If you haven’t been watching a comedy about a black family in 2014, then you’re missing out on some really funny TV. And, guess what? I’m not referring to the show on ABC.

Actually, I’m talking about the original sitcom “Family Time,” which is just finishing up its second season on the first African-American broadcast TV network, BounceTV.com.

I recently had a chance to interview Tanjareen Thomas, who co-stars on the show, to find out more from behind the scenes.

Q: For anyone who hasn’t seen the show, what’s “Family Time” all about?

T: "Family Time" is an urban sitcom about a husband (Omar Gooding) who hits the lottery and moves his wife (Angell Conwell) and kids from the hood to Windsor Hills Los Angeles. It shows them dealing with funny challenges between themselves, their new neighbors, and their extended family. My character is Rachel, the wife's lesbian sister, and I love to bicker with my sister's husband and our older sister (Paula Jai Parker). "Family Time" can be viewed on the new Bounce channel, or online at BounceTV.com/video

Q: You play Rachel, the sassy sister to the show’s main character Lisa (played by Angell Conwell) -- is this the most fun character you’ve ever played or what?

T: My most fun character to play was Crystal in the film "Miss March" starring Craig Robinson. While performing a strip tease, I was harnessed into the air and thrown out of the window of a moving tour bus! Oh what a rush! But getting to play Rachel on "Family Time" is definitely a close second. Bentley Evans shoots very quickly, so we have to stay prepared with our lines and be ready to change hair & make-up fast! Plus the writers are constantly adding new jokes at the last second. It keeps me on my toes! Fortunately, I've worked with most of the cast and crew on other projects before, so it really does feel less like work and more like having fun with my family…Except we're being paid to be together :-)

Q: Rachel is also a lesbian on the show -- was this something you were worried about or does it simply add another layer for you to have fun with?

T: Nope, I wasn't worried about it at all. Rachel being a lipstick lesbian is an added bonus for me to play with. I think it adds to her diversity. I haven't been portrayed like this on TV before and I was excited to get to represent a community I respect so highly.

Q: What’s been different this second season from the first?
T: This second season is jam-packed full of hilarious guest stars. Besides Chris Williams, Paula Jai Parker, JudyAnn Elder, Richard Gant, Corey Holcomb, Erica Schafer, and Shanti Lowry, this new season adds the amazing Lynn Whitfield, Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, Miguel Nuñez, Jackée Harry, and comedians Rodney Perry, Kelly Perine, Clayton Thomas and Al Hitz Shearer . With such a large cast, the hysterical storylines are endless! And with more episodes, our characters are able to share more of our lives. For example, in this season, I am finally seen with a girlfriend, and that was pretty cool.

Q: Since the show has been compared to ABC’s new “Black-ish” sitcom, are you concerned or do you think there’s enough audience for both?

T: I absolutely think there's enough audience for "Black-ish" and "Family Time"! Just like there's enough audience to watch so many different 1-hour cop shows, several different Law & Orders, or all the many mainstream sitcoms that are airing. Good comedy is good comedy. And people of color want to see themselves on TV. Stories they can relate to, in situations at which they can laugh. I feel our people should have as many opportunities as possible to do so!

Q: Before we let you go, can you give us one surprise or juicy story from the set?

T: Umm…well, most people think that since Omar Gooding and Angell Conwell were real life lovers after playing boyfriend and girlfriend in the film "Baby Boy" years ago, that they must be dating again now since they're married in "Family Time". They're not. The real scoop is that the actor who recurs as Donnie on the show…is sleeping with me! I can't tell you how many times he pinched my butt between takes. LOL!

Thank you for the interview.
To keep up with Tanjareen Thomas visit: www.Tanjareen.com

To watch episodes of “Family Time” check out:
http://www.bouncetv.com/video
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Jan 06, 2015
Great article! and Great sitcom! Very funny too!
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