rename Ava DuVernay's “Home Sweet Home”
Feel-good series

Ava DuVernay’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ is the life-changing tv show we were waiting for

The Academy Award-nominated executive producer premiered her first-ever unscripted series

At this point, we just think that Ava DuVernay wants to see us crying. The Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated executive producer premiered the feel-good, emotional, and her first-ever unscripted series “Home Sweet Home,” which follows two families who lead very different lives for a life-changing experience.

These families will exchange homes for a week and experience the lives of those unlike them. From challenging racial, religious, economic, geographic, gender, and identity assumptions, each of them will learn what it is like to walk a mile in another person’s shoes. At the end of each hour-long episode, the two families reunite to share their eye-opening and life-changing experiences.

Ava DuVernay's “Home Sweet Home”©Casey Durkin/NBC

“We are in the most polarized time. I’m 49 years old and I can’t even remember a time where you almost don’t want to talk to the other side — like you literally don’t even want to have a conversation because it’s so stark down certain lines of ideology,” DuVernay tells Variety of the series.

“I’m not trying to get out of this with everybody holding hands [and] skipping through the garden,” she says. “All I’m saying is, let’s have some human decency. Let me let you be in your corner and let me understand that you love your kids as much as I love my family. And you treat me with that same dignity.”

According to DuVernay, the experiment is a show that sparks curiosity. “I thought, ‘Could we make a show that’s based on curiosity?’ You’re learning about how other people live in a way that’s very intimate, very colloquial,” DuVernay says.

 Ava DuVernay's “Home Sweet Home”©Casey Durkin/NBC

As reported by the publication, she didn’t know if the show would work for audiences the way it worked for her until she spoke with her friend Ted Lasso. “He said to me, ‘We’re in the “Ted Lasso” era.’ He’s a character who’s inherently nice, and there are pieces of it that are much more positive than the average so. So, maybe we can ride the ‘Ted Lasso’ wave! It is just saying there is another way to do this stuff,” she recalls.

Ava reveals that casting of the families was the most important thing. DuVernay says they needed people who “would never go on a show” chasing fame. “We wanted families who were connected to community centers or churches, trying to expose their children to the world,” she says. “Both sides had to want to be there. The teenagers couldn’t be bratty; the dad couldn’t be grouchy — those tropes you always see. Instead, there are two groups of people in each episode that actually want to have a social experience, that actually wants to have a cultural exchange.”

DuVernay also revealed that they found families who seemed like a fit, but the size of their home and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic were not suitable for production. “We had two homes going at the same time. That means two different crews, COVID regulations, mask shields, field testing. If one kid gets sick or has a stuffy nose, we’re shutting down. It was a lot,” she says. “We were shooting during the Jan. 6 terrorist attack on our Capitol; we were shooting at the time of the election. We were feeling a heightened emotion about what we were doing, and there’s hope that somebody might see this and feel differently about Muslims or Mormons or Queer people or Latinx people or Jewish people. Something has to happen here where we all get out of our corners.”

“Home Sweet Home” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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