We talk GRAVITY FALLS and a little bit of PARENTHOOD with Jason Ritter

In Disney Channel’s new show GRAVITY FALLS, which they’re calling a “fresh approach to comedic storytelling,” Jason Ritter stars as the voice of Dipper Pines, an inquisitive boy who, with the help of his sister Mabel (Kristen Schaal), explores the creepy and shocking back yard of his Great Uncle Stan! To celebrate the premiere of the show which had a special preview earlier this month, I spent some time chatting with Jason about why he wanted to do animation, why this show will resonate for adults as well, and oh, a little bit of Mark Cyr, of course!

Tell me all about GRAVITY FALLS – were you looking for voice work, what got you involved?
I was kind looking for it.  I’ve always been a big animation fan, and I was looking for something and I had auditioned for a couple other Disney shows, and this one came along, and it felt like such a perfect fit.  Sort of exactly my sensibility, and sense of humor.  I auditioned for it, and ended up getting it, and then a couple years later [laughs], here we are!

I like the description that parents will enjoy it as much as kids – why is that the case?
You know, it’s funny, I feel like Alex Hirsch, his sense of humor, it’s so kind of off the wall, and bizarre that it’s the kind of thing, that I think everyone can just enjoy.  It’s flat out funny.  I think a lot of times, in cartoons, and movies for children, things like that, they’ll have jokes for the kids, and then they’ll have the secret little jokes for adults that slip under the radar.  I feel like, this is a show, no matter how old you are, the sense of humor is just funny.  I feel like, it was really refreshing for me to read these scripts and be laughing at these scripts, especially when so much of comedy now is how offensive, how blue, how disgusting can you get.  It’s like, oh yeah, you can be absolutely hilarious without trying to be a horrible person [laughs]!

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So tell me about Dipper and what this character is and what we can expect from him?
He’s a little bit paranoid [laughs]. But he’s also been seeing these incredibly strange and wondrous things in the woods behind his Great Uncle’s house. He’s basically this little kid who has found this ancient journal and is trying to unravel the mysteries of Gravity Falls, and at the same time, he’s just this regular kid who has a crush on an older girl that he’ll probably never get to be with. It’s going through the regular stuff of being a kid and having a sibling that’s equal parts annoying and so much fun.

I can only imagine how much fun with Kristen! Did you get to work together when recording or was it done in separate locations? How does that work and did you get to interact?
She was in New York, which is, well, it’s great for her, I’m sure [laughs], but not for me haha, because I have so much fun with her when she’s here! There have been a couple times where she’s been in LA and we’ve gotten to record together, and that was really fun, and we got to sort of play off each other. There have been a lot of times since then where she’s been patched into me, and I’ve been patched through to her, and we’re recording at the same time, and I can hear here in my headphones. That’s a lot of fun, too. That gives you the same sort of sense, it’s just a lot more fun when she is right there.

I can imagine building chemistry over the phone isn’t always that great!
Haha, yeah, exactly!

Let’s talk PARENTHOOD – what do you know is coming, do you know anything?
I don’t know anything yet. I’ve talked to some of the writers, and they were excited about, they seemed to be excited about my storyline. I think they like my character, and I think they’re going to keep bringing me back, but I have no idea what the storyline is going to be. I’m just happy that it doesn’t seem there’s going to be a fiery car crash in Mark Cyr’s future [laughs].

We’re all happy about that, too!

GRAVITY FALLS premieres Friday 6/29 at 9:30/8:30c on the Disney Channel!