I love watching new cartoons with my kids. We have seen some really great ones over the years, and I know that a new one we will enjoy watching together is Big City Greens. The show is created by Chris and Shane Houghton.
The show and many elements in it are influenced by their childhood growing up in the small rural town of St. Johns, Michigan, with many of the locations and characters inspired by their real-life family members and townsfolk. We were able to screen a couple of the episodes as well as sit down for a Q&A with the creators, Chris and Shane Houghton, and today I get to share all of that with you!
One exciting thing to note is that a second season has already been ordered for the show and it doesn’t even premiere until June 18!
The series premieres with a week of new episodes rolling out daily, Monday, June 18 –Friday, June 22, as part of Disney Channel’s GO! Summer that super-serves kids and families all season with new programming. Following the debut week, new episodes will premiere throughout the summer on Monday and Wednesday mornings (10:00-10:30 a.m. EDT/PDT). Big City Greens shorts will begin rolling out Saturday, June 16, on Disney Channel and Disney Channel YouTube. Coinciding with the series premiere, the DisneyNOW app will also unveil its first multi-player game Big City Battle! where players compete against each other to earn their place as members of the Green family.
Big City Greens follows the offbeat adventures of 10-year-old Cricket Green, whose natural curiosity and enthusiasm lead him and his family – older sister Tilly, father Bill and Gramma Alice – on epic journeys and into the hearts of his new neighbors. The voice cast is Chris Houghton as Cricket Green, Artemis Pebdani as sweet Gramma Alice, Marieve Herington as quirky older sister Tilly Green and Bob Joles as hard-working father Bill Green.
The guest voice cast includes Emmy ® Award-winner Jon Hamm as store manager Louis; Emmy Award-nominated Raven-Symoné as news reporter Maria Media; GRAMMY ® Award-nominated Busta Rhymes as a wise fish; Danny Trejo as bodyguard Vasquez; Lorraine Toussaint as Rashida Remington; Academy Award ® winner Jim Rash as waiter Ted; Paul F. Tompkins and Lauren Lapkus as city hipsters Justin and Val; Andy Daly as Officer Keys; Scott Aukerman as a radio DJ; Griffin McElroy along with many others.
10 fun facts about Shane and Chris Houghton and Disney’s Big City Greens Show
- They were in development for a little over 2 years before the show was greenlit. During those two years, they only worked on the first show (11 minutes) of content, and they said it was a little maddening at times.
- They sing the opening sequence to the show together. It is about a kid going outside to play in the summer and getting all beat up, but excited to go back out the next day and doing it all again.
- Chris and Shane started the show in their sketchbooks and having meetings after meetings, so when they were pitching the show, Chris started doing different voices to Shanes storyboards.
- Tilly started out as deadpan and monotone. Marieve Herington really brought a more well-rounded character to Tilly and took in a whole different direction then they were planning on, but loved what she does with Tilly’s voice.
- What favorite personal experience that got into the show related to a family portrait they had to get as kids. Their dad made them get a photo, and their dad got it printed in a big portrait and hung it in the living room for years. The dad in the show takes them all to the mall under the pretense of eating and surprises them with a family portrait.
- They have to work together for years and the biggest benefit they have as a team is that they are family and know each other and they are able to work everything out, and they are blessed to be able to work together.
- They have their 20th half hour show done already, ready to go. They start premiering on June 18!
- They want the show to be two parts funny, one part heart. They want every episode needs to have some food for thought, but they don’t want it to be too heavy.
- The grandma character is based on their Grandma. They said their grandma would give them money, and they would say thank you, and she would get grouchy with them.
- Their oldest brother liked to draw, but Shane liked the draw and got better than his brother, and then Chris started drawing and got better than Shane. In fourth and fifth grade, they got into comic strips and started making their own. They were in theater together, they did plays. They have a long history of collaboration.
We also were able to explore some of the grounds of the Disney Channel Building and take pictures of the cartoon wall:
Before you head out be sure to read the rest of our interviews from this trip. We just shared our Craig T. Nelson (voice of “Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible”) & Holly Hunter (“Helen Parr / Elastigirl”) interview and Samuel L. Jackson (voice of Frozone) interview. We will still be sharing our Incredibles Film Review, Sarah Vowell (voice of “Violet Parr”) & Huck Milner (voice of “Dash Parr”) interview, Bob Odenkirk (voice of “Winston Deavor”) & Catherine Keener (“Evelyn Deavor”) interview, and Sophia Bush (voice of “Voyd”) interview. Check back over the next couple weeks as we share all of this and more with you!