Whether you're a country kid or a city kid, I think you and YOUR kids are going to love Disney Channel's “Big City Greens” debuting Monday, June 18th. It's a story about a funny country boy who moves with this family to the big city and get up to all kinds of mischief while the family is just trying to get by in their new life.
The series was created by comic book creators and brothers Chris and Shane Houghton and is inspired by their own rural childhood growing up in St. Johns, Michigan. Many of the stories are based on things that happened in their own childhood and many of the characters are inspired by people in their family and childhood neighbors. In fact, the with many of the locations and characters inspired by their real-life family members, neighbors and friends
Last week I had a chance to sit down with Chris and Shane Houghton to hear a bit more about their childhood, how it inspired “Big City Greens” and what we can expect from the show. I also had a chance to watch the first episode and it was funny. I know my 10-year-old nephew is going to love it!
Chris and Shane Houghton explained how they grew up together in rural Michigan and then both went away to college in big cities. That experience of being thrown into a new environment and having to make their way in a new and very different place served as inspiration for “Big City Greens”. Funny stories and experiences from their childhood make their way into episodes of the show and so do the people.
Big City Greens Characters:
Cricket (voiced by Chris Houghton himself) is a scampy, rebellious little boy who gets into a lot of misadventures. His natural curiosity drives him. He's hungry for knowledge and new things and usually getting into trouble. . If there is a door that says “Do not enter” that would be the first place Cricket would go.
Cricket's older sister is a little odd, but sweet. She definitely marches to the beat of her own drummer. She has strong opinions to share. She is confidently quiet, but can get into just as much trouble as Cricket does.
Gramma is sweet and sour. She loves her grandkids and her son, but she's feisty! She won't let anyone get away with anything.
Bill, Cricket and Tilly's dad, is a single father and a bit overwhelmed. Every father Chris and Shane knew growing up was worry about their farms, their crops, the weather – and Bill follows in that mode, but he's doing all right.
Cricket's new best friend in the city is everything Cricket is not. He comes from a wealthy family. He is very sheltered, regimented and scheduled. He doesn't have any siblings of his own and becomes a surrogate family member to the Greens.
Chris and Shane shared with us some specific tidbits from their childhood that actually served as inspiration. As an example, they described how the character Gramma Alice is jut like their own Grandma with a gruff exterior but was warm and gooey inside. She would give them a $5 bill and when they said “Thanks, Grandma”, she would say “Shut up and put it in your pocket!”
Even the animals from their childhood made their way into “Big City Greens”. While their dog, Phoenix, didn't end up being a German Shepherd in the show, he is still a character. The cat Lucy is inspired by their cat who lived to be 21 years old, and looks just like her in the show too. Just like the Houghton's childhood yard, “Big City Greens” is filled with pets and animals, like a little country oasis.
The garage in “Big City Greens” is called “The Old Garage” and this picture shows what Chris and Shane's family called The Old Garage when they were kids. The photo was given to the show's art director and ended up in the series.
“Big City Greens” premieres with a week of new episodes rolling out daily, Monday, June 18 – Friday, June 22. 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.