In 2019, Showtime premiered a groundbreaking comedy series, Work in Progress, releasing an eight-episode season in December.
The show was met with excitement and enthusiasm by a large audience, and both the creators and viewers loved to see the success of such a unique and refreshing show. After two great seasons, Showtime announced that they wouldn’t renew it for a third.
What was Work in Progress about and why was it so important to the LGBTQ+ community? Why did Showtime cancel it and how did its creators react? How can you watch Work in Progress today?
Read on for this definitive guide to a beautiful and hilarious show that deserved a longer run.
What Is the Work in Progress Plot?
Work in Progress is an oftentimes irreverent and moving situational comedy about a woman named Abby, who self-identifies as a “fat, queer dyke.” Abby lives with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and the TV show opens at a time when she is at the end of her rope.
Throughout the course of the show, Abby strengthens her relationship with her friends and herself. She also embarks on a relationship with a young trans man named Chris.
The show pairs truly human experiences with off-the-walls farces, including a recurring plotline involving former SNL star, Julia Sweeney. Both in real life and in the show, Julia Sweeney played a character named Pat, who haunts Abby in her early adulthood and later in life.
Work in Progress is an homage to the importance of identity and the chance for connection and fulfillment that we all have, if only we open ourselves up to our own communities.
Who Created Work in Progress?
Work in Progress was co-created by Abby McEnany and Tim Mason. It was written and produced by Abby McEnany, Tim Mason, and Lilly Wachowski. In addition to writing and producing Work in Progress, McEnany is also the director and the star of the show.
McEnany is a relatively new addition to Hollywood, working in the corporate world until joining Chicago’s renowned comedy troupe, Second City, at the age of 40. Like her character, she self-identifies as a “queer dyke” and lives with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Tim Mason is a writer who, prior to co-writing Work in Progress, wrote a handful of short films.
Lilly Wachowski is by far the biggest name involved with Work in Progress. Wachowski, a trans woman, wrote and directed The Matrix films alongside her sister, Lana. The two recently created the Netflix science fiction series, Sense8.
LGBTQ+ Representation in Work in Progress
The show’s creators were determined to showcase LGBTQ+ actors and musicians in both seasons. Work in Progress actors included Armand Fields, a Black nonbinary actor known also for their role in Queer as Folk, and Theo Germaine, a trans actor known also for his role in The Politician.
Lilly Wachowski is credited for vouching for the trans musicians that ultimately joined the show’s soundtrack. These musicians include Backxwash, SuperKnova, Mel Stone, Sateen, and Quay Dash.
Praise for Work in Progress
Viewers at home weren’t the only ones to fall in love with Work in Progress. The show received great critical acclaim, getting an almost unheard-of 100% from the Rotten Tomatoes “Tomatometer,” a synthesis of critical reaction.
Earlier this year, Work in Progress also received a GLAAD Award nomination. It was named one of the top outstanding comedies of 2022. The GLAAD Society was formed to recognize and honor shows and films that provide a positive representation of members of the LGBTQ+ community and their experiences.
The show was also nominated for a Dorian Award for both Best Unsung TV Show and Best LGBTQ Show. It received a nomination for the Breakthrough Series award at the Gotham Awards. Abby McEnany received a nomination for Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Reactions to the Cancelation of Work in Progress
Given the clear success of the show, most were shocked and dismayed by the cancelation of Work in Progress. According to Showtime, the series was not renewed for a third season because of declining viewership.
Those who were involved in the show expressed their sadness over the news, as did fans. Lilly Wachowski shared her thoughts, noting that the fate of the show felt too familiar. Many networks have a habit of debuting inclusive and diverse shows only to pull them.
Will Work in Progress see a revival? It’s hard to say. Chances are, it won’t get picked back up by Showtime, and the creators may not be able to take it elsewhere due to contracts.
How to Watch Work in Progress in 2022
The good news is that the two seasons of Work in Progress that made it to Showtime are still watchable. As of right now, one or both seasons are available on a few different streaming platforms.
With an Amazon Prime subscription, you can access Season 1 of Work in Progress. It is possible that the streaming service will release the second season in the next year. With a free subscription, you can also access Season 1 on Tubi.
It appears that the only way to access both seasons is through Showtime. To watch Showtime content, you will need either a cable or Hulu subscription that comes with a Showtime add-on.
Stick Around for LGBTQ+ News and More
Work in Progress is one of a growing list of TV shows that lovingly depicts LGBTQ+ experiences. While the show was canceled, it still made waves and received astounding praise. Hopefully we will see far more shows like it in the future.
What was your favorite thing about Work in Progress? Share your thoughts in the comments below.