*Bounce’s record-breaking comedy series, Family Time, is back for its fifth season and creator Bentley Kyle Evans recently shared with EUR/Electronic Urban Report that fans will experience “a real evolution” of the show this season.
Family Time stars Omar Gooding (Tony) and Angell Conwell (Lisa) as the Stallworths — a pair of high school sweethearts living a new life in the suburbs with their mischievous children, played by Bentley Kyle Evans, Jr. and Jayla Calhoun.
Bentley describes the series as “the black depiction of what a relationship and a family is in 2017.”
This season will feature a variety of notable guest stars including Singer-songwriter and TV personality Tameka “Tiny” Harris, TV host Fonzworth Bentley, Gospel great Shirley Caesar and comedian Arnez J.
“The guest stars are all pretty hilarious,” Angell Conwell says during a recent media teleconference. “A lot of vets but also fresh faces, which Bentley is always really good at having a nice mixture of all types of talent.”
“This season you’ll see the evolution that they’re (Tony and Lisa) now talking about where Devon’s character is going away to college and little Ebony, who was little girl when we first started, now she’s talking about dating and how Lisa and Tony are dealing with that,” Bentley explains.
“And we’re dealing with older, outside characters leavings wills, with Shirley Caesar. We’re dealing Tiny Harris coming on. We are as black people very judgmental of each other and I think Lisa’s character underestimated Tiny’s character thinking that she was a little less educated because of her appearance but it turned out that she was very-very smart. So you’ll see a real evolution of Family Time this season,” he adds.
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“I’m real jazzed for the fans,” Omar says. “I think the fans are really going to enjoy this season. My character has grown and the dynamic between Tony and Lisa, it’s a lot more love this season. She’s looking fabulous. He’s funnier than ever. The writing is excellent…and I’m not just saying that ‘cause I wrote one of the scripts,” he laughs.
Adding, “After five seasons, we found our groove. And in the wake of all the tragedies going on in this country — don’t get me started on this president — all the disasters and everybody’s loss, I think people need to laugh and when they tune into Family Time season 5 they will get that. This was the hardest season to not break character during a scene. The outtakes are hilarious. I think the chemistry that we’ve built throughout five seasons really comes across this year. “
Conwell co-signs, saying, “I think it’s a really great time for people to tune in and laugh and be entertained and Family Time has kept the funny coming for the past five seasons and it’s only going to get better this season,” she says, noting that “I feel like there’s more involvement with all of the cast.”
When EUR asks the writer/producer/director how he challenges himself to continue delivering fresh content season after season, Bentley admits that it all comes down to “staying relevant.”
“There’s always a challenge and here’s where the challenge comes. We’re evolving every day. We’re watching the news, there’s so many negative things taking place in the media and you never know who’s going to do what. But also, as you’re watching, you see things that pop up like Black Lives Matter. You see all these different occurrences and we know that we have to do some sort of semblance of what that is in this particular show. We also know that art imitates life so as different things happen in my family or with different people around me — when different things happen in our families, it’s like, ‘Oh, I gotta write about that. That’s a good idea right there,'” he says.
“The challenge is on me because I am constantly trying to evolve in the writing but it all still comes back to one simple thing and that is, it’s all about family, and families change as time moves on — different things happen. So I don’t know that I challenge myself as much as just being out in the world. I go to the barbershop so I hear about different things. I’m still very relevant in that I do social media. My kids are very relevant. They keep me up on everything that’s going on and I think that is the challenge, staying relevant.”
Meanwhile, Grown Folks is Bentley’s new comedy on Bounce which immediately follows Family Time on Monday nights. The series centers on two blue-collar couples who share a duplex while navigating life, marriage, and friendship. Grown Folks stars Gary “G Thang” Johnson (Disaster Movie, Moneyball) as a frugal skycap for an international airline, Tracey Cherelle Jones (Don’t Be a Menace to South Central, The Players Club, Baby Boy) as his wife Jillian who’s a pragmatic social worker, Jay Phillips (Semi-Pro, Baby Mama, Prom Night) as zany plumber James and Caryn Ward Ross (The Game, You Take the Kids) as Jay’s stay-at-home wife Brenda.
“Grown Folks is exactly what the title says. It’s about some grown folks. It’s written for some grown folks to enjoy,” Bentley says. “When developing Grown Folks it was like, ‘How can I come up with something that would fit the space that the Honeymooners had?’ Where you do a basic show about blue-collar people that are living regular blue-collar lives that don’t know anything about Hollywood. They don’t care about social media. They’re just interested in getting along from day-to-day and living the American dream, which is to own a piece of property and basically living for the weekend, and that’s what Grown Folks is all about. It’s about couples. It’s about relationships. It’s just really about these gown people who exist in each other’s lives and deal with grown peoples problems and situations.”
Catch all-new episodes of Family Time on Monday at 9/8c and tune in to Grown Folks immediately afterward at 9:30/8:30c on Bounce.