During The Great North‘s TCA slot on Wednesday, creators Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin had a message for networks with new shows in progress: “Pick up those seasons early.”
Months before the Molyneux sisters’ Alaska comedy made its debut on Fox in January, the network ordered a sophomore reason, granting the showrunners an organic platform and the confidence to expand their stories, they said.
“I think it gave us a feeling of confidence and the ability to relax and feel like the stories we were telling were the right kind of stories,” said Lizzie. “I think everyone has had a very difficult year and things have been tough for everyone, so I think it was nice to have that sense of comfort and confidence going into season two.”
The Great North follows the Alaskan adventures of the Tobin family, as a single dad, Beef, voiced by Nick Offerman, does his best to keep his weird bunch of kids close – especially his only daughter, Judy (Jenny Slate), whose artistic dreams lead her away from the family fishing boat and into the glamorous world of the local mall.
The showrunners, joined by Slate, Will Forte, Dulcé Sloan, Aparna Nancherla and Alanis Morissette, explained how they came to craft the wholesome show and teased future storylines.
While other popular animated series may lean on edgier and more mature comedy for laughs, The Great North, much like Bob’s Burgers, finds its heart and humor in the family dynamic. With their experience on Bob’s Burgers and familiarity with network television parameters, the sisters said they naturally opted for more wholesome storytelling.
“I think that was a space we really loved working in with the family that had a lot of comedy and a lot of heart, I think that’s also just where our hearts fall. When we were creating this, we wanted to keep it in that tradition,” explained Lizzie. “For us, that was part of our voice and what we felt was right for what we want to put out.”
In addition to featuring comedy that suits viewers of all ages, The Great North highlights Alaska’s Native communities both on and off-screen, the showrunners revealed. Wendy added that the show’s casting department reached out to the state’s various indigenous circles and featured Native Alaskan actors in different episodes. Though the series still has yet to grow in Native representation, Wendy said the initial roles can serve as a launching pad to further build on indigenous stories on the show.
During the panel the Molyneux sisters also teased that Honeybee’s (Sloan) brother Jerry (voiced by Ron Fuches) will have a larger story and that Julio Torres’ Crispin Cienfuegos will become more involved as the series progresses.
The Great North airs Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on Fox and is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. Bento Box Entertainment serves as the animation studio. The comedy is created and written by Wendy Molyneux, Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin and Minty Lewis, who also serve as showrunners and executive producers. Loren Bouchard is also an exec producer.
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