‘Duncanville’: Amy Poehler introduces her new ‘The Simpsons’-inspired animated sitcom

Family Guy. American Dad. The Simpsons. TV history is littered with long-running animated series that cater to mainstream audiences. The secret formula? As many different characters as possible. The rule runs that if you can see yourself on screen, you’re more likely to chuckle along as the quirky cast go about their daily adventures. For co-creator Amy Poehler and her new animated sitcom Duncanville – about an aggressively average teenage boy living in middle America – this was crucial.

“Shows like The Simpsons are so iconic because they’re funny to so many people at once,” Poehler tells NME. “We really wanted to create something that your kids would think is funny but they wouldn’t hate it if you were watching it with them. So much of the stuff your kids think is funny, as an adult you’re like: ‘What is this nonsense, it is so stupid!'”

Luckily, she’s done just that. As the show comes to Channel 4, we asked the Parks and Recreation star to give us a quick intro to her favourite Duncanville characters…

 

Duncanville
Duncan and his mum Annie, both voiced by Amy Poehler. Credit: Channel 4

Duncan

Voiced by: Amy Poehler

What Amy says: “Duncan is an aggressively average teenage boy whose Adam’s apple is as big as his trainers. He thinks his life is boring, his family are lame and he wants fame and success without doing any of the work. What’s really fun about Duncan is that although he has very little responsibilities, he also has very little control. He’s in that teenage time when you feel like the entire world is on your shoulders.”

Annie

Voiced by: Amy Poehler

What Amy says: “Annie is Duncan’s mother, she is in parking enforcement and is the boss of the family. Annie is very afraid for Duncan’s future. She is always worried he’s going to screw up or not try and so she is constantly battling with her son. [In her opinion] Duncan is either doing too much or too little. She is really in love with her husband, Jack, and a devoted mother too. To me, Annie is this little spitfire – tiny but mighty and not afraid to stand on a chair and yell at her teenage son.”

Duncanville
Jack (Ty Burrell) and Annie (Amy Poehler). Credit: Channel 4

Jack

Voiced by: Ty Burrell

What Amy says: “Jack is attempting to be a better father [to Duncan] than his own father was to him. There’s a part of him that wants to be cool – he loves to listen to old rock ‘n’ roll and he has a ponytail. He’s a little bit sweeter in his approach to his kids than Annie is, but he’s always kind of confused by the fact that Duncan isn’t interested in baseball or getting his [driving] license. There’s a big generation gap between Duncan and his dad.”

Kimberly

Voiced by: Riki Lindhome

What Amy says: “Kimberly is the middle child and she’s full of hormones, angst and braces. She’s the emotional one who feels all the feelings and is very frustrated by the amount of attention she feels Duncan gets and she doesn’t.”

Duncanville
(L-R) Kimberly (Riki Lindhome), Annie (Amy Poehler), Jack (Ty Burrell), Duncan (Poehler), Jing (Joy Osmanski). Credit: Channel 4

Yangzi

Voiced by: Yassir Lester

What Amy says: “Yangzi is the cool kid who’s ahead of all the trends. He dresses cool, he has connections to all these different projects. He’s a responsible woke kid who’s gonna run a giant company and we’re all gonna work for him. He has a smoothness to him that few teenage boys have. I think his role comedically is to provide that version of the modern day kid who is obsessed with devices, technology and social media, but I also think his role as Duncan’s friend is to keep reminding them to be cooler. They’re a very strange group.”

Bex

Voiced by: Betsy Sodaro

“Bex is, for lack of a better word, the tomboy of the friendship group. We like to think of her as a female Chris Farley [Saturday Night Live, 1990-1996]. She’s really physical, loud and boisterous. She’s always looking to have a lot of fun. We wanted to fold a young girl into this group of young boys because we just loved the idea that Bex was still a part of their social circle even though there’s a lot of pressure to peel off into relationships. Bex is one of the guys, but she also takes care of her grandmother.”

Duncanville
(L-R) Duncan (Poehler), Yangzi (Yassir Lester), Bex (Betsy Sodaro), Wolf (Zach Cherry). Credit: Channel 4

Jing

Voiced by: Joy Osmanski

What Amy says: “Jing is Duncan’s adopted younger sister. She’s effervescent, ebullient, constantly excited. She wants everyone to watch her do cartwheels and is madly in love with her brother, pestering him everyday to see if she can marry him. She’s probably the smartest and wisest in the family even though she’s the youngest. Duncan tolerates her and it’s so fun to do physical stuff with Jing – for her to be running around and just being that bouncing ball of energy that is a little kid.”

Mr. Mitch

Voiced by: Wiz Khalifa

What Amy says: “Mr. Mitch is the coolest teacher in school, because Wiz Khalifa is the coolest guy around. He rides a segway, he offers advice but not really. He checks in and checks out. Every school wishes they had a million of him. We wrote the character with Wiz in mind, reached out and I think he’s been really enjoying it. He’s a really funny, really sweet guy.”

Wiz Khalifa
Mr. Mitch, voiced by Wiz Khalifa. Credit: Channel 4

Mia

Voiced by: Rashida Jones

What Amy says: “Mia is a very mature girl who is Duncan’s crush. She’s an activist, she’s involved, she’s thinking big picture, she’s head and shoulders above Duncan in terms of maturity. Duncan just can’t stop thinking about her, but he would be very lucky if Mia paid attention to him.”

Wolf

Voiced by: Zach Cherry

What Amy says: “Wolf is the last member of Duncan’s friend group and his name is a tell. He’s a little un-parented and survives on his own. He’s also a bit feral. I’m a bit worried about Wolf. We should all be a bit worried about Wolf.”

Rashida Jones
Mia, voiced by Rashida Jones, and Duncan. Credit: Channel 4

‘Duncanville’ arrives on Channel 4 on March 27

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