Big City Greens comes to your living room June 18 on the Disney Channel. We chatted with creators and brothers Shane and Chris Houghton during the Incredibles 2 Event last week. This show strives to be 2 parts funny and 1 part heart; and I think they nailed it! Here’s what you need to know about Disney Channel’s Big City Greens.
Disney invited me to the Incredibles 2 Event and paid for my airfare and accommodations; however, all excitement over Big City Greens & dorking out on the Disney Channel lot is my own.
Last week as part of the Incredibles 2 Event, I had the opportunity to visit the Disney Channel Studios (which was AWESOME and got me mega cool-mom cred back home). I geeked out a bit as I watched my family’s television timeline play out along one of the walls in the building!
This was the 2010s, but they had a section for each decade of the Disney Channel’s programming history starting in the 80s. Yup, Gen Xers, we’ve been growing up along side the Disney Channel!
And, of course, as with anything Disney, there was plenty of opportunity for fun photo ops! I can’t resist getting up close and personal with my favorite characters whenever I get the chance. This was no exception.
I mean, really, when do you get the chance to photobomb Mr. Potato Head? Not too often, my friends! Don’t ever let that kind of opportunity pass you by.
Big City Greens: 2 Parts Funny, 1 Part Heart
But we weren’t at the Disney Channel building just to take fun pictures. Totally an extra bonus, in my eyes!
We were there to learn about the newest series, Disney Channel’s Big City Greens airing on June 18. We screened the first two episodes of the series, laughed a lot, and interviewed the creators, brothers Shane and Chris Houghton. Check out the clip of the show below and you’ll get an idea of what you’re in for!
Seriously- so fun! This kind of humor is just what resonates with my family.
There are a lot of things on TV that makes me cringe as a parent. But there are also a lot of things that make me laugh out loud and want to watch with my kids. Big City Greens featuring the adorable Green family is one of those things.
As Chris said to us, “We want this show to be 2 parts funny and 1 part heart.” They nailed this ratio!
The Characters of Big City Greens
Here’s a list of the characters of Big City Greens, with a little bit of background information on each one.
- Cricket: He’s the main character and the brothers describe him as a scampy rebellious little boy. Curiosity drives him. If there’s a door that says “Do Not Enter” you’ll find him going right through it! Cricket is voiced by Chris Houghton (looks a little like him, too! Ha!) and he gets out into the city and discovers new things!
- Tilly: She’s the slightly older sister, a little odd but very sweet. Tilly was my favorite of the series (voiced by Marieve Herington) and I can see my teen daughter loving her. She’s quirky and that’s how my own Claire rolls! Tilly marches to her own drum and has strong opinions, which she definitely wants to share with everyone. Confidently quiet- she gets into just as much trouble as Cricket does.
- Gramma Alice: The guys describe her as sweet & sour. Alice loves her family, but is feisty and doesn’t let anyone get away with anything! She’s a lot like their own Grandma- slipping you a $5 bill but telling you to shut-up and go away while she’s doing it.
- Bill Green: Bill’s a single father and a bit overwhelmed; He’s based on the farmers that the Houghton’s knew growing up. Farmers were always worried about things they couldn’t control and that’s how they see Bill Green.
- Remy: He’s Cricket’s BFF. And as we know, opposites attract. He’s everything Cricket is not; wealthy, sheltered, and regimented by a schedule. He doesn’t have any siblings, so meeting Cricket opens his eyes to a new way of life.
Michigan Farmlife Childhood Meets the Big City
Sounds like a hilarious cast of character, right? They totally are. I found myself laughing a lot during the screening and knew which one of my kids would laugh the hardest at each joke.
Here’s the fun part: all the characters & most of the stories are based on people they knew growing up and situations they got themselves into. I love it when creative folks can see how real life can entertain & inspire and they take a chance to put that on the screens for viewers at home.
Even their old house was worked into the show. The Green’s old garage is the Houghton’s garage from back home- which was always called The Old Garage.
The old garage is actually red in the show, but in reality, they never got finished painting it. There’s just some red around the trim because of course, you start with the trim. But their dad just never finished the work. Sounds so familiar! I giggled at this honest assessment of their Michigan upbringing.
The nearest people were far away, but the brothers had animals to hang out with! They had ducks in the pond, pigs, raccoons, opossums, dogs, cats, etc. Since that’s what they knew growing up, it was natural for them to include the animals in the Green’s home as well- even if they are a bit out of place in the Big City.
Based loosely on the brother’s culture shock when they moved to the big city for college, Big City Greens shows how the Green family works through the process of learning and creating a new network of neighbors and friends.
I kept thinking their momma must be so proud of them! I can’t imagine my own sons wanting to work together so closely on their life’s work, so I’d have to say the Houghtons did the parenting thing right in this regard. Good job, Mom and Dad!
Guest Voices of Big City Greens
There are going to be some big guest voices on Big City Greens! I think that’s pretty amazing considering the series hasn’t even aired- also amazing? A second season is already in the works! Check this out and see if you can find the guest voices of Big City Greens in the upcoming episodes:
- Emmy® Award-winner Jon Hamm (Mad Men) voices store manager Louis
- Emmy Award-nominated Raven-Symoné (Raven’s Home) plays news reporter Maria Media
- Grammy® Award-nominated Busta Rhymes is a wise fish
- Danny Trejo (Spy Kids) is bodyguard Vasquez
- Academy Award® winner Jim Rash (The Descendants, Community) is waiter Ted
Chris explained the process of writing the series in relation to voicing the guest actors. As a storyboard-driven show, they flesh out the specifics to the visuals and story first and they typically don’t have an actor in mind. Then it’s a matter of figuring out what voice works best.
Chris Houghton: “Then it’s like – who could bring a fun element to this character, and sometimes that answer is Busta Rythmes!”
Shane Houghton: “We’re so thankful to get so many great big name and guest stars to come on because the shows not on the air yet and no one really knows what it is. Maybe after its out, we’ll have somebody like so-n-so wants to do a voice and we can maybe tailor it towards that.”
I can’t wait for everyone in this house to watch Disney Channel’s Big City Greens this week. Ever since Gravity Falls ended its run, we’ve been looking for a show that resonates for all 6 of us to enjoy. This one definitely looks like it’s the one! It has a lot of humor, friendship, love, a few gross jokes (my 11-year-old will be thrilled!) and a lesson or two packed into a pretty great family.
Don’t miss Big City Greens premiere on June 18th!
More Incredibles 2 Event Interviews To Read