In the Nickelodeon animated series The Casagrandes, a spin-off of the animated series The Loud House, actor Carlos PenaVega (Spare Parts) lends his voice to the character Bobby Santiago, a teenager who moves into the city with his big, multigenerational family, the Casagrandes. As part of the extended family, Bobby helps his grandfather run the family store. But with 11 people under one roof, things are bound to get a little chaotic.
While it took some time to get Latino characters in animated shows, aside from the problematic character Speedy Gonzales from the Looney Tunes gang, there have been a lot more examples in the last 20 years of TV studios realizing the importance of representation. This includes series like ¡Mucha Lucha!, Maya & Miguel, Dora the Explorer, Elena of Avalor, El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera and characters like Soos Ramirez on Gravity Falls and Juan Pablo of Big City Greens, and many more.
“It’s become the norm,” PenaVega told Remezcla during a recent interview. “It’s so cool that we can have a show about this crazy Latin family. I think it’s so important. I’m excited to see that it’s happening more and more.”
PenaVega said he can relate to the Casagrandes because he, too, comes from generations of big Latino families. Although he currently lives with his family in Hawaii and doesn’t see his extended family as much as he would like, PenaVega has fond memories when he lived in Miami of being part of a cohesive family unit.
“We were like the Casagrandes,” he said. “Everyone was always going in and out and we were always willing to help each other. At the end of the day, everyone came to eat at the same table.”
PenaVega said he grew up watching Nickelodeon cartoons like Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold! and CatDog, so he’s looking forward to showing his own kids more of his animated show, especially since he doesn’t have to worry about anything happening that is too risqué.
“TV is really hard nowadays,” PenaVega said. “But I feel like The Casagrandes is a great safe place for kids.”
Catch new episodes of The Casagrandes Season 2 on Nickelodeon Feb. 15-18. The series has also been renewed for a third season.