As great as women are, we are not perfect — far from it, actually — and what’s so great about Workin’ Moms is that the CBC comedy series gets that. It always has, and creator/star Catherine Reitman has made sure the evidence can be found in every single one of the show’s moms. Whether it’s Kate (Reitman) choosing to sleep with her much younger assistant, or the fact she still signed on with a client even though they are against everything she believes in, these women do not always make the “good” or “right” choice. Kate even muses “that’s crazy, Anne” after learning that Anne (Dani Kind) smashed the windshield of her ex’s car. These women aren’t making the best choices, and that’s exactly what Reitman always intended.
“These women are flawed, three-dimensional and make mistakes because they think in that moment that’s what they need. That’s how most people operate and they have to pay the consequences,” Reitman recently told The TV Junkies. Workin’ Moms refuses to give in to the societal and cultural expectation that women — especially mothers — have to be perfect, and quite frankly, that’s one of the many reasons why it’s refreshing and exciting to watch. In real life, women and mothers don’t always have the perfect smile or even love being with their kids 100 per cent of the time. This is exactly why it’s easy to be drawn to the Workin’ Moms. “These aren’t perfect Sandra Dee modeled moms and housewives. These are some badass broads making some mistakes,” Reitman said of Kate, Anne, Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) and Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim).
Reitman never wanted perfect women. She wanted real, messy women that were relatable. “I modeled Kate after Donald Draper,” Reitman explained. “I wanted a female character that unapologetically goes after everything she wants and isn’t afraid to be selfish, ego-based and just do it.” However, “Donald Draper has to pay consequences too,” she noted. And so does Kate. Even though Nathan (Philip Sternberg) was the one who had an affair, Workin’ Moms also shows that Kate wasn’t without some blame in the demise of their marriage.
“Kate had something to do with this. There’s no justifying an affair — it’s irresponsible, cowardly — but Kate checked out of this relationship,” Reitman explained, before adding that Kate is “ambitious to a fault, and even though we’re rooting for her because we’re living vicariously through her in some way, I think we have to see the repercussions.” However, Reitman notes that consequences for women are usually more severe than those of Don Draper, in part because “we have to be likable, lovely, subservient and all of the above,” but points out that Kate still has to shoulder some blame.
“It doesn’t mean that she didn’t actually do something here. She disconnected from her marriage and we needed to be able to see that.” Kate was so focused on her new child, getting back to work and going after a coveted position that she started to take her relationship with Nathan for granted in a way. Not having enough time to give 100 per cent to every relationship in our life is something that many viewers, and Reitman herself, are guilty of and can relate to. “You just get on board and keep pushing forward, and then realize there are things you’ve left in your wake. That’s how I feel every day. I go after what I need, what I want and then get in bed at the end of the day and realize I missed my friend’s birthday or ignored my dogs.”
But now that the affair has happened, and Kate is moving on and trying to figure out what’s next, she faces another very realistic situation: sharing custody. “Kids make everything so complicated,” said Reitman, but “co-parenting is something that’s happening all over the planet. The fact that we witness each other do these vicious, terrible things and then have to continue raising humans with each other is unfortunately, something that has become this common, relatable tale.” At least by the end of last week’s Season 3 premiere, Kate and Nathan seemed to have finally reached a bit of an understanding.
Whether or not that co-parenting agreement lasts or not remains to be seen, but it’s bound to have some strife along the way. We all make mistakes, so why would we expect any different from the TV characters we love? What’s important, what Reitman and crew seem to so thoroughly understand, and why we keep tuning in every week to Workin’ Moms, is that while some bad choices may be made, these women keep going, keep rallying around each other and keep trying to do better every day. After all, that’s really all any of us can do, right?
What do you think of the ladies of Workin’ Moms? Share your thoughts below!
Workin’ Moms airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC and is available on CBC Gem.
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.