Banff 2018: Catherine Reitman recalls “fantasizing about death” before creating Workin’ Moms

Workin’ Moms doesn’t shy away from showing the flaws of being a mother. Part of the show’s charm and popularity is because of Catherine Reitman’s decision to show the challenges of being a working mother in 2018. And while there are plenty of laughs to go with those relatable moments via Kate (Reitman), Anne (Dani Kind), Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) and Alicia (Kat Barrell), the creation of Workin’ Moms came at a dark time in her life.

“I gave birth a couple of years ago and went back to work too quickly,” Reitman, the series’ showrunner, director, writer and executive producer says. “I had some pretty lethal post-partum depression and was actually fantasizing about death and it kept making me laugh. It wasn’t this dark, scary thing. It was this release. It made me happy, it made me hopeful. If the world would go away and these responsibilities would go away, life would be so much easier.”

Reitman spoke alongside Kim’s Convenience boss Ins Choi at the Banff World Media Festival on Tuesday morning during the CBC’s Breakfast of Showrunner Champions event. The packed room laughed nervously as Reitman recalled how her own mommy group stared at her while she related those feelings and realized the content would make for a television show. She couldn’t be the only one feeling the way she did, she reasoned and her husband Philip Sternberg—he’s an executive producer, director and plays Kate’s husband Nathan on the show—urged her to write it.

Tired of auditioning for roles for women that didn’t look or sound like her, she penned the scripts and created a sizzle reel. Once Sally Catto, general manager of programming at CBC Television, saw the reel she greenlit the series.

“Thank god for Sally,” Reitman says. “I say that every day because I get to sit here in front of all of you and watch a clip and remain floored that I was fantasizing about death and now people are watching [Workin’ Moms] and hopefully connecting with it.

Workin’ Moms returns to CBC in winter 2019.

Image courtesy of CBC.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
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One thought on “Banff 2018: Catherine Reitman recalls “fantasizing about death” before creating Workin’ Moms”

  1. Finally got a chance to catch up with the first 2 years. The show feels raw yet soothing. I love the energy and seeing the rainbow of friendships. Every Kate needs an Anne and vice versa.

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