'HouseBroken' Creators on Fox Comedy's Vibrator-Eating Dog, Tony Hale's 'Really Dark' Pig

Plus: TheWrap has an exclusive sneak peek ahead of animated sitcom’s Monday debut

Jennifer Maas

See TheWrap’s interview with co-creators and executive producers DuVall, Crittenden and Allan below, and watch our exclusive sneak peek of the series via the video above.

TheWrap: Where did the idea for “HouseBroken” come from?

Clea DuVall: The seed of the idea came from the very complicated relationship I have with my permanently dissatisfied cat and my desire to go to counseling with her. I thought a show about animals in counseling would be really funny. I pitched this idea to Jen and Gaby and they had the brilliant idea to make it a group of animals, and things really took off from there. We started getting together to brainstorm, and from there, “HouseBroken” was born.

How did you go about casting the series and pairing the voice actors to their respective animal characters?

Jen Crittenden: Coming off “Veep,” we were really thinking a lot about Sam Richardson and Tony Hale. We knew that Sam would be great as a naive and super optimistic/delusional cat and that Tony would give Diablo, our nervous Chihuahua, depth and vulnerability. But to be honest, we were totally surprised by his Max The Pig reading; it was really dark and hilarious. We feel so lucky we could cast him twice. A benefit of animation. Another benefit of animation is that I guess actors enjoy doing it because we got so many incredible auditions. The second we heard Nat Faxon’s Chief, we realized he knew the character even better than we did. He gave Chief an exuberance that we totally fell in love with. 

What would you say is the benefit of using animation and animals to explore topical human issues?

Gabrielle Allan: Talking about animals gives us room to be subversive and is an opportunity to tackle (and hopefully laugh at) issues without offending humans. There are some lines, especially from Shel, that we would not want to hear come out of a human’s mouth. But despite them being animals, we hope people not only relate to them but have compassion for them as well. 

Can you tease your favorite Season 1 storyline?

GA: It’s really hard to choose! There’s something in each episode — Honey’s bad haircut, introducing the Raccoon, Rutabaga and Juliet (voiced by Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard), Shel’s bachelor party, the laid-back seals, the cats’ musical number, the butt backstory, the ugly cat parade and Ray Liotta, and finally the coyote showdown in the finale. 

JC: I am excited for episode nine. The A-story follows what happens to Chief after he eats his human’s vibrator, and in the B-story, we get to see what happens at The Gray One’s house, where he lives with 40 to 60 other cats in a hoarding situation. It sounds bleak, but it’s not all bad because we learn that when they’re not fighting with each other over the scarce resources, they sing and dance.  

CD: It’s hard to pick one! I love all the episodes. The 4th of July episode is definitely one of my favorites.

“HouseBroken” premieres tonight, Monday, at 9/8c on Fox.

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