Even if you don’t know the name Lucas Cruikshank, if you’ve seen any Nickelodeon at all, chances are you recognize that voice he sported in all of those Fred shows and films. And whether that voice appeals to you or is the verbal equivalent of scraping a chalkboard, Cruikshank is back on Nickelodeon — without the elfin squeak — in a new series, Marvin Marvin, premiering Saturday, Nov. 24 at 8:30pm ET/PT. I talked to the former Fred: The Show star about his new series, what it’s like to leave Fred behind, and what he has going on for the holidays.
Channel Guide Magazine: So tell us, what’s Marvin Marvin all about?
Lucas Cruikshank: It’s basically about a character whose name is Marvin, who comes from a planet named Klooton, which is being taken over by this bad alien group called the Klurg, and he comes to Earth to be undercover from the Klurg. He lives with this all-American family, and it’s basically about him trying to just fit in at school, and try to adjust to the way humans are, because it’s so foreign to him. His planet was so much different to how humans are. He gets into a lot of funny, crazy situations just because he’s trying to fit in and doesn’t — he just doesn’t understand things that humans do.
CGM: And of course that parallels what most middle- and high-school kids go through — trying to fit it and figure out their identities.
LC: Yes — that’s what drew me to the project, was that I feel like everyone in high school feels like an alien, and so foreign to everyone else. So I think it was fun exaggerating that and making him an actual alien.
CGM: What were your high school experiences like? Do you remember being similarly lost?
LC: It was good. I missed a lot of high school because I was out in L.A. doing the Fred movies and stuff. When I was there, it was fine. I had a good group of friends — we definitely weren’t popular or anything, but we had a lot of fun, and I guess we were kind of like the class clown group. So I had a lot of fun in high school. It was a really fun time.
CGM: Just to put a lot of parents at ease, I should confirm that we’re not going to be hearing the “Fred” voice this time out, correct?
LC: No, Marvin does not have the Fred voice. I’ll bet you a lot of parents are relieved. I have so many parents come up to me in public who are like, “My kid loves your show!” And I’m like, “Thank you so much!” Then they’re like, “I hate it.” Thanks!
CGM: So how does Marvin differ from Fred in this series?
LC: I think they’re both sort of over-the-top characters, but I think there are a lot of differences in them, as well. I feel like Marvin’s just a lot more innocent and naïve, and is genuinely trying to fit in in high school because, I mean, his life is on the line. If he doesn’t blend in and they find out he’s an alien, then the Klurg will find him. He doesn’t fit in at school, but I feel like he almost kind of likes it, because he likes the attention, whether it’s negative or positive. … Marvin’s not delusional like Fred.
CGM: What can fans expect from Marvin Marvin? What sorts of trouble does he get up to this season?
LC: In one of the episodes, Marvin goes on a double date. His sister has a boyfriend and [the boyfriends] happens to have a younger sister that Marvin goes on a blind date with. That was really fun to film, because obviously, most 16-year-olds don’t know anything about dating, but Marvin absolutely knows nothing about dating, so there are a lot of crazy things that happen in that one episode. Then there’s another one where Fred gets a job and doesn’t understand anything — he takes it way too seriously, and just gets into a big mess. I’ve been really pleased with all of the episodes. It’s been really fun.
CGM: What about guest stars? Anybody we know, or are you still sworn to secrecy?
LC: As of now, it’s top secret, yeah.
CGM: But there will be some?
CGM: What are you up to these days when you’re not making or promoting Marvin Marvin?
LC: I’m new to L.A. — I just moved here in July, so it’s cool just exploring new parts of the city that I haven’t seen. I don’t really know anything about the city, so it’s cool just discovering new restaurants, seeing new things and hanging out with my friends, going to see movies and all of that, so it’s always fun.
CGM: What about the forthcoming holidays? What are your plans?
LC: I’m going back to Nebraska for a couple of weeks. That’ll be fun to see my family back there, and my high-school friends and everything. I think it’ll be fun — a nice, refreshing break from L.A.
Photo: © 2012 VIACOM, INTERNATIONAL INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Credit: Matthias Clamer