CBS’s new comedy The Neighborhood (beginning Monday, Oct. 1 at 8/7c) is a lighthearted comedy that pokes fun at race relations. The series is executive produced by and stars Cedric the Entertainer as Calvin Butler, a family man who is very proud of his predominately black L.A. community and who is completely taken off guard by the sudden arrival of his new white neighbors — Dave Johnson, played by Max Greenfield (New Girl); his wife Gemma, played by Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls) and their young son Grover, played by Hank Greenspan (13 Reasons Why).
The Johnsons soon realize fitting in is going to be harder than they thought. Even young Grover can’t help but to point out the concerns of his grandmother, saying, ”She wishes we weren’t moving to a black neighborhood.” Gemma and Dave try to stay positive but they can’t escape the obvious, and they are overcome by social awkwardness.
Calvin doesn’t hide his uneasiness and confesses his fear of the community “turning white” by saying, “You let in a family like that and before you know it there will be a bunch of dudes jogging around with their little short shorts and vegan labradoodles!” His explains his view of racism by saying, “There are two forms of racism: there are white people that hate black people and white people that love black people, like they’re doing us a favor.”
Cedric is great as always. Tichina Arnold — best known as Pam from the ‘90s sitcom Martin with Martin Lawrence and, more recently, from Chris Rock’s Everybody Hates Chris — plays Calvin’s wife. She’s always fun to watch and she delivered in every scene that she was in. The Butler sons Malcolm and Marty, played by Sheaun McKinney and Marcel Spears, balance each other perfectly and most likely will be the instigators that fuel their father’s discomfort. I’ll have to warm up to Greenfield, because at times Dave can be a bit overexcited. I want to see more, and I like the concept of the show — it reminds me of ABC’s The Hughleys. Overall, it’s a welcome addition to the fall lineup.