State Your Message

Jun 26, 2020

Catherine Reitman and Philip Sternberg of Workin' Moms face off in a game where they create words out of postal abbreviations.

Heard on: Jane Levy and Alex Newell: Zoey's Extraordinary Zoom Call.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

And joining me right now the creators, writers, actors and directors of the Netflix series "Workin' Moms," Catherine Reitman and Philip Sternberg. Hello.

CATHERINE REITMAN: Hi.

PHILIP STERNBERG: Hi. Hello.

REITMAN: Happy to be here.

STERNBERG: Hi, Jonathan.

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: Hi, Philip. How are you?

REITMAN: (Laughter).

STERNBERG: Good. How are you?

COULTON: Good.

STERNBERG: That's quite a bassy voice you have there. That's very...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.

STERNBERG: That's coming through.

REITMAN: That is a nice voice.

COULTON: The bigger my beard gets, the deeper my voice gets. It's a weird side effect.

REITMAN: (Laughter) I like that (unintelligible) look.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: So you've been married for more than 10 years. I love the story of how you met. Can you please share it with us?

STERNBERG: Oh, my God.

REITMAN: The quick version of it is that I went to Philip's office. I had an audition nearby. And a girlfriend of mine asked if I would pick up a paycheck for her at Philip's office. She said, just ask for this guy Phil. I went in. I met Phil. And I can safely say I'd never felt actual physical chemistry with somebody until that day.

STERNBERG: I felt like I was in, like, a music video. And, you know, an angel walks into the room.

COULTON: (Laughter).

STERNBERG: And I was like - I was so busy. And I just stopped everything. And I'm usually pretty communicative. And I just froze up. And I was like, hi. And I gave her the paycheck she asked for. And I'm like, who are you? And she was like, I'm Catherine. And I said, OK. I'm Phil.

(LAUGHTER)

STERNBERG: And I watched her go. And, immediately, she left the room. And I was like, who the hell was that? That was like, that's...

(LAUGHTER)

STERNBERG: I was totally smitten. And she looked gorgeous. And...

REITMAN: That's very sweet.

STERNBERG: She was wearing short shorts. And she was dressed up for this audition.

REITMAN: There's no need for that detail. They didn't need to hear about the short shorts. That makes me sound like a buffoon.

COULTON: (Laughter).

STERNBERG: I think that that's an important - so, I mean...

EISENBERG: For an audition - that was for an audition?

REITMAN: Exactly. A fear of, what must you think of me now? I was wearing short shorts to get a job.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Short shorts - sure. Well, what - how was your hair in braids or something like that?

REITMAN: You know what? Don't answer that, Philip. Don't answer that question.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: Was it Daisy Duke? You're doing a Daisy Duke audition?

REITMAN: Listen. I only - I exclusively auditioned for butter commercials, if you must know.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It's not about the shorts.

(LAUGHTER).

REITMAN: Thank you. Thank you, Jonathan. It's not about the damn shorts.

(LAUGHTER)

REITMAN: And then there was a party in downtown LA that Phil and I both were at. And he came up to me and said, you walked out of my life once. That's not happening again.

COULTON: Wow.

REITMAN: And I gave him my number.

COULTON: That's so romantic.

EISENBERG: I know.

REITMAN: It was very romantic. And I think, six months later, we were engaged. It was insane. We were really fast and furious.

EISENBERG: That's so great. OK. We have a couple of games for you, so...

STERNBERG: Oh, my God - games.

EISENBERG: Yeah. It's going to be great.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: It's going to be great. In this word game, by the way, you're going to be working together.

STERNBERG: Thank God.

EISENBERG: It's called State Your Message. So every clue will contain the names of two or more U.S. states. But you're going to take the postal abbreviation of every state in the clue, string them together to spell a word.

REITMAN: For God's sakes.

EISENBERG: (Laughter). Don't fight.

COULTON: So let me give you an example. If I said, when you were at a lakeside beach in Pennsylvania or Illinois - if you want to make a sandcastle, remember to bring a little shovel and one of these.

REITMAN: A pail.

COULTON: You got it. So PA for Pennsylvania...

REITMAN: Yeah. OK.

COULTON: ...Plus IL for Illinois.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Exactly.

REITMAN: Are they all that simple?

EISENBERG: That one was the hardest. We always give the hardest one as the example.

REITMAN: Oh, perfect.

STERNBERG: Thank God.

REITMAN: No wonder people tune in.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK. I'm sending a message from Colorado to Delaware. It contains top-secret information about my crush. So I wrote it in this.

STERNBERG: Code.

EISENBERG: Yes, code.

COULTON: All right. Here's another one. My career as a silent performer used to take me all over the country from Michigan to Maine. Now the only place where I try to escape from an invisible box is my own bedroom. It's tough to be one of these.

STERNBERG: I'm going to guess it's not a clown.

REITMAN: A mime.

COULTON: Yeah. You got it - mime.

REITMAN: Do you find that people when they answer on this say it really insecurely at first and, by the end, they have authority to their answers?

EISENBERG: Yes, definitely.

REITMAN: OK. Cool. I just want to make sure I'm average.

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) All right. If you live in Oregon or Alabama or any state and want to be a citizen, you should know the citizenship test isn't written. It is this kind of test.

REITMAN: Oral. It's oral.

EISENBERG: That's right.

STERNBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: All right. How about this one? When I was on tour, I loved to eat beans from Wisconsin to North Dakota. I've broken this.

REITMAN: (Gasping) Wind.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) I like that.

STERNBERG: Wind.

EISENBERG: A gasp - I loved the gasp when taken in - wind.

REITMAN: Wind.

COULTON: Wind.

EISENBERG: See. You guys are killing us.

REITMAN: Yeah.

EISENBERG: It's no problem at all.

STERNBERG: Catherine, you're doing so well. You were so nervous.

REITMAN: I know. And now I'm being cocky. And I got share the mic more. The next one's all Phil.

STERNBERG: No, no, no. You've got it.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: (Laughter). Guess what? We're taking this up a notch.

REITMAN: Oh, no.

STERNBERG: OK. OK.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Busy humans chug coffee. Busy bees in Nebraska, Connecticut and Arkansas can't get enough of this sweet fluid.

STERNBERG: Nectar.

REITMAN: Yes.

EISENBERG: Yeah. That's right.

STERNBERG: OK.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: How'd that feel? - good, right?

STERNBERG: That felt very good.

REITMAN: Felt real good.

STERNBERG: Breathe.

COULTON: You warmed up on the twos, and now you did a three. Guess what's coming your way now.

REITMAN: Oh, four?

STERNBERG: A foursome? Oh, my God.

COULTON: It's a fourbie. We got a fourbie. This is your last question.

REITMAN: OK.

COULTON: Squids in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Rhode Island better be careful because residents there can't get enough of crispy fried this.

REITMAN: Calamari.

COULTON: That is correct. Calamari - clean sweep, you guys.

EISENBERG: Fantastic.

REITMAN: Oh, my God. I feel like I just lost 30 pounds. That was fun.

(LAUGHTER) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.