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Thursday, April 13 2017 09:32

Disney Junior's PUPPY DOG PALS - Family Bonds, Friendship and Being a Good Sibling

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This look at Puppy Dog Pals is presented in collaboration with Disney Junior and The Rock Father™.

It is entirely possible to be a 40-year-old grownup that is eyed with envy by young children. This is something that I've known for awhile, but it was recently solidified when I found myself in a theater near San Francisco, settling-in to check out the first screening of Disney Junior's new preschool series, PUPPY DOG PALS. With Producer Sean Coyle and Disney Junior's Director of Original Programming, Diane Ikemiyashiro having flown up from Los Angeles to join us for the evening, our group was presented with Puppy Dog Pals cookies as we got our first look at the network's next big hit. Knowing that daddy was 2,000 miles away and getting to see Puppy Dog Pals early, my girls were a tad jealous.

Created by comedian Harland Williams (who also voices "Bob" on the show), the series follows the adventures of Bingo and Rolly, a pair of Pug brothers with big hearts and a thirst for big adventure. In each 11-minute story (two are paired in each episode), the dogs learn about collaboration, friendship, problem-solving and creativity. The general set-up is that while Bob (an inventor) is at work, the dogs will have a big adventure that's often unknowingly set-off by Bob himself.

Bob (Harland Williams) and the pups. - Photo Disney Junior

"Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for," said Coyle, recalling the development of the show's direction. "We had that on our minds going forward -- trying to just tell the best stories possible, create the cutest little characters possible, and really treat these 11-minute shorts as little 11-minute movies."

With that in-mind, Puppy Dog Pals works as we see the dogs manage to hatch a plan, travel great distances (Italy, China, Hawaii) and complete their missions, all in the 8-hours or so that Bob is away for work.

One element that really makes Puppy Dog Pals stand out is the interaction with the world around the dogs - particularly their neighborhood, family and friends. "At the core of this particular show, it's all about the family unit,"  explained Ikemiyashiro. "The two pug puppies are brothers, and they love each other. They are very rambunctious, and they really, really support each other.  They have friends all throughout the neighborhood that they meet, and friends all around the world. It's about family bonds, being friends, making friends, being a good brother."

That core of friendship also means inclusiveness. "The junkyard dog [Bulworth, voiced by musician Huey Lewis!] is actually a pitbull," said Coyle. "We make a point in our world of never refer to any of the dogs by breed. The only time we ever mention pug would be in the title of an episode --  Like “Hawaii Pug-Oh” for example. All of the animals in this world -- they never refer to each other as a specific animal, a specific breed, or as a specific anything. Everybody’s a friend or family."

Puppy Dog Pals, debuts Friday, April 14, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes on Disney Channel. The premiere episode will also become available that day on the Disney Junior app and Disney Junior YouTube page.

Puppy Dog Pals
"Hawaii Pug-Oh" - When Bob says he'd love to feel the sand on his toes, pug puppy brothers Bingo and Rolly go on a mission to Hawaii. (Disney Junior)

Puppy Dog Pals stars Issac Ryan Brown ("black-ish") as quick-witted, problem solver Bingo; Sam Lavagnino ("Miles from Tomorrowland") as silly, energetic Rolly; Tom Kenny ("SpongeBob SquarePants") as A.R.F; and Jessica DiCicco ("The Lion Guard") as Hissy.

Other guest stars include Patrick Warburton ("Family Guy") as Captain Dog, the star of the pups' favorite television show; Jack McBrayer ("30 Rock") as Hedgie the hedgehog; Yvette Nicole Brown ("Elena of Avalor") as Daisy, a kind German Shepherd; famed sportscaster Bob Uecker as a baseball announcer; Leslie David Baker ("The Office") and Cheri Oteri ("Saturday Night Live") as neighbors Frank and Esther Exposition; Jill Talley ("American Dad") as bossy pup Cupcake; Mo Collins ("Fresh Off the Boat") as Strider, a fast-talking sheep herder; and Tress MacNeille ("Mickey and the Roadster Racers") as Bob's Mom.

For updates, check out the official site.

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. Current special projects include promotional campaigns for PJ Masks (eOne/Disney Junior) and Beat Bugs (Netflix). 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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