You know how I wrote about “Mother Up!,” the new animated comedy series starring Eva Longoria that premiered last week on Hulu? Well, what I really wanted to do was interview the mothas behind the comedy. Because I’m about all mothas all the time over here. It may say One Funny Motha but if you’re funny and you’re a motha (or a father or anyone else) this is the place for you. What I’m trying to say is I want to help a motha out, you know? Because we all share a common bond. And, Christ, you know it ain’t easy.
Plus, I was really interested in the story. How does this happen? How does one get her little dream up on the mini silver screen. (I’m not just a writer. I’m a poet.)
But I wasn’t able to speak to the creators before the premier. Something about being busy or something. So a few days later I sat down with them to find out exactly how this show came to life. Well, I didn’t actually sit down with them. I mean I was sitting down, and I’m pretty sure they were sitting down so we were all sitting down. O.K.? We may not have been sitting down together, but I always wanted to say that.
Anyway, you know what? It’s a pretty interesting story. In fact, it’s a story I think plenty of moms and bloggers and writers will find inspiring. And that’s why I wanted to tell it.
She had left the work force some years before to stay home and raise her first child, but it was starting to get to her.
“My son turned 4, and I didn’t want to go back to work, but I knew I needed to do something.” At the time Marnie was enrolled in several Mommy & Me classes, which just about any mother (or at least the honest ones) can tell you will make you want to blow your brains out. (I’m guessing this is what Marnie was hinting at. She didn’t explicitly say, but I was drawing on my own personal experience for insight as good reporters do.)
Marnie did, however, give me this example so I wasn’t far off the mark. “I was this ex-New Yorker living in Connecticut mouthing the words to ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and looking around to see if anyone was laughing. No one was.”
“No one was telling the truth,” Marnie lamented. “I didn’t think anyone was being that honest or funny about it or telling my story.” That’s when she decided to take matters into her own hands.
She started a column in her local paper, calling it The Poop, where she could write about the low-down, dirty, honest and humorous side of motherhood. When a friend of the family who was a big executive at an animation company read it, Marnie explained, “He said, ‘This should be an animated comedy.'” The next day Marnie was at the bookstore buying a “How to” book on writing animation.
As she toiled away at her desk in her suburban Connecticut home, on the other side of the country Katie Torpey, the other half of the duo, entered the picture. Having been a Hollywood screen writer and director in LA for 18 years, Katie was weary and worn out. She needed a break. She retreated to Northern California to regroup, refocus and recover from her divorce. There, completely by chance, she met Marnie’s sister who was a life coach. Over the course of the conversation Marnie’s sister discovered Katie was also a writer and suggested she and Marnie meet.
“We got on the phone together and immediately hit it off,” Katie mused. “We really compliment each other. She’s dark and wild, and I’m a little more Hallmark.”
Katie urged Marnie to go west. “Come to California,” she beckoned. And Marnie went.
The partnership worked. So did the women. They dove into the material and with Katie’s knowledge and expertise, started turning Marnie’s columns into a fully fleshed out, bonafide animation comedy series.
That was in 2007. By 2009 the pair was ready to shop their baby around. Being in the business, Katie knew some people to call and started meeting with agents and managers. Then she said, “All the sudden it took off on a life of it’s own.”
Mass Animation, best known for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, was interested. As was Michael Shipley of “Family Guy” and “American Dad.” Both became producers with Shipley also developing the show. Eva Longoria’s involvement wasn’t much further behind.
As a fan of Shipley’s shows, Longoria was looking to work with him so when he presented her with this project, she jumped on board, becoming both the voice of the main character, Rudi, and the executive producer.
“She loved it and loved the idea of a truth-telling, kind of snarky mom that has to learn how to get raise by her kids,” Marnie asserted. About Longoria’s character she added, “She’s got room to grow.” Which, of course, is what makes a good character.
As far as the launch and seeing her little germ of an idea flourish into an actual, full-color reality Marnie said, “It is a dream come true for sure.” She added, “It’s pretty cool that if you’re determined enough anything can happen.”
True. So, friends, it’s time to Mother Up!
Vote for me? All it takes is just one click on the banner (everyday forever) to register your vote. Thanks!
Powered by Facebook Comments