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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

CBC’s Workin’ Moms spotlights the raw honesty of being a mom

Right out of the gate viewers will notice Workin’ Moms isn’t a typical comedy series, and certainly not the usual for the CBC.

In Tuesday’s debut at 9:30 p.m., a trio of moms sit at daycare, holding their infants and bemoaning how childrearing has ravaged their bodies, particularly their breasts. They speak of sagging, drooping and other changes while looking down. Then, suddenly, a wide shot of the ladies with their breasts totally exposed for primetime television. No editing, now pixelating, no black bars. This is Workin’ Moms, lumps and all.

“Bringing up a child, you lose a certain amount of privacy with your body and what happens to your body is incredibly humbling,” series creator, executive producer, writer and star Catherine Reitman says during a CBC press day. “To create a show about a mom where you don’t witness what happens to a mom’s body felt inauthentic to me … to not show it in a raw and honest way. It’s funny, but I also find heart and truth in it.”

Reitman—who appears sans top alongside her co-stars Dani Kind (The Good Witch) and Juno Rinaldi (The Killing); all have two boys in real life—has used her own experiences as a mother as the basis for Workin’ Moms. Reitman’s Kate is headed back to work at an advertising firm after maternity leave and struggles not only to spend hours away from her son but find her place in an office environment she left for months. Yes, there are funny moments in Kate’s days—reluctantly leaving her cherub with the nanny and she has to pump her breasts the bathroom, with the squirting results you’d expect—but there are sobering, serious moments that reflect on what it means to be a mother. The most poignant may be when Kate breaks down crying in the middle of a meeting with her male co-workers.

(l-r): Jessalyn Wanlim, Dani Kind, Catherine Reitman, Juno Rinaldi

“I think that’s part of being a mother and a parent,” Reitman says. “There are moments of comedy and moments of pain. But, usually, in those moments of pain you have to laugh.” She recalls how when her first son was born (he’s now three), she went back to work after just a couple of weeks and was wracked with post-partum depression. Like Kate, Reitman was joking around with male friends. The jabs went too far and before she knew it, she was crying and the men went silent, awkward and unsure of what to do. When Reitman got home, she told the story to her husband Philip Sternberg—he’s executive producing and co-stars on Workin’ Moms—who told her to get out her laptop and write it down.

“Catherine’s writing has a real floor to them,” Sternberg says. “These are real experiences, so you relate to them, and when the humour comes out, it really works and hits hard. I don’t think it would hit so hard if you didn’t believe the characters and the struggle.” He’s right. All of the ladies are dealing with something. Rinaldi’s Frankie Coyne is a successful real estate agent who in one moment makes a flippant remark about post-partum depression and in another is sticking her head in a swimming pool, dreaming of drowning. Kind’s Anne Carlson is just getting into the swing of things with her baby when her doctor tells her shocking news, throwing her life into uncertainty.

And while, at first glance, CBC may not have been the most obvious home for Workin’ Moms, Reitman couldn’t be happier because it meant her vision would stay intact and not turned into a broad comedy or watered down.

“We got here, and we realized it was nothing but working mothers,” Reitman says. “I’ve never seen a network where I literally shook hand after hand of working mothers. [CBC general manager of programming] Sally Catto watched it, and it struck so deeply with her as a working mother that we knew she would do it justice.”

Workin’ Moms airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Daniel Levy on the “most exciting season” of CBC’s Schitt’s Creek

For two seasons, the Rose family has been desperately trying to leave Schitt’s Creek. But Johnny’s (Eugene Levy) plan to sell the town (hilariously) fell through, Moira’s (Catherine O’Hara) attempts to distance herself from the locals has failed and Alexis (Annie Murphy) and David (Daniel Levy) have slowly been accepted into the community.

Now, in Season 3—returning for 13 episodes beginning Tuesday, Jan. 10, to CBC—the Roses have more or less embraced Schitt’s Creek and all that comes with it, including Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott), Jocelyn Schitt (Jennifer Robertson), Mutt (Tim Rozon), Twyla (Sarah Levy) and Ted (Dustin Milligan). We spoke to co-creator, co-executive producer and writer Daniel Levy about what fans can expect in Season 3.

I’ve seen the first episode of Season 3 and the Roses are going through some transition in their lives.
Daniel Levy: Yes, they are. This whole season centres on the premise of transition and just digging a little deeper into the town.

I did wonder where you can go in a third season. I guess the answer is, throw him into a three-way relationship between Stevie (Emily Hampshire) and a guy named Jake (Steve Lund).
{Laughs.] One of the mandates from season to season is, ‘What haven’t we done before?’ And that was definitely a fun little arc to play with.

Is Jake around for a full season or a recurring character?
He plays a pivotal role in the first two episodes. Steve was in the final episode of Season 2 and it’s an interesting casting choice because he does play a sexually fluid character and something Steve brought into the room felt right. We thought he did such a good job at the end of Season 2 that it could be fun to bring him back. And, again, we’re playing off the complexity of David and Stevie’s relationship that David identifies and pansexual and how much fun you can have with the idea of a ‘throuple.’ [Laughs.]

As funny as those scenes are between Stevie and David, there is that undercurrent of serious feelings they have for each other. It’s an added, emotional layer.
Going back to your earlier comment about where you go in a third season, for us, it was taking the focus away from the circumstance and shining the light on the characters in a slightly more dimensional way than we have in the past. For two seasons, it was really important in terms of the narrative, to really substantiate the scenario, the premise of the family adapting to this town. For Season 3, we’re really peeling back the layers of the four protagonists and also with Stevie and Roland and Jocelyn.

To me, this is the most exciting season that we’ve done, and hopefully, rewarding to the fans of the show because we’ll see these people in new and dynamic situations they’ve never seen them in before.

I’ve almost forgotten they’re trying to get out of the town. That’s not part of the narrative anymore, really. Moira is part of the town council and rather than trying to get out of it, has made the best of it.
She’s going to make it about her, basically. Now that they’re not getting out, how are they going to make the best of their time there?

When you say this is the best season ever, have you been working towards this season via the last two?
When I go into each season, it’s not with an end goal in mind when I go into the room. There are emotional beats and emotional places where we want to find our characters at the end of every season. But, to be honest, on a lot of shows the premise wears thin. Being able to dig deeper is a relief, to say the least. But that’s also because of the strength of our actors. They have substantiated these characters in ways that far surpassed all of our expectations and, in a way, have allowed us to tell stories that are uniquely tailored to their skills.

Schitt’s Creek airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Cast image courtesy of CBC.

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Link: Pure, Schitt: CBC starts 2017 off with ye bang

From Bill Brioux:

Pure, Schitt: CBC starts 2017 off with ye bang
It’s new year, Jacob, so walk away from ye (snow) plow; CBC has a barn full of new TV shows comin’ atcha. This week is especially big with the premiere of the Menonnite drug drama Pure Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT. That’s followed Tuesday by the third season premiere of the hit comedy Schitt’s Creek and the series debut of Workin’ Mom’s; then it’s the third and final season of X Company Wednesday. Michael Every Day, the Lazarus-like re-boot of Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays, premieres Sun., Jan. 15. Continue reading.

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Link: Hard Rock Medical is us: True North and fun

From John Doyle of the Globe and Mail:

Hard Rock Medical is us: True North and fun
Hard Rock Medical (Sunday, TVO, 8 p.m.) is also anchored firmly in Northern Ontario and it returns for another season this weekend. It isn’t as grand, as sweeping or as grim as Cardinal, but it’s a fascinating, sometimes fabulous little show that is a lopsided look at us – the Canada that isn’t usually the focus of TV drama. By the way, all episodes of Hard Rock Medical are streaming on TVO’s website starting Monday. You don’t have to be in Ontario to see it. Continue reading.

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William Shatner among guest stars of Private Eyes season 2

From a media release:

Global announces Canadian icon William Shatner among list of guest stars joining season 2 of hit series Private Eyes

  • Additional Guest Stars Include ET Canada’s Sangita Patel, Race Car Driver James Hinchcliffe, Fashion Entrepreneur Jeanne Beker, Fashion Designer Stephan Caras, and Actor Anthony Lemke
  • Last Summer’s #1 New Series Returns to Global Spring 2017

Global is thrilled to announce award-winning Canadian actor, director, and writer William Shatner will guest star on an episode of original hit series Private Eyes. With a second season returning this spring, Shatner joins series stars Jason Priestley and Cindy Sampson, and will play a P.I. and old nemesis of Angie Everett (Sampson).

Global’s detective drama also welcomes additional notable Canadian personalities including ET Canada’s very own Sangita Patel, renowned race car driver James “Hinch” Hinchcliffe, media personality and fashion entrepreneur Jeanne Beker, top fashion designer Stephan Caras, and Canadian actor Anthony Lemke.

With an exciting 18-episode order, Season 2 picks up with Shade now Angie’s full partner in Everett Investigations, but are the two of them really ready for what that means? Team player Shade has grand plans to “grow the agency” – but lone wolf Angie’s used to things the way they are. Can these two ever reconcile their differences to succeed as a duo?

One thing’s clear: their contrasting skillsets yield results when it comes to solving cases. As their success grows, the cases that come their way get even bigger and more sophisticated, plunging them into the diverse worlds of auto racing, real estate, high fashion, and private school privilege. For all their bickering and disagreements, there’s no substitute for the adrenaline rush of taking down a bad guy or helping an innocent victim. And through it all, there’s the undeniable chemistry between the two – something they must acknowledge sooner or later.

In anticipation of the hit series’ return, viewers can catch up on the first season of Private Eyes on GlobalTV.com and Global Go.

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