The season premiere of The Neighborhood will reportedly tackle the Black Lives Matter movement, according to a report by TV Line. The CBS sitcom is not shying away from the conversation that has preoccupied the nation throughout the summer. The whole episode will revolve around different aspects of the burgeoning civil rights movement.
The Neighborhood is a family sitcom starring and executive produced by comedian Cedric the Entertainer. Cedric told TV Line that the show had to touch on the Black Lives Matter movement because it implicitly affects all Black Americans -- including the cast, crew, creators, and of course, the characters. The season premiere will reportedly begin with a recurring character becoming the victim of police brutality. Cedric said that this is to make the storyline more personal for viewers.
"Like most Black families, when it's close enough to home, it's enough to get you nervous. You realize, 'oh! I was on that street,' or 'I know that guy's family,' or whatever. It's enough to make you really identify [with] it," he said.
"We felt that our show is... uniquely positioned to address the Black Lives Matter movement and the call for social justice," added showrunner Jim Reynolds. "Being a show that addresses issues of race, we really have a responsibility to use our platform to say something — both to validate and honor the experiences of some of our audience, while also trying to give insight to and enlighten other parts of our audience."
The Butler and Johnson families reportedly set out to help the police brutality victim in the episode, but soon get embroiled themselves. Calvin (Cedric) and Tina (Tichina Arnold)'s son, Malcolm (Sheaun McKinney), soon comes into risk himself, driving home the way these situations can spiral out of control.
While this will be the main focus of the premiere episode, the coronavirus pandemic will be left out of the series — at least for now. Reynolds explained: "I felt strongly that we should not set the show in a COVID world. Initially, we were wondering if we could figure out a way that we could kind of address it without featuring COVID, through some sort of analog experience that the community would go through together. However, when the Black Lives Matter movement really took off, we knew that that was the issue that would be a more appropriate one for us to deal with."
The Neighborhood Season 3 was initially slated for release in the fall of 2020, but so far an exact premiere date has not been set. It is not clear if the show is back in production, or if it will be taking time off due to the pandemic filming schedule.