Tag Archives: Catherine Reitman

Workin’ Moms: Tennille Read reflects on being the new kid (and mom) on the block

In Season 1 of Workin’ Moms, viewers were immediately plunged into the lives of four women juggling motherhood with jobs and responsibilities. What is was like getting and being pregnant was discussed, but not a focal point of the show. It was about life after baby (or babies) had arrived.

That’s changed in Season 3 with the arrival of Bianca. Played by Tennille Read, we’re getting a crash-course in the emotions and doubts that go along with deciding to get pregnant. And, of course, we’re shown the support system Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) can supply.

“It’s a great take on motherhood and starting from the very beginning,” Read says during a recent phone chat. “The fears, the anxiety, the uncertainties, especially showing it through the eyes of a single woman. Bianca is flying solo; she isn’t partnered with anyone and she’s deciding to start a family. I think that is unique to the show and hasn’t really been explored before.” Read teases viewers will see a new side to Frankie as well, because she’s in a place of more stability and can help. (Though, it must be said, Juniper did throw a curve ball at Frankie last week.)

Read, a graduate of the George Brown Theatre School, never expected a lone Season 2 appearance would be expanded. When it was hinted Bianca might become a recurring character, she assumed that meant two more episodes. Instead, it became eight, and the opportunity not just to show growth for Frankie, but all of the main characters.

“The ‘typical sitcom’ highlights those characteristics in the character that makes them unique but doesn’t necessarily develop them and allow them to grow and become something bigger and better,” Read says. “Workin’ Moms does allow for the characters to grow.” She’s right. We’ve seen that for everyone, from Anne (Dani Kind) being over-protective of Alice (Sadie Munroe) to Kate’s (Catherine Reitman) getting into bed figuratively with a men’s group and literally with Nathan (Philip Sternberg).

And though she was a new face to the cast—Read worked with many of the crew on prior projects—she felt welcome right from the start.

“I met Dani Kind in the makeup trailer and we had a 10- to 15-minute conversation because she’s so open and lovely,” Read says. “She wanted to know more about me because we haven’t had that interaction before. It made for an easier transition for me to go from being the new kid on the block to having more investment in the show.”

Workin’ Moms airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

Head shot image courtesy of Dane Clark. Workin’ Moms image courtesy of CBC.

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Workin’ Moms: Catherine Reitman, Dani Kind and Juno Rinaldi talk Season 3

When we last left the Workin’ Moms, things had gone badly, especially for Kate (Catherine Reitman). She discovered that her husband, Nathan (Philip Sternberg), was having an affair with Mean Nanny (Jess Salguiero). And, to add to the emotional moment, Kate discovered she was pregnant.

Viewers were left wondering what Kate’s next steps were. Would she divorce Nathan? What about the pregnancy? Kate wasn’t the only one facing challenges. Anne (Dani Kind) was headed for a showdown with he ex-husband Brad (Christopher Redman), and Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) was juggling new relationships.

Workin’ Moms returns on a new night this Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC with two back-to-back episodes chock full of the tears and laughter we’ve come to expect from Reitman’s creation. And with folks like John Ralston, Sean Cullen and Emma Hunter on board, we had to find out more. We spoke to Reitman, Kind and Rinaldi at CBC’s recent media day.

There is a time jump when Workin’ Moms returns. Kate is about to give birth. At what point in the creative process did you know you were going to do that?
Catherine Reitman: We went back and forth on this in the writers’ room a ton. And ultimately we always go back to, ‘What’s the most compelling way to watch this character?’ Is it more interesting if she doesn’t have another child, does the child actually drag us back to what we’ve already seen her do?

And then she gets involved with someone else.
CR: She is juggling a little more than usual. Dani, Juno, and I all in real life have two kids, and I think there is something to do when you meet someone with just one child you’re like, ‘Ugh, I totally understand, but just wait.’ Because when you double down on kids there is just a different level of storm, you’ve become so not a priority in your own life. Giving Kate this baby felt like a way of just filling her plate to make her the least important protagonist in her own story.

It just parallels so many working mother’s lives, I think. As far as her season, I think Kate is having an identity crisis once again. Kind of like Season 1. Except for this time she now has to reinvent herself with infidelity kind of screaming at her the entire time. We hear so often about the women keeping the house and the kids. And there’s something just really refreshing, and you really root for someone who moves out. Someone who hits the pavement and starts her own business the way Kate does and so many women I know out there currently doing it. I just think it’s incredibly brave and it’s the kind of story I wanted to get behind.

How did you land John Ralston in a guest role?
CR: I tricked him. He thought it was Murdoch. He showed up, and he was like, ‘I don’t understand, where’s the gentleman with the beautiful lashes?’ And I said, ‘You’re fine, just hold this baby and get in a wheelchair and …

He is a recurring character? 
CR: He is a recurring character. Look, our characters make flawed decisions all the time and having them sort of deal with those repercussions at this magnitude is really, it’s just really fun. It’s a fun ride for Kate. And John made it that way. I think we auditioned every guy in the country for that role. Similar to Anne and Frankie, it was, ‘How do we find someone who can make this character likable? Not a straight up cartoon villain.’ And he brings so much heart, and he’s having so much fun. He’s constantly laughing at what he’s saying. He’s delighted with himself. And it makes him so easy to watch and get on board with.

Had you considered having Kate and Nathan get back together again?
CR: Of course, and that’s not off the table.

Dani, things look pretty tough for Anne right now. The court case being challenged, and the cake being brought in as evidence. What can you say about what’s going on with Anne and Lionel? And there’s something going on with her daughter this season as well, right?
Dani Kind: She clearly hasn’t dealt with things between her and Brad from last season, from their marriage. I think she’s stuffed them away and hasn’t dealt with them. She gets a new job this season helping other people who’ve gone through similar traumas, which is very interesting. It creates a lot of conflict for her. She also becomes extremely possessive of Alice and almost gets into like a manic state of wanting to protect her family and protect herself, I think, from feeling all the things that she hasn’t dealt with.

What about Frankie? I mean things are going great, she’s got these ads where she’s lying on top of money. She’s got an old girlfriend coming back into her life asking for tuition. So what’s going on with her this season that you can say?
Juno Rinaldi: I feel like Frankie is feeling really great about where she’s at. Things have taken a turn for her, she finally feels like she’s got her groove and it’s, she’s able to help Giselle with some financial stuff, she’s sort of in the driver’s seat now. But with Frankie, you never really know where we’re going to go with her, how it’s going to shake down. But it’s really nice to see her sort of feeling really good about things and moving forward.

Workin Moms airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Link: Catherine Reitman on life as a Workin’ Mom

From Leah Rumack of Chatelaine:

Link: Catherine Reitman on life as a Workin’ Mom
“More people are sharing their real experiences which is wonderful, but with that comes a lot of people judging them. There’s a call/response happening. I’m really excited to be part of the call, but in the writer’s room we don’t have to deal with 10,000 trolls saying you’re a bad mom and you should feel ashamed and your children should be taken away from you. That’s the part that’s horrifying.” Continue reading.

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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.

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Workin’ Moms: Catherine Reitman talks about “that” season finale storyline

It’s been over 24 hours since the season finale of Workin’ Moms and I’m still reeling.

“Look Back” was, of course, beautiful and funny thanks to Anne (Dani Kind) and Lionel’s (Ryan Belleville) commitment ceremony that reunited the clan and saw the reappearance of Jann Arden as Kate Carlson. Throw in Val’s (Sarah McVie) outrageous dress choice and overshare about Alicia’s (Kat Barrell) bedroom antics and there was plenty to laugh at and enjoy.

But, in a stunning reveal, we learned Nathan (Philip Sternberg) and Mean Nanny (Jess Salgueiro) have been having an affair. This just minutes after Kate (Catherine Reitman) and Nathan’s quickie in the wedding hall bathroom. Now it appears as though Kate could end up pregnant. All this after a season where Kate lost two jobs, strained her friendship with Anne and started her own business. It was just too much; we had to get Workin’ Moms‘ creator, showrunner, executive producer, star and director Reitman on the phone to discuss it all!

Most showrunners, in a second season of a series, will expand their characters’ worlds a bit. But you blew the show up and sent them in different directions. Was that always your intention?
Catherine Reitman: Yes and no. We learn so much, the writers and Philip and I, during production. You can imagine things all day but the chemistry that happens in front of the camera absolutely determines things for me. Once I get in the edit bay and go, ‘Oh man! No wonder the audience is going crazy for him or her.’ I want to honour what’s meant to be and not just try to control it. Did I have a sneaking suspicion Sarah McVie was going to make Val the funniest character in the world? Yes. But did I know how great she was going to be? No. That’s something that I’m continuing to push forward. Even now I’m scratching my head in the Season 3 writers’ room wondering how I better feature our talent, how do I best include the chemistry that we’re witnessing. The yes part of it is, of course, I knew Jenny and Ian [Jessalyn Wanlim] and Ian [Dennis Andres] were never going to make it and there had to be consequences to her actions. That was something I had intended. So, yes and no.

You mentioned Val already. There were many funny moments this season and in the finale, but there were very serious moments too. Kate and Anne’s friendship … those characters were so real this season. Everyone can relate to them.
I’m so in love with Anne and Kate. I moved my world to Toronto two years ago and I don’t have a lot of close friends in my life. I have the people that I work with, my incredible kids and my husband. And I think most women that are full-time working moms are hungry for a friendship like that. We’re so desperate to see a connection like that. Dani Kind and I have become very close in real life and I saw our chemistry on-camera—which very much exists off-camera too—but I don’t think anyone, including me, knew how potent it would be. We started going, ‘OK, this is the real love story.’ The husbands and the partners are fantastic but what our audience really seems to be thumping their hearts for is the Kate-Anne storyline. And I do think that’s because so many women crave that in real life. I made the decision to direct the first and last episodes to bookend what a friendship could look like over a decade.

Let’s discuss the Brad storyline. I believe your scripts were already written when the #MeToo movement happened, correct?
You’re absolutely right.

It was a dramatic arc with, I feel, Anne getting her mojo back after perhaps questioning her strength.
As far as the #MeToo movement goes, it has always existed. It’s this fantastic thing where victims are now having a voice. All of the women in our room, for the most part, had some uncomfortable stories with an authority figure. No one was hypnotized. We thought there was something that could potentially be funny, potentially be really creepy and bothersome. But, most importantly, that it would challenge this character we love to see as strong. People love that Anne is a no-nonsense ass kicker. So of all the characters, to see her emotionally threatened in a sexually deviant way by someone she trusted, her husband, it felt like the right combo to take her on a great arc. And then you have someone as brilliant as Christopher Redman come in [as Brad]. I think I saw the whole country of Canada, Greg, I read for that role for weeks and weeks and weeks because it’s a really tricky role. Chris had this amazing ability of making him very believable and nuanced while also tapping into funny even though it’s very serious subject matter. It was really exciting to cast him and realize we had something real on our hands.

Let’s break down the season finale. We had happy moments thanks to Lionel and Anne, and we had the sad because of the revelation Mean Nanny and Nathan are having an affair. With everything that Kate has been through this season—the death of her father, losing two jobs and a falling out with Anne—why this?
[Laughs.] It’s true. She got her ass kicked this season. Something that we’re really hemming and hawing about in the Season 3 writers’ room is … look, nothing justifies having an affair. I’m a married woman of 10 years, I can wrap my head around that. Kate, whether we like to admit it not, had both feet, head, arms, legs, breasts, her whole body out the door this entire season. She hasn’t been on the same page as her husband and there are consequences to that. I don’t think she asked for this and I don’t think she deserves this. But in my quest to have it all, in the hours that I spend working and the hours that I have left that I want to give to my children, my marriage often suffers for it. Luckily, Philip is in the same game as me. For most couples, the pressure to keep things alive … fuck sex, just staying emotionally connected is so much responsibility. As a showrunner, I knew the audience wouldn’t see that coming. It is a really effective gut punch. But, if you go back over the season, we planted so many seeds to show this coming.

What was Phil’s reaction to this story angle for Nathan and Kate?
We held off letting him know that detail. About halfway through writing the season the network comes in and we pitch them what we have so far. Philip came to that and we went through to the end and I looked right at him and I could tell his socks were knocked off. Phil is always story above all else. He was totally on board for it. The day of was challenging and the person I felt most for was Jess Salgueiro. She was just incredible on the day. Not only did she have to kiss Phil but I had to direct her in doing it. I pray every director gets to work with someone like Jess because there was no bullshit. She brought her A-game. Never for a second did I see her sweat or feeling uncomfortable. I was so impressed with her.

Where are you at with Season 3?
We’ve got about six episodes outlined that we’re just starting to draft out. That being said, everything can change. After watching the season finale last night, I thought, ‘You know what this needs? This, that and the other.’ I’m re-opening the outline of the first episode so it’s still all a Tetris board.

Do you think Kate should confront Nathan right away or should she focus on building her business? What was your favourite storyline from Season 2? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

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