Here comes The Neighborhood! CBS’ hit comedy returns tonight as season two premieres at 8:00PM ET/PT. Cedric The Entertainer, Max Greenfield, Tichina Arnold and Beth Behrs are back as they continue to break down cultural boundaries; and have a “yardecue” or two along the way.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss caught up with Arnold ahead of tonight’s season premiere to discuss the show’s social commentary, where Tina will go this season and the ongoing frenemy battle between Calvin and Dave.
MW: Hi Tichina how are you doing today?
TA: I’m good, how are you, good morning to you, good morning, morning, morning!
MW: So nice to talk to you again and congrats on the second season. How’s it feel to be back for season two?
TA: It feels great, the love is amazing that I’m apart of such an iconic show, I think the show is going to make its mark for years to come. It’s just a show that’s going to make a lot more people socially conscience and aware about our cultural differences. We’re doing it in a funny way and a way that it’s palatable for everybody to digest our differences and I think it’s really, really awesome to be a part of this show.
MW: Do you feel there’s a little more freedom now in season two to play around with themes and characters a bit more? Now that you don’t have to spend as much time establishing dynamics and your characters identities.
TA: We are definitely raising a lot more issues this season. You’re finding more about the characters and you’re going to see the characters interact with each other, so you’re going to see a lot of interaction with Cedric and Beth’s character. You’ll see a lot of interaction with me and Max’s characters. We’re going to be intertwined a little more, we’re mixed up a little bit this season. We’re still going to raise current social issues that we need to raise in order to address certain issues of course, in a good way, where it’s not preaching.
We just want to continue the integrity of the show and what it’s about. Jim Reynolds, he loosely based this show upon his life because he was this white man moving his white family into this predominately black neighborhood, that’s where the idea for this show was birthed. We’re talking about gentrification still, we’re talking about all of these social issues that we need to talk about.
MW: And Tina is such a great role at the heart of everything, it’s a blast watching you keep Cedric in line as he battles with Max’s character. What else do we have in store for Tina this season?
TA: You’re going to see Max and Tina interact some more, we have some pretty funny scenes coming up. You’re going to learn a little more about Tina. I always liked what Jim is doing with my character because when I first auditioned, the character was a holy roller. I told Jim, you know going the holy roller route is kind of easy, she’s a black woman, raising a family, that’s easy. Let’s give her a little more nuance.
Tina, it’s funny, I don’t want to give away certain things that we’re doing in the script on this episode, but you’re going to find little bits and pieces about Tina, that’s like ‘oh wait a minute, she did what?’ It’s fun. Every time I open a script it’s something new, it’s something that I think that will be very interesting for the audience to watch. We just want to keep it fresh. We want to keep you laughing. We want you to fall over with laughter because when there’s no more laughter, we’ll all be crying…I don’t want to cry. I want to laugh.
This show does a great job showing our differences and allowing us to have dialogue about it. I love reading our twitter feed, especially for something like the washcloth episode. Something as simple as a washcloth, we really had a discussion about it. It’s like wait a minute, you don’t use a washcloth? These are real moments on the show. It’s pretty cool, very cool.
MW: You and Beth’s character seemed to click right of the bat last season, but there’s still a little way to go for Calvin and Dave. Where does their relationship pick up in season two? It’s better but it’s still not all the way there, right?
TA: Yes. This second season, this first episode it starts with Calvin’s yardecue and you know how Calvin is about his yardecue. Dave inserts himself a little too much into the yardecue, it gets a little tricky. They always end the show with a mutual respect for each other, but Dave inserting himself in the yardecue is hysterical, it’s going to be really, really funny.
MW: Awesome, I’m looking forward to that. Last thing before I let you go here. This one is going to be a little bit tough, so I’m going to put you on the spot, can you sum up the new season in three words?
TA: Sum up the season in three words?
TA: Ok. Really, really, good. That’s my on the spot answer.
MW: I feel like you found a loop hole there, but I’ll take it.
TA: You didn’t say I couldn’t say a word twice!
MW: That’s true, so if I said five, it would’ve been really, really, really, really, good?
TA: [Laughs] Yeah, yes it would’ve been really, really, really, really, good.
MW: Thank you Tichina, pleasure talking to you again and have a great day!
TA: You too, thank you!
Catch The Neighborhood Monday nights at 8:00PM ET/PT,only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.