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.
“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.”
The last couple of months have been crazy at TV, Eh? On top of bringing you the latest Canadian television news, reviews and polls, we’ve hit the road for several set visits, including CBC’s upcoming Workin’ Moms.
Created and starring Catherine Reitman, the half-hour comedy focuses on four women who are struggling to keep their feet in the rat race while bringing up infants and dealing with postpartum depression, new job opportunities and unplanned pregnancy. With a cast that includes Dani Kind, Juno Rinaldi, Jessalyn Wanlim, Philip Sternberg and Wynonna Earp‘s Katherine Barrell, here’s a first look at the key cast.
(l-r) Jessalyn Wanlim as Jenny, Dani Kind as Anne, Catherine Reitman as Kate, Juno Rinaldi as Frankie
Kate (Catherine Reitman) and Anne (Dani Kind)
Kate (Catherine Reitman), Anne (Dani Kind), Frankie (Juno Rinaldi)
Kate (Catherine Reitman) and Anne (Dani Kind)
Catherine Reitman as Kate
Jessalyn Wanlim as Jenny
Workin’ Moms debuts Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.
Wolf & Rabbit Entertainment ULC and CBC today announced that production is underway on the highly anticipated original comedy series WORKIN’ MOMS(13 x 30). Created by Catherine Reitman (Black-ish, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Breakin’ it Down with Catherine Reitman), who serves as showrunner and also stars in the series, WORKIN’ MOMS dares to shatter the ‘cult of mom.’ Production will continue in Toronto until the end of October with the series premiere on CBC set for winter 2017.
Largely drawn from Reitman’s own personal experiences,WORKIN’ MOMS is an ensemble comedy that examines the modern ideal that working mothers can have it all. When long-time friends Kate (Reitman), a warm and grounded PR Exec, and Anne (Dani Kind; The Good Witch), a no-nonsense therapist, meet timid IT tech Jenny (Jessalyn Wanlim; Orphan Black) and lovable mess real estate agent Frankie (Juno Rinaldi, The Killing) in a judgmental mommies’ group, the four quickly form an unlikely friendship. The series follows the struggles of these urban moms, providing a raw and honest look at how they juggle their burgeoning identities as mothers.
Previously announced cast members Kind, Rinaldi and Wanlim are joined by Philip Sternberg—Reitman’s real life husband and producing partner—as Kate’s husband Nathan; Ryan Belleville (Wynonna Earp, Satisfaction) as Anne’s husband Lionel; Olunike Adeliyi (Republic of Doyle, Flashpoint) as Frankie’s wife Giselle; Dennis Andres (Bed of the Dead) as Jenny’s husband Ian; Kevin Vidal (Sunnyside, The Second City Project) as Kate’s work nemesis Mo; Mimi Kuzyk (UnREAL, Blue Murder) as Kate’s mother Eleanor; and Peter Keleghan (Murdoch Mysteries, Ginger Snaps) as Kate’s boss, Richard Greenwood.
WORKIN’ MOMSis executive produced byCatherine Reitman and Philip Sternberg (Divorce Corp., Six Little McGhees). Reitman is set to direct two of the episodes with Paul Fox (Schitt’s Creek, This Life) and Aleysa Young (Baroness Von Sketch Show) directing the remaining 11 episodes. The series is written by Reitman, Rebecca Kohler (Kim’s Convenience,This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Karen Moore (What Would Sal Do, Rookie Blue), Diane Flacks (Baroness Von Sketch Show, Young Drunk Punk) and Ingrid Haas (The UCB Show, Vice). Series cinematography by Maya Bankovic (Below Her Mouth), production design by Elisa Sauve (Milton’s Secret, Zoom) and costume design by Sheila Fitzpatrick (Degrassi: Next Class).
Commissioned by CBC, WORKIN’ MOMSis produced by Wolf & Rabbit Entertainment ULC with the participation of the Canadian Media Fund. The series is distributed internationally by Coldsprings Media LLC and represented by Vanguarde Artist Management and CAA.
CBC announced today a 13-episode order of WORKIN’ MOMS, a new original half-hour comedy series created by Catherine Reitman. Based on her personal experiences with motherhood, Reitman will star in WORKIN’ MOMS and will also direct. An alumna of The Groundlings Theatre, Reitman is esteemed both for her work on screen (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Blackish) and off. She recently wrote, directed and starred in 100 episodes of her own YouTube show, Breakin’ it Down With Catherine Reitman. Reitman’s producing partner and husband, Philip Sternberg, will produce with Reitman, through their company Wolf and Rabbit Productions. They are repped by Tina Horwitz of Vanguarde Artists Management Ltd. The series will begin production in Toronto in July 2016, and is slated to debut on CBC in fall 2016.
Can you have it all? For these workin’ mothers, some days you can and some days… not so much. When longtime friends Kate (Reitman) and Anne meet Jenny and Frankie in a judgmental mommies’ group, the four quickly band together and form an unlikely friendship. While the women might not necessarily have started off as friends, at this critical moment in their lives they appear to be fighting the same fight: to continue personal growth in the face of challenging relationships, insatiable babies, horrific co-workers and lastly, a Mommy and Me class filled to the brim with disapproving mothers. Whether it be rediscovering their sexuality or merely having the will to stay alive in the face of postpartum depression, these badass women are doing everything they can to make it to the end of each day in one piece.
Additionally, Reitman and Sternberg have another Reitman-penned project in development with the CBC, half-hour scripted comedy series STARTING OVER; a hilarious look at life post-separation. After April discovers her husband has slept with the majority of her friends and boss, her comfortable and predictable life is put into a tailspin. With nowhere else to turn, she moves back home to her impulsive twin sister and lonely father and in a moment of late night desperation enlists an unorthodox life coach named Georgina Stone.