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'Hamster and Gretel' -- The comical superhero buddy show with a normal third wheel


‘Hamster and Gretel’ — The comical superhero buddy show with a normal third wheel

The cast and creatives of Hamster and Gretel discuss the upcoming animated superhero series.

Dan Povenmire has had a long career in animation having worked on shows such as The Simpsons, Rocko’s Modern Life, Sponge Bob Square Pants, and Family Guy. He also co-created the influential Phineas and Ferb. In a few weeks, he has a new series, Hamster and Gretel, arriving that takes place in the same universe.

Povenmire’s latest project is a superhero comedy that follows the titular duo along with Gretel’s older brother who serves as a chaperone. The cast and creatives attended San Diego Comic-Con 2022 in order to promote the series. Ahead of their panel, we spoke with Povenmire (creator/executive producer), Joanna Hausmann (co-producer/story editor), Michael Cimino (Kevin), Liza Koshy (Veronica Hill), Alyson Stoner (Lauren/the Destructress), Meli Povenmire (Gretel), Caroline Ravassa (Carolina – mom), and Brock Powell (Lyle/FistPuncher).

Origins and Premise

Hamster and Gretel began with Dan doodling a hamster in a superhero cape flying over the city. He thought it was something fun to build around and later introduced a brother and sister where the brother is left out in obtaining superpowers. He wanted to explore that dynamic and use that as a jumping off point.

Moreover, the elder Povenmire wanted bring a superhero more germane to his universe that also shares Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphy’s Law, and play with that but focus on the sibling relationship. Hausmann described the series even further. It’s “a superhero comedy show that, at the end of the day, is a family show about heart. It’s about a brother and sister trying to save the world and finish their homework on time.”

hamster and gretel 1
Photo: Disney

A Family Affair

Meli wasn’t always intended to be a part of Hamster and Gretel. Her father was developing it during the pandemic and since he didn’t have access to his usual voice actors, he let his daughter do the temp lines during story boarding because they live in the same home. During each time of casting, Meli continued voicing the role of Gretel even though other voice actors were replaced.

It ended up being a good fit because she gets her dad’s type of humor and can instill that into the lines, and her lower voice made the character feel and sound more real. Sometimes Meli doesn’t feel like it’s a job because it’s a more chill and relaxed environment with Dan. They are able to record at home and the pair like to have a little fun while working.

Likewise, Hausmann incorporated multiple family members into the series. As Ravassa shared, her character, Carolina, “is based on Joanna’s mom who is awesome. She has a really deep voice…and has a slight Latino accent but it’s not too heavy. She’s really smart. Really funny.” In order to prepare for the auditions, she listened to videos of Hausmann’s mom online for hours in order to understand her cadence and how loud she was. Another family tie is that Carolina is named after the producer’s sister.

Life Influencing Art

The inspiration of Kevin and Gretel is actually Dan and his own younger sister. Like the animated characters, he had to serve as a chauffeur and drive her around to all her activities. Also, the Povenmires are a multicultural family like the protagonists with a Venezuelan mother. Hausmann brought her own experiences being Venezuelan herself as well. In addition, Koshy plays Veronica Hill, a news reporter, and the actress drew upon her previous career as an internet personality performing interviews for the role.

hamster and gretel 2
Photo: Disney

The Villains

All superhero stories need a big bad and in the case of Hamster and Gretel, there are two: the twins the Destructress and FistPuncher. If you listen to the voices, you can pick up a valley girl/guy vibe. Stoner spoke about their half of the diabolical duo. “I tend to want my ideas to go exactly my way. I’m very self-justified, quite attitudinal, very fierce. As an actor it’s my first time playing the villain in an animated show. I’ve often been the voice of reason, the moral compass, earnest supportive friend, and now I’m like let’s wreak havoc!”

Powell’s FistPuncher is whiney and entitled with a country club aura about them. They also shared their theory on how the characters can be the next Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver of the MCU. Hamster and Gretel “exist with Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphy’s Law. Phineas and Ferb met the Marvel characters. Thus, conceptually I would say, at least adjacent, there is some Multiverse of the Marvel Universe that we also dwell in.” Powell voices another villain on the show named Big Baby.

Being Left Out

It can be difficult losing out on superpowers but Kevin makes do. Cimino discussed the Hamster and Gretel premise and his character. ” That whole power dynamic is interesting too. I feel like Dan is so smart flipping that dynamic, the stereotypical boys are stronger than girls. His sister is so exponentially stronger than him and way more skilled and adapted to handle everything.”

He continued, “I love that Dan is changing that narrative that is so archaic and flipping it on its head. That’s such a smart way of thinking. Now, Kevin is just the guy in the chair or the guy in the minivan really. He’s just there to support his little sister as much as he can. Obviously, he wanted to be a superhero really badly but isn’t.”

Hamster and Gretel will premiere August 12, 2022 on the Disney Channel.

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