Following the cancellation in 2017 of 2 Broke Girls, Beth Behrs (one half of that hilarious duo) has been a busy lady. She filmed a pilot for Empire and Star creator Lee Daniels (which didn't go to series), she got married and she has since moved to The Neighborhood, the new CBS comedy series co-starring Max Greenfield and Cedric the Entertainer that has its premiere tonight. Still, given the successful syndication run of her former series, one would be forgiven for thinking it never went off the air. It's a legacy of which Behrs is very proud. "[2Broke Girls] was cool because it was different and there was a lot of big balls-to-the-wall physical comedy," she told MediaVillage during a recent interview. "I’m sure this one’s going to have those big physical comedy moments as well -- eventually.
"That’s the cool thing, being on this big ensemble," she continued. "I think we’re all going to get to have episodes that highlight our strengths and also drop-in to some cultural and timely issues. I’m super excited to see how this is going to play out."
In the series Behrs plays Gemma Johnson, one half of an affable Mid-Western couple that moves with their young son to a largely African American neighborhood in Los Angeles. While the family is unfazed by the home's location, nothing could prepare them for their new neighbor Calvin Butler (Cedric the Entertainer, pictured below center), who is very wary of newcomers gentrifying his beloved community -- think Archie Bunker and All in the Family in reverse.
"You know, I didn’t grow up with All in the Family, so I don’t think I can speak directly to that show," Behrs said of the comparison. "I grew up with Full House and shows like The Carol Burnett Show that I still fondly think about watching with my little sister, who would laugh along with my grandma who was in her seventies. I feel like this is something that I could see across the board, with everybody being able to connect to and laugh."
Behrs admits that "it feels awesome" being back at CBS, her home for 2 Broke Girls’ six-season run. She misses her former equine co-star, Chestnut, terribly. "I miss him every day," she said with a sigh. "He’s with Scott, our lovely horse trainer, but don’t think I didn’t try to buy him after that show. I tried really hard to get him. I wanted to let him go on a rescue ranch I know of with 90 acres and run. I begged, but I didn’t get him, and that’s okay."
Now, she's concentrating on her new co-stars. "I still pinch myself that I got this," she said. "I’m so grateful. Max Greenfield (pictured above, second from right) and I worked together on [the movie] Hello, My Name Is Doris, so I’ve adored working with him since that -- and the chance to work with this group? I wanted to do a comedy where there’s a way that you could laugh and cry on a dime. I’ve been dying to be a part of a show like that and this is it.
"I’m so incredibly proud of this show," she added. “I truly feel humbled and grateful to be a part of a show that is going to sort of address issues and do it with humor and be just nerdy enough. I love that it’s a show that families can watch together as I grew up watching sitcoms with my family in the home. I’m excited that my friends with kids can sit down and watch this and hopefully take something away as well."
For Behrs, playing a mom for the first time is something she’s also relishing. "I love playing a mother," she beamed. "I’m 32 and have friends who had kids at 21 or 22. Gemma is the principal at a progressive school in Pasadena. She’s a strong, intelligent woman running a private school that her son attends. My mom was a teacher and I went to the school where my mom worked. That's hard because you can’t get away with anything,” she laughed. “I’d get in trouble in math class and my mom would know by lunch. I’d then go sit and eat lunch in my mom’s classroom. Coming from a family of educators -- my grandma, my aunts -- in our current climate teachers are the most important people right now with our children. I’m excited to play one.”
The Neighborhoodis telecast Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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