There are two types of people in this world: Dog People and Cat People. I am most definitely one of the former, which is why a show called Puppy Dog Pals is way more appealing to me than if it were called Furry Feline Friends or something.
Disney Junior’s newest cartoon Puppy Dog Pals debuts on Friday, April 14 at 10:30 am ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes on the Disney Channel. You can also catch it the very same day on the Disney Junior app and Disney Junior YouTube page.
As the title suggests, this cartoon stars puppies. Not just any puppies, mind you, but a pair of sibling pugs named Bingo and Rolly. Created by comedian Harland Williams and executive-produced by Sean Coyle, Puppy Dog Pals sees Bingo and Rolly emBARK on all sorts of wacky adventures while their inventor owner Bob is off at work.
The pug brothers have no problem sneaking onto an airplane to head to Hawaii for a secret mission. Returning home proves a bit more difficult, though. And when Bob invents a robot dog friend named A.R.F. to clean after his messy pups (and to give him more time to play with them when he gets home from work!), things most definitely get a little out of hand back at the old homestead.
Recently on a Disney Press Trip for a #Cars3Event, myself and 24 bloggers were shown an early screening of the first episode of Puppy Dog Pals. Let me tell you, if you have some young ones at home, this new series will most definitely keep them occupied long enough for you to catch up on your chores (or sleep!).
Besides watching those rambunctious pugs and their purple-furred cat “sister” Hissy, we got to spend some time with Executive Producer Sean Coyle and Disney Junior Creative Executive Diane Ikemiyashiro to discuss the canine crew. Targeted at children ages two to five, the writers, directors and even designers really focused in on creating something that not only kids would love, but everyone from ages two to 80 could enjoy.
“Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for,” Sean says. “So we had all that on our minds going forward with this show trying to just tell the best stories possible, create the cutest little characters possible, and really treat these 11-minute shorts as little 11-minute movies and just see what appeals to the kids. We focus on trying to tell the best possible story, something that would make the Disney bosses happy.”
The really nice thing about Puppy Dog Pals is that it may be full of silly cuddly animals but there’s much more to this show than that. At its core, this show is all about the family unit, reveals Diane. Yes, the two pugs are brothers who love each other. They may be rambunctious, but they really support each other. They also have a number of friends in the neighborhood (and around the world!) that viewers will get to meet over time.
These new additional characters will be sprinkled in throughout the first season, with new characters appearing more and more as time goes on. “We have one character who is a junkyard dog,” says Sean. “He’s sort of like the neighborhood big brother. So in their missions whenever the pugs are backed up and they don’t know what else to do they think, wait, we know a guy who can help us out. And then there is a singing seagull that appears on some of their missions to help out with their journeys. We have a guinea pig in a pet store window that is a source of information because he hangs out right in the middle of Main Street. He sort of sees and hears everything.”
Entertainment is always the name of the game, but when it comes to Disney, you know education is equally as important. Besides filling each tale with some inspiring message, there’s a tremendous amount of education going on behind the scenes. “We have a whole team of educational consultants,” explains Diane. “In our Disney Junior department, we have what’s called the educational resource group and they watch every single episode. From the very beginning when something’s pitched to the final, they are weighing in on what the take away is. That guides the storytellers on how to make the episodes really pop for our audience.”
“We also test a lot of our shows,” adds Diane, “or a lot of the episodes in front of children. Our education team goes out into schools all over Southern California. They give story time to the kids, and then ask the kids questions. And through comprehension or not, that’s how we gauge whether or not a story is working, especially for the youngest audience members.”
Puppy Dog Pals is clearly about adventure, though. Bingo and Rolly are constantly traipsing around the world on one adventure or the other. The point of these voyages, according to Sean, is to show kids what a wonderfully fun place the world can be. “It’s a diverse place. It’s a wonderfully, colorful, amazing place with all sorts of different things to see.”
Puppy Dog Pals debuts Friday, April 14 at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes on Disney Channel. The premiere episode will also be available that same day on the Disney Junior app and Disney Junior YouTube page.
Who’s your favorite Puppy Dog Pal?