Work in Progress Season 1 (Showtime)
Written by Abby McEnany & Tim Mason & Lilly Wachowski
Directed by Tim Mason
Work in Progress is a show that is made with love and thought. At first glance, someone might assume it is the queer response to Curb Your Enthusiasm, but it isn’t.
Abby McEnany brings to us on screen a heavy, queer representation onto television that is much needed. Abby writes alongside her writing partner Tim Mason, and she stares in it too.
I adored this series in so many ways. Abby is both the hero and the villain in this whole series. She’s having suicidal ideations when her therapist dies during a session, leaving Abby to believe she must have killed the woman by being boring or too much. She meets Chris (Theo Germaine), a trans man, and the two start dating despite all of this.
As we get to know Abby, we start to unravel the shames she holds. How she doesn’t think anybody takes her seriously at work, how her co-worker tries to be overly helpful to help, her lose/maintain her weight. Her OCD, her anxiety, and depression, all of this she wears on her sleeve.
Abby isn’t the type of gay that the media has hand-fed us through the years. They’re typically feminine whenever we are shown gay women. These striking beauties are often tied to the male gaze. It isn’t to say they’re not attractive, but we’re bombarded with how lesbians/bisexual women need to display hyper feminity to be desirable.
Abby doesn’t fit that box. Instead, she keeps punching it with her refusal to work within gender norms, cracking it with the shrill of her voice. She’s loud. She’s dramatic. She’s constantly on edge.
Abby isn’t an easy representation to offer to those who want their queer picture in a certain way, but she’s essential.
Abby starts dating Chris, who is about twenty or more years younger than Abby. There are only a few questions here and there about Abby’s sexuality, but it is handled effortlessly in how Abby won’t let anyone else define her.
We get to see the difference between Abby’s group of friends and Chris’s. Abby’s is much more white, cis-women-centered who are gay. Chris, in the meantime, has a more expanded group, diverse in their genders and race, even on the way they date with the subject of poly relationships, tossed in for good measure.
Chris is, by all means, seems perfect. He’s outgoing, understanding, gives his do’s and don’t’s, is utterly patient with Abby. The younger generation having the internet at their fingertips and being more aware of mental health, race, and gender issues give them this lure of wisdom beyond their years. On top of that, one of Chris’s friends remarks that he likes a project. You assume Abby takes offense to this, but she doesn’t.
Abby, in turn, due to her OCD and past traumas, moves along with this idea of promises. Picking on what’s been said, holding it up as if it were the only truth to keep, she ultimately destroys what she loves because she wants someone else to feel as bad as she does.
She ignores her friends and family’s advice. She goes through the whirlwind of her emotions without compassion for herself and others. She hurts so badly that she can’t understand how others don’t feel the same and buries herself deeper into despair.
Did I mention this is a comedy-drama series?
It’s a delight and a must-watch.