Nickelodeon’s New Animated Series ‘The Casagrandes’ Is Fun For The Whole Family

The Casagrandes now have their own show. On Oct. 14, “The Loud House” spinoff will make its debut on Nickelodeon and is bringing with it a star-studded cast. The animated comedy series spotlights 11-year-old Ronnie Anne (Izabella Alvarez), her brother Bobby (Carlos PenaVega) and their mother (Sumalee Montano). It follows them as they move to Great Lakes City to live with their multi-generational Mexican-American family, while their father, Dr. Santiago (Eugenio Derbez), is working in Peru.

Their extended family resides above the local market. The family-run Mercado is the spot in the neighborhood where everyone communes. Family, friends, and neighbors who will be making appearances include Ken Jeong (Mr. Stanley Chang), Melissa Joan Hart (Mrs. Becca Chang), Alexa PenaVega (Carlota), Sonia Manzano (Rosa ‘Abuela’ Casagrande), and Carlos Alazraqui (Carlos ‘Tio’ Casagrande), among others.

You Can’t Do That on Television

Image: Brian To for the Paley Center

Alazraqui, Alvarez, and Manzano joined supervising producer Alan Foreman, supervising director Miguel Puga, and executive producer Mike Rubiner at the 13th annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews in Los Angeles. The Sept. 15 event welcomed the cast and creative team for a first look at the series followed by an intimate Q&A with fans.

“It’s really remarkable,” Sonia Manzano said about bringing the show to PaleyFest. “When I watched television, there were no Latins on television at all. Then I had the pleasure of being on ‘Sesame Street’ and being one of the first Latinas on television. Now, this show has come up, and it will be to many young people what maybe I was on ‘Sesame Street’ to many young people. There’s a sort of order in it that is appealing to me.”

Manzano says that her character is bringing a bit of spirituality to the mix in a way that hasn’t been seen in children’s programming before. “I find that the scripts deal with [these topics we touch on] in ways that are light-handed, funny and truthful. That’s a big thing to me. There’s a real cultural sensibility that’s different.”

All That

Izabella Alvarez says that apart from the different topics that they touch on, the show also comes with its own messages. “What I love about the show is that we have a message at the end of each episode. I love that because growing up, I never had that.” She describes it as a moral of the story. “[For example,] you don’t have to be someone else if you don’t want to be that person. Stick to your own roots.”

“This is a story I’ve wanted to tell since I was a kid,” Puga tells The Burn-In. “My whole family is embedded in this show. It’s been a dream come true to share it with the rest of the world and to have the world see what it’s like to be in a Latino family. We’ll be touching on topics like family culture, love, and diversity,” he continued. “We’re one of the most diverse shows and crews in animation right now.”

You Gotta See This

Image: Brian To for the Paley Center

Carlos Alazraqui described his character (in his best ‘Casagrande’ voice) as “just a mellow guy that tries to keep everything in order.” He says that he’s subtle like another one of his characters—Rocko on “Rocko’s Modern Life.” Here, Alazraqui will be bringing different roles to life, as well. Like Sergio the parrot or Vito—those you might recognize from Nickelodeon’s Emmy-winning “The Loud House.”

For the “Reno 911!” actor, it’s the ensemble aspect of the show that he enjoys most. “That’s the coolest part about animation. Usually, when you record all together, you’re all there. It’s a symphony. It’s a wonderful tapestry of a show,” he added. “It’s really cool to be in a multicultural, multi-generational family and to really appreciate that. Because a lot of the shows that we’ve seen, they don’t do that. Like the Loud family, it’s nice to see one big multi-generational family in one place interacting with each other.”

Rubiner adds that the chemistry among this cast has been amazing and really inspiring. “It’s going to help all of us creatively feel more connected to the characters and understand the characters, just seeing them through the eyes of these actors who are so terrific. It’s a big love fest every Monday when we [get together]. You can just tell how much they enjoy doing the show and how much they connect to the material, which feels good to us who are writing and producing.”

Standby…Lights! Camera! Action!

Together, they’ve been working on this project for over a year. “It’s always super gratifying to get to a point where you have a finished product you can share with the world,” Foreman says. “That’s thrilling.”

“I think we’ve worked pretty hard to try and make it its own thing. It’s always tough when you’re spinning off of a big hit show to have your own identity; everything from the writing to the cast to the art direction, to the design to the humor and then the heart that we’re bringing to it. I really feel like it has its own identity, its own life, but it still fits very nicely in the universe of ‘The Loud House.’”

“The Casagrandes” are moving into Nickelodeon on Monday, Oct. 14, at 1:30 p.m. (ET/PT). Beginning on Oct. 19, it shifts into its regular timeslot on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m.

Published on The Burn-In.