Home ArtsTelevision ‘Firebuds’ Gives a Face to Emergency Workers, and Their Vehicles

‘Firebuds’ Gives a Face to Emergency Workers, and Their Vehicles

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from the classy thomas and friends Rough-hewn race car Lightning McQueenchildren’s entertainment, is filled with cartoon talking vehicles that run as much on emotion as fuel.

However, it’s rare to find a television series aimed at very young people that spotlights almost exclusively the kinds of trucks and cars that get screen time primarily on adult medical and crime shows. when disney junior will premiere the latest animated television series.fire budFour-wheeled heroes are fire trucks, ambulances and police cars.

They star in a fantasy world featuring two generations of rescuers, human and automobile, voiced by an impressive cast packed with famous guest stars. , Jaden, and Violet—drive boy-sized cars that are not only their best friends, but also the offspring of their children’s parents, the ones that all emergency workers drive for work.

With Firebuds, “vehicles have families, just like humans do,” series creator and executive producer Craig Gerber said in a phone interview from Los Angeles.

But the Firebuds creative team doesn’t want young viewers to become firefighters or emergency medical technicians. Rather, the series aims to instill a sense of helpfulness, commitment to service, and a sense of community that are good neighbors in the “Mr. Rogers” sense. Audience. Streaming on Disney Junior, Disney Channel and Disney+, Bo, Jaden and Violet tackle problems ranging from a missing Dalmatian puppy in a fire station to a museum robbery in the first season.

The series not only shows young children how to be good citizens, but also gives them a glimpse into how real-life paramedics work.

“First responders are getting more attention and recognition in the medical field in a post-9/11 world, and a post-Covid world,” Garber said.

He came up with the “Firebuds” in 2018 after seeing his youngest son’s love for toy fire trucks. “I thought how excited he would be if that fire truck could come to life and become a talking kid’s fire truck and go on adventures with him,” Garber said. But at the same time, he also began to think about the importance of people like his own grandfather, a NYPD detective.

“So what started as an inspiration from my family grew into what I wanted to do as a tribute,” he added.

Disney Junior’s senior vice president of programming, Alyssa Sapire, said in a phone interview that the project’s focus will be on “real superheroes” instead of capes and tights, saying she’s particularly interested in Disney. said there is. She said, “It stood out among other content available to preschoolers. It felt original.”

“Firebuds” employs some of our everyday heroes as consultants to help the series accurately portray the procedures of the fire department and firefighters. In one episode, “The Very First Fire,” Bo, the serious and methodical central character, teams up with his friends to put out a fire in a playground with a firebreak.

But more often than not, young heroes deal with problems in ways that ordinary children can emulate. “I think outside the box and really think about how I can use my resources to reach out and help people,” said Pamela Adlon. A veteran voice actor and television writer, he guest-stars as Principal Kagan, one of his adult human characters.

For example, multiple episodes focus on food emergencies.chef Jose Andreswho founded a charity world central kitchen A guest actor on the series (as Padma Lakshmi does), he proposed to base the season’s only two-part story based on real events he experienced when floods cut off the food supply. The “Firebuds” version includes an amphibious vehicle, but younger viewers can also see how they can help their neighbors by collecting or donating supplies.

Series writer Krystal Banzon said in a phone interview, “We have a lot of emotional relief.” I can do it,” he added, sometimes warmly.

In the same way, the show’s writers intend to give reassurance and hope to children grappling with pandemic worries and educational disruptions. We do so with “Firebuds,” which enlivens the moment with many songs. bo black.

To make the show as comedic as it is adventurous, Garber also gave the four-wheeled characters distinct personalities to allow them to play with each other and with humans.

“I would describe Flash as having his heart on his fender,” he said of Bo’s fire engine. Axel, a fast and clever little female ambulance and perky Violet’s feisty companion, often provides witty supporting characters, while police cruiser Piston is obsessed with safety. He is the son of a police officer, a sober soul, and a foil to the group’s preeminent inventor, Jaden.

Trying to make the adult car character look funny and authentic, Garber wrote the role of Chief Faye Fireson, a feminine-looking hook and ladder truck, for comedian Yvette Nicole Brown. . The last show he created, “Elena of Avalor”.

“She’s determined, kind, loving, and fun,” Brown says of his car alter ego. and “She’s a great mom.” ” indicates that you will leave the hospital.)

Others, such as Oscar Nunez and Weird Al Yankovic, who lend their talents to the voice cast, have guest appearances as an Eeyore-like camper on the highway named Latch.

Yankovic who was in charge of the voice of the leading role in “”Milo Murphy’s Lawfor Disney, “brings this pathos to Latch that’s really heartwarming,” Garber said.

In developing the series, which he hoped would encourage social responsibility, Garber wanted all these characters to reflect the diversity of the United States. There’s a Latina princess.) In “Firebuds,” Bo is half Filipino and half Jewish, and Jaden is black. Adopted Violet has a Japanese and Filipino background.

Gerber said he specifically emphasized Filipino culture because he felt underrepresented on television. It also gave him the opportunity to make a special role for Lou Diamond Phillips, who was born in the Philippines and came from ‘Elena of Avalor’ to ‘Firebud’ Bo’s father Chief Bill his Bayani His role as a allows him to portray some of his own legacy.

“When I come to recording, I am often blown away by some of the material,” says Phillips. “One of the upcoming Christmas specials is particularly moving,” he noted. Because it features Filipino traditions.

Cultural references like this are woven throughout the series. Being Filipino-American, her Banzon developed an episode where Bo connects with her seemingly distant immigrant grandfather (based on her own story) by making lumpia, or spring rolls.

She also said she enjoys writing dialogue for Violet’s mother of two, one of the few lesbian couples on children’s television.

“It’s always been important to me to tell stories about people of color, about the queer community that I belong to,” said Banzon, who is raising three young children with his wife. She said she appreciated that “Firebuds” allowed her children to see characters like themselves in their homes.

Young viewers with disabilities will also see their lives reflected. Jayden’s younger sister, her Jazzy, has spina bifida.voice actress actress Lauren SpencerJazzy, known as Rollo with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, drives a combination wheelchair and car.

“Her car partner is just as fast and fun to drive,” Gerber says.

Together, these characters live in a society that may be futuristic and high-tech, but reflects a core concern about how citizens should be treated with one another.

“First responders put the needs of others ahead of their own,” says Gerber. “And that kind of selflessness seems essential in this day and age. I think this is the moment people need to think about community more often.”

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