Catherine Reitman is living that working mom life—hard. She is the showrunner on CBC’s comedy hit Workin’ Moms (which she produces with her husband Philip Sternberg); she also writes and directs for the show. Oh, and stars on it. In addition to her show baby, she has two little ones at home. (She also pops up on Black-ish from time to time.) Reitman has won fans among the mom brigade and beyond for her raw, honest portrayal of the trials and tribulations of motherhood, from postpartum depression to breastfeeding boobs. With season three premiering today, we spoke with Reitman about directing cranky old men, tackling #MeToo on-screen, and working with her hubs.
What are some issues and experiences that you felt were missing from the modern TV landscape that you wanted to show on Workin’ Moms?
I felt that there was a limited portrayal of how mothers appeared on television. When I first got pregnant, my husband and I were huge consumers of premium cable television, and we were watching all of these shows, and it would either be the B-storyline of a show like Homeland, where she’s a working mother, or you have even smaller C-storylines on a show like Mad Men. And when mother storylines were A-storylines, they felt either very broad or kind of melodramatic—I wanted to see the comedy that I was used to watching with my husband, but my story. And I couldn’t find that anywhere.
Workin’ Moms sold to FX first, before they passed and the CBC snapped it up. How is producing TV in Canada different than in the States? Are there things you can do here that you can’t do there?
Absolutely. Coming to Canada has been incredibly liberating, both creatively and production-wise for [my husband and co-producer/co-star] Philip and I. For one, we’re partners in the creation of our show, as opposed to the usual contact you’d get in the United States, where you’re an employee on a show of your own creation. So, being able to feel ownership not only is exhilarating because it’s yours, but also you feel so much more responsibility, you know? If the show fails or succeeds, it’s on you.