By Brian Henry
"Workin' Moms," the award-winning Canadian sitcom that follows four Toronto mothers juggling to balance jobs and families, debuts on Netflix Friday, and its star and creator, Catherine Reitman, knows the stakes are high.
Netflix has developed a track record for serving as a launching pad for sleeper hits ー including another Canadian comedy, "Schitt's Creek," which grew its U.S. audience exponentially once on the streaming platform.
"I think the U.S. really, as far as creative goes, has been sort of the forefathers of creative," Reitman, who also serves as the show's executive producer, told Cheddar. "Netflix is this great test where it's not just America, it's the world [that] gets to consume what I believe is a very common and relatable experience, which is motherhood."
"Workin' Moms" doesn't glamorize the struggles that comes with trying to have it all, but does give viewers permission to laugh at the characters and themselves.
"I think our show seems to connect with people because we're telling the stories of very real and sometimes painful experiences and having the courage to laugh at it," Reitman said. "There's all sorts of things that although can be a dramatic topic, we do so with levity. I'm hoping Netflix brings that to a big crowd."
Reitman, who is perhaps best known in the U.S. for guest appearances on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," acknowledges that putting a spotlight on the messy realities of life isn't a novel concept, but said it's still rare to see it portrayed in a show that focuses on female characters.
"I think male shows, if I may, have been covering, we'll call it 'brave subject matter,' for a long time."
Reitman cites the show's handling of mental health issues as one of the ways "Workin' Moms" stands out from the crowd, acknowledging the inspiration came from her own struggle with postpartum depression.
"When I first gave birth to my son I had really bad postpartum depression. For several weeks there I was fantasizing about what it would be like to have an accident and be stuck in a hospital for a while."
"Not dead!" Reitman clarified with a laugh. "Just in a hospital where I could get some service, know my baby is OK and maybe a [get a] latte. That sounded dreamy to me. When I brought that up in my 'Mommy and Me' group, they looked at me like I was crazy."
Ending the stigma with a little bit of laughter is Reitman's goal.
"If an alcoholic is having a problem, we encourage him and urge him ー secrets are his problem. The more he talks about it, his rock bottom, the more we accept it. And we do. Alcoholism is very much accepted. Postpartum depression seems to have such a stigma, people don't talk about it, particularly laugh about it. Which was my hope to do."
"Workin' Moms" starts streaming on Friday.
For full interview click here.