Light spoilers ahead for “Workin’ Moms.”
“Workin’ Moms,” the hilariously relatable TV show about motherhood, has reached its seventh and final season. If you haven’t been privy to the antics of this Canadian TV gem, it’s time to get your Netflix and chill on.
Jewish Canadian-American creator Catherine Reitman (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Black-ish”) is the tour de force behind this no-holds-barred comedy about being — you guessed it — workin’ moms. Produced by Reitman (who also stars in the show) and her husband Phillip Sternberg (who plays her TV husband Nathan), it first premiered on CBC in 2017 before making an international splash on Netflix in 2019.
“Workin’ Moms” follows Jewish Toronto mom Kate Foster (Reitman) as she tries to juggle her responsibilities as a mother and a PR Exec. (Yes, the show was filmed and takes place in Canada. So rare — and, as a Canadian, I have to say it’s nice to get some air time. Move over, “Schitt’s Creek”!)
In season one, we’re introduced to four working mothers who all take part in a Mommy and Me group: In addition to Kate, there’s Anne (Dani Kind), a blunt-mouthed psychiatrist with a tween daughter and a new baby she’s not so sure she wants; Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim), an IT tech who envies her husband for being a stay-at-home dad, but secretly wants to leave him; and Frankie (Juno Rinaldi), a lesbian real estate agent suffering from postpartum. The group, which also includes a slew of other moms, is led by an overly cheerful yuppie named Val (Sarah McVie).
Within minutes of the very first episode of the show, bare nipples are exposed as the women analyze the changes to their breasts since beginning to breastfeed. Later in the episode, Kate pumps in the office bathroom and accidentally gets a breast milk stain on her blouse right before a meeting. Onscreen motherhood has never been more real. The show is laugh-out-loud funny, yet the characters are well-rounded and grounded in realism.
The bold choices made on the show can be attributed to Reitman (whose brother and father are also in the entertainment industry). She wanted to create a series that accurately reflected her own experiences. She began writing the show after struggling with her own encounter with postpartum depression. Her hubby encouraged her to funnel her feelings into a script, and soon, “Workin’ Moms” was born.
Like Reitman, Kate — her onscreen alter ego — is also a member of the tribe. Although Kate’s Judaism isn’t always integral to the storyline, Jewish viewers will surely catch her moments of yiddishkeit. Towards the end of season one, Nathan passes by and notices a flustered Kate making one abnormally large matzah ball to serve at a dinner for her parents and in-laws. He lovingly corrects her and suggests making several smaller ones. We also see Kate sitting shiva for her father in an early season. Further into the show, she gets into a heated debate with another mom after her son asks why another little boy’s penis “has a hat.”
The show’s Jewishness extends behind the scenes: It features the talents of writers Robby Hoffman, Daniel Gold and the show’s co-executive producer Jessie Gabe. Gold described to me how he and Gabe decompressed after a long and stressful morning shoot on the final season (which wrapped this past September): They stuffed their faces with matzah ball soup at a Toronto restaurant owned by the show’s Jewish set decorator, Matthew Wiesblatt.
And of course, there’s nothing sexier than seeing a real-life Jewish couple play an on-screen one!
Gold explained to me how — especially when he was the only man in an all-female writer’s room during season one — he felt it was especially important to ensure his presence supported the safe space that was created. “We’re sharing the most personal, sometimes dark, vulnerable stories about ourselves and that’s where I think some of the funniest material on the show comes from,” he told me over Zoom.
Though the lead characters are all moms in their 30s, Gold explained that the series has fans across demographics. “People of all walks of life and all age brackets love it. My favorite thing is to go on Twitter when a new season shows up on Netflix and see the diversity of the people who seem to love the show.” While the series starts off as an exploration of new motherhood, it becomes more about the characters and their own journeys as it goes on — and it introduces some new characters, like publishing exec Sloane (Enuka Okuma).
If you haven’t seen it yet, the 23-minute episodes are superbly bingeable, so get comfy.
The final season of “Workin’ Moms” is now out on CBC Gems in Canada and will be released in the U.S. and internationally on Netflix in spring 2023.