It’s not every day that a show is renewed for a second season before its first season premieres. But according to Bill Motz – whose new series The Ghost and Molly McGee premieres today on Disney Channel – it’s about having the right ingredients.
“We really decided to do a Disney show,” says Motz, who co-created the series with longtime friend and children’s animation writer Bob Roth. “We love the Disney experience, so we wanted to incorporate all of the elements of what we think is classic Disney storytelling: the heart, the humor, and a little bit of horror just for the fun of it. Also, I feel like when you come out of a Disney movie, you feel a little better to have had that experience, maybe even a little more upbeat. We wanted to put it all on the table. And I guess the studios have to agree that we’re right on target.
The Ghost and Molly McGee follows the unlikely friendship between an energetic young optimist named Molly and a cranky, introverted ghost named Scratch. When Molly and her family move into a dilapidated house that Scratch lives in while he works to make the city as miserable as possible, the pessimistic poltergeist casts a curse on Molly that he will haunt her with every move all day, every day. . But, to Scratch’s extreme disappointment, a bright-eyed Molly sees the curse as a promise of better friendship, and suddenly, Scratch realizes that he could be the one cursed.
Yet, as this unconventional pair spends more time together – and after Molly gives her new ghost friend her own dollhouse mansion – Molly and Scratch discover that they learn a lot from their opposing personalities, and that staying together no. maybe not that bad.
“We were very clear from the start that we didn’t want to do a show about two people who hate each other,” says Roth. “It’s a show about a better friendship at heart. That’s not to say that there aren’t times when they drive each other crazy like friends do.
Produced by Disney Television Animation, Flixzilla Aura and WildBrain, the 2D series began as an idea “fallen from the sky into our knees,” according to Roth. But it quickly started to turn into a story that Roth and Motz realized they knew from personal experience.
“Bill and I were really fleshing it out, working on the pilot talking about a scene and how Molly would have that point of view and Scratch would have that point of view and how that would lead to comedic tension. and all kinds of things, ”says Roth. “And we realized, ‘Wait a minute. It’s you and me.
Roth and Motz have not only worked together on several projects, from Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures To The Penguins of Madagascar and Kim possible, but they’ve been friends for over 30 years, first meeting at a summer production workshop at the University of Southern California.
“Bill is an extrovert, an optimist and a carefree person,” says Roth. “I’m an introvert and pessimist and just happy to be left alone. And that’s who Molly and Scratch are. Once we had our friendship as the touchstone of the show, everything grew out of that and fell into place in an almost supernatural way.
Motz adds: “It is easy to think that these opposing poles are still opposing poles and that one is good and the other is bad. But we have learned over the course of our friendship that we train each other. I tend to be inclined to magical thinking, like everyone else is my boyfriend, and everything is great. Bob tempers this a bit with, “Hey, maybe set some proper boundaries.” I think it has been healthy for me. I’m a better person because of my relationship with Bob and, in the same way, Bob has opened up to people and taken risks and opportunities. I think Bob can reluctantly admit that he’s a better person because of his friendship with me.
But Motz and Roth aren’t the only ones on the team to creatively benefit from a long-standing friendship. Their co-executive producer Steve Loter, known for his work as a director on American Dragon: Jake Long and Kim Possible: a point in time, has also worked with Motz and Roth for years.
“In the relationship between the three of us, if you’ve got an optimist and a pessimist, I bring the weirdness to the table as a neighbor next door who comes and never leaves and eats everything out of the fridge,” Loter explains. “It was fantastic working on this because I’ve known these guys for a long time, and there are a few ways we can end our thoughts. All of the great elements that you might see in a Disney show, with heart, comedy, and storytelling, we all share those same sensibilities.
Before Steve embarked on the project, Roth says the series animation already had the ‘Loter thumbprint’ because Steve’s brother John was the first to draw a picture for the Scratch character. . The design has remained and the show follows the look, as Loter puts it, “classic 50s Hollywood cartoons”.
“It was like back then, every studio, Disney in particular, created such a rich and beautiful look,” he says. “So we have that influence there. We certainly have a modern sensibility that goes with it. But I think the biggest inspiration, the biggest push for the visuals, is our voice actors. “
Mystical quest and The attack of the Titans‘s Ashly Burch lends her voice to Molly while Aqua Teen Hunger Force‘s Dana Snyder plays Scratch. Both actors are well experienced in extreme animation and exaggerated tonal expression, and it served the show more than just comedy.
“They’re both really fantastic at what they bring to the table,” Loter says. “Their voices have such wonderful peaks and valleys, that you want to make the animation so fit for the characterization you get, that you find you distort the facial expressions and basically break the seat of the model. hit something that was so fun in the way they put it.
Motz adds, “What Steve gave us as well was this brilliant take on spin, a modern sense of timing and a deep expression and energy that uplifts the show even more.”
Raised comedy and expression for The Ghost and Molly McGee Also comes from the fact that the three executive producers spent the production not only trying to make a beautifully wacky series that is true to Disney’s vision, but also trying to make each other laugh.
“I think that’s what unites us,” Loter says. “Some of the best memories I have are sitting in a montage bay, reviewing an animatic, and trying to outdo myself with gags and jokes. We’re just trying to make things fun for us. And, hopefully, find a way to connect with an audience.
With so much comedy and expressive animation, connecting with audiences can prove to be a strain for some shows. But whether it’s a family play night bottle episode or seeing Molly’s vulnerability brought to light as she admits having trouble making lasting friendships, the story of a ghost not so scary and a not so scary girl living in a not so scary neighborhood. haunted house is filled with as much sweetness and sincerity as it is fun and scary.
“We looked at what we think Disney does best,” says Motz. “When you say Disney’s name, it conjures up that idea, that image, that feeling. We wanted to be part of that legacy and tell that kind of story. The family faces some adversity in Season 1. They do. in the face of tough things they run into some curvy balls, but the McGee family comes together and finds a way to overcome the challenges and hardships. I hope the show is encouraging and says to people, “Maybe that we can face this stuff together and get away with it. “
Roth adds, “I don’t want to get into too many spoilers, but Molly and Scratch’s friendship is tested in a very difficult way. And I want people to applaud when they triumph.
The Ghost and Molly McGeeThe first season of will also include guest stars like Cheers“Kelsey Grammer, Unsafeis Natasha Rothwell, Lady Birdit’s Greta Gerwig, Communityby Yvette Nicole Brown, and Joyit’s Jane Lynch. New episodes roll out Saturdays at 9 a.m. ET through November 27 on Disney Channel, with episodes available Wednesday, October 6 on Disney +.
Victoria Davis is a full-time freelance journalist and part-time Otaku with an affinity for all things anime. She has reported on many stories ranging from activist news to entertainment. To learn more about his work, visit victoriadavisdepiction.com.