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Memphis family at center of 'Buried by the Bernards' reality show talks filming ahead of this week's premiere

R. Bernard Funeral Services has twice before experienced "fame" but a new reality show focused on the family business will put them in a bigger spotlight.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — A Memphis family, no stranger to the spotlight, will be the stars of a Netflix reality television show that premieres this week.

'Buried by the Bernards' premieres Friday, Feb. 12, on Netflix. Over the course of eight episodes, the show will follow the Bernard family that runs R. Bernard Funeral Services off of Lamar Ave.

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The Bernard family first gained attention in 2017, shortly after opening, due to the business having a drive-thru window for viewings. Then they went viral again. This time for a commercial where the uncle pops out of a casket.

The attention that followed caught the attention of a producer determined to make the family's dynamic into a reality show.

“It definitely is a reality," Ryan Bernard said. "This is us. This is us every day"

Bernard, who opened the business, said initially the family was hesitant on doing a show. When people think reality show, they think drama, Bernard said. 

"We didn’t want any type part of that, they just told us, 'Hey, we’re going to make this into a comedy, your uncle Kevin and your mom, this is going to be a comedy and we’re going to focus it on the family and not the business'," Bernard said. "We thought that was a great idea so we just went with it because this is us every day."

The family began filming in January of 2020 and nearly wrapped its entirety before the pandemic took ahold.

“I have a whole new outlook on real actors and actresses, having to be on set at certain times of the day," Bernard said. "It was like a second job, it was a second job. Wardrobe changes, doing makeup. Stuff like that I’m not used to.”

Kevin Miller, Bernard's uncle, played the staring role in the commercial. The commercial paints him and Bernard's mother, Debbie, as the two comedic stars of the show. It also features Bernard's two daughters: Deja and Raegan.

“It was experience," Miller said. "It really was dealing with the camera people all day long, following you all day long, staying long. They're with you all of the time, you couldn’t even go to the restroom.”

Bernard said he has no qualms about sharing the spotlight with his mother and uncle.

"They’re sharing it with me," Bernard said. “My momma and her brother they act a fool. I’m the funeral director so I have to keep the line. I have to keep it balanced out.”

Watch the trailer here.

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