Ed Helms And Jana Schmieding Discuss Rutherford Falls Season 2 - Exclusive Interview

Streaming service Peacock is on a roll with its original programming. Season 1 of "Queer as Folk" landed on the platform on June 9, and series star Devin Way explained why it's so important today to The List. After all, society at large has a long way to go before the LGBTQ+ community is fully included, accepted, and protected by the law. Likewise, Peacock's "Rutherford Falls" sheds light on Native American history in the United States, giving this community good representation — and hailing from Native writers like Jana Schmieding, who also stars in the series.

"Rutherford Falls" is a testament to progress made, but the show reminds us that there is still more progress to be made. This comes to life not only through Schmieding but also through Ed Helms, Jesse Leigh, and Dustin Milligan, among many other talented actors. "Rutherford Falls" is now back for a second season, which premieres on Peacock on June 16, offering fans of the comedy more lighthearted realism and romance than ever. 

We at The List were lucky enough to chat with Schmieding and Helms ahead of Season 2's premiere date, and the iconic duo talked all things "Rutherford Falls," including why it's so important today, how much romance fans can expect in Season 2, and how the show comes together.

Why Rutherford Falls is so important today

What can you generally tell us and tease about Season 2 of "Rutherford Falls" and how it builds on Season 1?

Ed Helms: Season 1, we were really excited to introduce these characters, introduce a lot of the issues that these characters and that this world deals with, a historical clash between colonial idealism and Native American history. I feel like in this season, we're  steeping in the stew of this ensemble and really celebrating the comedy of these characters and all of their foibles, and it's a joy.

Jana Schmieding: We get to play in the world a little bit more and it feels like they get to do more, have more hijinks, and more comedy.

The series approaches history, as you note, in a really refreshing way. What can you both tell us about the show's representation and message and why that's so important today?

Schmieding: It's important as people, especially in America, to be open to different perspectives on history. It's part of the struggle of being a person and to dig into the struggle and recognize it as such and learn to enjoy that struggle as a fundamental part of being an American citizen, I believe, and an American person. It certainly is a part of being a Native person, grappling with identity in a colonial setting and making sure that your voice is heard and trying to figure out how to center yourself at any given time. It's a struggle, but it's a beautiful struggle.

Ed Helms and Jana Schmieding tease new romance in Season 2

Season 2 also promises to bring more romance to town. What can you tease to our readers about that?

Helms: There's a lot of romance for sure, but also some complications to romance, particularly in Nathan's story. We leave Season 1 after some sparks flew with Deirdre, and that's still there in Season 2, but it takes a pretty wild, unexpected turn that is exciting and terrifying for Nathan and the audience. Jana can speak to Reagan's story.

Schmieding: Reagan has a little bit more of a little love triangle going, and we get to see native romance, which is new for television viewers.

Helms: And through it all, Nathan and Reagan have the friend romance. They're there for each other.

Both of you also work behind the scenes on the show, whether writing or executive producing. What can you tell us about how the show comes to life and what that process is like?

Schmieding: Go for it.

Helms: It's fairly straightforward. We have an incredible writer's room. We'll start there, the writer's room, which is a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of Native American writers, and then once those scripts are together ... Basically, we show up and have a blast. We talk and tell stories and make each other laugh, and then, somehow, these episodes come out of it.

We also are blessed with this insane production crew that brings everything to life. Our production designer and so many of the crew positions are some of the best people to work with, and then the cast steps onto set and brings it all to life. At that point, we're trying to make each other laugh as hard as possible.

"Rutherford Falls" Season 2 lands on Peacock on June 16.