Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we spotlight strong women and nonbinary folks who inspire us. Now, this not only includes fictional characters in geeky media but creators as well. These characters are prime examples of empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following contains spoilers for the Netflix/CBC sitcom Workin’ Moms.
Dr. Anne Carlson (Dani Kind) is a psychiatrist with her own private practice in Toronto. She’s the wife of Lionel Carlson (Ryan Belleville) and the mother of Alice (Sadie Munroe) and Jayme. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. Not much is known about her childhood beyond her father leaving at a young age and her tenuous relationship with her mother.
Anne attends a moms group after giving birth to Jayme with her best friend, Kate Foster (Catherine Reitman). In Season 1 of Workin’ Moms, Anne becomes pregnant again, much to her dismay. However, by the end of the season, Lionel accompanies her to an abortion clinic after Anne endures physical problems amid her pregnancy.
Then, Anne decides to move her practice out of her home and into an office. Unfortunately, she reunites with her first husband, Brad. After Brad sexually harasses her during a hypnotherapy session (or, as Lionel aptly puts it, “molests” her mind), Anne rallies together his other victims to get him fired.
Meanwhile, Anne attempts to deal with her explosive teenage daughter, Alice, as the latter grows up. The two frequently butt heads. However, Anne rises victorious as a parent. This catalyzes her to write her first novel on parenting.
Unfortunately, Alice is the target of bullying at her school. Lionel secures a new job in Calgary, another reason to move. Anne and her family make the said move. They migrate to Cochrane, a much smaller town. Anne struggles to adjust and temporarily relies on pills to get her through the day.
Later, a publisher finally picks up Anne’s book after suffering from a series of setbacks, thanks to Kate’s client via her PR work, Sloane Mitchell (Enuka Okuma). However, Anne’s new publisher has some radical ideas in mind for her novel, which doesn’t sit well with her. Thankfully, Kate puts her foot down and helps Anne achieve her dream of publishing her book as she sees fit.
By the end of Season 5, the Carlson family moves back to Toronto, and Anne decides to resume her private psychiatry practice. In Season 6, Anne hires Alice as her secretary. One of Anne’s clients, Heather (Martha Girvin), starts scheduling therapy sessions with Alice even though the latter isn’t a therapist. Things take a dark turn when Heather breaches Alice’s boundaries and puts her in danger. Anne confronts Heather and threatens to kill her if she goes near Alice again.
Throughout Season 6, Anne acknowledges her anger and attends anger management sessions. When the season finale rolls around, Anne makes a breakthrough, finding peace while jogging and chatting with Kate. They agree to grow together. Suddenly, Heather appears and ostensibly hits Anne with her car. Cliffhanger!
However, in Season 7, Anne recovers from her accident. She decides not to press charges against Heather. Her personality changes significantly, with a newfound addiction to adrenaline rushes taking center stage. She befriends a client, 18-year-old Seamus (Callan Potter), unaware that he’s dating Alice. She lives vicariously through his pursuit of said danger. Anne also purchases a tarantula named Tula, which Lionel initially hates (but grows to love).
Once she learns about Seamus’ romance with Alice, Anne switches gears, reverting to her normal state. Her relationship with Alice undergoes more strain in Season 7. She even throws Alice a virginity party (that goes terribly awry) to mend fences. At one point, Alice states her desire to travel to Australia with Seamus for a gap year. While Anne resists this, by the series finale, she and Lionel force Alice to fly to Australia despite her breakup with Seamus. She learns to let go and let her daughter live life.
The Real Deal:
Anne is the real deal. She’s not afraid to speak her mind, for starters. This doesn’t gel well with most folks who only see her at face value, but Anne is unapologetically herself. She’s incredibly flawed and struggles with anger issues, but she takes accountability for her actions (for the most part). She’s a work in progress.
In addition, she’s immensely intelligent and harbors a great deal of emotional awareness. It goes with the territory of being a therapist. Interestingly enough, she isn’t one to wear her heart on her sleeve, which contradicts her profession.
She’s incredibly loyal to her family and Kate. She would gladly go on a murdering spree for any of her loved ones. Anne’s bravery knows no bounds. Her decision to get an abortion is not one she took lightly. Seldom do we see this topic explored on television, so it was refreshing to watch a woman have autonomy over her body in that manner. It takes a lot of courage to do something like that.
Additionally, her willingness to fearlessly stand tall against Brad is more than admirable. Not only does she work to get him fired for her sake, but she does this to ensure that his multiple victims can get the justice they deserve. Anne’s a bona fide badass.
Why She Matters:
Anne is a strong, bright psychiatrist who gives so much of herself to her clients, family and friends. She doesn’t hold back when it comes to her opinion. Anne’s not perfect, but who is? She’s selfless, empathetic, bold and tenacious. If you’re going through the wringer, you want Anne in your corner. Kids need to see a multifaceted woman like Anne, who has bodily autonomy and isn’t afraid to march to the beat of her own drum.
So, be like Anne. Cling tightly to your morals in the face of adversity. Kick ass and take names. Don’t let anyone pull the wool over your eyes. Never shy away from telling someone off if they deserve it. Find yourself a Kate Foster for a bestie and a Lionel for a significant other. Oh, and take up ax throwing. You might find it relaxing.
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