Just minutes into The Neighbors‘ Season 2 premiere (which airs tonight at 8:30/7:30c on ABC), Toks Olagundoye ditches Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s preppy golfwear for something a little… stealthier.
Like, black-leather-bodysuit stealthier — a detail met with great approval when it hit Twitter last week via the ABC comedy’s official feed.
Olagundoye chuckles when the wardrobe selection is brought up. “It’s definitely not in any way, shape or form as fancy, insofar as the choreography, but I’m essentially reenacting the Catherine Zeta-Jones laser-avoidance scene from Entrapment,” she says, laughing.
The sitcom has become adept at pop culture asides of that sort. The nods are one way the show has charmed critics (confession: like myself) not originally on board with the series’ high concept: The Weaver family moves to a suburban New Jersey housing development only to find that all of their neighbors are actually extraterrestrials. And rather than fleeing with a cartoon cloud of dust in their wake, the family stays put and sorta adopts the aliens – who’ve all taken the names of famous athletes – as their naïve pals.
The Neighbors‘ sophomore season has plenty of these kind of winks – including a Smash burn in the premiere (too soon?) – plus some rocky teen romance and the cut-off Bird-Kersees experiencing financial turmoil. Below, Olagundoye gives TVLine the inside scoop on the outta-this-world hijinks ahead.
TVLINE | So you’re slithering around in the bodysuit in the premiere?
Yeah. [Laughs] They brought on one of the choreographers from the original STOMP, and she helped me do a very easy routine. Once the editors got their hands on it, it looked like a really good job. Wardrobe did just a fantastic job, too. I’m not going to tell you why I’m doing it, but it’s very funny.
TVLINE | What else can you tell us about what’s coming up?
Oh, there’s so much crazy stuff. What to tell you, what to tell you? We actually have quite a few visitors coming from Zabvron. We have had two talk-show personalities on the show as guest stars.
TVLINE | We know about Jerry Springer, who appears in this week’s episode.
Yes, and Wendy Williams, whose [Neighbors episode] started [shooting] today. She was amazing. I mean, aside from [Real Housewives'] Bethenny Frankel, who we were lucky enough to have last year, I’ve never seen anybody with as much energy. Amazing! I loved it. I got to work with Lucy Davis, from the original Office, and I love her, and she just was so incredible to work with and to watch. And, oh God, well, Jackie may have to get a job this season.
TVLINE | Uh-oh.
Jackie may be wandering into the professional world this season.
TVLINE | The Bird-Kersees’ money problems are touched upon in the premiere – and we’ve heard that Jackie winds up working at a Mexican restaurant. Is she a waitress? She has to interact with normal people on a regular basis?
Yeah. And her uniform is special. Love it.
TVLINE | Back to the premiere – we know that the Weavers and the Bird-Kersees are going to discover that Amber and Reggie have been dating. What’s Jackie’s reaction to that?
She’s really trying to balance it out and be as supportive as she can of everybody in a way that can best suit their needs at the time, without backstabbing anybody. But she loves her children so much, she just really wants them to be happy. It’s not that she sides with Reggie, but she’s very sympathetic to what he wants.
TVLINE | Jackie and Debbie also reach a new level in their friendship as the season progresses: They start telling each other everything. I can’t imagine that goes well for Debbie.
Honestly, it’s kind of lovely, because it’s one of those things that happens in friendships. It happens in friendships where there’s a big hiccup, but it just cements the friendship when you can use it as a learning tool and get past it… let whatever happened go and really learn from it. That’s the nice thing about all of their relationships, there’s always a hiccup, but then they all love each other so much that everything is OK at the end as long as they all have each other.