and actor spoke with us all about Frankie’s journey this season, why there’s no easy fix to Postpartum Depression and what the season may still hold for her character.
When not busy on Workin’ Moms, Rinaldi also recently opened the Hamilton Film Centre last fall with fellow actor Shaun Smythe (Arrow, The Killing). Together they aim to help prepare actors in the Hamilton, Ontario area for the film industry.
The TV Junkies: Frankie spent a lot of last season dealing with her Postpartum Depression, and I like that the show doesn’t portray it as an easy fix for her. What kind of discussions did you guys have around her dealing with that in Season 2?
Juno Rinaldi: It wasn’t something we necessarily talked about, but because I had Postpartum with my second child that whole journey was close to me. I really understood that journey and I remember someone saying to me that it wouldn’t be ‘Oh, all the sudden I’m better.’ It’s more of a slow burn and all the sudden you realize ‘Hey, I haven’t cried all day today’ or ‘I’m finding a lot of joy in the things I really despised yesterday.’ There’s slow healing that takes place and you start to see the world very differently.
I really wanted to keep that alive in Frankie because she’s still trying to sort it all out and who she is now. She’s gaining that momentum and strength again to get back on her feet and figure out what she wants and where she’s going to go from here. I remember someone had told me that Postpartum could actually be a gift, and I thought ‘Oh OK, you’re crazy. This is horrendous and ain’t no gift!’ When I now look back on it after all that time I think ‘Dammit! They were right.’ You get cracked open, learn more about yourself and what’s important to you.
TTVJ: It’s so interesting to me how similar you all are to your characters. You’re saying you also had Postpartum, Dani has discussed how she got pregnant with her second child soon after the other just like Anne and Catherine obviously put a lot of herself into Kate.
JR: It is kind of crazy that we have these similarities to our characters because that wasn’t why we got cast. It’s wild! I told Catherine that I had Postpartum Depression after and we were like “What?”
TTVJ: As sad as I was that Frankie was no longer with Giselle, it’s been fun watching her dip back into dating and she’s been quite successful.
JR: She sure has! She’s trying all sorts of stuff! [laughs]
TTVJ: Frankie’s got game!
JR: She does have game! [laughs] I mean, let’s be honest, it’s really all about that Speedo. That blue one piece is probably the exact bathing suit I wore as a lifeguard in my early twenties.
TTVJ: She is juggling these relationships with Dorothy (Angela Asher) and Juniper (Aviva Mongillo). Can she continue to do that moving forward?
JR: She’s trying to figure it out. After realizing that maybe Giselle wasn’t the right fit, she’s seeing that she is attractive to other people. She’s trying out all those avenues and maybe is experiencing that for the first time in a long time. When you come out of that phase of being a new mom you want to feel alive and sexual again. In her heart though I think is love, family and a committed relationship. I think we saw that in the last episode where she said she really just wants to be with her daughter. That’s where her heart is and eventually maybe a connection to family again. She’s been sort of trying that out with her brother and niece. Where is her family now that she and Giselle have parted ways?
TTVJ: When Frankie started dating Dorothy I thought ‘oh this is going to be really good for her.’ Then I saw that picture of the dog and was like ‘Oh no no no no!’ [laughs]
JR: Right? Dorothy is obsessed with those afghan hounds and trying to make her into one of her dogs. Poor Frankie! It was hilarious.
TTVJ: Angela Asher was a great guest star though to see on the show this season. What was it like working with her?
JR: She was so fun to work with. Her voice is so distinct so you really get a character with her. She’s so kind though and really open to playing in a scene. The dynamic was really different for both of us and she’s just a really neat lady.
TTVJ: I also really loved that the Toddler Time group has included Ian (Dennis Andres) this year. We don’t see the single dad perspective a lot. What did you think of that move and what was it like bringing Dennis more into the group?
JR: I think you’re right, we don’t necessarily see that perspective. Dennis is so great to work with and Frankie has a bit of a masculine side to her. She’s not a girly-girl and is able to hang out with him, feel empathy and it’s not a big deal. I like that it’s just two pals and it feels like we all went quickly into that zone. The Mommy and Me group brought him in so easily.
TTVJ: I’m sad that we’re already past the halfway point of Season 2. What can you share about what’s still to come?
JR: So even though Frankie finds herself in these relationships with two different women, she starts to realize that what she really wants may be this connection to family and belonging. What does home mean to her? Is it a physical home? A partner home? You know, she wants some stability. In trying to discover that and in her place in the world with her daughter, she has a few more avenues to explore that get really exciting. As an actor, I got to do some scenes that were really fun because of who I was acting with. But I’m not going to tell you about that… [laughs]
TTVJ: You launched a new film school, the Hamilton Film Centre, last fall. Where did the idea for that come from and what can you share about the work you’re doing there?
JR: There really wasn’t anything like this school in Hamilton at the time where you could put yourself on tape or work on a scene and have coaching. There’s a lot in Toronto, but not in Hamilton. I bumped into a friend of mine, Shaun Smythe, that had a similar idea to open a school. He also had moved his family to Hamilton and so we decided to do this together. At the time we didn’t know each other that well, but we started putting the feelers out and it was received really well. We’ve now done several 6-week sessions, ranging from kids to adults, but we’re still in that building phase of trying to build community. So we’re trying to use word of mouth and get it out there.
It’s really fun and nice because you tend to think ‘what am I doing? I don’t know how to teach and I’m a terrible actor.’ Then you get into the room and are working with the students and realize ‘I do know a lot and have been working a long time. I retained a lot of information and have a lot of tips to offer.’ It’s refreshing and has since informed my work a lot as a performer. Shaun and I both still work actively so we’re both still simultaneously in the acting world, but also this teaching world too.
What do you think of Frankie’s story this season? Add your thoughts below!
Workin’ Moms airs Tuesdays 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.