C.H. Greenblatt explains the humor, and big heart, behind Nick’s newest animated series

Harvey Beaks is a big-hearted bird who sets off to explore the forest and break some rules with his two best friends Fee and Foo in the new Nickelodeon animated series of the same name. Animator and storyteller C.H. Greenblatt is the creator of the show. Greenblatt previously created and exec-produced Chowder at Cartoon Network and has worked on Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants, Cartoon’s The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Disney Channel’s Fish Hooks. He share his story with CynKids:

Who or what have been your biggest influences?
I really was the kid who would watch everything. I was like a sponge. I watched a lot of Looney Tunes, and probably one of the biggest influences was Jim Henson’s work. I was a huge fan of the Muppets, Fragile Rock, some of the stuff on Sesame Street.

What’s the biggest difference working in animation today vs. your early years?
There’s definitely been a change in the workforce. We’re getting more variety in the types of people who are in animation. We’re seeing more girls come in, which is great, so just the influences have changed. When I came in everyone was coming off Ren & Stimpy and Loony Tunes and Tiny Toons, all those ‘80s and ‘90s cartoons were big influences on us. Now a lot of people are coming in from Pokemon, Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon, and it’s broadened the scope of what we’re working with.

What’s the story behind Harvey Beaks?
It kindof came around the end of Chowder. I was trying to doodle characters for fun and think about what I wanted to do next. I started with what was Foo, the little imp character, and then added some little woodland critters. And this is totally me as a kid. It’s about being this totally little dorky homebody who is not up for breaking the rules, but would love to find out what would it be like if you did.

So Harvey is your spirit animal?
Fee and Foo are what’s in my head, but Harvey is how I actually behave. So it’s the best of both worlds, and it’s fun with the show because you can channel the things you don’t have the guts to do in real life, or don’t want to do because it’s rude, and not hurt anyone’s feelings.

Do you have a favorite episode?
We have an episode coming up where Harvey gets a day planner and he’s all excited to overplan everything. And Fee and Foo take it away and say you’ve just got to go with the flow and take it as it comes and not stress about what you’re going to do. Sometimes you’ve just got to not worry about what your plan is and just be.

How important is it to promote positive messages for your young viewers?
It’s very important, it’s the whole point of the show. I’ve done a lot of comedy shows and what I can do to differentiate is to have a character who is a little more sensitive, is a little more me, dealing with life and figuring it out. Especially as a kid you have all these stresses coming at you and responsibilities put upon you and you’re trying to still just be a kid. There’s a genuine story there to tell, to take those thoughts of how we deal with the world and relationships and family and treat them in a more honest way, even though it’s still ridiculous.

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