Last night a new CBS comedy titled The Neighbors aired.
The story is set in a predominantly black neighborhood in Southern California. It has been inhabited by Calvin Butler (Cedric the Entertainer), his wife Tina (Tichina Arnold), and their sons Malcolm (Sheaun McKinney) and Marty (Marcel Spears). They are shocked when they meet their new next door neighbors, the Johnsons.
The Johnsons are a white family made up of Dave Johnson (Max Greenfield), Gemma Johnson (Beth Behrs), and their young son Grover (Hank Greenspan).
Beth Behrs and Max Greenfield were not originally part of the show. It was announced this summer that they would replace Dreama Walker and Josh Lawson in their respective roles.
The Neighborhood centers around the issue of race as well as plays on themes of the evolution of neighborhoods. Check out the trailer for last night's pilot.
To prepare for last night's premiere, the Butler family sat down with Entertainment Weekly to talk about their pet peeves of white people.
They discussed the "white person whisper", the habit of tattling, the “sexually uncomfortable” love of iced tea, and the simple lack of communication with people of color.
Despite the interview's attempt at a light-hearted peak into the show, many people are confused by the segment's intent.
Others went ahead and watched last night's pilot, but feel like the show's themes border too closely on racism.
This initial backlash begs the question of how society can constructively have the conversations that The Neighborhood is attempting to start.
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