Monday, November 04, 2019

Nickelodeon Makes Room for 'The Casagrandes'

Original Nickelodeon Press Release:


New Series Follows Adventures of a Multigenerational Mexican-American Family
in Spinoff of the Emmy Award-Winning The Loud House

Eugenio Derbez, Carlos Alazraqui, Carlos PenaVega and Alexa PenaVega Bring the Family
to Life, Along with Melissa Joan Hart and Ken Jeong Lending Voices as Their Neighbors

Share it: @nickelodeon @thecasagrandes

BURBANK, Calif.–Sept. 4, 2019–A new home in the city holds big adventures, laughs and love around every corner in Nickelodeon’s new original animated series The Casagrandes, premiering Monday, Oct. 14, at 1:30 p.m. (ET/PT). A spinoff of Nick’s animated hit The Loud House, The Casagrandes tells the story of 11-year-old Ronnie Anne who moves to the city with her mom and older brother to live with their big, loving family, the Casagrandes. Following its premiere, the series moves to its regular timeslot on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. (ET/PT) beginning Saturday, Oct. 19, on Nickelodeon.

Starring Izabella Alvarez (Westworld) as 11-year-old Ronnie Annie, Carlos PenaVega (Big Time Rush) as her brother Bobby and Sumalee Montano (Nashville) as her mom Maria, the series showcases the culture, humor, and love that’s part of growing up in a multigenerational Mexican-American family. After moving in with their grandparents in Great Lakes City, Ronnie Anne adjusts to her new life living under one roof and over the family-run mercado (local market), which is a gathering place for everyone in the neighborhood.

Alvarez, PenaVega and Montano bring these characters to life, alongside: Carlos Alazraqui (The Fairly OddParents) as Carlos, “Tio;” Roxana Ortega (The League) as Frida, “Tia;” Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids) as Carlota; Jared Kozak (Born this Way) as CJ; Alex Cazares (The Boss Baby: Back in Business) as Carl; Ruben Garfias (East Los High) as Hector, “Abuelo;” and Sonia Manzano (Sesame Street) as Rosa, “Abuela.” Additionally, Eugenio Derbez (Dora and the Lost City of Gold) gives voice to Dr. Santiago, a physician living and working in Peru, who is Ronnie Anne and Bobby’s father.

Ronnie Anne’s new apartment building holds new friends and neighbors, including: Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken) as Stanley Chang; Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) as Becca Chang; Leah Mei Gold (Legion) as 12-year-old Sid Chang, Ronnie Anne’s new friend; and Lexi Sexton as Adelaide Chang, Sid’s 6-year-old little sister.

In the first episode, “Going Overboard,” Ronnie Anne finds out her Tio Carlos was a famous skateboarder and she begs him to teach her some new moves. Then, in “Walk Don’t Run,” Ronnie Anne and Sid start a dog-walking business to save up for a new skateboard in a plan that quickly gets out of hand.

The Casagrandes premiere will encore at 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. The Casagrande family was first introduced in the The Loud House special, “The Loudest Mission: Relative Chaos,” which premiered May 2017 and ranks as the highest-rated premiere for the series in Live+7 with both K2-11 (6.6/1.8M) and K6-11 (8.1/1.3M).

The Casagrandes is produced by Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif. The series is executive produced by Michael Rubiner (The Loud House), with Karen Malach (The Loud House) serving as producer, Alan Foreman as supervising producer and Miguel Puga as supervising director. Award-winning cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz (Coco) serves as consulting producer and cultural consultant.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 40th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 20 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).



TV KIDS: And you have The Casagrandes, a spin-off of The Loud House, coming up.

ROBBINS: I can’t take credit for that. It was happening before I got here. But I must say I’m super proud of the show. First of all, it’s the first animated show starring a multigenerational Mexican-American family. And it couldn’t be a better time to have that show. Besides that, it is hilarious. It’s so well written and the characters are so good. And I can’t wait to share it with the world. I think the show is terrific.


From The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz’s journey from Lemon Grove to Hollywood to improve Latino representation

Lemon Grove native Lalo Alcaraz has long been an advocate for better representation of Latinos in America. Now, it’s his day job.

A shy, but artistically-inclined kid from Lemon Grove has become a bold artist whose influence can be felt far outside Southern California — not just across the U.S. but around the world.

Lalo Alcaraz got his start as an editorial cartoonist at San Diego State University’s student newspaper The Daily Aztec before going on to create the first nationally-syndicated, politically-themed Latino daily comic strip, “La Cucaracha.” More recently, he’s worked as a cultural consultant on the Pixar film “Coco” and the upcoming animated Nickelodeon show, “The Casagrandes.”

“It’s a job I wish didn’t exist, you know, because if we had adequate representation, if we had culturally competent people that really knew their stuff, you wouldn’t need to drop me in from outer space on a project,” Alcaraz said at a panel at the L’ATTITUDE conference in San Diego last month. “To Pixar’s credit, they were like, ‘We want this done right.’”

He recently met with The Conversation podcast at The San Diego Union-Tribune to talk about growing up in the San Diego region, what inspires his art, the challenges of publishing an editorial cartoon in the politically charged climate of 2019 and how he’s taken all he’s learned to Hollywood.

Here are some excerpts of the interview. Listen to the entire conversation here.

What was growing up in the San Diego region like for you?

“I grew up a kind of typical Mexican border kid. My mom came through Tijuana. She lived there for 10 years in the ‘50s from 1948 to 1958 and then was undocumented for a bit and then got her papers as a nanny in La Mesa. My dad came, I think, through Texas from Zacatecas, Mexico. My mom came from Mazatlán, Sinaloa and they met at Helix High School, the high school I went to, in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class, sometime early 1961 or 1962. Their desire to assimilate and fit in and learn English — it only took my mom 50 years to learn English — got them together and created me. And then I eventually graduated from that high school. I’d like to find that class where they met and put a plaque... they’d remove it the next day. I grew up in Lemon Grove after living in various cities and back and forth — Logan Heights and Tijuana for a tiny bit — but I grew up basically in Lemon Grove. It was like Mayberry, but SoCal style. It was a time of, kind of a lot of racism and police profiling. We’d get pulled over on our bicycles by the sheriffs. My parents were treated pretty poorly and it made me the bitter old cholo that I am today.”

Would you say growing up here influences your art?

“It is everything. That’s what kind of sharpened my sense of injustice.”

How much of yourself do you put into the characters in ‘La Cucaracha?’

“They’re definitely me. Half of me is angry all the time, wants to tell everyone how they’re wrong constantly, never has an incorrect opinion, and the other half of me just wants to chill and sit on the couch and drink a beer and watch endless hours of crap TV. Preferably science fiction crap. ... I’m usually more of the angry cucaracha.”

How would you say life for Latinos in America has changed or not changed since you’ve started illustrating it?

“Sometimes I’ll see a cartoon from 1994 and all you have to do is change the date on it because obviously we’re living in a super, hyper anti-immigrant time — not everyone, I mean, where some people think it’s ok to be that way — so, you know, I think society goes in cycles instead of progressing forward sometimes, I feel. So things have changed, they haven’t changed. The thing that has changed is, you know, society’s catching up to the things that I was saying 25 years ago, especially stuff about show biz and representation and it’s just becoming a thing. That’s why I’m fully employed. I’m fully overemployed these days in Hollywood so, you know, we’re getting more representation, but it’s still not enough.”

What can you tell us about the show you’re working on now?

“I am a consulting producer, cultural consultant and gadfly and freelance writer on this show called “The Casagrandes,” and it’s on Nickelodeon. It’s for ages 6 to11, and it’s the first animated show about a big Mexican-American family. It’s a spin-off from a show called “The Loud House,” which is one of the top shows there at Nickelodeon. The character, Ronnie Anne, is a little Mexican-American girl who was a super popular character on the loud house so they decided to spin that off, move her, her brother and her mom from Royal Woods, this Michigan suburb where “The Loud House” is set, to Great Lakes City, which is like a fake Chicago kind of amalgam of a bunch of cities — to go live with the mom’s family. They live in a big apartment building. The abuela, the grandma, is the building supervisor and they have a market, a mercado, on the ground floor. ... We’re making it as authentic as possible.”

Is it funny? Serious?

“It is very funny and it’s a good co-viewing show. I watched 10 years of Nickelodeon shows when my kids were little, so if you are that parent, you can watch this show because we sneak in a lot of funny adult things that kind of get by everybody but not the grown ups watching.”

“The Casagrandes” premieres on Nickelodeon on Oct. 14.


From Animation Magazine:

‘The Casagrandes’: A Giant Step for Latinx Representation

***This story originally appeared in the November ‘19 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 294)***

Michael Rubiner and Miguel Gonzalez

Bursting onto television screens this fall, The Casagrandes follows a large, loving family living together in the big city. A companion to the Emmy Award-winning The Loud House, the new 2D-animated series highlights the culture, humor and love of growing up in a multi-generational Mexican-American family, and is set to debut October 14 on Nickelodeon.

The Loud House, which debuted in May 2016 and is centered around 11-year-old Lincoln Loud and his 10 sisters, gives an inside look at what it takes to survive the chaos of a huge family. The Casagrandes moves the action to Great Lakes City, where Lincoln’s friend Ronnie Anne embarks on a new life which promises to be an adventure, especially now that she lives under one roof with her grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins and a sass-talking parrot. The household is set up above the family-run mercado, which serves as a gathering place for the entire neighborhood.

The Casagrandes are no stranger to television, having made their debut in The Loud House special “The Loudest Mission: Relative Chaos” in Season 2. The family appeared throughout the third season of The Loud House and had a five-episode arc in Season 4, beginning with the premiere episode, “Friended!” Additional crossover episodes are also in the works for Season 5.

Both series are executive produced by Mike Rubiner (KaBlam!) and produced by Karen Malach (The Legend of Korra, Bunsen Is a Beast), with the animation completed in Canada by Jam Filled Entertainment. Award-winning cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz serves as a cultural consultant and consulting producer on The Casagrandes, and Alan Foreman (Welcome to the Wayne) is supervising producer.

Fresh, New Territory

Rubiner, who has worked on The Loud House since it began production in 2014 and helped develop The Casagrandes, was gratified to see the positive reaction the new characters received following their debut in “Relative Chaos.” “We really liked the characters a lot, and we just thought, ‘Well, maybe there’s a series here,’” he recounts. “The idea of featuring a Latinx family gave us a lot of new territory to explore,” he continues, noting that moving the characters from the rural setting of The Loud House into a big city, and adding a large, multi-generational family, reflected the lives of the Latinx community in a way that would be relatable.”

“It just gave us all these new places to go,” Rubiner continues. “What is it like living in the city? What is it like being part of a big, multi-generational family living in this building together? And what can we explore and portray about Mexican-American and Latinx culture? I think a lot of cultures in this country can relate to that kind of family situation. We wanted The Casagrandes to be relatable to kids, grounded in real stories about real families. But we also knew that we really wanted it to accurately reflect Mexican-American culture, so we really kept an eye on both of those things as we developed the show.”

Alcaraz, who is the creator of the first nationally syndicated, politically themed Latino daily comic strip, La Cucaracha, and has previously served as cultural consultant on projects like Pixar’s Oscar-winning animated feature Coco, says he’s been waiting for a show like The Casagrandes “since television was invented,” noting that — next to immigration — Mexican-American representation in Hollywood has always been a primary cause for him. “It’s hugely important because I remember growing up and not seeing any brown people on TV. But we’ve been inching forward,” he says.

“I did not think I was ever going to see this many shows that have Latino characters,” Alcaraz observes. “It’s just a handful, but that’s a huge shift from zero, you know? And then, when they’re done right, it’s just the world. I mean, look at Coco. We did that right, and people responded to it because everything was true, authentic, honest.”

The star of The Casagrandes is 11-year-old Ronnie Anne Santiago (voiced by Izabella Alvarez), who moves to Great Lakes City with her big brother, Bobby (Carlos PenaVega), and their mother, Maria Casagrande Santiago (Sumalee Montano), to live with their extended family. Bobby works at the family’s mercado, which he hopes to take over one day, and Maria is a hardworking nurse who treasures her time with her kids.

Other family members include Ronnie Anne and Bobby’s uncle, Carlos “Tio” Casagrande (Carlos Alazraqui); his wife, Frida “Tia” Casagrande (Roxana Ortega); and their four kids: confident, vintage-inspired eldest daughter, 17-year-old Carlota (Alexa PenaVega); sunshiny 13-year-old CJ (Jared Kozak), who has Down Syndrome; the precociously ambitious eight-year-old Carl (Alex Cazares); and playful, rambunctious, non-verbal one-year-old toddler, Carlito. At the head of the family is Carlos and Maria’s father, Hector “Abuelo” Casagrande (Ruben Garfias), who is a professor of cultural studies at a local college, and their mother, Rosa “Abuela” Casagrande (Sonia Manzano), a gifted cook who has a sixth sense about knowing when anyone in her house is hungry.

Rounding out the cast, Eugenio Derbez lends his voice as Ronnie Anne and Bobby’s father, Dr. Santiago, a physician who is living and working in Peru; Ken Jeong voices neighbor Stanley Chang, a friendly and patient train conductor; and Melissa Joan Hart voices Stanley’s wife Becca Chang, a quirky, smart and funny zoologist.

Cultural Inspirations

The Casagrandes shares the visual style of The Loud House, but with a vibrant color palette that puts Mexican heritage fully in the spotlight. Art director Miguel Gonzalez (The Loud House, Uncle Grandpa, Book of Life) describes the aesthetic of The Loud House as based on mid-century Sunday comics. “The Loud House uses a lot of browns and earth tones, but with our world we wanted to be a little bit more bold and vivid with the color scheme,” he explains, noting that he and his team of 12 artists took inspiration from things found in Mexican culture like the colorful papel picado garlands of cut paper, luchador masks and the vibrant sugar skulls of Día de los Muertos. “We just wanted to incorporate as much of that as possible into our world,” he says.

In addition to representing Mexican culture, it was also important for the production team to maintain a consistent visual style with The Loud House. “We knew Lincoln was going to appear in some of the episodes, so we couldn’t go too far from that world, because it would just look too weird to have him come into this world and be in a totally different style,” Gonzalez notes.

“It’s not every day that you get to draw characters that look like you,” Gonzalez, who is Mexican American, continues, “I don’t think people realize how important that is to kids, you know? Like, there’s someone that looks like you on TV and that’s cool. Not every culture can relate to that, but the little kids I talk to who are Mexican American, they just can’t wait to see the show, because the characters look like them.”

The Casagrandes premieres Monday, Oct. 14 at 1:30 p.m. on Nickelodeon. The show moves to its regular timeslot on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. beginning Oct. 19.


From Variety:

Nick Creates Multicultural World With Colorful ‘Loud House’ Spinoff ‘Casagrandes’

Nickelodeon is expanding the world of its popular toon “The Loud House” with the multicultural spinoff “The Casagrandes,” which premieres Monday, Oct. 14, at 1:30 p.m. ET/PT before moving to its regular timeslot on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. beginning on Oct. 19.

The new series follows Lincoln Loud’s friend 11-year-old Ronnie Anne Santiago, who moves to the big city with her mother and older brother to live with their multigenerational Mexican-American family, the Casagrandes, over their family-owned mercado. Ronnie Anne and her brother Bobby were first introduced on the first season of “The Loud House” in the episode titled “Save the Date.” The extended Casagrande family appeared during season 2 in the episode “Relative Chaos.”

While the series visually still lives in “The Loud House” world, the design of “The Casagrandes” is deeply steeped in Mexican-American culture with its own color palette and designs.

“I think the color palette is definitely different and it’s something that is consciously and purposefully trying to evoke Mexican-American culture and life in the U.S.,” says executive producer Michael Rubiner, who also exec produces “The Loud House.” “We really relied on the art team and particularly people on the art team who are Mexican American, who really know that world well.”

One of those is art director Miguel Gonzalez.

“We couldn’t change it too much from ‘Loud House,’ because we knew Lincoln and those guys were going to come over to our show, but we did have some freedom with the color. That was the one thing I wanted to change with the show,” he says. “I pulled from Mexican folk art, like Papel Picado and Sugar Skulls, and the pottery and the textiles that you see in Mexico. I studied those patterns and color schemes to incorporate them into the style.”

Supervising director Miguel Puga says “The Casagrandes” is loosely based on his family. “I say ‘loosely’ because it’s a collaboration with myself and the writers. We all get together and pull things from different stuff with our families,” he explains. Puga says that the character of Abuela Rosa, Ronnie Anne’s grandmother, is based on his mother. “Just the way she is strong, makes sure you’re always eating and when she gets mad, she’ll throw you the chancla [shoe].”

Gonzalez says he used his own experiences as well to help create visual world of “The Casagrandes.” “A lot of it comes from my memory from visiting my grandma in Mexico and visiting my uncles’ and aunts’ houses. I try to incorporate some of that into the show.”

The overall looks of both “Casagrandes” and “The Loud House” are inspired by classic comic strips. “Both shows are influenced by vintage comic strips, like the ones you’d find in the newspaper,” Puga says. “It’s the quick, familiar, simple and comfortably warm shapes that we add in the ‘The Loud House’ that you’ll still find in ‘The Casagrandes.’ It’s a lot of little love letters to a lot of well-known comic-book artists like Walt Kelly (‘Pogo’), Hank Ketcham’s ‘Dennis the Menace’ and Charles Schultz’s ‘Peanuts.’ You’ll still see some of the same influences all over ‘Casagrandes,’ but with a burst of beautiful color everywhere and the music and everything in there. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’re working on here.”

The show’s commitment to cultural representation goes beyond just its design and multicultural crew, but to its cast. The voice cast of the central Casagrande family members include Izabella Alvarez as Ronnie Anne, Carlos PenaVega as her brother Bobby, Sumalee Montano as her mother Maria, Carlos Alazraqui as her uncle Carlos, Roxana Ortega as her aunt Frida, Alexa PenaVega as her cousin Carlota, Jared Kozak as cousin CJ, Alex Cazares as cousin Carl, Ruben Garfias as her grandfather and Sonia Manzano as her grandmother. Additional cast includes Eugenio Derbez, who voices Ronnie Anne and Bobby’s father, a doctor who lives and works in Peru; as well as Ken Jeong, Melissa Joan Hart, Leah Mei Gold and Lexi Sexton as neighbors the Changs.

Says Rubiner: “One of the other aspects of ‘The Casagrandes’ I think is important to note is that it’s not just a kind of Latino show, but also a super multicultural show because the world of the Casagrandes is internationally diverse. The neighborhood they live in has people from all sorts of backgrounds. We consciously made an attempt to embrace that.”

“We’re bringing what real America looks like into this show,” echoes Puga. “You’re going to see all kinds of different diversities in these episodes where whoever watches it can point out a character in the background or point out a character that walks into the mercado and say, ‘Hey, that’s just like me.’ Or ‘Hey, that sounds like my mom.’ Or ‘Hey, that sounds like my brother or my sister.’ We have this opportunity to portray so many wonderful cultures in one show, and we’re going to need at least 30 seasons to do it.”


From TV Insider:

Alexa & Carlos PenaVega Talk Their Nickelodeon Series 'The Casagrandes'

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega were both iconic for kids of the late '90s and early '00s, with many wishing they could be real-life Spy Kids or a member of Big Time Rush.

And now, the singer/actors — who are all grown up with kids of their own — are bringing more entertainment to today's children with their new Nickelodeon animated series, The Casagrandes.

The show, a spinoff of Nickelodeon's Loud House, chronicles the adventures of a Latinx family much like the PenaVegas, and the couple looks forward to being part of a diverse project that showcases their own culture.

TV Insider spoke with the PenaVegas about their characters on The Casagrandes.

The Casagrandes is a spinoff of Loud House. How did this idea come about?

Carlos: Well, we were doing some work with Loud House and Nickelodeon had always talked about if these characters do well, maybe we could do a spinoff show. Alexa and I had just moved to Hawaii so I was like, 'If we ever do a real show, how would we make that work if we’re in Maui?' We kind of just wrote it off and out of nowhere Nickelodeon was like, 'Let’s give your family their own show,' and they wanted to make it work from Maui. They really had all the ideas.

Alexa: What was really cool is that it was just so well-received. You have Loud House, which is already such a popular show, but then when The Casagrandes was introduced on Loud House, those episodes were just awesome, and people related to it so much. We’re both Hispanic, so to be able to see our families represented, even within a cartoon, was really cool.

Did becoming parents over the last few years inspire you to do a children’s show?

Alexa: I think that we’ve always been big kids, if you look at me and Carlos and everything that we’ve done. I would say that our kids certainly add to wanting to do the show, but really we still love animated movies, cartoons. To throw it back to what we’ve done in our past, Spy Kids was such an awesome opportunity and movie because we were breaking the rules a little bit. You didn’t really have kids in these cool roles like that, being world-changers. And then, it being a Latino family.

Spy Kids was kind of a break into that mold and then now to see where we are is such a fun time. It’s not just in our movies and TV, but we’re seeing it in our cartoons, it’s so colorful and so diverse and that’s what you see when you go to school every day. You don’t see one type of person.

Did you have any shows like this representing your culture growing up?

Alexa: Actually, yeah. Back in the day, we used to watch the George Lopez show, and I know Carlos used to watch it a lot. It was so fun, we really loved it. But I think what I really love about right now is that — at least for me — I don’t look at it like 'oh, that’s a Latino television show' or 'this represents that culture.' Now it’s just one big melting pot. It’s just, 'this is a show about people,' and I love that. It’s become so normal to have such a diverse group of people together that you don’t even think about it anymore.

What did you think about One Day at a Time being canceled on Netflix (before being picked up by Pop)? What can we do moving forward to get shows like The Casagrandes and One Day at a Time on TV?

Alexa: I didn’t actually know, we live on an island, so I don’t know too much about the backlash, but I think it comes down to the audience. At the end of the day, studios and all these people would love to put out great content and things that they love, but sometimes some of the shows that happen to be favorites unfortunately don’t always have the best ratings or views. Financially it isn’t feasible for networks to always keep them on for whatever reason so I think it does come down to audience.

For us, we’re super fortunate to have awesome relationships with our fans to where it helps push them into wanting to watch the projects that we’re a part of and it helps get an audience there for the show. I think it really comes down to, if you like a show or if you like a movie, whatever it is, you as a fan or as an audience member have to support it in any way you can. Because at the end of the day, if it’s not being watched — regardless of if it’s meaningful or important — it all comes down to, a lot of times, the finances.

Carlos: I think for people to take it personally, I just don’t agree with it. Like Alexa said, shows get canceled all the time.

Alexa: We’ve been on so many canceled TV shows.

Carlos: Whether people want to believe because it was a Latino show or whatever, to me, at the end of the day, it’s still a business. The people running that business are going to make the best decisions for them and people can’t take that personally.

Are there any characters on the show that are based on people that you know in real life?

Alexa: [Laughs] Not that I’m aware of but it cracks me up because Carlos’ character Bobby, it’s not that I’m biased, he’s my favorite. He makes me laugh, he’s goofy and looney and that literally is who my husband is. I feel like Bobby might be just like a spinoff of you in real life.

Carlos: [Laughs] Come on now.

Alexa: Maybe just slightly goofier, with a higher voice.

What about you Alexa?

Carlotta is a girly girl. She’s a fashion-forward, feisty little thing. It’s fun because that’s not who I am but I really enjoy playing her. But at the end of the day, what I love about this show is that it's all about family. So, what I love is that they can get into all these crazy antics and fight with one another, but they all come together for the love of the family and those family values. I think it’s really great for kids to see these days.

You both have been on TV and in movies, how has it been venturing to voice acting?

Carlos: It’s been great, Nickelodeon has been so accommodating. We literally live in the middle of the ocean and we do our voiceover recordings and get it done. Lex and I are just super thankful that they’ve been willing to make it work. I’m currently in the process of building a little vocal recording studio in the house so that we could do our sessions right from home and they’ve been helping us out. Who knows, hopefully we get picked up for many seasons and we could keep doing this for a long time and literally do it from our home.

Alexa: But it’s definitely a different experience. People don’t realize, but voiceover is hard.

Carlos: Yeah, it’s exhausting.

Alexa: Because it’s a lot of high-energy packed into a small amount of time. When you come out of a session, usually your voice is shot, you’re exhausted because you’ve been singing and laughing and jumping. There’s just so much energy packed into such a small amount of time.

Carlos, we know you from your time in Big Time Rush. Is there any chance you’ll be singing on the show?

Carlos: I think I did sing a little bit, whether it was serious singing or not, I don’t remember.

Alexa: I think you did sing a little bit before in Loud House, no?

Carlos: I think I do sing a little bit and there may be some more singing coming.

The show has an incredible cast, with voice talent like Ken Jeong and Melissa Joan Hart. How has it been working with them?

Alexa: I think that’s another hard part about animation, we're all separated, so the only time you really get to see people is during press. But since I just had a baby, we actually haven't left the island and we haven't spent time with anybody. It's really cool to be on a show with these people. I think everybody going to be super-excited just about the show, about the people lending their voices, and to see such a fun, diverse group of people in one place.

The Casagrandes, Series Premiere, Monday, October 14, 1:30/12:30c, Nickelodeon


Vogue México y Latinoamérica will reportedly have a special feature about The Casagrandes in its landmark 20th anniversary issue!

From MarketWatch:

Lalo Alcaraz, a cultural consultant for the Oscar-winning ‘Coco,’ helps Disney and Nickelodeon avoid lazy stereotypes

‘Some productions use Google to figure out Latino stuff’

'I wish the job didn’t have to exist, because I wish everybody was culturally competent and we had mass diversity all over and equal representation — but we don’t,' said Lalo Alcaraz [...].

In a perfect world, Hollywood wouldn’t need consultants like Lalo Alcaraz to get it right.

Disney prompted outrage in 2013 after attempting to trademark the phrase “Día de Los Muertos” — the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead — for what would eventually become its Oscar-winning animated film “Coco.” Alcaraz, a writer, producer and nationally syndicated cartoonist, voiced his dissent in a cartoon depicting Mickey Mouse as a skeletal “Muerto Mouse” on a rampage. “It’s coming to trademark your cultura!” the illustration blared.

Disney took notice. Alcaraz later found himself working for Pixar as a cultural consultant on “Coco,” helping the filmmakers avoid similar missteps. And the movie, which featured an almost entirely Latino cast, earned praise for its portrayal of Mexican culture and went on to score Academy Awards in 2018 for best animated feature and best original song.

Today, the Southern California native serves as a cultural consultant and freelance writer for the Nickelodeon animated series “The Casagrandes,” a spinoff of “The Loud House” about a multigenerational Mexican-American family set to premiere Monday. The show follows the exploits of 11-year-old Ronnie Anne Santiago (Izabella Alvarez) after she moves to a city with her mother (Sumalee Montano) and brother (Carlos PenaVega), featuring voices from actors like Melissa Joan Hart and Ken Jeong.

It’s a weird job, Alcaraz said. But, he added, “It’s great.”

“I wish the job didn’t have to exist, because I wish everybody was culturally competent and we had mass diversity all over and equal representation — but we don’t,” Alcaraz, 55, told MarketWatch during last month’s L’Attitude conference in San Diego. (MarketWatch parent Dow Jones served as a media partner to the conference.)

Alcaraz, who grew up in San Diego as the son of two Mexican immigrants, says he wants “Casagrandes” viewers from multigenerational Latino families to see stories that reflect their lives — reacting along the lines of “That’s just like my abuela!” rather than “I’ve never heard a Latino say that before,” he said.

“I want them to not be pulled out of the moment — when I watch something and it’s got a bad, fake, obviously-Hollywood take on something Latino, it just takes me out and I don’t enjoy the experience anymore,” he said. “Some productions use Google to figure out Latino stuff and put Spanish in things, and it always fails. It’s always awful.”

Alcaraz’s “Casagrandes” gig includes reviewing scripts, making suggestions about language, and monitoring Spanish pronunciations in recordings, he said — for example, coaching lead actress Alvarez on how to correctly pronounce abuela and abuelo, grandmother and grandfather in Spanish. The Nickelodeon series also contains scenes featuring la chancla, a sandal turned “fearsome weapon of discipline” wielded by Abuela Rosa (Sonia Manzano).

“Initially in the writer’s room we were shy about introducing it, thinking it might not be approved of by standards and practices, but the storyboard artists took the initiative and put a chancla in an episode,” Alcaraz said. Its addition proved “hilarious, authentic and traumatizing” for some show staff who came from Mexican and Latino upbringings, he said. (Memes have also captured this shared experience.)

Early on, Alcaraz also gave notes on the family structure and relationships unique to a family like the Casagrandeses, including the deference paid to elders. There was a moment where Ronnie Anne grabs her grandfather by the collar in a moment of anger, he said. “I said, ‘No, that would not happen in a regular big, Mexican family — that kid would be buried out back.’” Similarly, he said he reiterated to writers that Abuela was the head of the household.

The U.S. Hispanic population totals 58.9 million, translating to an estimated 18% of the population. Still, one 2014 study co-commissioned by Columbia University found that “with few exceptions, Latino participation in mainstream English-language media is stunningly low.” “Even further, when Latinos are visible, they tend to be portrayed through decades-old stereotypes as criminals, law enforcers, cheap labor, and hypersexualized beings,” the report’s authors added.

When the topic of Ronnie Anne’s father arose, Alcaraz said he “insisted that he be a professional.” The character, who would eventually be voiced by the prolific Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez, was written as a physician who lives and works in Peru. “That’s a win for me, in my book,” Alcaraz said.

Others have also lent their expertise to help boost the authenticity of film and TV projects. For instance, Américo Mendoza-Mori, a professor of Quechua and Spanish at the University of Pennsylvania, consulted for Paramount Pictures on the script for the new live-action Dora the Explorer film, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold.”

In the same vein, Disney reportedly brought on cultural advisers for last year’s live-action “Aladdin,” presumably to avoid criticisms of the original 1992 film that centered on Islamophobia and crude portrayal of Arab culture. (In the end, the remake still didn’t escape controversy.)

The hiring of cultural or diversity consultants on such projects has become a growing trend, said Rashad Robinson, president of the racial-justice organization Color of Change, which has provided pro-bono cultural consulting for shows including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Being Mary Jane” and “Seven Seconds.” “More and more, consumers of color and white consumers want to see full, accurate portrayals of the world that we live in,” Robinson told MarketWatch.

But as valuable as cultural experts’ insights are, Robinson said, it’s important that consultants aren’t simply employed to avoid enacting more structural changes to writers’ rooms — like hiring people of color and giving them a platform to tell stories. Less than 14% of 3,817 writers on scripted shows in 2017 were people of color, according to a report commissioned by Color of Change.

“We can come in and consult — but we also don’t want to use our consulting to allow the networks [to] avoid having to actually deal with the diversity challenges,” he said.

When used properly, however, it can make all the difference to films and TV shows. For “Seven Seconds,” a Netflix crime drama about the death of a black teenager, Robinson’s organization brought people who had been impacted by police violence into the writers’ room, he said, and provided writers with videos of actual bail hearings.


From Remezcla:

‘The Casagrandes’ Stars & Writers On the Power of Producing a Kids’ Show With a Latino Cast

Thanks to shows like Cartoon Network’s Victor and Valentino and Amazon’s Undone, Latino stories have found a phenomenal vehicle in animation this year. Now Nickelodeon is joining this inspired trend with a series that will put a multigenerational Mexican-American family front and center.

Using the positive reception the character of Ronnie Anne enjoyed during her cameos in the animated comedy The Loud House, the spinoff The Casagrandes keeps the tone and comedic style of the source material, but adds a Latino cast of characters that subvert tiresome stereotypes. The adults in The Casagrandes’ reality are doctors, nurses, business owners, college professors, and painters.

“It’s really important to have a Latino family on children’s television,” young actress Izabella Alvarez who voices Ronnie Anne (and was recently seen in immigration drama Collisions and the TV hit Westworld) told Remezcla during The Casagrandes‘screening at the Paley Center in Los Angeles. “It’s something special to my heart because growing up I never really had a Latino family to look up to on television.”

For Sonia Manzano, the veteran Nuyorican actress who was an integral part of Sesame Street for over 40 years, the existence of a program like this is encouraging but far from sufficient. “To tell you the truth, I thought by now there’d be 15 shows with Latino characters. It’s disconcerting to be my age and not see at least 15 shows, or 15 Latino directors, producers, and writers behind the scenes. But I’m glad that there’s a movement and that I’m still alive to see this one.”

Manzano recalled that as a child in the 1950s she struggled to define what her place and value within the United States was because of the lack of positive representation in media. “I never saw any Puerto Ricans or anybody Latin on television, only in Mexican movies I saw Latin people, and I wondered how I was going to contribute to a society that didn’t see me.” The Casagrandes, she hopes, will prevent children of color from experiencing that alienation.

Armed with celebrated Mexican-American cartoonist and author Lalo Alcaraz as a writer and consultant, The Casagrandes interweaves spiritual aspects of Latino culture with playful storylines that provide insight while entertaining viewers. Later this year, an episode dedicated to Día de Muertos, written by Alcaraz and directed by Miguel Puga, will introduce the Mexican holiday dealing with afterlife to a new audience.

Alcaraz, who worked as a cultural consultant in Pixar’s Coco, has such devotion for reflecting traditions and idiosyncrasies with truthfulness that he even corrected Manzano’s pronunciation of the word “flan,” in order to make it sound closer to how a Mexican abuela would refer to the dessert.

The family-oriented show also features the voices of Eugenio Derbez, Carlos and Alexa PenaVega, and Argentine-American voice-over legend Carlos Alazraqui (Rocko’s Modern Life), who plays book-smart skater Tio Carlos. “He’s kind of a version of me, probably a little bit more intellectual than I am,” said Alazraqui who took inspiration from his own cool uncles including his Argentine Tio Alfonso.

Similarly, Manzano’s character is an amalgamation of the love and discipline that Latina grandmothers embody. “They created this wonderful, over-the-top grandmother whose main purpose in life is to make sure her family is fed and that their emotional well-being is taken care of.” Beyond the heartfelt sincerity in her role, what the actress finds most audacious is how the team behind the show mined staple Latino experiences for comedy that will resonate beyond the community.

“It’s very funny that they are not afraid to show her tirar la chancleta and throw it at anybody who is annoying her. I really like broad humor like that,” added Manzano.

The Casagrandes premieres Monday, October 14 at 1:30 p.m. before moving to its regular time slot on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. beginning October 19.


From Animation Scoop:

INTERVIEW: Supervising Director Miguel Puga on “The Casagrandes”

Nickelodeon’s hit animated series The Loud House is getting a spinoff. The Casagrandes debuts this Monday, Oct. 14th at 1:30pm. Supervising Director Miguel Puga, who worked on “LH” as a storyboard artist, talks jumping onto the new show – which has been a long time coming.

Miguel Puga: From my very first episode of Season 1… we never got to meet Ronnie Anne but we heard about her. She was the school bully (being a bully to Lincoln). And when the writers approached me, they asked, “Who do you think this character should look like?” They showed me a little red-head girl drawing. And I was like, “No. We should make her Latina.” And eventually we got into, “What if she’s Bobby’s sister?” And soon it was a spider web. So they finally asked me during Season 3 of The Loud House to join this show, but I’ve been part of this whole thing since the very beginning.

Jackson Murphy: That’s really cool. What makes Ronnie Anne such a strong choice to be this show’s focal point?

MP: She’s such a cool character. And one thing we thing we always look at with characters, especially in any TV episodes, is that the audience member has to watch it, and kids especially have to see the character and say, “Hey – I wanna hang out with this person.” So right off the bat, as soon as we were developing Ronnie Anne, we knew she was going to be a standout character just because she looked cool, she was always skateboarding, and she has that awesome go-to attitude. Nothing can keep her down – she always finds a way, just like Lincoln.

[Ronnie Anne] has her best friend Sid and all her new friends in the city, and all the new adventures she gets into. There’s a school that we’ll explore, and there are fun-loving, colorful characters that we’ll see. I have a few of my new favorites that I can’t talk about right now, but you’ll see them eventually.

JM: And I’ve asked this to some The Loud House people over the past few years – but when it comes to this show, too, how do you tackle SO MANY characters?

MP: Well it helps to have the characters (especially as a board artist) laid out. You have to figure out the layout: Who’s the shortest? Who’s in the middle? Who’s the tallest? – and see where you can fit them all in. And then you replace the legs as walking, so they can move like a giant mass. But it helps to have a flat-style show, but at the same time we do go dynamic. And I can’t wait for [people] to watch some of the big episodes of Season 1 of “The Casagrandes” where there’s a lot of characters involved. And we’re still trying to figure out how to fit everybody in there.

JM: Has there been a lot of pressure to make Casagrandes good – to live-up to the expectations and live-up to what “The Loud House” has done?

MP: Coming from The Loud House, with the writers and the artists that helped establish “The Casagrandes” (which is everyone on “The Loud House”), one thing we made sure this show always had was a lot of heart and a lot of humor. And I think we still have that to this day on both shows.

JM: So what are some of the big differences that Loud House fans can expect in “Casagrandes”?

MP: The bursts of color of the new city, the music, the storylines – it’s a nice bridge into a Latino household that we haven’t really seen in an animated series before. So it will be nice to invite everyone into this loud and festive, colorful new cartoon.

JM: And there’s a lot of color in the first episode, “Going Overboard”, which you directed. That’s a big responsibility.

MP: It was a fun episode to work on. And as a board artist, whenever I got working on an episode, I always worked with the writers closely to make sure I could add jokes (because that’s what I always did on The Loud House). And the ending was slightly different from this episode, so I wanted to bring together Frida’s artwork and some skateboarding… the Carlos X painting at the end. We pitched it to the network, and they loved it.

JM: Have you always been a skateboarding fan?

MP: I was more of a poser – I would dress like one, but I didn’t have the balance. But I tried.

JM: This is a minor spoiler if you haven’t seen the episode yet, but trampoline calculators are awesome!

MP: I made that up on a whim, just trying to come-up with a new ending. I was like, “Alright. How can I get paint splattered on the wall? Boom. Trampoline calculator buttons.”

JM: That would’ve been so great to have in school. And speaking of that, I heard that when you were in school, you used to draw on your homework all the time.

MP: That’s correct. I always hated Math, and when it came to taking notes… I have ADD… the one thing I always focused on was that I could draw and fill this paper up and hopefully I’ll get extra credit if my teacher sees it. I never did. But once I did in Geometry, I drew a “Transformers”-type character. I always drew. It kept me out of trouble… and it got me in trouble.


From Noticias SIN:

Lalo Alcaraz, el asesor cultural de Hollywood que se inspira en la frontera

ESTADOS UNIDOS.- El artista chicano Lalo Alcaraz explica en entrevista con Efe que su tumultosa vida en la frontera como hijo de migrante es “la razón” que le ha llevado a buscar una mayor representación de los latinos en Estados Unidos y que encontró en Hollywood la mejor catapulta para su mensaje.

Con sus tiras cómicas como la famosa “La Cucaracha” y las asesorías culturales en historias latinas como “Coco”, de Pixar, y más recientemente “The Casagrandes”, de Nickelodeon, Alcaraz es uno de los exponentes de la cultura hispana en Estados Unidos más influyentes.

Esta pasión por defender la cultura hispana comenzó en la frontera entre San Diego (California) y Tijuana (México), donde creció.

“La frontera es la razón, es todo, esto y el trato a mis padres migrantes y a mí siendo ciudadano estadounidense formaron el concepto de mi arte, de mi escritura y de lo que hago hoy en Hollywood”, indica Alcaraz, de 55 años.

El artista subraya que nacer en suelo estadounidense no hizo la diferencia para que sufriera racismo y discriminación, mismos problemas que sufrieron sus padres, dos migrantes mexicanos que se conocieron en una clase de inglés en San Diego.

Todas estas vicisitudes fueron el combustible para que a través del arte gráfico Alcaraz diera sus puntos de vista sobre los temas que afectan a los latinos, especialmente en la política.

Así ha logrado mantener desde 1992 a “La Cucaracha”, una tira cómica sindicada a nivel nacional que se declaró como “la primera tira cómica santuario del país”.

“‘La Cucaracha’ está ocupadísima con todas las noticias de inmigración, de (Donald) Trump, de la política mundial, del cambio del clima, así que no descansa”, relata.

El artista añade que las historias de Cuco (La Cucaracha), Eddie y Vero parece que vivieran un regreso en el tiempo y se enfrentan a la mismas duras políticas migratorias que vivieron en la década de los noventa.

“Sólo toca cambiar la fecha y la historia es la misma”, lamenta.

Incluso las motivaciones de Eddie, un personaje que contrasta el activismo de Cuco, siguen siendo las mismas. Él solo quiere quedarse en casa viendo televisión y no preocuparse por todos los problemas del mundo.

“Algunos aún están conformes y no quieren la confrontación”, reflexiona.

Pero aunque las cosas pareciera que no han cambiado en 25 años, Alcaraz indica que el trabajo de estas décadas está dando resultado, especialmente en Hollywood, donde la representación hispana ha ganado terreno.

Esto abrió la posibilidad para que Alcaraz se convirtiera en asesor cultural, un trabajo en el que se dedica a evitar que los creadores, actores y directores se equivoquen al describir un personaje latino, sea migrante, o de primera generación.

“Es positivo porque puedo mejorar la calidad de los programas, lo auténticos que son, el uso del español y del ‘spanglish’ y, lo más importante, que el aspecto cultural sea lo más cercano a la realidad”, dice el artista californiano.

El trabajo de Alcaraz ya rindió frutos en “Coco”, la película de Pixar, que contó con un elenco casi enteramente latino y que recibió elogios por su interpretación de la cultura mexicana y se alzó con el Óscar por la mejor película animada y la mejor canción original en 2018.

Tras su éxito escondido detrás de las cámaras y las luces de Hollywood, Alcaraz apuesta ahora a “The Casagrandes”, una familia mexicano-estadounidense y multigeneracional que protagonizará la nueva serie animada de Nickelodeon, que se estrena el próximo lunes.

La nueva apuesta presenta el “spanglish”, la comida de las abuelas y sus chanclas para los malcriados, la unión con los tíos y primos, las largas y animadas cenas pretenden abrir un espacio para que otras historias sobre hispanos puedan despegar, dice Alcaraz.

“Hay que inventar nuevos productos”, añade.

Alcaraz resalta que su trabajo existe porque en la industria no hay muchos representantes latinos y que es necesario seguir luchando por estos espacios, por lo que también pide a la comunidad hispana exigir más historias propias.

“Nuestro público representa el 25 % de la taquilla, y debe comprometerse a exigir historias en las que se vean reflejados”, dijo.

El trabajo del artista fue reconocido por su aporte y su activismo este jueves en la gala “Juntos estamos de pie: nuestra lucha por los derechos humanos” de la Coalición por los Derechos Humanos de los Inmigrantes (CHIRLA), en Los Ángeles, en el marco del Mes de la Herencia Hispana.

“Creo que deberíamos celebrar todos los días que somos latinos. No solo un mes, todo el año, a ver si celebramos la riqueza de nuestra cultura”, puntualiza.


From E! Online:

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega Open Up About Their "Fun, Chaotic and Crazy" Family

When it comes to Alexa and Carlos PenaVega's life, family is everything.

And with two growing boys at their Hawaii home, every day is an adventure filled with new milestones and special memories.

So perhaps it's only fitting that the Hollywood couple jumped at the opportunity to be part of Nickelodeon's new animated family series called The Casagrandes.

"With the show specifically, it is so chaotic and fun and crazy and being a parent now, that's our life every day," Alexa shared with E! News exclusively. "It's fun, chaotic and crazy. What I love about the show is that the characters can all be fighting, they can all be annoyed with each other, but at the end of the day and at the end of every episode, they all come together because they love each other and are family."

Nickelodeon's new series showcases the culture, humor and love that are part of growing up in a multi-generational Mexican-American family. The show also features a close sibling duo that Alexa and Carlos hope to see with their two boys as they get older.

"Ocean is not three yet, he's only two, so in the beginning I was really worried just because all the attention's on Ocean and then suddenly there's that shift and how is he going to handle it," Alexa shared with us. "But now he wants to hold the baby and feed the baby and I think he's taking on those older brother duties. I just can't wait until Kingston can actually play with him because that's when I think we're really going to see those fun kind of sibling antics kick in."

Until then, the proud parents are simply grateful to be part of a show that spotlights a family oftentimes underrepresented on the small screen.

"My goal is that nobody looks at it anymore as, ‘Well this is a Latino show or this is a that show.' It is going to be where you just go, ‘Oh this is a show I really like.' Everybody's so represented," Alexa explained. "It's just a show about humans living life."

Carlos added, "The show doesn't play into the stereotype. It plays into the culture."

And as the proud parents continue to raise their kids in Hawaii, they are proud to say their latest Hollywood project is perfect for kids at any age.

"As parents, I want my kids watching shows that represent family so well and just really shine a light on the beautiful different cultures throughout the show," Alexa shared with us. "There's so much heart. We're all more similar than we are different."

The Casagrandes premieres Monday at 1:30 p.m. on Nickelodeon.



From Celeb Secrets:

Izabella Alvarez on Playing Ronnie Anne in “The Loud House” Spinoff “The Casagrandes”

The 15-year-old actress says she is honored to be apart of a a multigenerational Mexican-American family series.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – SEPTEMBER 15: Izabella Alvarez at The Paley Center for Media’s 13th Annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews celebrating Nickelodeon's The Casagrandes at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills on September 15, 2019. © Brian To for the Paley Center

If you like The Loud House, then you’ll love Nickelodeon‘s new animated series The Casagrandes.

Filled with big adventures, laughs and more, the animated series showcases culture, humor and love that’s part of growing up in a multigenerational Mexican-American family.

“I’m truly so proud of the show because growing up, I didn’t have a multigenerational family,” says Izabella Alvarez, who plays Ronnie Anne on the show. “I couldn’t watch myself through a TV show so we’re all very proud to be apart of this.”

The best part is that you don’t have to be Latinx to appreciate the series, as every character can relate to family members from any ethnic background. Revolving around Alvarez’s character, the series tells the story of 11-year-old Ronnie Anne who moves to the city with her mom (Sumalee Montano) and older brother (Carlos PenaVega) to live with their big, loving family, the Casagrandes. After moving in with their grandparents in Great Lakes City, Ronnie Anne adjusts to her new life living under one roof and over the family-run mercado (local market), which is a gathering place for everyone in the neighborhood.

“I hope it has a really big impact because there’s no show on air like this right now so I think everyone will really appreciate it,” she shares.

Aside from Alvarez, PenaVega and Montano, the series stars Carlos Alazraqui (The Fairly OddParents) as Carlos, “Tio;” Roxana Ortega (The League) as Frida, “Tia;” Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids) as Carlota; Jared Kozak (Born this Way) as CJ; Alex Cazares (The Boss Baby: Back in Business) as Carl; Ruben Garfias (East Los High) as Hector, “Abuelo;” and Sonia Manzano (Sesame Street) as Rosa, “Abuela.” Additionally, Eugenio Derbez (Dora and the Lost City of Gold) gives voice to Dr. Santiago, a physician living and working in Peru, who is Ronnie Anne and Bobby’s father.

Ronnie Anne’s new apartment building holds new friends and neighbors, including: Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken) as Stanley Chang; Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) as Becca Chang; Leah Mei Gold (Legion) as 12-year-old Sid Chang, Ronnie Anne’s new friend; and Lexi Sexton as Adelaide Chang, Sid’s 6-year-old little sister.

The Casagrandes premieres TODAY, October 14th @ 1:30PM ET/PT on Nickelodeon, and will move to its regular time slot on Saturdays @ 11:30AM ET/PT beginning Saturday, Oct. 19. You can watch a preview of the first episode now.


From NBC Latino:

Nickelodeon debuts 'The Casagrandes,' about a multigenerational Latino family

“I want kids to have what I didn’t have, which is to be able to see myself on TV or somebody who looked like me and my family," said writer and consultant Lalo Alcaraz.

The new Nickelodeon animated show, "The Casagrandes". Credit: Nickelodeon

A new animated show about the adventures of a young girl and her extended family features an all-star Latino cast, a healthy dose of Spanish words sprinkled throughout and an assortment of Latino role models of different occupations — from artist to professor to store owner.

Nickelodeon’s “The Casagrandes,” which premieres Monday on Nickelodeon, follows the adventures of 11-year-old Ronnie Anne Santiago, who moves with her mother, María, and big brother, Bobby, to the fictional town of Great Lakes City to live with their extended family of cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. Voiced by 15-year-old actress Izabella Alvarez, Ronnie Anne is an independent and fun-loving kid caught up in the whirlwind and chaos of living in a large, multigenerational Mexican-American family.

The character of Ronnie Anne was introduced to audiences on the hugely popular and Emmy-award winning animated series "The Loud House," about a boy who lives in a household with five older sisters — and five younger ones.

Other cast members include Ronnie Anne’s father, Dr. Santiago, who lives in Peru and is voiced by Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez, and the grandmother, Rosa “Abuela” Casagrande, voiced by Sonia Manzano, best known for playing María on "Sesame Street" for more than four decades.

The Casagrandes live above the family-run mercado, or market, which also is a popular spot for the rest of the neighborhood. Other characters are a talkative and sassy parrot and a lumbering and lovable family dog named Lalo — just like cartoonist and humorist Lalo Alcaraz, who is a writer and a cultural consultant for the show.

Actor Eugenio Derbez, director Miguel Puga and actress Izabella Alvarez. Credit: Lalo Alcaraz.

“My joke title is ‘professional Mexican,’ making sure that the show is genuinely authentic so that anyone, especially Latinos, watching the show, say, 'Wow, that was just like my family,'" said Alcaraz, who's the creator of "La Cucaracha," the first nationally syndicated Latino political comic strip and served as a cultural consultant on Pixar’s Oscar-winning animated feature "Coco."

"We want to keep it relatable, and that’s really important when Hollywood is not really producing a whole lot of Latino-themed projects."

"I call my job ‘Mexican quality control,'" he joked.

The dog in "The Casagrandes" is named Lalo, after cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz. Credit: Nickelodeon.

Alcaraz told NBC News that his goal for the show is to be a true reflection of a slice of life for a growing segment of the population of the United States.

Latino audiences notice when they're not represented authentically, said Alcaraz, and he commended "The Casagrandes" for being the kind of show he could have only dreamed of when he was younger.

“I want kids to have what I didn’t have, which is to be able to see myself on TV or somebody who looked like me and my family," Alcaraz said. "There’s nothing more affirming than thinking that you’re normal and as valued as everyone else, so if you don’t see yourself on TV, that’s a problem.”

"Lalo Alcaraz and Sonia Manzano, who played "Maria" on Sesame Street, and is the voice of the grandmother on "The Casagrandes." Credit: Ric Torres

For Alcaraz, a show like "The Casagrandes" has taken on heightened importance amid the negativity surrounding the current political climate.

“I want for the rest of the country to see a big Mexican family as normal and that it looks fun," Alcaraz said. "I think that will make people more accepting and tolerant, and not so crazy as some are now.”

After Monday's debut, "The Casagrandes," which is aimed at 6-to-11-year-olds, moves to a regular time slot on Saturday mornings starting Oct. 19.


From EFE via Hidrocalidodigital:

Las familias mexicanas de EEUU tienen sus dibujos animados en The Casagrandes

La vicepresidenta de mercadeo integrado y asociasiones de Nickelodeon, Samantha Maltin, pronuncia un discurso el martes 9 de febrero de 2010, durante un acto en el que presentó la campaña "Los Niños También Cuentan", realizada para que los niños descendientes de familias hispanas indocumentadas en Estados Unidos sean registrados en el censo de 2010, que contará con el personaje televisivo "Dora La Exploradora" como portavoz en Washington DC (EE.UU.). EFE/Ruben Gamarra/Archivo

Los Ángeles, 9 oct (EFEUSA).- Los dibujos animados han popularizado a carismáticas familias en la pequeña pantalla como la cómica "The Simpsons" o la prehistórica "The Flintstones". A ellas, se sumarán ahora "The Casagrandes", la nueva serie de TV sobre un clan mexicano-estadounidense.

Coincidiendo con el mes de la herencia hispana, a partir del próximo lunes los espectadores conocerán las aventuras de los Casagrandes, una familia multigeneracional que protagonizará la última serie animada de Nickelodeon.

El "spanglish", la comida de las abuelas y sus chanclas para los enfados, la unión con los tíos y primos, las largas y animadas cenas... Muchos de los elementos que definen la vida de las familias latinas estarán presentes en esta ficción de dibujos animados, pensada para los más pequeños pero con guiños a los adultos.

"Yo no crecí con una serie así y ahora quienes la vean podrán ver a una familia con la que se sientan identificados", explicó en una entrevista con Efe la actriz Izabella Alvarez, quien pone voz a Ronnie Anne, la intrépida protagonista de "The Casagrandes".

El público ya conocía a Ronnie Anne, pues apareció anteriormente en varios episodios de "The Loud House", pero su energía y la personalidad de su familia llevaron a Nickelodeon a crear una serie sobre ella, tal y como recordó su director-supervisor, Miguel Puga.

"Querían hacer algo para la audiencia latina y me preguntaron si les podía ayudar, así que les di una larga lista de notas sobre cómo me críe en el este de Los Ángeles y recordé cómo viví en una familia multigeneracional. Entonces dijeron:'¡Vamos a hacerlo!'", aseguró a Efe.

Entre esas notas estaba el "spanglish", la combinación del español y el inglés hablada con total naturalidad en casa: "¿What happens, mi amor?", "¡Good morning, abuela!", dicen sus personajes.

"Desde el principio tratamos de plasmar eso, no queríamos hacerlo como en "Dora the Explorer" -donde las palabras en español se pronuncian separadas del resto-, intentamos que fuera algo natural", razonó Puga.

La naturalidad con la que se habla "spanglish" en muchas familias latinas que viven en EE.UU. es algo habitual, tal y como confirmó Carlos Alazraqui, la voz del Tío Carlos en "The Casagrandes".

"Existió en mi vida: mi madre es de Argentina y me decía '¡Carlos, you can go pero now!'. Era algo que fluía naturalmente", recordó.

El personaje de la abuela, dispuesta a dar amor y a cuidar a su gran familia, será otro de los detalles que mostrará la serie.

"Ese personaje está basado en mi madre y en mi abuelita. Con ella siempre hay comida en la mesa, pone música, tiene todo limpio... Y a veces lanzaba la chancla cuando había un enfado", detalló Puga.

"La chancla es algo universal", sostuvo antes de completar que en la serie, los espectadores verán "cultura, amor y muchas risas".

Desde este lunes, con "The Casagrandes", el mundo de la animación estadounidense suma más diversidad para que todas las familias mexicanas y latinas en EE.UU. se vean reflejadas en la pequeña pantalla.


From La Opinión:

Eugenio Derbez y la importancia de ‘The Casagrandes’ en Nickelodeon

El comediante sigue conquistando Hollywood

Eugenio Derbez sigue conquistando Hollywood con su gran talento y ahora presta su voz para la serie animada “The Casagrandes”. El actor mexicano comparte créditos en la producción de Nickelodeon con Izabella Álvarez, quien da su voz al personaje principal de Ronnie Anne.

“The Casagrandes” cuenta la historia de una niña de 11 años, Ronnie Anne, que se muda a la ciudad con su mamá y su hermano mayor para vivir con su numerosa y amorosa familia, los Casagrande. Ante su estreno el lunes 14 de octubre a la 1:30pm ET/PT, pudimos hablar con Derbez que nos contó que está muy entusiasmado por el proyecto.

“Creo que es importante que haya una serie bicultural en donde van a hablar en español. Que Nickelodeon le esté dando el espacio a una serie sobre una familia mexicana es algo muy importante para los latinos en este país”, explicó el actor. “Es un puente para conocer la cultura latina, para que los niños desde chicos conozca más”.

'The Casagrandes', la nueva animación de Nickelodeon / Foto: Nickelodeon‘The Casagrandes’, la nueva animación de Nickelodeon / Foto: Nickelodeon
Derbez, quien presta su voz para el personaje del Dr. Santiago, padre de la protagonista, dice que improvisa y juega con su dialogo al momento de grabar cada capítulo.

“Cuando me toca grabar mis líneas sí les meto de mi cosecha. Me dan esa libertad [de cambiar las líneas], las hago más mías, las hago más mexicanas, más auténticas. Me encanta porque a parte tiene muchos elementos mexicanos. Los colores son muy vividos, el arte está inspirado en el folklor mexicano… hay muchas cosas que enaltecen la cultura latina”, confesó.

Otro aspecto que tiene emocionado a Derbez es que “The Casagrandes” será una serie que su hija si pueda ver.

“Estoy muy contento de que ya finalmente estoy haciendo cosas que mi hija puede ver. Antes de Dora, mi hija no sabía a que me dedicaba. Ahora ya está entendiendo que su papá es actor y que hace voces para películas. Ahora que salgan ‘Los Casagrandes’ me va a dar mucho gusto podérselo presentar”, agregó.

Después de su estreno, “The Casagrandes” pasará a su horario habitual de los sábados a las 11:30am ET/PT a partir del sábado 19 de octubre, por Nickelodeon.

Otros actores que participan en la serie incluye a Carlos PenaVega, Sumalee Montano, Roxana Ortega, Alexa PenaVega, y Sonia Manzano como Rosa, “Abuela”.


From LRMonline:

Nickelodeon’s The Casagrandes: Carlos PenaVega and Alexa PenaVega on Voicing and Relating to Latino Family Cartoon [Exclusive Interview]

Hispanic families are big, fun and full of energy.


It’s about time that there will be more shows on television that showcase the culture and love of Hispanic families.

Nickelodeon will premiered the first episode of The Casagrandes today on its network. The show is an American animated comedy television series that is a spinoff of the popular and well received show The Loud House.

It features the voices of Izabella Alvarez, Carlos PenaVega, Eugenio Derbez, Ken Jeong, Melissa Joan Hart, Alexa PenaVega, Lean Mei Gold and Lexi Sexton.

The show resolves around the extended family of the Casagrandes, other relatives and neighbors.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A new home in the city holds big adventures, laughs and love around every corner in the Nickelodeon’s new original animated series The Casagrandes. A spinoff of Nick’s animated hit The Loud House, The Casagrandes tells the story of 11-year-old Ronnie Anne who moves to the city with her mom and older brother to live with their big, loving family, the Casagrandes.

The series made its premiere today and will move to its regular time slot on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. (ET/PT) on October 19.

LRM Online spoke on the phone with two voice cast members of Carlos PenaVega and Alexa PenaVega.

Carlod PenaVega is best known for his role as Carlos Garcia in Big Time Rush. He voices Ronnie Anne’s older brother Bobby, a responsible high-schooler who works in the family’s Mercado.

Alexa Pena Vega is best known as Carmen Cortez in the Spy Kids franchise. She voice the 17-year-old Carlota Casagrande, the oldest of the Casagrande children. She is the social, fun-loving big sister to Ronnie Anne.

We poke about balancing family life, voice acting, and relating to The Casagrandes.

Read our interview conversation below.

LRM Online: Congratulations on The Casagrandes. It’s about time. Don’t you think so?

Alexa PenaVega: Thank you. We’re so excited. It was a pleasant surprise, because The Loud House is doing so well. We were jumping into Loud House every now and then. Casagrandes is so well received on Loud House that they said, “You know what? Let’s just give you guys your own show.” We’re excited.

LRM Online: How did Nickelodeon approach you guys about doing your own show?

Carlos PenaVega: We were planning on moving to Hawaii. There were talks about Casagrandes getting their own show. Alexa and I thought that for sure if we moved to Hawaii, that is not going to be a possibility. We got the call from Nickelodeon that they wanted us to be a part of it. They were willing to make it work with us living here.

We were seriously blown away, because our goal is to be here as much as possible. This is home for us. They’ve made it work. They could not have been sweeter. We’ve recorded a ton of episodes. I’m currently in the middle of building out a studio in the house so that we can literally do all the episodes from here. Hopefully, we get picked up for many seasons and we’ll see what happens.

LRM Online: Wow! It must be a dream job to work from home, isn’t it?

Carlos PenaVega: People ask us, “Do like you guys leave the Island?” We leave the Island, but we’re trying to find more work here.

Alexa PenaVega: With two kids, you do as much as you can to keep everybody together in one way.

LRM Online: That’s actually pretty awesome. In your own words, why do you think The Casagrandes is very significant to have its own animation show?

Carlos PenaVega: I think it’s cool. It’s based on a family of Latino characters. To me, it is super awesome, especially in this time to where we are right now being a Latino. It’s normal now.

Alexa PenaVega: [Laughs] It’s always been normal! [Laughs]

Carlos PenaVega: No! What I’m saying somebody asked me this question, “Has things changed since you guys started this business?” Yeah, absolutely. Latinos can be leading men now. The opportunities that I’m getting is that I’m no longer just the best friend. I’m getting these awesome opportunities to be the leading man, which is super cool. I’m not sitting here and be like that people don’t like me, because I’m Latino. This is just the way that the world is shifting. It’s awesome.

Alexa PenaVega: It’s so awesome. This show, The Casagrandes, is such a melting pot of people. When a kid goes to school, they don’t see one kind of one kind of race, one kind of ethnicity. Kids go to school they see all different types of people. To be able to have a show represent such a diverse group in one place and to be able to be a part of that represents our family has been exciting. Latinos are crazy. We’re fun. We’re exciting. And we’re very family-centered and family focused. Parents are going to be happy to have their kids watch a show that has so much meaning and heart behind it.

LRM Online: I’ve seen a few episodes on The Loud House. How is Casagrandes going to play into the cultural significance and not play into the stereotypes?

Alexa PenaVega: I feel like I live a stereotype every day. [Laughs] There’s so much that I laugh about like more when people come over. It’s all about food and family. We’re kind of loud. It’s fun and exciting when you come to our house. That might sound like the stereotypical Latino family, but it comes from somewhere.

Alexa PenaVega: The Casagrandes has a lot of heart. It’s less about stereotypes. It’s being made by Latinos. It’s not just like from a bunch of people who don’t know what it’s like to be in a Hispanic family. When you see the crew who are behind this show, they’re represented on the cartoon as well as behind the scenes. I love that.

LRM Online: Could you talk more about working together as husband and wife even you’re brother and sister?

Carlos PenaVega: Especially now with two kids, we try and keep the family together as much as possible. A lot of projects that we can do together, we prioritize them over others. The family gets to stay together. We’ve been recording a lot on Oahu. Maui currently doesn’t have a great studio. It’s going work. On Oahu, we make it a family trip. The family gets on a plane for a 30-minute flight. We record five, six episodes. It has become this thing that we do once or twice a month. It’s fun.

LRM Online: It’s pretty funny that folks are like the real life Casagrandes yourself.

Alexa PenaVega: [Laughs] It’s pretty wild over here.

Carlos PenaVega: During the last interview we did, our two year old, he went crazy. I had to put this kid in his room.

Alexa PenaVega: Meanwhile, we have a three month old who poo-poo’d. We’re doing interviews. Changing diapers. Very Casagrandes in this household. [Laughs]

LRM Online: Why do you enjoy a voice acting so much at this point of your careers?

Alexa PenaVega: It’s fun, because we’re going be able to have something that our three-year old, almost three in December, can enjoy. He’s watching all these cartoons now, it’s something that he’ll be able to watch. Then he’ll be able to say that’s mommy and daddy.

The convenience of it being able to be anywhere and do these episodes. It’s super, super nice. Like Carlos said, it keeps the family together. I will say it’s one of the harder jobs to take on. While you’re in that recording booth, you are packed with energy. You are screaming, shouting and laughing. There’s just so much energy being poured out into three hours that you come out of the booth exhausted. Your voice is shot. It’s not a 12-hour work day, but it definitely is exhausting.

LRM Online: How do you both of you manage to balance your lives?

Alexa PenaVega: Honestly, it’s been a huge blessing. Nickelodeon has been fantastic. They have been so good about allowing us to put our family first and bring the kids. We’ll bring the kids to the recording sessions. If they’re not asleep, then we record one at a time. But if they are asleep, then we can both go into the booth and record at the same time together.

We’ve been super fortunate in this season of our career to be able to work together a whole bunch, whether it be with Nickelodeon, with other networks or movies. We’re at a place now where people are putting a lot of value into family. Not that it wasn’t there before, but business is business. There’s a cool shift where they’re super respectful of family time and super accommodating to figure out on how not to be separated from your family but still get the job done? They really help us figure that out. As a mom that I’m so thankful for that.

LRM Online: We could tell your energy flows into The Casagrandes. Thank you very much for this interview. I love your teamwork on handling interviews and voice acting at the same time.

Alexa PenaVega: Thank you. I really appreciate it. It’s definitely teamwork. We couldn’t do it without each other. [Laughs].

Carlos PenaVega: Thank you!

The Casagrandes is currently playing on the Nickelodeon Network.


From The Associated Press:

‘The Casagrandes’ extols Mexican American life via animation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — “The Casagrandes,” Nickelodeon’s new original animated series that centers around an 11-year-old girl trying to survive a big city, is one of the first cartoons in the U.S. to feature a multigenerational Mexican American family.

The long-awaited spin-off from the network’s popular animation series, “The Loud House,” premiered Monday and comes as more networks are taking chances on Latino-themed shows.

In this series, Ronnie Anne and her family — an older brother and single mother — leave the suburbs to move in with their large family in the fictional Great Lake City. The apartment is located above The Casagrandes bodega, owned by Ronnie Anne’s grandpa, and in front of a subway track.

The skateboarding Ronnie Anne works to adjust to her new surroundings while shunning a female cousin’s attempt to dress up with urban style and making new friends in a multicultural city.

Unlike previous cartoons with Latinos like Fox’s 2016 “Bordertown” series, “The Casagrandes” seeks to tackle family-oriented themes like love, friendship, and jealousy. Family members, including Ronnie Anne’s nurse mom, work to navigate limited space in a crowded apartment amid uncertainty and humor.

Miguel Puga, the show’s supervising director, said the idea for the series came after Ronnie Anne’s character was introduced on “The Loud House” and writers started thinking about a spin-off with a new family.

“I said, “let’s make them Mexican American’,” Puga said. “They started to listen, and we went from there.”

Puga, a first-generation Mexican American, lived among a large family in a house as a child. To make the cartoon feel authentic, he shared his experience growing up in East Los Angeles and how his home was always crowded with family and parties. Nickelodeon executives bought in.

“I just pitched them on how it was going on and they loved it,” Puga said.

Yet, Puga wanted to get more Latino artists involved. So, he reached out to syndicated cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, who was a consulting producer on the Oscar-winning 2017 animated Disney/Pixar feature “Coco.”

Alcaraz agreed to join the series as a consulting producer and a writer. He wrote an episode focusing on the “Day of the Dead” and how different cultures tackle the death of loved ones.

Still, not all episodes deal with serious topics. Sometimes the family’s talking parrot gets into trouble and runs up bills. Other times, an uncle disappears into the night and relives his previous life as a skateboarder.

But most of the time, Ronnie Anne is working to solve a problem and learn a lesson.

“We make sure this is a lot of love in these episodes,” Puga said.

Russell Contreras is a member of The Associated Press’ race and ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at:


From TopBuzz Trends:

“The chaotic, crazy, yet lovely family.”

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything,” and in the case of Alexa and Carlos PenaVega’s, it is more than everything.

The lovely Hollywood couple is quite busy making memories of their two boys getting grown up in Hawaii. The journey of parenthood is adventurous, chaotic, and beautiful, and this lovely couple is living every moment of it to the fullest.

Well, there is a piece of good news for all the Alexa and Carlos PenaVega’s fans as they will see this Hollywood couple as a part of Nickelodeon’s new animated family series called The Casagrandes very soon.

From Alexa’s perspective, the show is very chaotic, fun, and crazy, and the reason she is happy to be a part of it is that as being a parent, that’s their life every day. According to her, the best thing about the show is that all the family members keep fighting with each other throughout the day, but at the end of the day, they all are together as they immensely love each other.

The new series by Nickelodeon presents the lifestyle of a multi-generational Mexican American family, all spiced with culture, love, and humor. Alexa wants to see a close sibling bond between two boys in the show with her babies as well.

When Kingston was born, Ocean was only two, which made Alexa worried as there will be a shift in attention. But she is happy as the Ocean is discharging all the duties of an elder brother towards Kingston at this age only.

The proud parents are very grateful to be part of such a show, which brings an unnoticed family story into the spotlight on the small screen. According to Carlos, the show is going to differentiate between people’s perceptions of stereotypes and culture.

This couple is proud to say that this show is perfect for kids of any age.

The Casagrande’s premieres Monday at 1:30 p.m. on Nickelodeon.


From The Hollywood Reporter:

Nickelodeon Cartoon Series 'The Casagrandes' Centers On Multigenerational Mexican American Family

The long-awaited spin-off from the network's popular animation series, 'The Loud House,' premiered Monday and comes as more networks are taking chances on Latino-themed shows.

The Casagrandes, Nickelodeon's new original animated series that centers around an 11-year-old girl trying to survive a big city, is one of the first cartoons in the U.S. to feature a multigenerational Mexican American family.

The long-awaited spin-off from the network's popular animation series, The Loud House, premiered Monday and comes as more networks are taking chances on Latino-themed shows.

In this series, Ronnie Anne and her family — an older brother and single mother — leave the suburbs to move in with their large family in the fictional Great Lake City. The apartment is located above The Casagrandes bodega, owned by Ronnie Anne's grandpa, and in front of a subway track.

The skateboarding Ronnie Anne works to adjust to her new surroundings while shunning a female cousin's attempt to dress up with urban style and making new friends in a multicultural city.

Unlike previous cartoons with Latinos like Fox's 2016 Bordertown series, The Casagrandes seeks to tackle family-oriented themes like love, friendship, and jealousy. Family members, including Ronnie Anne's nurse mom, work to navigate limited space in a crowded apartment amid uncertainty and humor.

Miguel Puga, the show's supervising director, said the idea for the series came after Ronnie Anne's character was introduced on The Loud House and writers started thinking about a spin-off with a new family.

"I said, "let's make them Mexican American'," Puga said. "They started to listen, and we went from there."

Puga, a first-generation Mexican American, lived among a large family in a house as a child. To make the cartoon feel authentic, he shared his experience growing up in East Los Angeles and how his home was always crowded with family and parties. Nickelodeon executives bought in.

"I just pitched them on how it was going on and they loved it," Puga said.

Yet, Puga wanted to get more Latino artists involved. So, he reached out to syndicated cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, who was a consulting producer on the Oscar-winning 2017 animated Disney/Pixar feature Coco.

Alcaraz agreed to join the series as a consulting producer and a writer. He wrote an episode focusing on the "Day of the Dead" and how different cultures tackle the death of loved ones.

Still, not all episodes deal with serious topics. Sometimes the family's talking parrot gets into trouble and runs up bills. Other times, an uncle disappears into the night and relives his previous life as a skateboarder.

But most of the time, Ronnie Anne is working to solve a problem and learn a lesson.

"We make sure this is a lot of love in these episodes," Puga said.


From Best in Australia:

Nickelodeon’s “The Casagrandes” is a win for Latino representation

Nickelodeon is featuring a Mexican-American multigenerational family on its new animated series. “The Casagrandes” premiered on Monday and marks another win for Latino on-screen Latino representation.

The long-anticipated show is a spinoff made from the network’s popular show “The Loud House”. It comes as more and more networks choose to created more Latino-themed content.

The Casagrandes focuses on the life of an 11-year-old girl named Ronnie Anne who lives in a big city with her family. The original animated series marks the first time in the United States that a multigenerational Mexican-American family is featured on television.

The show follows Ronnie, her older brother, and her single mom as they leave the suburbs to live with their extended family in Great Lake City, a fictional American city. They end up living in an apartment above the family building, the Casagrandes bodega which is owned by Ronnie’s grandfather.

Ronnie Anne struggles to adjust to the new environment as she navigates around urban culture. In the multicultural city, she goes on to make new friends. Themes in the new show include family-oriented topics including friendship, love, and jealousy.

Supervising director Miguel Puga told the story behind The Casagrandes in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Puga says the series was inspired by Ronnie Anne’s character who was previously introduced on The Loud House.

“I said, “Let’s make them Mexican-American,'” Puga said. “They started to listen, and we went from there.” Puga himself is a first-generation Mexican-American who drew on his own experiences of growing up.


From CNN:

'The Casagrandes' wants to show kids what a Latinx family really looks like

Creators worked hard to avoid stereotypes

(CNN)Ronnie Anne and her family have an altar for Día de Los Muertos, they live above their corner store and skateboard together. They're just another Mexican-American family in the big city.

Ronnie Anne is the star of "The Casagrandes," a new animated series by Nickelodeon. The show is one of the first cartoons in the US to focus on a Mexican-American family.

"It's so good to think that when kids watch it they can say, 'This character looks like me' or 'Look that's my name.' That's something that makes me proud," said Miguel Puga, the show's supervising director.

The show is a spin-off from Nickelodeon's Emmy-award winning cartoon "Loud House." It tells the story of 11-year-old Ronnie Anne who moves with her mother and brother to the big city to live with her grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

The Casagrandes are college professors, nurses, entrepreneurs and one of them is even a professional crier. That's not a coincidence.
Creators have worked hard to avoid Latino stereotypes, nail the sporadic use of Spanish words in the show and add scenes featuring "la chancla," a flip flop used by Hispanic women to discipline children.

Puga said he had in-depth talks with writers and animators about how it was growing up as a first-generation Mexican American in East Los Angeles and how his family has evolved.

One of the characters, Abuela Rosa, is loosely based on his mom and his grandmother.
But Puga said the good-hearted and outspoken girl wasn't initially sketched as a Latina during the production of "Loud House."

"When I saw the picture of Ronnie Anne she was a red head with a yellow jacket and I said, 'No, let's make her Latina. All of Lincoln's friends are anglo-looking,'" Puga said.

The animators bought in and the network's executives took notice.

Kids can learn about 'Dia de los Muertos'

The series premiered only a few weeks ago and it's already tackling the beloved Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The holiday, celebrated November 1-2, honors loved ones who have died.

The third episode of "The Casagrandes" is a Day of the Dead-themed episode.

Puga said bringing Día de Los Muertos to "The Casagrandes" was important for him, especially because the holiday has helped him keep the memory of his late brother and father alive in the mind of his 6-year-old daughter.

"My mom has an altar in her house and every time she goes over, she remembers stories that we told her the day before," Puga said.

In the show's Dia de los Muertos-themed episode "Croaked," Ronnie Anne helps a friend get over the death of her frog by teaching her about the Mexican holiday.

"No, mija. It has nothing to do with Halloween," Abuela Rosa says about the holiday.

"The Casagrandes" "stars "Westworld" actress Izabella Alvarez as Ronnie Anne, Sonia Manzano from "Sesame Street" as Abuela Rosa and "Instructions Not Included" actor Eugenio Derbez as the voice of Ronnie Anne's father, Dr. Santiago. It airs Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on Nickelodeon.


From Just Jared Jr.:

Izabella Alvarez Only Eats These Color Skittles! Learn 10 Fun Facts About 'The Casagrandes' Star Here!

You’re about to hear a whole lot more about Izabella Alvarez.

The 15-year-old actress voices Ronnie Anne in the new animated series, The Casagrandes, on Nickelodeon. The show centers on Ronnie Anne, who moves to the big city alongside her mother and older brother Bobby, where she meets her extended Hispanic family.

Catching up with Izabella recently, JJJ learned 10 Fun Facts about the actress. You can check them out below!

You can also see pics of Izabella at the premiere of Netflix’s Green Eggs & Ham over the weekend in Los Angeles.

- I love eating ice.
- I enjoy painting in my free time.
- I did gymnastics for 6 years growing up.
- I started drinking coffee behind my parents back when I was 3.
- My grandma thought I had a sore throat all the time growing up because of my raspy voice.
- I’m a sucker for candles
- I want to get my Real Estate license when I’m older.
- I have a fear of planes, but yet I want to travel the whole world.
- I only like eating the green & red skittles.
- My older brother & I played siblings in a TV show. The producers didn’t know we were related until the day we filmed.


More Nick: Culture & Comedy: LatinX Artists and Writers Tap Into Their Heritage for 'The Casagrandes'!

Originally published: Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 17:09 BST.

Additional sources: Google, Wikipedia, Anime Superhero Forum /@SweetShop209, KOAM.
Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for the latest Nickelodeon, The Loud House and The Casagrandes News and Highlights!

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