Kim Fields on ‘Buddy Comedy’ Vibe With Wanda Sykes in ‘The Upshaws’ Season 2
Kim Fields and Wanda Sykes are bringing sisterly love to Netflix‘s The Upshaws. In Season 2 Part 1, streaming now, Regina Upshaw (Fields) is trying to move forward with husband Bennie Upshaw (Mike Epps), their family, and her career following the chaotic surprise that was Bennie fathering a son with another woman last season. And right at her side through all of the comedic chaos is her sister, Lucretia Turner (Sykes).
In the new episodes, which dropped Wednesday, June 29, the family continues to ride life’s ups and downs together, including new romances, old flames, big dreams, big changes, and all the love and drama that comes with a big family. Fields chatted with TV Insider ahead of The Upshaws Season 2 premiere, sharing what makes Regina and Lucretia’s sisterly antics so entertaining. And the answer’s quite simple: Their off-screen relationship is just as good as their on.
Take a dive into Regina’s Season 2 plot in The Upshaws with Fields, below.
What’s coming up this season for Regina Upshaw?
Season 1 really laid a tremendous foundation for her. Some of her soil got uprooted — even tossed out, if you will — with the ups and downs that she went through. With this season, there’s replenishing and replacing some soil, there’s getting rid of rotten-a** fruit, but certainly a lot of laughs and a tremendous amount of relatability.
For all of those people that were like, “Wow, [The Upshaws] is so raw, it’s so real,” oh, baby [laughs]. It makes for a wonderful season arc for any actor to portray. I had a phenomenal time this season going deeper with her.
What can you tease about any new dynamics between the family members?
A number of the family bonds are strengthened; a few key family bonds are strained. But in fine family fashion, after that strain, you usually find that you’re even closer. Sometimes the sh*t don’t always shake out like that, but that’s what makes for great storytelling.
Did you get to work with anyone more this season than last?
Actually, no. This was a really nice, evenly distributed feeling. Wanda and I do get to do a bit more sister moments — moments that are almost like a female buddy comedy. Definitely a lot of fun, and that relatability. Where we saw Regina Upshaw in Season 1 get to the end of her rope with her family, she has a similar moment in her professional life as she still is working towards trying to level up who she is in the workforce.
Can you expand on that buddy comedy dynamic with Wanda?
The thing that’s great about working with Wanda and getting to delve more into our sisterhood on the show is, we have such a natural chemistry as sisters off-camera. That felt so natural and organic. We still are in awe of each other.
The funniest thing is, my youngest son, Quincy, Wanda loves to FaceTime with him. They have a cute little budding relationship. A few weeks ago, I said, “I have to re-edit my comedy reel,” and Quincy says, “Well, Aunt Wanda’s hilarious. See if she can help you!” [Laughs] She thought that was so funny. She sent me a text saying to Quincy, “Quincy, I have to tell you I have learned so much from your mommy.”
I’ve enjoyed how much we’re able to create and how natural it feels. Because the executive producers and the network have such a regard for my voice, that’s been really nice too, when I get to speak in that space. And it comes across. At the end of the day, the chemistry we have, you can’t manufacture that.
You starred in iconic sitcoms like Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, and Living Single. What has changed about making a sitcom now vs. the ’90s and before?
What’s different is, of course, plugging in what’s relatable now, in terms of storylines, banter, character interactions. But the formula is pretty much the same. There’s a certain amount of plug and play, but at the end of the day, yes, you’ve got four cameras and two booms and all these great lights, but what are you all seeing and who’s saying it? That’s the difference-maker.
In Season 2, did you get to give input into how Regina developed, bits between characters, etc.?
Yes, very much. I’m always saying, “If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage.” And so, our writers room is fire, just tremendous. They don’t need a whole lot of my mouth, so to speak. But having said that, the executive producing team at the network, they really do have a high regard for my voice and value my creative opinion tremendously. So anything from a set deck, a lighting moment, something on the page, or a wardrobe or character thing, they have a tendency to really include me and my voice as a producer.
What do you love most about The Upshaws?
The raw relatability that’s wrapped up in enormous amounts of comedy.
The Upshaws, Season 2 Part 1, Streaming Now, Netflix