Breakout hit Run The Burbs is returning for a second season on January 4, and we’re looking forward to more adventures in suburbia with the Phams.
Run The Burbs centres on a young Vietnamese-South Asian-Canadian family and their lives in the suburbs. The show has captured hearts for its astute humour and the fact that it offers a genuine representation of what life in Canadian suburbs look like.
We spoke to Rakhee Morzaria, who plays Camille Pham, about the impact of Run The Burbs, the many layers to Camille, and more.
Why do you think this show has resonated with so many?
Because it’s fun! It’s like a throwback to those beloved 90s sitcoms, but through the lens of a modern-day family of Vietnamese and South Asian heritage. I worked really hard to make Camille layered, complex and funny. I think in older comedies, mothers and women are often portrayed as angelic disempowered housewives or “the ruiners of fun.” Blarghhh! Not Camille. She’s an empowered woman, but she’s not perfect, she’s real. It’s not often you have a South Asian lead that gets to be strong and silly. I feel really lucky to share her with audiences.
Did you grow up in the suburbs? What did you love best about it?
I did. I loved the relationships we had with the neighbours. It was a lot of young immigrant families all looking out for each other’s kids. It was great, because I ate the best food. But it also had its downsides, like if you lied to your parents about where you were going, it would 100% get back to them. Spies everywhere. Early in the pandemic I temporarily moved back to my parents’ house in the burbs and started posting Instagram videos about all my misadventures. Funnily, it was around the same time Andrew and Scott were developing Run the Burbs and my video posts are partly what got me an interview to work in the development/writers room. I booked that job and the rest is herstory.
Have you seen a family like the Phams on TV before? What do you love about them?
I gotta say, it’s been a while since I’ve watched a family sitcom, maybe because I rarely saw my relationship with my family reflected on TV. So, I’m not sure what I can compare it to. But now, when I watch Run the Burbs – which I’m obligated to do, because my mom WILL call me immediately after to tell me all her thoughts – I’m inspired by how they navigate their cross-cultural intergenerational experiences, and by how much fun they have together.
What can audiences learn from the Phams? From Camille?
The power of communication. They are a really open family that are willing to have honest conversations. I’m reminded of the episode in Season 1 where Camille’s father, Ramesh, learns that Khia is queer and has some trouble coming to terms with it. I love that Camille is unwavering in her opinion about what is right — that love is love and that Khia communicates precisely why Ramesh’s concern is unhelpful. It’s really refreshing to see this conversation unfold with a South Asian family and was very meaningful to watch with my family.
Can you give us a teaser for Season 2? What can audiences expect in this new season?
There’s a lot more of Camille’s cultural background explored in the new season, which means some of her extended family, including Camille’s cousin, played by the hilarious Sharjil Rasool, and a guest appearance by Ann Pornel…who is not related to Camille, but still, had to mention it. I love these comedians so much and have worked with them a bunch on live shows, so it’s wicked fun to play with them on set.
Anything else you want to share with us?
I’m doing THEATRESPORTS at Bad Dog in the new year and have a film coming out that I wrote, directed and starred in, funded by the Toronto Arts Council. Look out for that!
Season 2 of Run The Burbs premieres on CBC/CBC Gem on January 4.