TRANSCRIPT One Bad Mother Episode 402: Does Your Family Inspire You? with Wendy and Lizzie Molyneux

Teenage angst is good for one thing… comedy. Fox animated series The Great North creators Wendy and Lizzie Molyneux joining us to talk writing with your sibling, memory pranks, and what it’s like being the motherf***ing boss. Plus, Biz doesn’t miss lunch.

Podcast: One Bad Mother

Episode number: 402

Guests: Wendy Molyneux Lizzie Molyneux

Transcript

biz ellis

Hi. I’m Biz.

theresa thorn

And I’m Theresa.

biz

Due to the pandemic, we bring you One Bad Mother straight from our homes—including such interruptions as: children! Animal noises! And more! So let’s all get a little closer while we have to be so far apart. And remember—we are doing a good job.

music

“Summoning the Rawk” by Kevin MacLeod. Driving electric guitar and heavy drums. [Continues through dialogue.]

biz

This week on One Bad Mother—does your family inspire you? We talk to Lizzie and Wendy Molyneux, head writers and creators of the animated show The Great North, and wonder—does teenage angst make for good comedy? Plus, Biz doesn’t miss lunch.

crosstalk

Biz and caller: Wooooo!

caller

Man. It’s early! It’s like, in the sixes still. [Biz laughs.] And I’m going to work, ‘cause I’m an elementary school principal. Here’s the funny thing—I woke up 18 minutes ago— [Biz laughs.] And I just got in the car! And here I go! That’s the kind of week I’ve been having. But you know what? There are only 25 days left of school here in Colorado. And we’re gonna make it. We are going to make it. Teachers, you’re gonna make it. Principals, you’re gonna make it. Parents? You are gonna make it through this school year! We’re gonna do it. And it’s gonna be okay. So… hang in there, everybody! I am really tired. That’s my check-in. [Biz laughs.] Okay. Have a great day, and Biz and Theresa? I love you. You [through laughter] saved me this year! So that’s good. That’s really good. Good job. [Biz laughs.] You are doing a great job. Bye!

biz

I like that the compliment of saving you has the sound that I am known to make. It sounds a little like madness? It’s like—[Laughs.] That laughter of, like, “And here we go! Any minute! Imminent breakdown!” Which I think is an appropriate place for all the listeners of One Bad Mother and Theresa and I at this point in time. You are doing an amazing job. Principal? Spelled with a “P-A-L”? ‘Cause you are my pal. I like that you said it’s “the sixes.” I don’t know if that means the time—like, you’re still in the 6 A.M. sixes? Or the weather. Like, you live somewhere where it is in the six-degree area. That’s—both of those things could be true. I like to know that principals are human, because I don’t think you are. I think you’re amazing that you just get up and get in a car. [Laughs.] That makes me happy to know. And you are right! You are gonna get through these last 25 days of school. And the teachers are going to get through it. And the parents—something’s gonna happen to parents. I dunno. Maybe they’ll get through it. Maybe they’ll just tell their kids that school lasts forever now and they just put them in a car and drive them around for a while. I dunno. We’re gonna find out. This is a brave new world that we live in. But I do know that what I am always able to do is say—thank you. Thank you, to you specifically, for being a principal. And that’s gonna lead us right in to all of the thank-you’s that I love to do! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the principals. All the principals. Some of you guys have been leading in person. Some of you remotely. Some of you have finally gotten settled into the routine of remote and then, ta-da!, you get to open school again. Whew! [Laughs.] My oldest went back to school and they’re doing most of school outside, but just for fun their teacher took the class up to the old classroom? Everything on the wall was from March, 2020. It was like a time capsule. It was all the projects that they had been working on. It was—ahh, it was crazy! [Laughs.] Kat was like, “It was the weirdest thing ever!” So I know that for a lot of you who work in schools, that’s what you’re walking into! You are walking into a time capsule. And that’s gonna bring up The Feelings. So thank you—thank you! Thank you, teachers. Thank you, principals. Thank you, school administrators. Thank you, PTAs. Thank you, parents, for putting in all the effort that it requires to make school work and happen. Thank you to the medical industry, as always. We see you. Doctors, nurses, EMTs—you’re all remarkable. All of the different equipment specialists? You guys are amazing! All of the people who work in—from data management to reception to admissions to… I don’t know. The people who help keep the hospitals clean and running. Maintenance. All of you—you guys are the core of how we have survived the pandemic. And are still surviving the pandemic! So I know you’re fucking tired. I just hope you don’t feel unappreciated. Because you really, really are appreciated. [Singing] Thank you, people sticking us with vaccines! [Regular voice] Thank you to the people who made the vaccines. Thank you to the people who volunteered to be part of the vaccine trials! I mean, thanks for doing that! Thank you to the people who administer the vaccines to us. Thank you to all the people who deal with the paperwork and the lists and the sign-ups and making sure we know when we’re supposed to come back. Thank you—thank you!

biz

Thank you, essential workers. Which—you know who you are at this point in time. You are still working in the grocery store ‘cause we couldn’t just shut those down. Thank you to the people who are making sure those grocery stores are stocked and that we are able to get the things that we need. That—the people who are stocking the shelves. The people who are unloading the trucks. The people who are farming and making and producing these things. Thank you so much! Thank you to the school bus drivers who are back! Toot, toot! Thank you! Thank you to the postal service; the mailman; the Amazon delivers, the—UPS. The FedEx. All delivery services—thank you, thank you, thank you! And most of all, thank you to everybody who is getting vaccinated if you can. Because there’s certainly people who aren’t able to, due to autoimmune issues and a variety of other medical issues, and it really is important that the rest of us get poked. To support those people. So… thank you so much. Now—how am I? Here is my check-in. So this is week two of the kids being back in some sort of school. Some remote. Three days in-person. I… I don’t miss making lunch, guys. Like, it was… such a surprise to me—[Laughs.] Like, the day before they went back to school that I had to pack lunches. For many years, I have packed lunches every single day of the school week. And over the pandemic, that just stopped! I had become a person who could do the big grocery store run once every three weeks. Y’know. Fresh fruit. If we can get out to get it, great, but y’know—we move on. I’m not doing a million store runs. I don’t miss making lunch. It came as such a surprise that I was gonna have to pack lunches again. Like, multiple days. Not just once, but every day that my kids were gonna go to school I was gonna have to pack a lunch. And I had been really enjoying this past year of not doing that. Not thinking about what needs to go into a lunch when I go to the grocery store. And what has counted as “lunch” in this house during the pandemic—[Laughs.] Has been wide… and varied. And… I am pretty sure sending my kid to school with three slices of white bread and some gummies—which has been a normal lunch around here—they’re fruit-flavored gummies. It’s like fruit. Is not balanced enough to get those kids through school without having massive emotional breakdowns throughout the day? So that’s, again, another routine. Another unused muscle I gotta start working out again. Ooooh. But I will tell ya—I would’ve loved to have gone to school with three slices of white bread as my lunch. Even though I am sure I would’ve been teased mercilessly. But—I think that ties in nicely to who we are talking to today: teenage angst trials and tribulations of our youth can sometimes make for some seriously great comedy. And we are gonna be talking to Lizzie and Wendy Molyneux, who are the head writers and creators of the animated show The Great North.

music

Banjo strums; cheerful banjo music continues through dialogue.

theresa

Please—take a moment to remember: If you’re friends of the hosts of One Bad Mother, you should assume that when we talk about other moms, we’re talking about you.

biz

If you are married to the host of One Bad Mother, we definitely are talking about you.

theresa

Nothing we say constitutes professional parenting advice.

biz

Biz and Theresa’s children are brilliant, lovely, and exceedingly extraordinary.

theresa

Nothing said on this podcast about them implies otherwise. [Banjo music fades out.] [Biz, Lizzie, and Wendy repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss the weekly topic.]

biz

This week, we are talking to Lizzie and Wendy Molyneux. They are the creators, showrunners, and executive producers of The Great North on Fox, which is currently airing its first season and has been renewed for a second. In addition, Lizzie and Wendy are writers and executive producers of the long-running hit series Bob’s Burgers on Fox, for which they won an Emmy Award in 2017 and have been nominated for an Emmy for eight consecutive years. They have also been nominated for three WGA Awards, and won the Annie Award in 2017 for their episode, “The Hormone-iums.” [Laughs.] On the feature side, the recently adapted the novel The People We Hate at the Wedding for Film Nation, which is slated to begin filming soon with Allison Janney, Ben Platt, and Annie Murphy attached to star. And [makes trumpeting noises] I’m really excited about this announcement! They—it has just been announced that they are going to be the writers on Marvel’s upcoming Deadpool movie. We could just derail on that 100% and just talk on that. Welcome, Lizzie and Wendy! Woooo!

wendy molyneux

Thank you! Thank you! [Biz laughs.] I’m glad that you got our entire professional bio sent to you and then read it.

lizzie molyneux

[Through laughter] Yes. I’m so sorry!

wendy

It’s like, we should probably log off now. That’s it.

biz

Yeah. That’s it. That’s all the time we have today. I am sorry the two of you have been so incredibly successful. [Laughs.] Alright. Before we get into… questions. And discussion. I wanna ask you what we ask all our guests, which is—who lives in your house? And I have a feeling this is gonna be a lot of fun. Wendy, we’re gonna start with you! Wendy, who lives in your house?

wendy

Um, I live… in my house with my spouse, Jeff. With—we have four children. Our oldest is ten. We have two in the middle, age four and five, and then we have a twenty-month-old toddler. I guess a toddler now. I guess that’s not a baby anymore. We have three cats and a dog. And I think that’s it! So six people, four animals. [Biz laughs.]

biz

Maybe. Maybe. Once you get to ten—

wendy

Yeah. I might’ve forgot one.

biz

Yeah. When there’s like a ten headcount in the house, they can just sneak in and out and you don’t know.

wendy

Yep. You could add a child and we might not notice. So if anyone has a child they’re looking to just offload, just maybe—if we leave a door open. Scuttle ‘em in there and see what happens.

biz

You have a cat door? Just like a pet door. That works too. Y’know. They just come in.

wendy

They could come in through the catio. The cats have a special patio. [Biz laughs.] So.

biz

Lizzie? Can you top that? [Laughs.]

lizzie

I—I can’t top it. I can’t. I cannot. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] I—maybe if you gave me some time, I could go to the animal shelter and get some more children. But for now, I have my husband, Matt. I have a thirteen-year-old daughter. I have a two-year-old daughter. And then I have another daughter coming soon this fall. And we have— [Multiple people laugh.]

wendy

It’s like a movie announcement!

lizzie

Yes. She’s—

biz

Premiering on Fox! [Laughs.]

lizzie

Exactly! Yeah. We’ll see. It’s—y’know. Gonna be tough to launch a new daughter. There’s gonna be a lot of competition, I think.

wendy

It’s like kinda late in the fall to be launching a daughter.

lizzie

It is. Yeah.

wendy

A lotta daughters will have hit the air already.

biz

Exactly! There’s a lot. It’s—how is yours gonna stand out differently?

lizzie

Well we’re gonna put out three episodes of our daughter right away so you can binge but not everything so that you just burn through it. So it’s like, build a little interest but you don’t—y’know.

biz

That’s pretty good. Yeah. Do you wanna binge-watch your kids or spread them out in an episodic manner? It’s a good question. I’m not sure.

lizzie

Oh, and we have two dogs. And they’re—they’re okay.

biz

Once again, guys. We’re done. That’s about all we have time for today. [Multiple people laugh.]

biz

Alright. After—I wanna go back to the very impressive bio. And I wanna start with… what, to me, is a really obvious question. And that is—how does it feel to be the motherfucking boss? Like— [Someone laughs.] —that’s what I want to know. Because… this is… super impressive. Especially in an industry that… y’know… all I could think of is things like, “What do you mean, a woman wrote that?!” [Laughs.] I mean, it’s just—I—there’s—it’s not a friendly place. How does it feel? I know this wasn’t overnight. I know this is something you guys have worked towards for a long time. So… yeah! Lizzie, do you wanna take—tell me a little bit about the crown you wear? [Someone laughs.] Or like, the special shoes you wear as a boss?

lizzie

Um… well… I mean—[Laughs.] I will say I think— [Biz laughs.] We’ve definitely stayed, y’know, humble. [Through laughter] I just think with working at home for the past year of like—like, I am sitting in my bed right now doing this. Like I think, y’know, I think we are really excited about all of the projects that we have going on right now. But I think, y’know, it’s been a lot of work. So I think that’s always been our main… focus. Has just been—y’know, even when we’ve—we’ve been on Bob’s for over ten years now and we’ve always done—y’know, tried to do additional projects while we were there. And so I think we’re just—we like to work and— [Biz laughs.] —it’s nice to see some of that work come to fruition? But I think no matter what, we just like—we love to write. And we like to do different types of writing. And I think it’s fun for us whether things actually end up coming together or not. I think that’s always just been our drive. And we always have such a wonderful experience working at Bob’s and being able to pursue other things additionally. So I think it’s just been—it’s been really nice! I guess that’s how I would say. [Biz laughs.] It’s nice to be a boss! A little bit. A little. Yeah.

biz

Wendy, do you also enjoy being a boss? Or are you like, “NO!” [Laughs.]

wendy

No, I do enjoy it! I mean, there are times—I think anyone who comes into a position of responsibility will occasionally fantasize about back when they were—which, when you are this, feels like a nightmare. But I’ll be like, “Back when I was a temp and didn’t have any responsibilities, I would just go home and then I would go out with my friends at night.” Which of course you can’t right now, because of the pandemic. But of course there’s a little, y’know, lazy core to myself that is like, “Oh. Wow. I’d really just like to fuck off right now and not do anything.” [Biz laughs.] But it’s good to have something to do. And, y’know, it is—it’s like—I think actually TV’s a really much friendlier place for women now and for women showrunners. But it’s good to step up and do it, even if it is really busy [through laughter] and you also have four kids to take care of and all of that stuff. I think one thing that I’ve kind of learned is like—I mean, ‘cause we’ve had a lot of male bosses and one thing you learn, I think, that can be a little bit gendered—if we’re talking about sort of “female boss space” or whatever—let’s just get into it— [Biz laughs.] —is like, I think when you have a male boss and he gives a note with a question mark at the end or says, “Oh, sorry, but would you mind changing this?” or something like that—that’s seen as, like, “Oh, wow, listen to how inclusive he’s being! Listen to him asking for opinions! That’s so cool!” If you do it? It’s like, “Oh, she doesn’t know! She needs help! I’ll take over and do it instead.” Or whatever. So I think it’s like—it’s actually really good to go in and sort of say, “How do I keep—” Because I think Lizzie and I both strive to hear everyone’s idea and everyone’s—and then we do have to make the decision. But what’s been interesting is the way that I say it… would have to be more like, “I would like to hear other people’s opinion on this” rather than like, “Do you think this?” As if—‘cause that will be taken—I’m actually really fine and confident? But it was very unusual for me to start feeling like, “Oh, that person misinterpreted that as me not knowing.” It’s really interesting. It’s a really interesting thing to learn. It’s an interesting thing to learn and I think it’s good to learn it and to go, like, “Okay, well I mean—fuck you for thinking ‘sorry’ or a question mark—” [Biz laughs.] “—is that?” But at the same time, maybe I’ll stop doing it a little because I don’t feel like carrying your burden for you. Y’know. Like, your weird cultural burden of “this person doesn’t know things.” So it’s interesting.

biz

Because this then leads you to—alright. So tone and wording. Right? Like, how—how women and men have to express things differently. Men never seen as weak; in fact, they’re probably being like, “What do you think?”—question mark—because somebody has guided them in “This is how you talk—” [Wendy laughs.] “—so that—” Right? Now with women, if you—you’re like, “Well, sorry, I’m not gonna carry your burden.” Which I fucking love, but there can be such a backlash on women showing any… power. Any authority. And, y’know, so then they just hate you ‘cause you’re just like the worst. Right? So… what’s that balance like?

wendy

I mean, when I say that I think it’s like—those are just minor things that have happened that are just things I contemplate as we go. As like, “Oh, I need to adjust this.” ‘Cause the Loren Bouchard-iverse over there at—between Bob’s and Central Park and Great North is—I think it’s rapidly, rapidly, rapidly diversifying. Rapidly—like, on production side and on writing side? You see so many younger faces. More women. More people of color. Y’know, it’s just—it’s just changed so much over the last ten years. So I think they’re really, really putting that effort in. So I definitely don’t ever feel like people are like, angry. [Laughs.] That we have a show to run. [Biz laughs.] It’s more just like those small interpersonal communications where you realize, like, “Okay. When we were, y’know, just staff writers or under someone else, you don’t have to think about that. And then when you become the boss, you do have to sort of go like, ‘Oh, something’s off here. What’s going on?’” And then you realize, like, “Oh, this is being perceived—not that I’m asking an opinion, but that I genuinely don’t know.” And just those adjustments I think are interesting. And I think it’ll change over time ‘cause the more you have, y’know, women in those positions—people [through laughter] other than white dudes in those positions—like, all those modes of communication. Like, if a younger female writer says to me, “I don’t know. I was thinking—and maybe not this, but—” I’m like, “Oh, I know she actually really likes this idea.” ‘Cause to me, I know how she’s talking! I speak her language, which is like, “I’m gonna put out three disclaimers and then I’m gonna tell you my very good idea.” [Biz laughs.] “But I just wanna make sure you don’t think I’m being super arrogant.” And I’m like, “Oh, I know what she’s saying.” And that—I like—so I think those modes of communication will change. Like, all different types of communication will become more present in the workplace. [Biz laughs.] And this is just a period of transition. Of people trying to understand each other. And I think most people—99% of people—have the best intentions and if you do sort of say, “No, this is what I meant,” we’re in a time now where I think people can listen. Good-hearted people can listen. [Biz laughs.] So I think it’s—I dunno. It’s good. Lizzie, sorry. I talked for seven minutes there. [Biz laughs.] Gotta go! Log off, everybody! [Laughs.]

biz

“I gotta go, guys! That was it!”

wendy

That was it again. [Biz laughs.]

lizzie

That’s it for us, guys! No, I mean, I agree. I think it’s—I think for… us, I think for me especially, it’s been a learning process of—I think when you’re starting out, y’know, especially as a woman, I think you tend to come in more passively and—as Wendy was saying—you always sort of have disclaimers for things you say and you don’t wanna rock the boat too much ‘cause, y’know, I think you’re sort of feel like if you get your foot in the door you don’t wanna lose that spot because y’know, it’s hard—if you come off really brash as a woman, sometimes—as you’re saying—people just react badly to it. But I think for us it’s been finding that shift of—there are times when I think you notice something and as—[Laughs.] Women we sort of have trained our brains to make every excuse for the person that maybe is treating us a certain way or reacting to us a certain way?

biz

The assholes? [Laughs.]

lizzie

Yeah! Maybe their intention isn’t terrible, but there is a gendered reason behind the way that sometimes men react to women. And retraining yourself to say, like, “No, I’m not crazy. This is really happening. And I need to be more assertive!” And y’know, it’s—I think… I don’t—y’know, I can’t speak to this 100%, but I think when men come into power—like positions of power—it’s like, they’re comfortable in it. They’re confident in it. And everyone else sort of falls into place around that and is also confident in it. But I think when you’re a woman, sometimes people… don’t react the same way. They’re not just gonna be like, “This is the boss. I’m gonna sit back and listen.” So you have to just push that a little bit more and I think—y’know, I think for us it’s just been a little bit of a learning process. But I think it’s good. And I think that it’s, y’know… as more women come into the industry and are in these positions, like, hopefully that training process will have to be less for younger people coming in now. Will get that sort of respect reactions sooner. So I think it’s all part of this growth, hopefully, that’s happening.

biz

Yay! Well speaking of growth, you’re pregnant! So like right there… and you guys have—[Laughs.] “Speaking of growth.” Do you like that?

lizzie

I love that! [Laughs.]

wendy

It’s a great segue.

lizzie

Yes!

biz

But—thank you. I am the queen of segues. It’s my special gift. Alright. So the two of you have a lot of kids in your house. [Laughs.] ‘K? Of varying ages. You also have very young kids in your house, which is its own special sort of hell. I mean, it’s nice, but it’s—I mean, y’know. It’s a little of A and it’s a lot of B. ‘K? All the time. So… we just had this great little conversation about being bosses and being women and adjusting language and cultural expectations, but—I mean, women do get shit for having children. So… how does that come into play? Has it come into play? Have you found any struggles with that or have you just walked right through it, like, “I don’t care.” I’m gonna leave this to Lizzie, who is the one currently making a person.

lizzie

[Laughs.] I mean… [sighs.] Gosh. It’s hard. I think there’s a struggle for any woman who’s working, no matter what. That’s the sort of guilt you feel in working in general. I think it’s like… it’s just sort of built in. Not that I think women should feel guilty about working at all! But it’s sort of— [Biz laughs.] —it’s hard to leave your kids for the first time when you go back to work and it’s—so I think there’s always gonna be that challenge. I—[sighs.] I think for us, it’s—or for myself it’s just trying to figure out how to draw boundaries of, like, “I need to work this many hours but I also need to set aside time to spend with my kids and to also feel like that’s a justified and a reasonable thing to do.” And I think the more that women can do that and put that energy out and say, “This has to exist,” that I think the better—‘cause I think that we’ve seen that with the pandemic. Right? A lot of people didn’t have childcare and then everything fell to women and it’s really difficult to do—y’know, to work and take care of kids and when you don’t have any help. So I think the more that everyone can realize that we need to have a system that allows for people to have time off when they have kids or to have options for childcare and all of that. It just makes everybody’s lives better and I think it would help more women be able to do more of what they want if there were better childcare options for ever—

biz

Supported.

lizzie

Yes! Like, it’s just kind of crazy that it’s just been the way it’s been and it’s, y’know— [Biz laughs.] —you get your whatever weeks for maternity leave and then it’s like, “Well, you better be back here!” And men don’t get any time. Like, it’s… y’know, I think it’s really—I hope it’s that this whole pandemic time has opened people’s eyes to that a little bit more. That, like, we need to be better about—

biz

We’re seriously broken? Yeah! Maybe. I dunno. [Laughs.] Alright. I’m gonna segue us—I’m shifting us. I’m shifting us again. Not—because I have so many things I would like to ask you guys about and I do wanna talk about the fact—anybody listening, surprise! They’re sisters. [Wendy laughs.] You probably have already gathered that, but just in case you didn’t—[singing] sisters! Sisters! [Regular voice] Okay. I have a sister. We could not have been writing partners. Um—[Laughs.] [Wendy laughs.] Like, even… a little. [Lizzie laughs.] But—so here’s my question to start off with. How are you guys managing this? Because… I mean, maybe you guys are just the best. Are you guys just the best? Do you guys just really love each other? [Both laugh.] Or is there like… how is it working as siblings together on these projects? And—go ahead. Go ahead and say it’s wonderful. Go ahead. [All laugh.]

wendy

I’m sorry to tell you—

biz

Yeah. It’s the worst. [Laughs.]

wendy

That we get along… almost all the time. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] I—here’s the thing I think about writing comedy—

biz

Click!

wendy

—with a sibling. We have two other sisters. We have a brother. Lizzie and I are nine years apart, almost, so we never had competitiveness between us? Like, what would we be competing for? For much of my childhood she was a literal baby. Would I have been like, “Why does she get to use the baby spoon? I want it.” [Biz laughs.] “I just love small spoons. Put me in the crib.” Like, what would happen there? But I do think growing up in the same family, you do have—I think one of the things that might be hard—and I’m just guessing—between other comedy writing partners could be sort of a disagreement on what’s funny? Generally? Or what your sensibility is? What you like, where your sort of moral boundaries are maybe on things? Not moral like religious, but just sort of like… are we gonna do something really fucking dark and wild, or do we like something a little lighter? Like, all of that stuff I think can be maybe just genetically baked in but also you sort of were cooked in the same soup and so you both think certain parts of the soup are funny. Or whatever. But like—so I think that takes away a potential obstacle. So you can’t [through laughter] really—I mean, we could split up and do different things later in life. I could open a shop. I don’t know. [Lizzie laughs.] I could open a shop. [Biz laughs.]

biz

Sure. You’ve always wanted to open that shop. [Laughs.]

wendy

Any minute now. I could just decide to open a shop. But like—

biz

Just gonna shift from comedy writing to small business.

wendy

But it is—if you’re related it’s gonna be really hard to be like, “Let’s let this thing—” if something does come up between us. Because it’s like, we’ve been writing together for—Jesus—like 15 years now, maybe? And so… stuff comes up. Of course it does. But if you’re related you can’t be like, “You know what? I’ll just ice them out and then break up with them and then we won’t talk anymore and I’ll just go live my wonderful life with my shop. Where I sell—I think—octopus sort of tchotchkes.” That’s what I’m picturing here is that I have a whole store of just… with that. So I think there’s that. But y’know I think there’s definitely—like, I’m the older sister. I think I can be—[Laughs.] Y’know. I can be too assertive. [Biz laughs.] Due to my birth order. Y’know. So like—[Laughs.] That’s a thing for sure. Sometimes I have to be like, “Shut up! Shut up!” To myself. Because I just will go on and on. So there’s definitely that. But I do think, ultimately, y’know we pass drafts back and forth and I rarely would open anything—maybe never—that Lizzie worked on. Like if she did Act 1 of something. And go like, “What’s this?” Like, it’s like, “Oh, this is very close to something I might also choose to do here and—“ I mean, I’m assuming that it’s kind of the same for her or we would’ve broken up as partners a long time ago. [Biz laughs.] Y’know, where we can—and also, I don’t think we take it personally if the other person changes a joke. We’re just like, “Oh, I changed that joke but if you really like your joke we can go back to that joke.” Or whatever. So I think it has been fairly functional. [Laughs.] Sorry to report. [Lizzie laughs.]

crosstalk

Wendy: But I think if I were to work with my direct older sister— Biz: Well, it’s okay.

wendy

—who was only a year and a half older than me—she is my boss. I do whatever she says. [Biz laughs.] Even if she’s like, “Do you wanna go to lunch?” I’m like, “Wherever you wanna go, Jenny, is fine with me.” Like, she’s in charge of me 1000%. So that would’ve been harder ‘cause if she did something I’d be like, “Ooooh. Well, Jenny already did it. I can’t [through laughter] judge this.” So it’s like, I think birth order comes into play a little bit that we had such a massive gap. That we didn’t have those… interpersonal conflicts growing up. Sorry, that was a long answer to a short question.

biz

Don’t worry. I’m going to have a separate interview with Lizzie. [Lizzie laughs.] In which I’m gonna really push and find out what Lizzie really thinks. Actually—so because you guys have worked together for so long and you come from the same soup… have you found there to be times where you’re getting into sort of writing ruts? Where you’re just telling the same joke sort of over and over in different ways? Is that a problem? Have you experienced that? And how do you kinda get out of that?

lizzie

I mean… [sighs.] Oof. I mean, I don’t feel like I’ve ever felt that way. I mean, I think more so than any writer might feel at any point of like, “Ugh, maybe this draft isn’t feeling like our most… exciting. Our most inspired.” I think every writer might have those times where you’re just feeling like, “Ugh, I’m not good at writing right now!” Or like certainly there have been times just in a writers’ room where you’re like, “Oof, I am not funny today!” [Biz and Wendy laugh.] “It’s not working. And that’s it!” I think the good thing about having a writing partner, too, is like I think at those times then you’re like, “I did this thing. It’s not—I didn’t put a lot of jokes in. It’s not that great. Can you read it? You’ll be able to punch it up and make it better.” So I think the nice thing about having two people [through laughter] working together all the time is that I think when you have those times when you’re like, “Ugh. This is—I’m garbage.” [Biz laughs.] Hopefully— [Wendy laughs.] —and usually the other person isn’t—[Laughs.] Isn’t feeling that way right at that moment, too? I’m sure there’s been times we’ve both felt that way. But y’know, you have somebody to bounce stuff off of and it’s always easier to read something you didn’t directly write and then try to, y’know, zhush it up a little bit or whatever. So I think that’s been helpful for us is just to have that person to always sort of bounce something back and say like, “This is all I got today!” [Laughs.] “Can you please fill in?” So I think— [Biz laughs.] —that’s been—y’know, I think that’s helped when we have those times. ‘Cause I think anyone who’s writing—like, it’s hard to feel like you’re—I dunno. Maybe some dudes feel like they’re amazing all the time. [Laughs.]

biz

Yeah, Maybe they’re like, “Yes! Another gem!” [Laughs.]

lizzie

Yes! “Got ‘em! We got the guys, guys!”

biz

So—inspiration-wise—have been really enjoying The Great North, your new show. And thinking in particular about Judy and inspiration for not only her—that character—the teen of the family—but all of the characters. Where does—I mean, inspiration’s hard to explain. But like… maybe by “inspiration” I really mean, like, memories of crippling-ly embarrassing moments of your own life. Like, I know that in my family our lens has a dark filter. So when we remember things, my sister and I, like… the things we find funny from our [through laughter] childhood—when we share that with others, we realize we’re not the same as other people. Like, y’know. [Someone laughs.] “Oh. That wasn’t what happened in your family? That wasn’t funny?” so like—[Laughs.] So when you’re creating these characters and giving them stories… how much do you pull from your own life, and—follow-up question—do you guys—because you’re siblings—ever do the old, like, “Oh. I remember when my sister had this truly traumatically, horribly embarrassing thing happen to them. I’m just gonna put this in the show. Surprise!” And then you’re like, “Whoa! You can’t share that!” Or “Ah! Yeah, that’s funny.” Like, do you—[Laughs.] Do you—is it not only your own experiences, but do you just mercilessly pull from your own family’s experiences? So there ya go. Big question. [Laughs.] Big question.

wendy

We do not do any memory pranks. Which is what you’re suggesting here. There’s no memory pranks. Which I think is like a whole… [Biz laughs.] You have invented a whole new genre of, like, very subtle prank show? Where you take someone else’s memories. You put it into a fictional work. And then you surprise them with it. I feel like—

biz

Ta-da! Ta-da!

wendy

I feel like—‘cause Ashton Kutcher is past his Punk’d phase? But we should all probably pitch him Memory Pranks? It’s a gentle show.

biz

Super subtle. It’s very gentle.

wendy

Yeah. It’s a gentle show. It’s on IFC. It’s almost intellectual. It’s almost like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Like, you don’t even tell them they’ll be watching their own experience. You just sit them down and then you film them and that’s part of the show. It’s just—it’s very complex.

biz

And they’re watching it. Yeah. And they’re like, “Ohhh, that happened to me as a child!” Right? Yeah. That’s—

wendy

I like what you’re talking about here! This is a whole different thing and I might do it to Lizzie somehow.

biz

Oh. Very good. Very good. You’re welcome! I’ll take my producer credit now. Goodbye! [Laughs.]

wendy

I don’t think that there’s a lot of things to mercilessly pull. I think you’ll sometimes see a little touch of Molyneux history in things like—one time our sister, Maggie—and she laughs about this and our mom kept the note, actually—she ran away [through laughter] from home and by “run away” she went and sat on the curb? This was when we lived in Indiana. She sat in the front yard near the edge of the yard? [Laughs.] With a bag. I think. [Biz laughs.] I think this is how it went down. She probably has different memories. I’m memory-pranking her right now. Who’s the Ashton Kutcher now? It’s me! But she wrote a note and the end of it was [through laughter] she told mom and dad she was leaving. That she was running away. And then her sign-off was, “I guess things—” [Laughs.] I can’t even say it! “I guess things just don’t work out sometimes.” [All laugh.] She’s very—‘cause she was probably five or six. Like, it’s such a wise thing to know and to say. And I hope she’s carried it with her into life. But our mom kept the note because it was so elderly of her to say that. And that, I think—I think a touch of that might’ve gotten into Louise’s note when she runs away from the Belcher family? But—Lizzie, am I wrong? I feel like we talked about it in the room, at least. So I think there’s little funny things that we… bring. And I think we’ve several times talked about the fact our brother—on one trip—made himself a jar of algae? And we were—it was a kind of trip where you had to come back on a plane and stuff. And he was so attached and it destroyed him that he had to leave a jar of algae behind. So I think there’s more like these little weird touchstones from our childhood that we like to bring up? Or like in an upcoming Great North, Ham and Moon put on coats and scare the family in them in these old fur coats? [Biz laughs.] And we did have sometimes—my mom had this thrift store fur coat she had gotten and I would put it on at birthdays and pretend to stab everyone? It was a whole—it was a weird thing. [Biz laughs.] Where I would say I was a friendly bear and then I would pretend to stab everybody? As their birthday surprise? And I would go, “Oh, no!” [Biz laughs.] “I’m killing you!” Like, which is such a strange… thing to do, I guess? But when you’re in the family that just seems like a normal in-joke or whatever. So we do have Ham and Moon in fur coats. So I think there’s hints and touches of things? But maybe not. Because we don’t work in sort of a more confessional or dramedy type show? It doesn’t get so deep that someone would be like, “What the fuck? Why did you put my secrets on national television? [Biz laughs.] There’s not—I don’t think there’s a lot of that.

crosstalk

Biz: “Dear Diary, today I got my period.” Right! [Laughs.] Wendy: Unless Lizzie, am I not thinking—yes. Exactly. Lizzie: No!

wendy

I think it’s little things.

lizzie

I think anything’s that a little bit deeper or more embarrassing for us is something that happened to me or Wendy that we would then put into an episode.

biz

Oh, that’s what I mean. Very specifically that. [Laughs.]

lizzie

Yeah, but I think that’s more like… I think that’s more like both Wendy and I being like, “This happened to me in high school! It’s fucking nuts! We should put it in!” And I can look back on it and be like, “That’s—that’s wild that I thought this boy liked me but he also had a boyfriend.” Y’know, like not—like I think we just take [through laughter] things from our own life of like, “Wow! We were kind of clueless and maybe not the most… popular girls. Ever. In school.” But I think a little bit of that did help form Judy and I think it’s like—in a loving way. Like, we love that girl ‘cause I think a lot of people—I think most women were that girl in high school. I don’t think most people were like—

wendy

Most people even were that person, I would say.

biz

Just that person, yeah.

wendy

There’s a rarefied group of 15 people per school who truly had it fucking made in high school. [Biz laughs.] They were like, “This is my fucking time. I’m living now.”

biz

“I am really good at this.”

wendy

They probably look at their yearbook at night still and are just like, “Oh, man, fuuuuck! God, I was so fucking cool!”

lizzie

“I was gorgeous. I was cool. Everyone liked me.”

biz

“I was really popular! It was—yeah!”

wendy

And me, I look back and I’m like, “Oh, look at me in my giant t-shirt being president of Thespian Club.”

biz

That’s right! Heyyy, that’s right!

wendy

Just living in my giant t-shirt.

biz

Giant t-shirt. That’s right. I had a lot of giant t-shirts as well.

wendy

The ‘90s were an age of boxy cotton tees that you just wore to like… so no one would make fun of your body. It was a great time. It was a great time.

biz

Aww, good times! That is good times. [Wendy laughs.] I wore Jams. Because—again—just a little difference. And a lot of Benetton. But that made me… a freak. [Laughs.] [Wendy laughs.]

wendy

The Benetton?

biz

‘Cause I was wearing Benetton, which had some style in the ‘80s. And I grew up in the Deep South. So that meant I was probably a lesbian. [Laughs.] [All laugh.] And as my mother said, “Maybe you should just let them think that.” Ladies? I am so glad that you came on the show today. And I’m so glad that you guys are just out in the universe doing what you’re doing. It is… it’s important. It sounded silly to say it, but it’s actually really important work and if I had been growing up watching, y’know, half of the shoes that I watched and knew that they were by women—it was women-run shows and women-led—it would’ve made me feel less like I had to be one of the boys to do anything that I did. Growing up. So you are doing really good work and we didn’t even get to get into the fact that at the very beginning [through laughter] of our conversation you were talking about boundaries? And I’m like, “Jesus, you guys have a lot of kids! There are no boundaries!” Everything that you’re trying to balance right now? On top of just there being kids in your house? Is—which is like—that’s like it’s impossible! That’s an impossible thing to have. Really. So good job. You guys are both doing a great job. Thank you so much— [Someone laughs.] —for joining us.

crosstalk

Lizzie: Thank you! Yeah! Wendy: Thank you for having us and sorry we did not discuss parenting at all but now I know—next time! Biz: Did you know—this—this whole fucking podcast—

biz

—is about—not about parenting, actually. [Laughs.]

wendy

Yes. I know. But still. I feel like we just like… [Biz laughs.]

biz

It’s just like, “How can I make this work with parenting today?” [Multiple people laugh.] In case somebody accidentally found this podcast and thought it would be helpful. So… guys, next time? Deadpool and children. That’s what will be on the list for next—next time. [Someone laughs.] We’ll link everybody up to where they can find out more about it, you guys. Thank you so much for coming on!

crosstalk

Lizzie: Yeah! Thank you for having us! Yeah! Wendy: Yeah. Thanks for your cool podcast.

biz

Absolutely! Alright! Bye!

wendy

Bye!

lizzie

Buh-bye!

music

“Ones and Zeroes” by “Awesome.” Steady, driving electric guitar with drum and woodwinds. [Music fades out.]

music

Cheerful ukulele and whistling plays in background.

biz

One Bad Mother is supported in part by KiwiCo. KiwiCo believes in the power of kids and that small lessons today can mean big world-changing ideas tomorrow. So they want to kick-start curiosity, creation, and innovation in kids. Right here, right now! In your house! [Laughs.]

theresa

Okay. I really wanna talk about this thing I got for Oscar, my seven-year-old. It’s a little fold-up booklet that’s for creating your own monsters? Basically you pick these little parts of a monster to put together and you’re tracing some of it and then you’re choosing a texture to put underneath the paper and rub your crayon? And it’s just endless amounts of enjoyment. I think it would be really great for a car ride or just an activity to work on quietly at home.

biz

There is no telling what a KiwiCo kit can do. Kickstart curiosity, creation, and innovation in kids today and discover a brighter tomorrow!

theresa

Get 30% off your first month plus free shipping on any crate line with code “badmother” at KiwiCo.com.

biz

That’s 30% off your first month at K-I-W-I-C-O.com, promo code “badmother.” [Music fades out.]

theresa

Hey, you know what it’s time for! This week’s genius and fails! This is the part of the show where we share our genius moment of the week, as well as our failures, and feel better about ourselves by hearing yours. You can share some of your own by calling 206-350-9485. That’s 206-350-9485.

biz

[Singing] Hello, Theresa! Hello, Theresa! Hellooo, Theresaaa Thorrrrn.

theresa

Wow!

biz

Yeah. Did you like that?

theresa

That was a lot. And I appreciate it.

biz

It had been bubbling up. Deep inside.

theresa

I could tell.

biz

And I knew I had to sing.

theresa

It needed to come out.

biz

Oh, it did. It came right out of my mouth. [Theresa laughs.] It just, “Blaagh!” Came out like a three-year-old who drank too much milk and then was in a long car ride. It just came out! [Theresa laughs.] Theresa? As always, it is wonderful to see you.

theresa

You, too!

biz

I want to just jump into it.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Genius me, Theresa!

clip

[Dramatic, swelling music in background.] Biz: Wow! Oh my God! Oh my God! I saw what you did! Oh my God! I’m paying attention! Wow! You, mom, are a genius. Oh my God, that’s fucking genius! [Biz and Theresa repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss their respective genius moments of the week.]

theresa

Look, it’s gonna be hard for me to top last week’s episode.

biz

Where you pulled a Chutney.

theresa

Where I pulled a Chutney by finding Chutney the Pinecone on a hill covered in pinecones. [Biz laughs.] This week [through laughter] my genius moment is much less special. But it is… it is a genius moment. And it is—I have played the guitar again. [Biz gasps.] A few times. A few times. Enough that my guitar is no longer caked in dust.

biz

Oh!

theresa

I have tuned it. [Biz laughs.] I’m working on getting the callouses back on my fingers. And… it’s… really nice. I’m not worrying about how bad I am at it right now because it actually just feels really good to play. Yeah.

biz

Theresa? That is actually better than a Chutney. In my humble opinion. [Theresa laughs.] I think it’s great. You pull out the dusty guitar and first there’s just marks? From where you’re disturbing the dust? And then you’re like, “How does dust even get there?”

theresa

And then, “How do I get it out?” Like, it’s so—on the frets? Under the strings? Ugh! Ugh!

biz

Yeah. That’s not—

theresa

It was a whole thing. Yeah.

biz

Something special you have to use to get under there. Like it’s like a thin thing. Well, I just think that is so—I think that is so good, Theresa!

theresa

Thank you!

biz

Alright. My genius. The library that is very close to us that we love has reopened for curbside pickup, as well as a couple of hours a day you can go into the community room where they’ve pulled a couple of books that you can kind of walk and look at. The library—[singing] duh, duh, duh, daaa!—I love the library! Our library has this amazing thing called, “The Library of Things.” And you can check out things! Like a computer or a sewing machine or a telescope! And I was like, “I’m gonna check out the telescope!” Y’know? And it—I did! And I went and picked it up and it was huge. And it was awesome. And Ellis was excited. Kat’s excited. Stefan’s excited. I’m excited. We got a telescope from the library!

theresa

That is mind­-boggling and amazing. And great.

biz

It was awesome! And it was so easy to set up and…

theresa

Wow.

biz

Y’know, it—we looked at the moon. Like, you could see the moon. In great detail. It was… awesome. I love you, libraries.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hello, my favorite Biz and Theresa! I think that this is a genius. So it hasn’t actually happened yet, so I think I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. But here we go. So. I finish work. I’m going to drive seven minutes to pick up an Elsa crown from my local buy-nothing group for my toddler’s third birthday next month. Then, I come back, pick up my husband—the car is already loaded with all the things that we’ll need to bring our two-year-old and our one-year-old to my sister-in-law’s house for dinner. Our car has the Elmo potty. It has the packed diaper bag. It has snacks. It has [inaudible]. We have applesauce pouches. I am ready to go. And everything’s gonna go smoothly and there are gonna be no accidents! But if there is, it’s okay! I have extra undies! And a pair of pants! Now, if she has two accidents, we’re screwed. But that’s fine, right? [Biz laughs.] It’s fine. Everything’s fine. Anyway. I’m ready and everything’s gonna be great. Love you guys. Bye.

biz

I like that the genius here is such straightforward optimism. I mean—

theresa

Yeah. And just like… preparation. Just having it together feels great.

biz

Yeah. Even if it all fails—like, if it all winds up to be the most unpleasant night in your life, you at least had everything—it won’t be because you didn’t have everything prepared.

theresa

What you needed.

biz

Yeah. you have all that you needed.

theresa

That and I love—I love that you started this with picking up the Elsa crown from the buy-nothing group. I mean—great!

biz

That’s a genius there, too! You don’t need a new Elsa crown.

theresa

No one does.

biz

No one does. There’re enough Elsa crowns floating around out there that you can pick one up for free from a buy-nothing group. Yeah.

theresa

Elsa anything.

biz

Elsa… anything.

theresa

Gloves? Dress? Nightgown? Slippers? Wig?

biz

Yeah! Did you say “brush”? You are doing… a great job. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.]

theresa

Yes. You are.

biz

Failures.

clip

[Dramatic orchestral music plays in the background.] Theresa: [In a voice akin to the Wicked Witch of the West] Fail. Fail. Fail. FAIL! [Timpani with foot pedal engaged for humorous effect.] Biz: [Calmly] You suck! [Biz and Theresa repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss their respective failures of the week.]

biz

Fail me, Theresa.

theresa

Okay. [Deep breath and exhalation.] [Biz laughs.] I did whatever the opposite is of pulling a Chutney and I failed Chutney personally because I used the wrong pronouns for Chutney in the show last week.

biz

Theresa!

theresa

While I was… while I was telling that story, I was thinking in my mind, “Does Chutney use—what pronouns does Chutney use?” And I just went with she/her. And I’ll admit it—it’s because of the pink hairband!

biz

Ponytail holder. Yeah. I’m with you.

theresa

That’s—I’m being honest. Like, it’s—

biz

Thank you for being honest.

theresa

It’s—y’know? And… then later that day, when I was bragging to Grace about how famous Chutney was about to be because I had talked about Chutney on my show and she was really—and Grace was really excited. And she said, “Chutney’s pronouns are he/him.” [Biz laughs.] And I was like, “Oh my god. I’m so sorry. Okay. Alright. I’m so sorry.” Then later, I made the same mistake. So it was somewhere in my brain I had logged it wrong by that point. And the whole family was home and she starts—she starts—Grace starts yelling. She’s like, “Why does everybody keep getting Chutney’s pronouns wrong?” [Biz laughs.] And I said, “I am so sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me! I don’t know why I keep getting this wrong.” [Biz laughs.] And Oscar—my seven-year-old—starts cracking up. And he says, “It’s funny, because you’re supposed to be the gender expert.” [Biz laughs.] So he really stuck it to me.

biz

He stuck it to you! Did he pull out a copy of your book! [Theresa laughs.] And hand it to you? And say, “It feels great to be yourself unless you’re Chutney?” [Both laugh at length.]

theresa

Ugh. So I do—I’m joking, but I do apologize. For using the wrong pronouns for Chutney, whose pronouns are he/him.

biz

Well… I can see the bad job that you’re doing. And… I… also, though, you raised a few questions during that fail. Of… “I don’t know why I keep getting this wrong. And I don’t know how I have filed it and shifted it.“

theresa

It’s a pinecone. How can I have assigned pronouns to a pinecone in my brain that’s ingrained now in my brain in the wrong file?

biz

Your brain’s been pretty busy lately? [Theresa laughs.] And I feel like you should be given a little grace for pinecone pronouns in the massive—the massive library [through laughter] of things that you’ve got going on in your head. So… well, I don’t know. I guess I did expect better from you. Theresa.

theresa

Yes. We all did.

biz

Yep. Well, we’ll make sure that we clear that up on Instagram where you can see a picture of the delightful pinecone, Chutney. Okay. I borrowed a telescope from the library. And… I felt as good as I did just a couple of minutes ago when I was telling you about it as a genius. Everybody was excited. Ellis was very excited. I was trying to give them things to do during the day on their own. “Why don’t you… get out your constellation book? Why don’t you get out some things to see what we can see?” And when we couldn’t see any of those things. And when you couldn’t really like… look through the telescope to see a constellation because it was such a… intense telescope. Ellis was very, very upset. It was not going according to the plan that they had in their mind. And… like, Stefan just [through laughter] Stefan just disappeared. [Theresa laughs.] Fair enough. Oh! And we had decided to watch a movie before it so that it would be dark outside. Right? And we had watched—oh, now I’m remembering this whole horrible night. First we showed them the new Star Trek movie of the series. So from 2009, I think. Anyway. And Ellis was way into it and I thought, “Oh my gosh! Ellis is gonna like Star Trek and I’m gonna have a Star Trek buddy and this is so exciting!” And they keep going on and on and on about how great Star Trek is and then for some strange reason the last fifteen minutes? Ellis is like, “I hate this movie.” Nothing’s changed. Nothing in the plot. It’s not like it—

crosstalk

Biz: —suddenly got weirdly more violent. Theresa: Got tired of it? It stopped being novel and interesting or something?

biz

I don’t know! But now he hates it and he just kept shitting on my movie. And I—[Laughs.] Was so like—I don’t know why, but it really hurt my feelings! And then we go outside and he is super mad about the universe not being able to be viewed through this telescope— [Theresa laughs.] —and… y’know. Stefan, like I said, just disappeared. Because—y’know? Everybody gets to disappear every once in a while. And…I—it was so bad that Kat and I both said to each other at different times after Ellis was in bed, “You did a really good job just keeping it calm.” [Laughs.] Because Kat did such a good job staying calm as well. And Ellis also went to bed yelling, “I am never gonna stay up late again. Why would you let me stay up late? That is the worst thing you can do.”

theresa

[Through laughter] Oh my gosh.

biz

“Goodnight.” And I’m like, “But you asked to stay up late! [Lost for words.] Ahhh!” So I dunno. It was magical.

theresa

Wow.

biz

Yeah.

theresa

That’s… I’m sorry you tried to do a fun and educational thing with your family.

biz

I will never, never do that again. Ever. No fun. No education. Ever again. [Theresa laughs.] Lesson learned!

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi, Biz and Theresa! Long-time listener, first-time caller. Multiple—multiple-time fail-er. I’m calling with a fail. I had to wade through all of the fails to get to this gem. My dog currently has something called “hemorrhagic [Laughs.] gastroenteritis, which is not funny. As horrible and disgusting as it sounds. And I needed to take a sample of his diarrhea to the vet today. So I decided I would multitask and do that after I dropped the kids at daycare. My one- and three-year-old. And I just went ahead and sent a bag of dogshit to daycare.

biz

Yeah. [Laughs.]

theresa

Sent that in there along with the lunches and clothes. Anyway. My daycare woman is wonderful and she doesn’t judge me. I judge me. [Biz laughs.] I judge me a lot for that one. Anyway. You ladies are doing such a remarkable job getting through this never-ending hellscape that we are all in together. [Biz laughs.] And yeah! Love you. Love you both. Thanks for the show. Bye.

biz

This is…

theresa

Yeah.

biz

This is such a good fail. I mean—

theresa

It’s so good!

biz

Yeah! You—let’s think about other things that have made it into the preschool. We’ve had a lot of laundry—

theresa

Thong underwear.

biz

A lot of underwear in the—

theresa

Adult underwear.

biz

Yeah. Adult—let’s be clear. Adult underwear. That gets stuck to some sort of laundry or in a pants leg of an extra spare pair of pants for children.

theresa

Medicine.

biz

Yeah! Inappropriate medicine. Like, not your child’s medicine getting taken in. But the moment you said, “I thought I would multitask.” The first thing that came to my mind was lunches. This is—not only is it a great story for you to share for generations, your non-judging preschool teacher is going to share that story. You—you’ve become a legend.

theresa

Yeah, you have.

biz

In your fails.

theresa

That’s so true. Yes.

biz

[Sighs.] Well, I am sorry that your dog is having that problem right now. Because that’s a horrible thing for your dog and for you guys to live with. And… I am sorry that you sent dogshit to preschool. So. I mean—

theresa

I am, too.

biz

Yeah. I’m—I’m sorry. You’re doing a horrible job trying to be president of everything.

music

“Mom Song” by Adira Amram. Mellow piano music with lyrics. You are the greatest mom I’ve ever known. I love you, I love you. When I have a problem, I call you on the phone. I love you, I love you. [Music fades out.]

music

Inspirational keyboard music plays in the background.

theresa

One Bad Mother is supported in part by Rothy’s. Rothy’s comfortable, washable, and sustainable shoes and bags make getting dressed easy.

biz

Now that school has returned in some shape and form, I have to leave the house. Which inevitably means I have to put shoes on. Over the pandemic, got a pair of Rothy’s flats. They are so comfortable. And—bonus—they make me look like I put effort into what I put on to walk out of the house to take my kids to school. Rothy’s has transformed nearly 100 million bottles into beautiful shoes, handbags, and facemasks! And they’re fully machine-washable.

theresa

So, guys, check out all the amazing shoes, bags, and masks available right now at Rothys.com/mother.

biz

That’s Rothys.com—R-O-T-H-Y-S.com/mother. [Music fades out.]

promo

Music: Uplifting orchestral music plays. AJ: Mr. Robot Man, what are you doing? C-53: [Electronically distorted.] I’m just taking one last look… at my coworkers. Dramatic narrator voice: Every journey… comes to an end. Kiarondo: [Echoing] Remember, Pleck, the space will be with you! Always! Pleck Decksetter: Sorry… who are you, again? Kiarondo: Master Kiarondo? Pleck: [Chuckling.] Oh, right, right, right. Sorry. Kiarondo: Just calling in! Narrator: Friendships will be tested. Bargie: Dar, you have to do it. You have to shoot Pleck. [Sound of laser gun booting up.] Dar: Okay. Bargie: It’s the only way to save us. [A laser shot, followed by a scream.] C-53: Wow, you shot him so fast! Narrator: Destinies will be fulfilled. Nermut Bendaloy: I’ve become a complete bird! [Screams.] I’m flying! I’m flyinggg! Narrator: On April 28th, the saga starts… concluding. Pleck: Guys—we don’t have a choice! We have to put on a show! AJ: We could do it in an old barn! We’ve got the costumes! We’ve got a stage! We can do it, you guys! [Someone laughs.] Narrator: Mission to Zyxx—the final season on Maximum Fun! [Music swells triumphantly, then ceases.]

promo

Music: Up-tempo, cheeful music with keyboard, percussion, and brass. Speaker 1: MaxFunDrive’s almost here! It starts on Monday, May 3rd, ends on May 14th, and it’s the best time to support the shows you love. Here are some folks like you sharing what MaxFun and our shows mean to them! [Answering machine beeps.] Caller 1: Most importantly it’s meant community. [Answering machine beeps.] Caller 2: Uh, yeah. Just thanks for hanging out and making joke-‘em-ups and making my week a little bit brighter! [Answering machine beeps.] Caller 3: So… thanks, Maximum Fun! For making me a better person and making sure that I’m surrounded by better people. [Answering machine beeps.] Caller 4: Thanks again for all you do. Love supporting MaxFun. And keep it up! Speaker 1: Come back Monday, May 3rd for more details from your favorite hosts. We’ll have some of the best episodes of the year, special MaxFunDrive thank-you gifts, and maybe a few surprises! That’s Monday, May 3rd. Until then! [Music fades out.]

biz

Well, guys—it’s that very special time in the show that I get to share with a very special someone named Theresa. And that’s when we listen to a mom have a breakdown.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hey, Biz and Theresa! This is Amanda from Washington State. And… this is a rant. It is a mouth-related rant. And I’m just—I have one child who’s three. And from the day she was born she could not keep things out of her mouth. And it’s been a daily reminder of, “Get your fingers out of your mouth. Stop chewing on your nails. Put that down; it doesn’t go in your mouth. Stop eating that. What is in your mouth?” Mouth. Mouth, mouth. Get it out, get it out, get it out, get it out. [Biz laughs.] And now I have a five-year-old who is losing a tooth who refuses to wiggle the tooth except with his tongue because his fingers don’t fit in his mouth, he claims, and so not only am I reminding the three-year-old at least once a day, “Get out of your mouth. Leave your mouth alone.” But now I’m reminding a five-year-old, "Hey! Put your fingers in your mouth! Wiggle your tooth!" [Biz laughs.] “Hey! Let me see your tooth! Open your mouth! Let me put my fingers in your mouth! You need to start putting your fingers in your mouth more often.” And like—it just—I—I just… mouth! [Laughs.] Ughhh. This isn’t in a parenting book. No one said, “You—here—big warning: you might have a child who will only want their fingers in their mouth always.” [Biz laughs.] And another warning, “You might have a child who will fight you to put fingers in their mouth. And fair warning: you might have both of these children in your mouth at the same time.” [Biz laughs.] So. Yeah! That’s my rant! Now. Done with it. [Sighs.] You’re doing a great job! So am I! [Through laughter] Bye.

biz

This smells like a whole episode to me. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.]

crosstalk

Biz: Conflicting… advice. Theresa: Yeah. It is. It’s—

theresa

It sounds like an episode. That call sounded like an episode. Yeah.

biz

Right? Yeah. You just nailed all the things that Theresa and I could have talked about. This like—you could’ve either titled this episode “Mouth,” and it’s just all the weird things associated with the mouth and kids putting stuff in there and times when you need kids to stick stuff in there and all that—and we’ve already talked about how weird teeth are. And they just keep getting weirder as my children keep getting older. Teeth are really weird.

theresa

They are really weird.

biz

But it’s—the core of this rant is the conflicting advice. That you wind up—

theresa

You’re noticing it coming out of your mouth—your mouth.

biz

Your mouth! Yeah! It’s not advice from the internet. [Laughs.]

theresa

And a lot of times they’re probably both there and it’s probably starting to get pretty confusing.

biz

Mm-hm. And now—

theresa

For everyone.

biz

And they’re gonna hold onto this? And when they get older, they’re gonna say, “You let so-and-so get away with everything. They always got to stick their hands in their mouths.” And the other one’s gonna be like, “This is why little Tina smokes.” [Theresa laughs.] “Because of all this oral fixation that you had, mother.” Right? Like, it’s—it’s so weird! And I will say, I have not had that particular thing happen in the house? But there are lots of times where my children—who I still, like you, am amazed are so different. Totally different people! Different ways of processing information. And walking through the world. How different my, like, guidance is to them. In any particular situation. Like, I might tell the oldest one thing that makes perfect sense, but then I will have to follow it with, “We are never gonna tell your brother that. Don’t ever—[Laughs.] Don’t ever—don’t ever.” [Loudly] “Guys, there are no secrets in this house.” [Conspiratorially] “Do not tell your brother that you just got that nice thing. I don’t wanna listen to screaming.”

theresa

It is not gonna make sense to him the way—it’s just not—it’s a different—

biz

It’s different. It’s too spicy. It’s too spicy.

theresa

[Through laughter] Too spicy. [Biz laughs.]

biz

Well, listen. I think you’re doing, actually, a pretty great job? Staying on top of that? I mean, call back when you give the wrong advice to the wrong child. ‘Cause that will be fair. I mean, that day is probably coming. But until then, you should know that you are doing an amazing job with the mouths in your house. Theresa, as always, it is such a pleasure to see you. I look so forward to this special time that we get to share our biggest victories and our most horrible failures. Yeah! Thank you. You’re doing a great job!

theresa

Thanks, Biz. You’re doing a great job, too.

biz

Thank you! How about… we do this again next week?

theresa

Let’s do it!

biz

Let’s—let’s just do it.

theresa

Let’s do it.

biz

Come on.

theresa

Alright.

biz

I will talk to you then.

theresa

Okay. Bye!

biz

Bye.

What did we learn today? We learned that memory pranking is a great idea for a show. I think that’s the real takeaway. [Laughs.] Memory Pranks! Yeah! I think what I found so fascinating about talking with Lizzie and Wendy was… that… they are writing partners and sisters. And I—again, that like… larger vein that we discuss on this show all the time about, “Oh, I only sometimes think through the lens of my own experience.” I love suddenly being reminded that there are so many other lenses out there? That for them, that age difference… between them… made it—made them have a totally different relationship than they might’ve had with one of their other siblings who were closer to them in age. And I really liked the idea of… y’know, when you come from the same soup—I believe is how they described it—when you come from the same soup, it can actually help navigate creative content. Which—I just found that whole thing really fascinating. I also just really liked talking to the two of them about their experiences in television as writers. It was just overall a really fun discussion with those two! I can’t recommend The Great North enough. It’s really, really funny. And I said this earlier—I think if I had had them as role models in shows like that, as women writers, it would have helped me tremendously as a woman pursuing comedy to not feel like the door was just already gonna be shut in my face beforehand. So hooray to role models, be they female, male, or neither. It’s important—sometimes maybe you don’t know what what you’re doing is important or has an impact? But it really probably does? So go out there and toot your own horn, everybody. Guys? Little announcement. Little business to take care of. Next week—the MaxFunDrive begins. What is the MaxFunDrive? What does that mean? How does that impact me? Will these be the most boring episodes ever known to man? No, they won’t! Gabe was so good. Gabe has gotten us a lot of fun guests. We are even gonna have a celebrity! [Laughs.] How exciting is that?! So make sure that you tune in over the next two weeks, and there’s so many cool new gifts for members of the MaxFun family. You can support at a variety of levels. Just to remind you guys, we are a listener-supported show. We are able to make this show because listeners like you step up and say, “I like this content. I like this show. I’m grateful it’s out in the world. And I want to keep it out in the world. And so I am going to financially support it.” And there are so many different ways to do that, so tune in over the next couple of weeks. We have a lot of fun things planned. A couple of appearances by Chutney. It’s definitely the year of celebrating cake parenting. So much! So much. And until then, let me remind you that you are podcast-supported. I am listener-supported? And you’re podcast-supported. You guys are amazing. And… everything is still not normal. It’s just weird. And… different. Everywhere. That doesn’t make things any easier. You’re all incredible! And… you’re doing an amazing job. And I will talk to you next week. Bye!

music

“Mama Blues” by Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans. Strumming acoustic guitar with harmonica and lyrics. I got the lowdown momma blues Got the the lowdown momma blues Gots the lowdown momma blues The lowdown momma blues. Gots the lowdown momma blues Got the lowdown momma blues You know that’s right. [Music fades somewhat, plays in background of dialogue.]

biz

We’d like to thank MaxFun; our producer, Gabe Mara; our husbands, Stefan Lawrence and Jesse Thorn; our perfect children, who provide us with inspiration to say all these horrible things; and of course, you, our listeners. To find out more about the songs you heard on today’s podcast and more about the show, please go to MaximumFun.org/onebadmother. For information about live shows, our book and press, please check out OneBadMotherPodcast.com.

theresa

One Bad Mother is a member of the Maximum Fun family of podcasts. To support the show go to MaximumFun.org/donate. [Music continues for a while before fading out.]

music

A cheerful ukulele chord.

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

speaker 4

—Audience supported.

About the show

One Bad Mother is a comedy podcast hosted by Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn about motherhood and how unnatural it sometimes is. We aren’t all magical vessels!

Join us every week as we deal with the thrills and embarrassments of motherhood and strive for less judging and more laughing.

Call in your geniuses and fails: 206-350-9485. For booking and guest ideas, please email onebadmother@maximumfun.org. To keep up with One Bad Mother on social media, follow @onebadmothers on Twitter and Instagram.

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