A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Moms emerge as real, fallible people. Comedy presents them, their issues sympathetically and shows them to be generally competent and caring at work, at home. Above all, parents care about their kids, even if they make mistakes when raising them. For comedic purposes, women in general and moms in particular are shown to be competitive, sending an iffy message about women and how they support each other.
Positive Role Models
Kate, Frankie, and Anne struggle to balance personal and professional lives relatably; moms will nod in recognition. Kate's boss and co-workers often say sexist and demeaning things to her ("Is the baby calling the nanny 'Mom' yet?"), and Kate usually reacts internally rather than calling out the remarks. Nannies are most often women of color working for white moms, though there is some diversity in the moms featured. Husbands are frequently shown to be clueless or dismissive, but one sends a positive message about supportive relationships when he says he'll "rise to the occasion" of his wife's unexpected pregnancy.
Violence & Scariness
No actual violence, but one mom, Frankie, frequently makes jokes that reference violence or suicide -- she says she might have a "touch of postpartum" (depression) and describes a fantasy that a car will hit her when she's driving and give her a much needed (and perhaps permanent) rest.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Couples make oblique references to sex (a wife tells her husband she's wearing an underwire bra for "date night"); expect nudity in nonsexual contexts, like when three women compare their post-breastfeeding breasts at a mom's group.
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Language includes "f---ing," "a--hole," "goddamn," "s--t," "hell," "damn," and "t-ts."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink at dinners and parties; no one acts drunk. A woman talks about "other medicine" and "pills" that she can't take while pregnant (it seems as if she's referring to illegal drugs).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Workin' Moms is a comedy about women trying to balance the demands of motherhood and their careers. The moms on this show provide excellent representations of realistic women struggling to accomplish things at work while caring tenderly for their families; the moms make mistakes, but above all they love their kids and try to do the best they can for them. Dads are not presented quite as sympathetically as the moms, sometimes coming off as clueless or uncaring, but they're present and loving to both their female partners and to their kids. Sex and violence are both toned down, but jokes can target both: three women are seen topless from the waist up as they compare their post-breastfeeding bodies, and one mom makes frequent jokes about violence, such as a fantasy she relates about a car "taking her out" as she drives. Cursing and language is infrequent, but expect to hear "f---ing," "a--hole," "goddamn," "s--t," "hell," "damn," and "t-ts." There are some jokes about "pills" a pregnant woman says she can't take, and adults drink at gatherings, but no one acts drunk. A wide variety of issues important to moms are covered in this comedy: breast pumps, childcare, after-hours demands at work, staying home with kids, and so on.
Is It Any Good?
After a lifetime of viewing motherhood through a sentimental lens, the gritty reality of caring for kids and holding down a job is a huge surprise to the trio of women anchoring this knowing comedy. It's clear that Workin' Moms creator Catherine Reitman has been on the business end of a breast pump before, because the absurdist situations she shows us ring true: the folly of planning date night, the agony of taking business calls while pumping on a bathroom toilet, the contemptuous glares endured by any mom seen not performing her job perfectly in public. In the show's second episode, when a cadre of moms witheringly watch her handing off her son out a car window to her nanny, Reitman takes obvious gleeful pleasure in telling them to "Eat a bag of dicks!" before driving off -- it sure feels like this is the writer/director/producer's slow-burning revenge against the real-life side-eye she's no doubt received.
There's wish fulfillment too, in a scene in which the unhappily newly pregnant Anne corrects a whining kid passing by the table where she and Kate are having lunch. "Shut it, you monster!" rants Anne. "Your mother's a goddamn angel!" There are sanctimonious Pinterest moms and frazzled moms, competitive moms and exhausted moms, moms who fail and moms who triumph, and despite the heightened sitcom aspect to some of the antics (would any mom ever go into a meeting with a new client with breast milk on her shirt?), they all feel real. It's as close to a superhero drama about moms as we're likely to get, and that sure is welcome.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.