Courtesy of Disney
When a blunder of a curse binds a very grumpy ghost named Scratch to a happy-go-lucky girl named Molly McGee for all time, both the ghost realm and the land of the living are suddenly turned upside down.
Showrunners and executive producers Bill Motz and Bob Roth have enchantingly brought this supernatural premise to life in a new Disney Channel animated musical series called The Ghost and Molly McGee. With the first twenty episodes airing since October 1st, 2021, the show’s dedicated fan base waited with bated breath as Molly introduced Scratch to her tight knight, multicultural family. They were also struck with awe as Scratch taught Molly all about the inner workings and new rules that came with the ghost realm.
But in the midst of all the whimsical adventures that the two main characters got up to, we all knew that the frightening Chairman and his Ghost Council were always right behind lonesome Scratch. Not pleased and even beginning to grow frustrated with the fact that the fluorescent cyan colored ghost wasn’t increasing the level of misery in the show’s fictional town of Brighton, the ominous leaders were always one step away from launching him into the foreboding flow of failed phantoms.
While the first season certainly begins and ends with Molly and Scratch’s ever growing bond, the creators have carefully fit much more than you’d ever expect into the first twenty episodes. Not only does the audience get to take trips inside Scratch’s eerily colored ghost realm, the series does a great job in embracing all kinds of diversity. Not only is there LGBT representation and different cultures highlighted due to Molly’s parents being a biracial couple, we also get to take part in Libby’s (Molly’s new friend from school) bat mitzvah and learn about different Thai traditions from Molly’s own background.
Promising new types of ghosts, new characters and more inclusiveness than ever before, the season two trailer dropped just two weeks ago and The Movie Nerds were fortunate enough to sit down with the executive producers for a brief fireside chat about everything regarding The Ghost and Molly McGee.
Talking about the show’s humble beginnings which involved numerous name changes, the creators noted how The Curse of Piper McGee was struck down because another pilot at the time involved a main character with that same name. Changing just a word, The Curse of Molly McGee still felt off. “It became apparent as we were growing the show, the curse was how it started but it's not really what the show was about.” They both went on to explain that even though the curse was essentially an artifact, the use of that specific plot device in the theme song helps bring new viewers up to speed. Surprisingly, an old CBS sitcom called Green Acres was mentioned as that show’s premise-involving theme song also never changes.
To ease into the present, I asked about their favorite episode to work on. Handling episodes like they were their own children, Mr. Motz and Mr. Roth first agreed that though they are proud of all of them. But after a while, they couldn’t resist mentioning Festival of Lights and Out of House and Home as the exceptions to that rule. They even labeled the former as “8 mini episodes [with] great emotional resonance”.
Diving deeper into the intricacies of The Ghost and Molly McGee, I brought up the show’s many levels of inclusiveness and how we could see more of this in the upcoming season. While not revealing too much, the producers noted that there will be multiple layers of authenticity. One or two episodes will really focus on LGBTQ representation but there will also be segments that magnify Molly’s half Irish and half Thai heritage. “The more specific you make it, the more universal it becomes”.
Looking to dive into the show’s supporting cast next, I aimed to provide some clarity about a character who started out as an antagonist but ended up being a much loved supporting protagonist. As Andrea is very much loved on the active, fan-based subreddit for the show, I wanted to see what could be said concerning the new dynamic she has with both Molly and Libby. “There will be hurdles for Andrea, for sure . . . She seems to be a shallow, one note character but as the season progressed, we started to peel back the layers and see different sides to her. Everybody’s going to be really delighted where we go with her. Teasing more of the character’s story, they explained how she has untapped depths and the second season will only become even more richer and deeper with her being included.
Most would agree that one of the biggest draws to come out of The Ghost and Molly McGee is the charming relationship between the two main characters. The contrasting personalities only seem to help them grow more together. Expanding on the inspiration behind such a pairing, a parallel was instantly made to the two of them surprisingly. Mr. Roth excitedly replies, “We didn’t realize it when we created the show but when we were developing it, I walked into the office one day and said to Bill, we’re writing us. He later says “I’m just transcribing the conversations we had at lunch!” While Mr. Roth goes on to say that he shares a personality with Scratch, Mr. Motz is Molly because he always has an inspirational speech ready to go.
Due to the fact that many different genres were spotlighted within the songs that were featured throughout the fantastic first season, I didn’t dare to let this interview finish without inquiring about the process behind creating such melodic hits. I also couldn’t help letting them know that The Bad Boy of Brighton was my favorite. Letting me into what happens on the cutting room floor, the producers then told me all about the process.
“It’s always a conversation . . . Writers will write the script and put in a paragraph of what the song is.” Mr. Roth then continues, telling me about a brilliant songwriter by the name of Rob Canter. “Whether he does it how it was specifically requested or ends up changing a Dixieland beat to something that sounds more like Techno Pop, everytime it has worked out brilliantly.”
We all look forward to seeing what happens for the McGee family and Scratch’s ghost realm when The Ghost and Molly McGee returns on April 1st on the Disney Channel.