-->

– by Gig Patta

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.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

Gig Patta is a journalist and interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review since 2009. He was a writer for other entertainment sites in the past with Collider and IESB.net. He originally came from the world of print journalism with several years as a reporter with the San Diego Business Journal and California Review. He earned his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and BA in Economics from UC San Diego. Follow him on Instagram @gigpatta or Facebook @officialgigpatta.