Special thanks to Marvel, Disney and ABC for sending me on this all expense paid trip to cover THOR RAGNAROK, “The Mayor” on ABC, CARS 3 Blu-Ray release, Disney Junior’s “Vampirina” and littleBits’ STAR WARS Droid Inventor Kits. All opinions are my own. There are affiliate links in this blog post.
A surprise addition to our #ThorRagnarokEvent trip was the opportunity to not only screen a new episode of ABC’s new comedy The Mayor but to also interview the stars of the show, actors Bernard David Jones (“Jermaine Leforge”) and Marcel Spears (“T.K. Clifton”). Before I went out to LA I watched the pilot episode. You know how pilots tend to feel kind of awkward? Almost as if the cast hasn’t really gotten their act together or started gelling together? Watch the pilot episodes for a few of your favorite sitcoms and you’ll see what I’m describing if you don’t already know what I’m talking about. Unlike most pilot episodes I’ve watched this was not the case with The Mayor. The actors’ chemistry with one and another was flawless and I had to know if they had been friends for years the way their characters were. I walked into the conference room and was one of the first to enter. Both Bernard David Jones and Marcel Spears stood up and greeted me with a bear hug. These guys are the real deal. I’ve met a few actors in my short time as a blogger and I’ve never been met with a big ol’ bear hug and such gratitude.
ABC’s The Mayor is all about Heart, Community and Leading Through Love
Young rapper Courtney Rose (Brandon Micheal Hall) needs his big break. For years, he’s toiled away in a small inner-city apartment, making music in his junk-filled bedroom closet. Tired of waiting for opportunity, Courtney cooks up the publicity stunt of the century: Running for mayor of his hometown in California to generate buzz for his music career. Unfortunately for Courtney, his master plan goes wildly awry, ending in the most terrifying of outcomes: An election victory. With the help of his mother (Yvette Nicole Brown, “Community”) and friends, including Valentina (“Glee’s” Lea Michele), Courtney will have to overcome his hubris if he wants to transform the struggling city he loves.
Contrary to what you may think, Marcel Spears and Bernard David Jones have not been friends for twenty years. Sure they may play characters who have known each other that long on a TV but these two haven’t been lifelong friends in real life; yet you can’t help but feel their kinship, admiration and respect for each other when you sit in a room with them. They laugh at each other’s nuances and nod in agreement when they agree with something the other is saying. The way they talk about working on the set of The Mayor you’re sure the entire cast and crew have this sense of camaraderie that you’re witnessing.
Bernard David Jones told us, “…we have Yvette Nicole Brown. If you’ve ever met her, you’ve ever talked to her, you’ve ever seen her in anything…people are like ‘Yvette, we love you. We love you. We love you.’ And I always say, ‘Yvette, you know what, I hope that people love me the way that they love you and respect you’, and she said, ‘Just be yourself and have a heart for people.’
Marcel Spears described the show’s lead actor Brandon Micheal Hall, “Brandon, I mean, he’s such a great actor. He’s young, but his ability to be a leader, onscreen and off screen, is amazing. I’ve been knowing Brandon for three years now. I’m watching this young man grow into himself and taking on the position of being the number one and being the star of the show and really learning as he goes and being a servant leader and making sure that we’re all okay and taking care of us. I’m proud. It’s weird. I’ve only known him three years, but I feel like I’ve known him forever.” Then Bernard David Shad added, “I think we’re blessed to have a leader in Brandon. He’s wise beyond his years. He’s a great actor. Julliard trained. But he’s a great friend.”
When we asked them their thoughts on the state of our country as it relates to The Mayor they chuckled that we were bold enough to go there and then graciously answered with heart. “As artists, it’s kind of our duty, our job to be able to hold a mirror up to our country, our world and say, this is what’s going on,” Jones explained, “How do we fix it? What can we do to fix it? And I think our show is an awesome representation of what happens when somebody that has a heart for people, that understands community and unity, leads with love.” Spears concurred, “Now, I feel like people are so exhausted with [politics] because you have to pick a side, pick a side, pick a side and it’s become so divided that we forgot that it’s a part of what makes this country great. I feel like us doing the show gives us a chance, in a fun [and] an approachable way to really talk about politics in a way that I feel like can reach people so that people aren’t afraid of politics anymore.”
I know what you may be thinking, Really Bert? A show about politics? No thank you I get enough of that on the nightly news and my Twitter feed. We asked the actors if the shows was slanted one way or another. They assured us that it wasn’t. What creator and executive producer Jeremy Bronson wanted was a show that looked at the issues, not be driven by it and how a city comes together to solve them. Jones explained, “I think what’s also special about our show is that we come from a non-partisan standpoint, so there’s no, ‘you have to be a Democrat’ or ‘you have to be a Republican.’ We don’t choose sides. We present what’s going on these communities and we offer solutions on how to fix it.” Plus the show is hilarious!!
Is the show family friendly?
So is the show family friendly? Both Spears and Jones think so and while I’ve only seen two episodes I’m inclined to agree. “Yeah, this is one of those shows that you can sit down as a family and watch. It’s one of those shoes that your kids can grow into like, they watch an episode now, they don’t catch everything,” Spears said, “They watch it again when they’re a little older and, and they see things that they never understood or didn’t comprehend. It’s definitely something that I feel like because of the design of it and because of the nature of the show, it’s something that can reach everybody in some kind of way.”
Jones elaborated on Spears’ point, “I love that Jeremy created these characters that kids can look up to. They can aspire to be the Mayor or, you know, Director of Communications. Some may not even know what that is. They may go home and Google, what is Director of Communications? I can do something like that? That’s cool. I think to Jeremy’s testament, that is an amazing thing that he did was create these characters that grown ups can laugh at. You can catch the grown up jokes and then the kids can look and aspire to be those guys.”
And you can catch new episodes of The Mayor every Tuesday night at 9:30 EST|8:30 CST on ABC! You can also watch On Demand or on the ABC App.
BERNARD DAVID JONES (“Jermaine Leforge”)
MARCEL SPEARS (“T.K. Clifton”)