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SNEAK PEEK: Disney’s “Pickle and Peanut”

SNEAK PEEK: Disney's "Pickle and Peanut"

“Pickle and Peanut” is an animated buddy-comedy series
that follows the offbeat adventures of small-town teens “Pickle” and “Peanut” (who are literally a pickle and a peanut) as
they embark upon their last year of high school. The series begins airing next Monday September 7th on Disney XD. Employing an inventive mix of 2-D animation and live-action clips, the premiere episode is available to view today on WATCH Disney XD, Disney On Demand and Disney XD.com

The show stars Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) as Pickle and Johnny Pemberton (22 Jump Street) as Peanut and it was created by Noah Z. Jones (Fish Hooks) and developed by Joel Trussell (Yo Gabba Gabba!). Both Jones and Trussell serve as executive producers, wrote and sing the series theme song, and provide voices for Champion Horse and Mr. Whispers, respectively. 

I did a quick chat with the duo last week to find out more about their offbeat animated appetizer.  

Joel, what was your background before joining the group at
Disney TV?

Joel Trussell: My background? Most recently I directed the
Tom Hanks animated series Electric City, though I’m not really known as a sci-fi
guy. Before that I did shorts for Nickelodeon, for Yo Gabba Gabba, commercials,
music videos…

How did you guys get together?

Noah Z. Jones: Disney put us together. When I was working on
Fish Hooks, they wanted to pair me up with a partner to develop further
material.  Joel was a guy who made my
ideas better.  We creatively clicked
early on and we both have a similar vision for this show… which was to make something
very scrappy and lo-fi, different from your standard fare.

Joel: With one character being a pickle and one being a
peanut – the more real you can make their world the more they stand out.
Instead of big fluffy clouds in the sky they have chem-trails.

Where did you find your lead characters?

Noah: Joel and I cast a real pickle and a real peanut. And
we took hundreds of photos of them in various positions.

Joel: Here’s a real inside scoop, Jerry. Get ready.  “Pickle” is actually a cucumber.

Noah: We found that pickles were too briny looking.

Joel: We borrowed some Olive Oil and polished up a cucumber
and took dozens pictures of them right in the office. We got a lot of looks
around the office.

Is this a script-driven or board driven show? How do you achieve
your delicate balance of visual and verbal humor?

Noah: It’s a board driven show. The tone of the writing, the
tone of the show comes from Joel and I trying to crack each other up. 

Joel: No ideas are precious to us – we are going for
“funny”. No matter where we are in the writing, the boarding, or recording, we
will work to improve what we have at each step. 
We keep trying something new and hope that the funniest things float to
the top. That’s what we want on the screen.

I was watching an episode (Gramma Jail) and there was a
live action thing, an insert shot… what the hell was I looking at?

Joel: That’sw exactly the reaction we want from the audience, “What
the hell am I looking at?

Noah: We want to keep the audience on their toes – we throw
in these subversive little visuals – as a “flavor” we sprinkle over the entire
series.

Where is the animation produced?

 

Noah: We have a crazy guy we pay about $20 bucks a week and
a couple of cans of tuna fish.

Joel: He’s not very good.

Noah: We use a studio in Canada. We do all the design here
and ship it up there.

What are some of your animation influences growing up?

Joel: I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid. Absorbed
Fat Albert and Looney Tunes, then later things like Liquid
TV
and Akira, all of them blew my mind.

Noah: Kids today don’t know how great they have it. When we
grew up all we had was Saturday morning cartoons – on Saturday – or the reruns
after school. If you were lucky an animation festival might play at the
independent theatre in your town. There is a flavor that we are trying to
capture in Pickle and Peanut, to make it feel like under-produced and not
super-slick – and not like something you’d expect from Disney.

Pickle and Peanut work part-time after school at their
favorite hangout, the local supermarket Mjart Mart under the supervision of
store owner Mr. Mjart, who is blissfully ignorant to the teenage boys’
shenanigans. While on the clock, the two friends can often be found plotting
their next great adventure in The TP Fort, a secret toilet-paper fort they’ve
built inside the market.

Along for
the ride on Pickle and Peanut’s unusual adventures are the eccentric members of
their town: problem-solving friend Champion Horse, sometime friend Lazer,
annoying friend McSweats, rival kid Wayne, Mjart Mart coworker Spedacular
Donkey, troublemaker Sneaky Patty and the fake nine-year-old doctor Dr.
Pamplemousse, MD.

“Pickle and
Peanut” is a production of Disney Television Animation and carries a TV-Y7
parental guideline.

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