We’re big animation fans at The Cosmic Circus and always love getting the chance to sit down with the creators behind these fantastic stories. Earlier this week, we chatted over zoom with Bill Motz and Bob Roth from Disney’s fantasy show The Ghost and Molly McGee.
The Ghost and Molly McGee is about a young girl named Molly McGee who is an optimist and always sees the brighter side of things. There’s always something to have joy about. When Molly’s family moves to a new home and town, she discovers their house is haunted by a grumpy ghost named Scratch. Awesome, right? When Scratch’s attempts to haunt Molly go wrong, the two are bound together forever. The show follows them through this unlikely and sweet growing friendship.
The show is Emmy-nominated, and for a good reason – it’s a joy to watch. The talented cast includes Ashly Burch (as Molly), Dana Snyder (as Scratch), Jordan Klepper, Sumalee Montano, Michaela Dietz, and Lara Jill Miller.
Bill Motz and Bob Roth are equally as talented as their cast. The duo has been writing partners for 30 years, working on things like Darkwing Duck, LEGO Star Wars, and The Penguins of Madagascar. They’re the creators and executive producers of The Ghost and Molly McGee and were so much fun to speak with.
In our interview, we chatted about everything from how the duo’s friendship started, their excellent writers’ room, and the inclusion of a new and awesome autistic character. We even talked about Scratch and how we will learn more about his past in season 2. Listen to the full interview on The Cosmic Cafe below or on most apps where podcasts are available.
- 00:25 – Intros
- 02:20 – Bill Motz and Bob Roth tell us more about The Ghost and Molly McGee
- 04:00 – Talk about season 2 and the introduction of autistic character June Chen, and the importance of representation.
- 08:10 – More will be revealed about Scratch’s past in the second season
- 09:05 – Guest stars in season 2
- 10:10 – Discussing the detailed work of the designers and the Mega City game from season 1
- 11:40 – Roth and Motz talk about the process of going from a kernel of an idea to a script.
- 15:25 – What is the status of The Ghost and Molly McGee season 3?
- 16:15 – The show is about “humor, heart, and hope.”
- 17:30 – Ayla asks what Motz and Roth are working on next.
- 18:35 – Outros
Host: Ayla Ruby
Theme: “Coffee and You” by Vladislav Kurnikov via Pixabay.
Interview with Bill Motz and Bob Roth from The Ghost and Molly McGee
[Editor’s note: There are mild spoilers ahead for the show. In addition, some of the quotes below have been lightly edited for clarity.]
Blame George Lucas
One of the themes of The Ghost and Molly McGee is friendship. The show has some serious buddy comedy atmosphere. Because of that, we were curious how Motz and Roth’s friendship got started. As it turns out, it’s all because of Star Wars.
Bill Motz: “Bob and I met at a USC summer production workshop back in the aughts of 1990 in the summer. And we bonded over our mutual love of Star Wars, which of course [USC] was where George Lucas went to school. Right. So, that’s why we did the summer production workshop. We made a short film together. Live action, which in retrospect really looked like a live…”
Bob Roth: “It was a live-action cartoon. Yeah.”
Bill Motz: “And we really worked well together; we meshed well, and Bob moved to LA the following year, I guess. Right.”
Bob Roth: “Yeah, 91, Summer of 91.”
Bill Motz: ‘Right. And then I ended up moving. We started working together. I’d fly out from Colorado to Bob’s place in LA, and we’d work on a script.”
Bob Roth: “on the floor of my studio apartment.”
Bill Motz: “Yes, exactly. And then Disney hired us on staff in, I guess, early of 92.”
Introducing June Chen to this Disney animated series
One of the most exciting things about the new season is the new family that moves across the street from the McGees. One of the new family members, June Chen, is autistic. According to Motz and Roth, the idea to bring June into the story came about before the show even premiered.
Bill Motz: “We were deep, deep into [the] second season before the show even premiered originally for season one. So this was something that just came organically out of the show itself. And one of the things that has been very nice is to get feedback from our fans to say how much they appreciate seeing themselves on screen in different ways or how relatable it is to see characters that are like them and refreshing.”
Bob Motz: “Just seeing on social media how many people are excited by the few little glimpses of June so far. And they’re like – this is fantastic. I’m autistic. I’m seeing myself on screen means so much to me. I can’t wait for them to get more tastes of June because she’s…”
Bill Roth: : “… a delight.”
Bob Motz: “…charming and wonderful.”
In many ways, season 1 was about building and strengthening the friendship between Scratch and Molly. At the end of the season, in “Molly Vs. The Ghost World”, Scratch is on trial for spreading joy – the opposite of what ghosts who have to file scare reports should be doing. We asked Motz and Roth if we would learn more about Scratch, given that his origins are still super mysterious.
Bill Roth: “One of the things that we have always wanted to do was to sort of explore a little bit about Scratch’s past, a little more about Scratch’s story, and we get that opportunity in season 2. So we’re pretty, pretty excited about that.”
How to watch The Ghost and Molly McGee
You can watch the season 2 premiere titled “The New (Para)Normal” of The Ghost and Molly McGee starting tomorrow on the Disney Channel and Disney XD, then on Disney+ starting April 2nd. New episodes will air weekly.
Are you about the upcoming season of The Ghost and Molly McGee? Are you rewatching season 1 to get ready? Please join the conversation on Twitter or head to our Discord.