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.
— Zoltan (@omygoditsnicole) October 1, 2018
Absolutely stupid. We wonder why Racism is so relevant in this country. Why not do an article about what people LIKE about difference races.
— hey-yo (@EpisodeBF) October 2, 2018
Others went ahead and watched last night’s pilot, but feel like the show’s themes border too closely on racism.
@TheNeighborhood There is NO PART in the definition of “racist” that says that black people or non-white people can't be racist. What you're spreading is extremely toxic. I'm Black & Mexican, and I'm related to some racists; It's NOT excusable no matter what! #TheNeighborhood pic.twitter.com/7pRocU7enE
— What's your damage, Heather? (@scarletwhites) October 2, 2018
Since the actors on #TheNeighborhood are watching and responding, I need them to tell me how this is funny, why I shouldn't be offended/disgusted by the opening and how this isn't a modern minstrel show.
— Maxine Tamar King (@FormerlyFriday) October 2, 2018
— Warren Parker (@waparker536) October 2, 2018
Way to keep America divided
— Rudy316 (@Rudy3162) September 30, 2018
Who in the world green-lit this show?! WTH… https://t.co/kTbJoncnsv
— Tracy Scott Forson (@iam_tls) September 27, 2018
I hope it gets better because a TV show that promotes somebody not liking somebody because they're different color and they refused to call that racist
— Daniel Warner (@underwearguy269) September 30, 2018
Double header for tonight's CBS comedy premieres. HAPPY TOGETHER is a convoluted premise, but that doesn't matter with Damon Wayans and Amber Stevens West on board. THE NEIGHBORHOOD, however, wastes our black comedy legends! #HappyTogether #TheNeighborhood https://t.co/OWmOmtoAQu
— Trey (@treymangum) October 1, 2018
Who the fuck gave the green light to The Neighborhood and Happy Together. This was not the diverse programming we were talking about, CBS. This shit put our Black Panther lives back 10 years! It made my entire skin crawl. ALSO, 3 camera sit & cheesy writing does not mix! pic.twitter.com/eabxtMOvBm
— Gigi (@Gibear) October 2, 2018
“The Neighborhood” n “Happy Together” are the stalest, wackest sitcoms in the history of Black sitcoms. If CBS is countin on Black viewership to boost ratings for these two, they can forget it. Leave it up to Us these 2 won't make it through season 1.
— darryl weston (@darrylweston4) October 2, 2018
This initial backlash begs the question of how society can constructively have the conversations that The Neighborhood is attempting to start.