The freshman Peacock comedy marks a reunion between Ornelas and Michael Shur who previously worked on Brooklyn Nine-Nine together. Ornelas’ resume also includes work on acclaimed comedies such as Happy Endings, Splitting Up Together, and Superstore. On top of all that, Ornelas inked an overall deal with Universal Television in 2019. She’s making moves.
Co-created by Ornelas, Shur, and Ed Helms, Rutherford Falls follows best friends, Nathan Rutherford (Helms) and Reagan Wells (the hilarious Jana Schmieding), who find themselves at a crossroads–quite literally–when their sleepy town gets an unexpected wakeup call. Nathan is a descendant of the town’s founder who takes pride in his family’s history; and Reagan is a member of the Minishonka Nation, who has dreams of championing her own history. From there, things get wonderfully complicated.
Ornelas, who is Navajo and Mexican American, serves as showrunner of the series, which marks one of the first times TV has seen a sitcom that centers Native people — and is not stereotypical. In fact, it gives a fresh, thoughtful perspective on the Native community that helps us unlearn the media’s problematic portrayal of the community that we have been fed for decades. Deadline’s New Hollywood Podcast chatted with Ornelas about how the groundbreaking show bolsters representation for Native creative in the entertainment industry. Listen to the episode below.
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