Link: Women Behind Canadian TV: Catherine Reitman
“I was listening to Shonda Rhimes recently and I think she said it best with â€˜if youâ€™re a writer youâ€™ve got to write. Youâ€™ve just got to keep writing.â€™ I think that applies to being a director or an actor. You have to lie, cheat, steal, borrow, get friends to lend you a cameraâ€“people donâ€™t even have an excuse any more because weâ€™ve been gifted with these phones that have the most extraordinary cameras. We should all be making things, and if you do have the gift or the bite, you have to continue making things.” Continue reading.Â
Despite the on-the-nose title of her newÂ CBCÂ show, Catherine Reitman saysÂ Workinâ€™ MomsÂ is not just for, well, working mothers.
â€œMost humans have felt an identity crisis at some point in their lives,â€ Reitman says in an interview at a downtown Toronto restaurant. â€œThis is about people returning to work after a dramatic event.â€ Continue reading.
Link: 5Ã—5 With The Hook: Juno Rinaldi
“Everyday I went to work it felt like Christmas morning. Every. Darn. Day. From the first moment of reading the sides, to the test in LA, to the actual shooting, I have loved every second. Thatâ€™s not to say it was super challenging and stretched me as a human and an actor in many many ways.” Continue reading.
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 sitÂ 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,” seriesÂ 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.”
Reitmanâ€”who appears sans top alongside her co-stars Dani Kind (The Good Witch) and Juno Rinaldi (The Killing); all have two boys in real lifeâ€”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 daysâ€”reluctantly leaving her cherub with the nanny and she has to pump her breasts the bathroom, with the squirting results you’d expectâ€”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.
“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 Sternbergâ€”he’s executive producing and co-stars on Workin’ Momsâ€”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.”