TV Guide Online recently grabbed some quality phone time with brothers Will and Douglas McRobb (The Adventures of Pete & Pete), co-creators of Radio Free Roscoe on The N, Noggin's nighttime programming for teens. (In case you haven't seen it, Noggin's a channel mostly seen on digital cable systems, but also available on satellite.) The show (Fridays, 8:30 pm/ET) drops in on the lives of four high school freshman DJs at an underground FM station.
TV Guide Online: When you sat down to create Radio Free Roscoe, who did you hope would be watching?
Will: We wrote it for anybody who A) loves radio and B) felt like they needed a voice. And considering the state of affairs when you're in ninth grade, it felt like that pretty much added up to about everybody.
TVGO: What do you remember of ninth grade?
Will: It's a tough time. You go from being on top of things to being at the low-rung of the totem pole. These kids are typical of almost everyone I knew, where you're kind of like in the middle and not quite sure how to be heard. It's just easier not to do anything. Eventually, you find a voice, but you feel kind of powerless.
TVGO: How important is it that the kids are anonymous on the radio each day?
Will: If anybody knew that they were just ninth graders, they wouldn't be taken seriously. But the mystery and the power of not knowing who they are, I think, gives them strength to reach out past people who ordinarily might not listen to them.
Douglas: And also, it's just liberating to have that anonymity. It lets them be themselves on the air.
TVGO: In your minds, how many of the three boys are secretly in love with Lily?
Will: Robbie is probably the one that considers her in the most platonic way. Wouldn't you say?
Will: The other two have their deep-seated and not so deeply seated affections for her.
Douglas: That ongoing crush, the unrequited romance, between Ray and Lily, I think that has been going on forever and it is going to continue. The Travis-Lily thing will definitely have some real fireworks there.
TVGO: Which of you guys had the real-life Lily in your lives when you were in ninth grade?
Will: (Laughs) You know, I think it's something like we always wished we had. They're at that age where you've been friends for life and suddenly you start getting these other, squishier kinds of feelings. I really do connect with that feeling of having a friend, who you took a bath with when you were five-years old, and suddenly one day, you look at them and you're like, "Hmm."
TVGO: How is that you guys can tap into this so fluidly? What was it about your high school experience, or the way that your brain works, that allows you to use this as a resource?
Will: I think what really bonded Doug and I on this idea was, we are huge fans of music, and we look at these kids as, in a way, being in a band. I mean, they are on a radio station, but in our mind, it is a punk band for kids, like your typical four-person line-up in a band. All these bands that we like, we think of them as being against the world and their music is kind of the way that they fight back, or speak out.
TVGO: So what is this show really about?
Douglas: These 14-year-old kids are asking are questions that, as you get older, maybe you forgot, or maybe you don't really bother to ask anymore. But I think they are questions about life that never change. Our kids have a chance to ask them and explore them and I think it is kind of universal that way.
Will: Even though these kids are rebelling, they are doing so in a way that I think is about truth and virtue. And the fight that they are fighting is always the good fight.