Fan favorite Kal Penn returns to network television with the highly-anticipated new NBC sitcom, “Sunnyside.” Penn co-created the comedy series with Matt Murray, and draws upon his own experiences as inspiration.
“Sunnyside” follows Garrett Modi (Kal Penn) as the youngest New York City Councilman ever, and is beloved by his Queens neighborhood. Yet Garrett’s career is quickly sidelined when he is arrested for public intoxication, and he thinks his political aspirations are over until he is approached by a diverse group of idealists who hope to become American citizens and hire him to help, ultimately reconnecting Garrett to his roots.
Like Penn, Garrett is a child of immigrants– Garrett’s name even is in reference to Mrs. Garrett from “Facts of Life” because she was such an admirable character. “It’s a very immigrant thing to do,” Penn explained at the NBC Summer Mixer, of immigrant parents naming their children after popular culture. “Mrs. Garrett was literally the hardest working person on that show!”
“Sunnyside” also has seven co-leads with Penn, five of whom are immigrant actors themselves ranging from South Korea, the U.K., China, Romania, Africa, and the Dominican Republic, as Deadline reported. Oz Rodriguez, the Emmy-nominated director of the pilot, is himself also an immigrant. The diverse cast and creator Penn’s personal story give “Sunnyside” an honest take on what the American Dream means today.
“Sunnyside” airs Thursday, September 26th at 9:30pm.