What do you do when you want kids but life has other plans? If you’re writer Wendy Litner, you make a web series about it. And then after its first season is a success and wins a Canadian Screen Award for Best Web Program or Series – Fiction, you go and make a second season following the next parts of the journey, hoping to make them just as full of laughter and tears as the first season. In CBC’s How to Buy a Baby, Litner tells the story of Jane (Meghan Heffern) and Charlie (Marc Bendavid), a couple struggling with infertility who have now found themselves in the throes of the adoption and absolutely everything that comes with it.
The TV Junkies recently sat down with star Heffern (Wynonna Earp) as she previewed what to expect from the second season. She also gave us some insight on how she prepared for such a layered role, which stars of other fan favorite series we can expect to see (Carmilla and Workin’ Moms fans, I’m looking at you), and the importance of having a female-driven team behind the camera.
The TV Junkies: The first season of How to Buy a Baby was met with a great deal of success and won awards like the CSA. Did that success add any kind of pressure onto you all as a team heading into Season 2?
Meghan Heffern: I tried not to think about it while we were shooting, because I was afraid if I thought about it too much, I would feel the pressure of it. I just tried to block it out and go forth.
TTVJ: In Season 2, Jane and Charlie are turning their focus to adoption instead of infertility treatments. What can you share about their journey with adoption and where that takes them this season?
MH: Well, without giving too much away, I think you can expect a lot of the same kind of style of their journey as the first season, so a lot of insensitive people, a lot of hilarious scenarios, a lot of characters coming in and out of their life trying to “help them” get a baby.
TTVJ: Are there any fun new characters that we will meet in Season 2? Can you tell us about them?
MH: So you meet Stan (Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll) in the first episode, and he’s hilarious. We have a couple people that are coming to visit us again from the first season — Emma Hunter [Alley] is back. And then a couple other ones that I won’t give away — exciting — but someone from Workin’ Moms comes back, and Elise Bauman, who you might know from Carmilla, is doing a little guest spot in an episode, and she’s hilarious, and that whole episode was really fun to shoot. And then who else do we have? Can we give that away? Kelly McCormack (Killjoys) is back, and then Dennis Andres from Workin’ Moms is coming back, too. There’s a few really funny people.
TTVJ: Did you do any kind of extra research or talk to anyone about adoption?
MH: I talked a lot to Wendy, because when we were going through Season 1, she in her real life was going through Season 2. I talked to her a lot about her experiences with that. And every time I read a script, I was just like, “Wendy, did this actually happen?” And she was like, “Yeah, that’s real.” So, I learned a lot. A lot of it is very bizarre and unbelievable, but is actually a lot of people’s reality when they want to adopt children.
TTVJ: So many people can relate to infertility struggles and how that can affect so many aspects of a person’s life. What’s the response been like from fans on that issue?
MH: I know Wendy gets a lot of messages, just from people going through this and struggling with infertility. I’ve had people come up to me and be very moved by it or be like, “It almost feels like you were following me and my husband around with a camera,” or, you know, “We’ve shown this to our family and friends so they know what not to do,” and that kind of stuff. So I feel like it’s been a good response. A lot of people kind of nod their heads in a painful way, like, “Yeah, that’s about right.”
TTVJ: In Season 1, Molly McGlynn directed all the episodes. Is Adriana Maggs directing the entire second season? What’s it like working with her?
MH: Adriana Maggs did the entire second season, and she’s amazing. She actually also just directed a movie called Goalie, which is on the CBC as well. She’s wonderful. And it was so cool working with Molly in the first season and then kind of like solidifying the characters and shaping the characters and figuring out the relationship and then coming and bringing that back, and then having Adriana mold it even more, and the journey has been cool with both women.
TTVJ: Do you feel like having a female director makes a difference when dealing with issues of adoption and infertility?
MH: Yeah, I certainly think that — I’m not sure a singular man could have captured the vulnerability — I mean, maybe. I don’t want to say “absolutely not.” But definitely having a female voice when it came to that was imperative to the story, for sure. There’s so many nuances to that kind of struggle.
TTVJ: How closely do you work with creator Wendy Litner on the scripts and getting things right since this is a topic that requires some extra care?
MH: So Wendy writes all the scripts and then sends them to us, and then she stays on set. She was on set every single day, and at the beginning of the day, we would kind of go through that day’s scenes and kind of work out some thoughts that were — like we were bumping on or changing things around or just kind of rewording things, or sometimes we didn’t have to do anything because Wendy’s amazing and writes amazing. She was on set every day. She’s such a little cheerleader behind the camera. We just hear, “You guys are amazing! You’re perfect! I can’t with you guys. I love you!” all the time.
TTVJ: What’s the process like shooting a web series? Do you like it? How is it different? The pace is usually so much faster.
MH: It’s much faster. It’s really “quick and dirty,” I like to say. It’s just like, get in, get out. It’s a smaller crew. And I feel like it’s a lot more work just ‘cause you’re there all the time, but I kind of like that because it makes you feel like you’re really a part of it, whereas if you’re working on something episodic, maybe you’ll leave for an afternoon to go sit in your trailer for six hours. Or you’re only there for one or two days out of the whole shoot. But with this, you’re literally on set the entire time. Standing in for yourself or working on the script or messing around with the crew. It just feels like more of a family dynamic, I think.
TTVJ: Do you have any other projects coming up that we should know about?
MH: Hopefully some new projects in the future, but I’m focusing mostly on How to Buy a Baby. I’m doing some writing stuff, too, so look out for that.
Excited for Season 2 of How to Buy a Baby? Sound off below!
How to Buy a Baby Season 2 is available to stream on Friday, August 23 on CBC Gem.
Monica is a queer fangirl who lives in Pittsburgh with her wife and cat. She cohosts a Wynonna Earp podcast called There’s Something in the Heir, her favorite Buffy episode is “Doppelgangland,” and one of her favorite TV couples is Ben and Leslie. You can find her shouting about strong female characters and queer representation @lesbiyinzer on Twitter.