Are you a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm? The works of Christopher Guest? Comedies that lean more “dark/sad” than “riotously laugh-out-loud?” Then we have your new favorite show. Showtime’s Work in Progress, co-created by and starring Chicago improv superstar Abby McEnany in what’s sure to be a star-making role, looks to be a pitch-black examination of how to be a damn human in this crazy world of ours. Showtime debuted the trailer for the show which airs December 9. And if you need a clue as to just how dark the show is, the trailer opens with our main character accidentally killing her therapist. And goes downhill from there.
McEnany plays a fictionalized version of herself — a queer woman who struggles with her own neuroses, anxieties, and obsessions (when she’s not, you know, accidentally killing her mental health professionals). She’s the kind of person who will scream earnestly, “My life is harder than anybody else’s!” in a public bathroom — right before a young woman in a wheelchair enters the same room. But when McEnany meets a new person in her life — a young trans man played by Theo Germaine (The Politician) who’s attracted to McEnany immediately — she just might find the love she’s been looking for. If her neuroses, anxieties, and obsessions don’t screw it all up first.
McEnany created the show alongside fellow Chicago improv star Tim Mason, and the duo worked with an unexpected collaborator: cowriter Lilly Wachowski, best known for her work with sibling Lana on seminal sci-fi works like The Matrix and Sense8. Wachowski has never made a straight up comedy before, but based on the trailer, it’s a vibe that suits her well. Work in Progress deals specifically with LGBTQ themes, and while Wachowski’s work has featured such observations in subtextual ways, seeing them tackled explicitly is quite thrilling — and quite hilarious. The show also promises to feature Julia Sweeney (Saturday Night Live) as herself in a critical, meta-commentative role regarding her work as gender-confusing character Pat, which is wild and I love it.
“Can I make a sweeping generalization?” asks one of McEnany’s friends near the end of the trailer. “You are a much better person than you think you are.” To find out if this optimistic person is right, check out the official trailer and synopsis for Work in Progress, which debuts on the network December 8, below. For more on what the Wachowskis are up to, here’s our take on why The Matrix‘s Neo still works 20 years later.
Abby is a 45-year-old self-identified fat, queer dyke whose misfortune and despair unexpectedly lead her to a vibrantly transformative relationship. Chicago improv mainstay Abby McEnany co-created and stars in this uniquely human comedy series.