The Neighborhood is back tonight at 8:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS. In tonight’s episode Dave (Max Greenfield) finally hits his breaking point when Calvin (Cedric The Entertainer) refuses to come to the Johnson family housewarming party.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Tichina Arnold, who plays Calvin’s wife Tina Butler, ahead of tonight’s episode to discuss the role of Tina, the cast’s camaraderie, and not wanting to watch herself on TV.
MW- Hi Tichina, how are you doing this morning?
TA- Hi Matt! I’m doing good.
MW- Awesome, so I want to talk to you about the new CBS show you’re on now, The Neighborhood. What was it about this show that made you want to sign on?
TA- The first thing was being able to work with Cedric, I’ve known him a really long time. I’ve worked with all these comedic greats but I hadn’t worked with Cedric yet so to have the opportunity to work with him was just really, really great. Then the second thing was to be on CBS! I’ve worked for so many other networks but this was a chance to work for my favorite network and with someone I’d love to work with so it was a twofer.
MW- You mentioned Cedric and between him, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs and yourself of course, there are so many funny people on this show. What’s the dynamic like when you’re all on set?
TA- Oh, we all hit it off. That was another thing that’s helped us make a great show is the fact that we all really, genuinely get along. Cedric is the type of individual that is very warm, very accepting, he treats everybody the same – he’s very kind. When Max Greenfield and Beth Behrs came on they were welcomed with open arms. We all gel and it’s been really cool.
MW- On the show you play Cedric’s wife, Tina Butler. What are some of your favorite aspects about this character?
TA- I love Tina. Tina is actually, out of all the characters that I’ve played she’s maybe the most grounded. She’s funny, loves her family and is a proud woman. She stands by her man’s side and like a lot of black women in America she wants what’s best for her family, she works hard.
Her and Cedric’s character Calvin have two adult sons and they’re a tight knit group. They’re used to their neighborhood, they grew up with the same people but Tina is a lot more open to having a white family move compared to Cedric’s character. She’s a woman that just wants the best for her family.
MW- Is it a thrill for you watching yourself on TV playing a character like this that you respect so much?
TA- You know I don’t watch myself on TV. I could be home I literally don’t watch myself because I don’t want to sensor myself.
MW- I get that, sometimes I listen to these interviews back and you can only take so much of listening to your own voice [laughs].
TA- Yes [laughs]! You know I make a lot of funny faces and do crazy things so I don’t want to sensor myself, I just want to go all out for comedy.
MW- How would you describe the show to someone who hasn’t gotten a chance to check it out yet?
TA- It’s fun, it’s fabulous, people will enjoy it. What I love about this show is that it shows our cultural differences and it doesn’t make it feel like we can’t make a change. Change can happen, people can adjust themselves to at the very least respect each other. You don’t have to love me, you don’t have to like me but you should respect me.
I think if we all respected each other and at least tried to understand each other’s cultural differences that this world would be a far better place. I think this show is at a great position at a great time to convey that story.
MW- Beautiful. Well that’s all I have for you today thanks for the time and have a great day Tichina!
TA- You got it! Thank you sweetheart, you have a great day too!
The Neighborhood airs tonight at 8:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.