'Family Reunion' star Anthony Alabi says the show will serve up a mix of comedy, nostalgia, modern parenting, and old school values
Speaking to MEAWW in an exclusive interview 'Family Reunion' star Anthony Alabi explains what makes Netflix's new family sitcom tick.
On July 10, viewers will get their first look at ‘Family Reunion’, a multi-generational, multi-camera comedy on Netflix that tells the story of former football player Moz McKellen, played by Anthony Alabi, and his family, as they move from Seattle, Washington to Columbus, Georgia after attending a family reunion.
Moz and his wife Cocoa, who is played by Tia Mowry, decide that they want their kids to be closer to family and have more of a rooted upbringing and so they decide to move in with Moz’s mother and father who are very conservative and religious.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Alabi explained that this mix of modern and old school values is what creates a lot of the comedy in the show:
“A lot of the comedy comes from the juxtaposition of the two parenting styles and philosophies and just the kind of general outlook in life,” he said. “And so with that conflict under one roof you get a lot of drama, a lot of comedy, a lot of laughs, and a lot of tears. So it's a great kind of cocktail for the fans and something interesting for them to watch.”
Alabi, who has his first leading male role on the sitcom, described working with such accomplished cast members like Mowry and Loretta Devine as an “amazing” experience and said that being the “new guy” pushed him to prepare and perform better on set.
“Whenever you are the new kid on the block, so to speak, and you're the one that is kind of coming into this new and fresh off the street, I think for me at least the idea was that I never wanted to be the weak link,” the actor explained. “I never wanted to be the one that people watch on TV and they go “he's the new guy.” So for me, I think it was very much about making sure that I brought it every day, that I never took a day off, that I never kind of relaxed on preparation whether it was for a line, whether it was for a scene, whether it's for an entire episode, I just never wanted to come to set with anything but my best and I think in doing that it really elevated not just myself but I think the entire cast and crew as a whole.”
When asked about what viewers can expect from the show, Alabi said that ‘Family Reunion’ would aim to give viewers a sense of nostalgia for the great family sitcoms of the past.
“I think what viewers will get first and foremost is a sense of nostalgia. I think you'll get a throwback to shows like Family Matters and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” he said. “I think we really wanted to make sure that viewers felt that family dynamic, that sitcom feel, and after that, you're going to laugh a lot. You're going to laugh a whole lot because I think our writers' room - which was the first all-black writers' room - they did a phenomenal job injecting comedy and creating a nice balance between that and a really deep current; moments that deal with topics that are on theme, that are right on the pulse of our culture right now and exploring those and making sure that everybody had a unique point of view. But at the same time they make you laugh about it and in the end, without being silly or goofy, they made it funny. And so you're going to get that combination,” Alabi explained. “I think at the end of it you're going to kind of exhale and just go “Woo! That was awesome.” And wait for the next episode.”
‘Family Reunion’ will come to Netflix on July 10, 2019.