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Rutherford Falls cast on what’s in store for season 2

There’s no show currently on the air that has as big of a heart, and gets as many laughs, as Peacock‘s Rutherford Falls. The heir to Schitt’s Creek‘s “Most Likable TV Show” title, the series presents a nicer, funnier world than the one we live in, populated by characters the audience cares about and storylines that are about more than just delivering easy punch lines.

A combination of smart and empathetic writing and an ensemble cast you can root for is what makes the show so appealing. In a recent interview with Digital Trends, creator Sierra Teller Ornelas and some of the cast talked about what may happen in season 2, how a Dirty Dancing production number was one of the hardest scenes to shoot for one cast member, and why Rutherford Falls is the most huggable show on TV right now.

Digital Trends: What can viewers expect from season 2 of Rutherford Falls?

Sierra Teller Ornelas (creator/writer/producer): Season 2 is so much fun. I’m so excited for everyone to enjoy season 2 of Rutherford Falls. There is a lot of just wonderful warmth and comedy that audiences enjoyed in season 1. We really lean into the romance this year. I love that Reagan has multiple romances and we get to watch her further ingratiate herself into her community. You see Nathan sort of rebuilding his legacy from scratch and what that looks like. And then you get to see Terry Thomas level up into this higher sort of dream scenario and how that has more pitfalls than he might have anticipated.

It’s rompy, it’s funny, and we also get to lean into sort of TV tropes that I grew up loving, like a holiday episode. They go on a trip together that has some fun elements that have a native comedic specificity.

Reagan shows Nathan her phone in Rutherford Falls.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Nathan’s life in the season 1 finale was turned upside down. What’s in store for him in season 2?

Ed Helms (Nathan): Yes, at the end of season 1, Nathan basically has an epic identity crisis. He is thrown for a loop. He has no idea kind of how or where to root himself. At the beginning of season 2, he’s crash landing. It’s not pretty. And he’s still trying to figure out his life and making some dumb choices, but he’s doing it in a hilarious way. And thankfully, he’s got his buddy Reagan to kind of help soften the landing a little bit.

We get to explore more of Reagan in season 2, particularly in the Aunt Sue episode. What should viewers expect to see with Reagan this season?

Jana Schmieding (Reagan): I love that you brought up that episode because it honors the role of the “auntie” in native communities. Our unsung heroes in Indian country are aunties. Reagan is experiencing leadership in her career, her family, and in love and romance. She’s growing, and we get to see the struggles with that type of growth and how clumsy it can be to step into your power.

The heart of the show is Nathan and Reagan’s friendship. How has their relationship changed in season 2?

Helms: You know, it got tested pretty hard at the end of season 1. I think the fact that they’re still there for each other is really part of the beauty of that friendship. … they also know one another better than anybody. And so they can kind of push each other’s buttons in all the great ways. But how is it different? [Looks at Jana] How would you say it’s different?

Schmieding: I feel like maybe we see in season 2 that Nathan and Reagan are a little bit more like family than they are like friends. They have that kind of closeness where it’s like, I can’t get rid of you even if I wanted to. [Laughs] We get to see that shade of their friendship and how they’re really going to bat for each other in the darkest of times. And for that reason, I think their friendship has only gotten stronger.

What can viewers expect as Bobbie’s political ambitions come to the forefront in season 2?

Jesse Leigh (Bobbie): In season 2, we see Bobbie run for mayor of Rutherford Falls, which is a big step up from season 1 when he was Nathan’s executive intern. With him in this mayoral race, we see Bobbie prep for all the debates that go on and you see more of the ferocious side of Bobbie come out that the fans loved in season one.

Nathan and Bobbie look alarmed in Rutherford Falls.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Bobbie is the king of one-liners on the show. Is that all in the script or do you contribute to that?

Leigh: I contribute a little, but it’s mostly what’s written in the script.

Last time we saw Josh, he revealed Nathan’s true origins and potentially threatened his relationship with Reagan. What’s in store for him in season 2 and will we see more of his relationship with Reagan?

Dustin Milligan (Josh): Yeah, at the end of season 1, it was definitely something where both of them laid it out like this is who I am and this is what I need and is this really going to work? I think in season 2, we really see Josh questioning the choice that he made and questioning whether this idea of himself that he has built up over all these years is right for him and if there isn’t something more back in Rutherford Falls, specifically with Reagan, that he owes it to himself to explore.

What was your favorite scene to film in season 2?

Leigh: There’s a really great Halloween episode at the end of the season when Bobby dresses up like Kim Kardashian.

Michael Greyeyes (Terry): Hmm. Well, the hardest scene was certainly the dance sequence [set to I’ve Had The Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing] in our opening episode. We worked so hard on that. You know, I loved doing that sequence, but I’ll never forget that just as the cameras were about to roll, a big audience had gathered. So, the pressure was on to deliver, and I’m so proud of how it turned out. Kimberly [Guerrero] is a fabulous dancer, even though she wasn’t trained as such. And I think we danced quite well together.

Milligan: Not to give too much away, but towards the end of the season, there’s a very wonderful and silly kind of celebratory scene that I think was shot pretty late at night. It was like pushing midnight almost when we shot it, so everyone’s real loopy and there’s a lot of crazy dancing going on in this scene. And yeah, it was just a lot of silly fun. And I may or may not limbo a little bit.

Terry dances with a woman in Rutherford Falls.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What do you want viewers to get out of this season of Rutherford Falls?

Greyeyes: What I think is so gorgeous about the writing this season is that it’s truly ensemble in its focus. What that tells you is that we live in context and I think Rutherford Falls does that so beautifully. We live in context with ourselves, with our histories. We live in context with people around us: Newcomers, immigrants, and settlers. And I think by choosing that focus, it allows the sort of really complex dynamics of how we relate to each other to come to the fore.

Ornelas: With season 2 of Rutherford Falls, I hope people laugh. I hope they just enjoy how funny the show is because I’m so proud of the jokes. I also think that the show makes a point to try to humanize all of the characters, whether they’re native or non-native, whether they’re young or whether they’re old.

Rutherford Falls | New Season | Official Trailer | Peacock Original

I think that there’s a real warmth that comes from the show. And I hope that people feel that warmth, especially when we’re living in these times where things can get really flattened and turned into kind of symbols versus actual people. I love that we’re able to make people really laugh with characters who feel to me like people I grew up with and people I know.

I agree. Rutherford Falls is the rare show you want to hug. You want to hug everybody in it.

Ornelas: [Laughs] It’s a very huggable show.

You can stream all eight episodes of Rutherford Falls season 2 on Peacock. For more noteworthy shows and movies on Peacock in June, check out what’s new on Peacock.

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Jason Struss
Section Editor, Entertainment
Jason is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast whose love for cinema, television, and cheap comic books has led him to…
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