After first premiering in the late summer of 2019, HBO's The Righteous Gemstones went on to become a fan-favorite among viewers, earning critical acclaim thanks to its dark humor and strong writing from creator and actor Danny McBride. Following the lives of a famous yet dysfunctional televangelist family led by widowed patriarch Eli Gemstone (John Goodman), Season 2 filming is currently underway in South Carolina, and series star Jennifer Nettles reveals just what fans can expect with the next chapter of the Gemstone family.
In an exclusive with PopCulture.com sharing details about her new Broadway album Always Like New, Nettles reveals everything for the show's sophomore season is "elevated" off its debut, especially following the news from Variety of Jason Schwartzman, Eric Andre and Eric Roberts joining the cast. "If you've seen Season 1 — the beautiful part of Season 2 is not only for the fans but also in terms of the production. Everything has just been elevated," she said, adding how the writing has also been raised.
"I had the pleasure a couple of months ago, going and shooting the couple of episodes that I'm in for this next season," she said of the nine-episode order premiering sometime next year. "But more of the same absolute maddening, madness, crazy, raunchy, irreverent, hilarity will ensue, I will say, in this season for sure."
The Righteous Gemstones — created, written and executive produced by McBride — follows a renowned family of televangelist and megachurch pastors led by Eli and his three children, Jesse Gemstone (McBride), Judy (Edi Patterson) and Kelvin (Adam DeVine) who preach the word of God but are less than holy behind the scenes. The series was initially picked up in 2018 for a nine-episode order and came to fruition a year later, where it would air its first four episodes before getting a Season 2 renewal order.
One of the most distinct offerings from the HBO dark comedy is its unique look into the world of televangelist TV, something McBride told Polygon he was keen on showcasing most authentically. "I wanted them to be like southern celebrities, like what country singers were like in the late seventies and early eighties," he said. "Kenny Rogers, Alabama, Oak Ridge Boys, Conway Twitty, just these massive southern celebrities. I wanted Jesse to have that vibe. […] We always wanted to do something about the Dixie Mafia, and a lot of those guys dressed like Elvis and had the big mutton chops, so that was something we incorporated into what Jesse looked like."
With glimpses of Nettles' Aimee-Leigh everywhere in the show and engaging in some puppet ministry, McBride says the character also pays part homage to his own mother. "It's just a little detail that's thrown in there. Tammy Faye did puppet ministry as well back in the day. I just thought it was a nice little nod to my mom just to throw in there."
View this post on Instagram
As for Nettles, she is back with a brand new record, Always Like New, integrating her love for Broadway with musical director and composer Alex Lacamoire. Sharing how the album was a dream come true, it's "been a long time coming artistically and vocally and musically" for the award-winning country star. "The timing, specifically, then after it was recorded, for now, is not lost on me. Again, the symbolism of Broadway reopening, the world softly reopening in a way that we can go out and celebrate the things that we love again and I hope this record is included in that."