Read an exclusive behind scenes take in my Interview with Doug Unplugs Executive Producers Aliki Theofilopoulos and Jim Nolan. Where we talk about what it’s like to bring this new adventurous preschool show to life.
Streaming on Apple TV+, DreamWorks Doug Unplugs
Streaming on Apple TV+, DreamWorks Doug Unplugs tells the story of a young robot who senses that there is more to life than just the facts. While other robots plug in for their daily download, Doug unplugs and heads to the human world with his best friend Emma to experience its wondering firsthand.
This adorable new preschool show Doug Unplugs is now available to stream on Apple TV+. I really love how this show gives us this fresh new perspective of what it essentially is like to have a blank slate. Along with how you can’t find everything you need on the internet. There are many things you need to see, touch, and experience in real life to truly embrace life itself.
About Doug Unplugs
Based on the critically acclaimed children’s book by Dan Yaccarino, DreamWorks “Doug Unplugs” follows a curious six-year-old robot, Doug, as he ‘plugs in’ to learn new facts about the world every day. Sensing there’s more to life than just the facts, Doug journeys into the human world in search of experience.
And to do that, Doug has to…unplug. With the help of his best friend, a human ball of energy, Emma, the two discovers all the simple wonders of the world. Join Doug as he learns about the intersection of technology and humanity, and how they both keep us truly connected!
Stream Doug Unplugs on Apple TV+ Today!
Why is this a Written Interview?
Okay, so this interview is not like my regular video interview’s because, of course, I caught a cold the day of and was unable to attend. However, Doug Unplugs Executive Producers Aliki Theofilopoulos and Jim Nolan were so kind to take my written interview questions and answer them for me.
I just love this cute new show and how it really does bring a big adventure right to your very own screen. I also love how not only are going on on adventures with Doug and Emma, but you are being encouraged to have your own off-screen. I also love how when my daughter looks at Emma she sees herself and can relate to her and Doug.
Interview with Doug Unplugs Executive Producers Aliki Theofilopoulos and Jim Nolan
Question 1. I love how “Doug Unplugs” teaches children the balance between using technology and also unplugging to experience life, with being present and in the moment. After all, life is all about experiences! Where did the inspiration come from to create this show?
Our show’s based on Dan’s (Yaccarino) book series, which charmingly explores the importance of balancing tech with experience. We thought this was such an important and timely message and it truly inspired and informed every episode of our series.
Jim and I agreed that the messaging from Dan’s book was so important we couldn’t wait to build on that. In partnership with Dan, we built out the world creating new characters to help build stories and relationships that helped highlight this wonderful and timely message. We really loved getting to bring Doug and his friends to life with beautiful animation and design work.
As the executive producers, growing up and coming from a time when technology was not as widely used or as accessible as it is nowadays (cough, I grew up with dial-up). What was it like to bring this perspective as an essentially blank slate of a six-year-old who happens to be a robot? Not only that but also from a little girl’s eyes who is going through these new experiences along with her new robot friend?
Well, Jim, Dan, and I are all parents. So even though we didn’t grow up with this type of technology, our children are. So we have had this opportunity to see exactly the important role technology is playing in our kids’ lives, as well as the importance of unplugging and having an experience too..how important it is for these to inform each other. We’ve been able to apply this to our storytelling and our characters.
The wonderful thing about Emma is that she too gets to learn through experience, whether it is something she discovers even while thinking she already knows about a subject (like what’s the best thing about going to the beach) or getting to discover something because she is getting to see it in a new way through her robot friend’s new point of view.
We had a lot of fun trying to see the world from both Doug and Emma’s perspective. With Doug everything is brand new, so you had to wonder what you might have noticed the first time you went to the beach, hiked in the woods, played a game.
We’re so used to these experiences but for Doug, the sound of a babbling brook, the way moss or sand feels, those little nuances to an experience are always surprising and amazing.
It was a fun reminder that there’s so much we take for granted! With Emma, she has such a vibrant and confident personality that we had a blast imaging what she already knows about a topic but then also what she might have missed.
Thanks to Doug’s wide-eyed sense of wonder, Emma comes away from each episode with her perspective delightfully refreshed too. Like the best of buds, the two complement each other, and their relationship is at the heart of the show.
Are there any stories that were inspired by true-life events or which story can you relate to the most?
I really relate to our story “Shop ‘Til Ya Bot”! I know with my kids I’m always trying to find ways to make even life’s more mundane activities fun, just like Emma’s dad in the episode who turns grocery shopping into a game!
Well, there’s a story where Doug and his dad go hiking but lose the signal to their Robo-maps (their version of GPS) and immediately get lost. This came straight from my award-winningly terrible sense of direction and how reliant I am on my phone to get me places, I honestly couldn’t find my house without it.
In the story, Doug and his dad eventually meet some hikers who teach them to navigate the woods in other more traditional ways (trail blazes, a compass, the stars, etc)… which I admit has inspired me to try picking up a map a time or two!