What happens when the friendliest guy in the Mid-West moves his family to a neighborhood in Los Angeles where most people don’t look like him or connect with his overly neighborly ways?
Pure comedy, awkwardness, and relatable life lessons that will warm our hearts while expanding our minds. The Neighborhood tells the story of Dave Johnson [Max Greenfield] who is a high spirited professional conflict negotiator that happily agrees to relocate to Los Angeles with his wife Gemma, [Beth Behrs] and their son, Grover for Gemma’s new position as a school principal. The family moves from their small town in Michigan to a dream home in a predominately black neighborhood where they aren’t exactly met with open arms. Their proud and opinionated neighbor, Calvin Butler [Cedric the Entertainer] is apprehensive about these newcomers and wary to befriend them fearing that they will disrupt the culture of the block. Luckily Calvin’s wife, Tina [Tichina Arnold] is less guarded and graciously accepts the change. It appears Calvin might be on his own because his younger son Marty thinks the Johnsons could be a great addition to the community and their older unemployed son Malcom finds a potential friend in Dave. The Johnsons quickly learn that fitting into their new community may be more difficult than they expected but Dave is the conflict guru so if he can find a way to win over Calvin, there’s a chance this drastically new neighborhood could be a place they can call home.
On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, CBS’ The Neighborhood was celebrated at The Paley Center for Media’s 12th Annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews and we were able to get exclusive behind the scenes with the cast and creator of the show.
Jim Reynolds, creator and executive producer revealed that the idea behind the show was loosely based off of his own experiences. Him and his family moved from Highland Park, Los Angeles to a historically black neighborhood in Pasadena, Los Angeles. He described the move as a “transition” that took adjusting but eventually the new neighborhood became his home. When the moderator, Michael Yo asked Reynolds if Cedric the Entertainer’s character, Calvin was based off actual events he explained that most the characters were inspirations pulled from a combination of characters he liked. Reynolds states, “Cedric [the Entertainer] is already a character, he has so much personality on his own and I wanted to highlight his strengths as a comedic actor. Characters like Archie Bunker and George Jefferson were huge contributors to what went into creating a character like Calvin Butler.”
The cast had a very noticeable rapport and chemistry and when asked if there were any hesitations to joining this powerhouse group of individuals after ending a successful show, New Girl, Max Greenfield explained that there were nerves, but no hesitations. “Max and I [Beth Behrs] were casted last so everyone else kind of formed a relationship ahead of time and we were coming in thinking, are we going to ruin this magic? But really the nerves went away, and it was great to be challenged to rise to a higher level.” Tichina Arnold explains how she had to audition for her role as Tina just like everyone else and was surprised about how welcoming everyone was, even at the audition. “Jim [Reynolds] was so supportive and so welcoming, it let me know, I’m in the right place,” Arnold notes.
Overall the show is not about black and white or right and wrong, creator Jim Reynolds explains how the show is about individuals, family, and neighbors. “The goal is not to tell you how to think. You have to win hearts first, then you change minds.”
Be sure to check out The Neighborhood premiering Monday, Oct. 1 on CBS at 8/7pm central!