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The Neighborhood felt it had an obligation to tackle Black Lives Matter with a serious episode

  • Tonight's "Welcome to the Movement" Season 3 premiere is more serious than the typical episode of the CBS comedy, with the Butler and Johnson families uniting to join Black Lives Matter protests after a member of their own community is the victim of racial injustice. Creator Jim Reynolds tells EW the George Floyd killing prompted the writers to change course after originally planning a COVID-themed season premiere. "Being a show that is so much about race relationships and the Black experience, we knew that we had the platform and the opportunity and, frankly, the obligation to address the issue," says Reynolds, adding: "It's such a tonally different episode for us. But everyone in front of the camera and behind the camera felt it was so important to be a part of being on the right side of history. And there certainly were conversations that haven't been had before. And because there was so much drama and real pain that was being addressed, you couldn't help but feel a different tone onstage or a different feeling. But it was one that everyone felt was important in getting this right." Cedric the Entertainer says discussions about racial injustice also became "emotional" off-camera. "With us being a show about a fictional neighborhood in Los Angeles we definitely felt like it was important for us to address one or two of these big issues, either the pandemic or social injustice," he says. "And after some examination we kind of felt that social injustice was truer to our story, our characters, and where we can write something that felt extremely important. There would be days on this set while we were rehearsing where we would stop and have long conversations about what it is that we're actually trying to say in this episode. It got really emotional." Cedric adds that "this was an episode that took a lot. We had a lot of people responding in different ways, from people and executives who hadn’t heard it before, it was really for the first time and it was like, 'Whoa.' All of the cast members had an opportunity to really express some truths and we wanted to make sure that we paid attention to those."

    TOPICS: The Neighborhood, CBS, Cedric the Entertainer, Jim Reynolds, Black Lives Matter