‘Rutherford Falls’: Ed Helms Teases Peacock’s Small Town Crisis Comedy

Ed Helms as Nathan Rutherford in Rutherford Falls
Colleen Hayes/Peacock

Can a community dispute over moving a historical statue be a laughing matter? Definitely, when the creators of the comedy Rutherford Falls are The Office star Ed Helms, The Good Place mastermind Michael Schur, and Superstore writer Sierra Teller Ornelas. 

The monument “is a lightning rod,” says Helms, who stars as Nathan Rutherford, a proud descendent of the Mayflower-era founder of Rutherford Falls. The comic crisis begins when the small town’s mayor (Dana L. Wilson) wants the likeness of Nathan’s ancestor, Lawrence, removed. Not because he is an objectionable figure; rather, the statue has become a safety hazard — cars continually crash into it. The proposed banishment soon, however, sparks a bigger story involving Mayor Chisenhall, Nathan and the nearby (fictional) Minishonkan reservation. 

Producers are tight-lipped on the specifics of that tale, but here’s what we know: Nathan, who runs the local heritage museum, considers his family’s history a huge part of his identity. And legacy is equally meaningful to Reagan Wells (podcaster Jana Schmieding, a Lakota Sioux), Nathan’s best friend.

She’s a Minishonkan who dreams of turning her cultural center, located in the tribal casino, into a full-fledged museum. Her boss, Terry Thomas (Michael Greyeyes), has different plans for her — and their people. 

Mike Schur

(Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

“We want to tackle questions about how you reconcile with your history, but in a very funny way,” says Ornelas, a Navajo and one of five Native writers on the show. They also want to dispel stereotypes. When Ornelas worked at the National Museum of the American Indian, some visitors who’d seen the Twilight films earnestly asked if she turned into a wolf. So, expect “ensuing hijinks,” as she puts it, but no howling at the moon.

Rutherford Falls, Spring, Peacock