Comedy Rutherford Falls, created by prolific sitcom executive Michael Schur (The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), promises to explore and confront the history of a small New England town in a series trailer that dropped Tuesday. The trailer sees best friends Nathan Rutherford and Reagan Wells, played by Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover) and Jana Schmieding (Blast, Woman of Size), fight for causes they believe in strongly – for Nathan it’s persevering a statue of his ancestor “Big Larry” and for Reagan it’s to support a struggling cultural center.
While Schur and Helms have reunited their The Office partnership to produce Rutherford Falls, Sierra Teller Orneals (Superstore, Happy Endings) will serve alongside as a produce and the series’ showrunner. A Navajo Native, Orneals’ position as showrunner is crucial to the voice of Rutherford Falls, as Native stories are at the heart of the sitcom. The A.V. Club reports that “Rutherford Falls has one of the largest Indigenous writers’ rooms on tv.”
— jana (@janaunplgd) March 16, 2021
Star Schmieding also serves as a writer on the series, and is one of many Native performers working both behind and in front of the camera on Rutherford Falls. Schmieding shared Deadline’s report on the series’ writer’s room with glee on Twitter saying “Natives taking #TVLandBack”. Tai Leclaire (A Sip with Vodka: A Russian Guide to Becoming a Real Housewife and Making it in America), an actor and writer on the upcoming Peacock series, shared the trailer on Twitter Tuesday in a thread where he expressed disbelief that he gets to pull double-duty in two creative positions on a series that brings him such pride.
I’m just bursting with pride and can’t believe I was able to be a part of this insanely funny series that we all worked so hard to make.
— Tai Leclaire (@tai_leclaire) March 16, 2021
Actor Dustin Milligan (Schitt’s Creek, Dirk Gently’s Hollistic Detective Agency) echoed Leclaire’s sentiments, calling the series “a breakthrough moment in Native representation in comedy” when he shared the trailer with his Twitter followers on Tuesday. Milligan’s character, a podcast journalist named Josh Carter, aims to “uncover the story that’s brewing between the town’s history versus the history it parades around to tourists” (Entertainment Weekly). In the trailer, Milligan’s Josh says that the town of Rutherford Falls contains “a story about stories” (Rutherford Falls).
Nathan and Reagan’s individual goals, on display in the series’ trailer, exemplify the dueling and complex cultural narratives that created the town of Rutherford Falls. The series will explore this, with Nathan’s arc in the trailer already tackling “political debate about preserving colonial statues, which represent an era of mass genocide for the Indigenous community” (Screen Rant). While Helm’s Nathan remains passionate about the statue of “Big Larry” in Rutherford Falls trailer, his best friend Reagan’s growing work with the town’s cultural center, preserving her Native heritage, will bring the characters to a literal and figurative “crossroads” according to the official synopsis of the series, provided by Screen Rant.
Rutherford Falls will debut on Peacock on April 22, and Milligan has already encouraged a fan on Twitter to obtain the streaming service in order to check out the game-changing small-town comedy.
Shelby gets it https://t.co/1VDs2yOYkb
— Dustin Milligan (@DustinWMilligan) March 16, 2021