Good Luck Charlie is an original Disney Channel television sitcom, which premiered April 4, 2010. The series was created by Phil Baker and Drew Vaupen, who wanted to create a program that would appeal to entire families, as opposed to children only. It revolves around a Denver family, the Duncans, as they try to adjust to the birth of their fourth child, Charlotte "Charlie" Duncan (Mia Talerico). In each episode, Teddy Duncan (Bridgit Mendler) creates a video diary containing advice for Charlie about their family and life as a teenager. Teddy tries to show Charlie what she might go through when she is older in the video diaries for future reference.
Among other decisions, executives included adult-centric scenes and changed the series title from Oops to Love, Teddy and finally to Good Luck Charlie in order to ensure the series would appeal to all family members. Good Luck Charlie premiered on Disney Channel in the United States on April 4, 2010. It premiered in Canada on April 5, 2010, the United Kingdom and Ireland on May 14, 2010, and in Australia and New Zealand on July 23, 2010.
Good Luck Charlie was renewed for a second season, with production beginning in August 2010 with a season premiere on February 20, 2011. A feature-length Christmas Disney Channel Original Movie based on the series entitled Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas! began production in March 2011 for a December 2011 premiere.
On August 29, 2011, Disney Channel announced that they had renewed the series for a third season, scheduled to premiere in early 2012.
On 27 November 2011, Good Luck Charlie won 'Best TV Show' at the Kids BAFTAs.
The series centers on the Duncan family, who are still adjusting to the birth of their fourth child, Charlotte "Charlie" Duncan (Mia Talerico). When parents Amy (Leigh-Allyn Baker), a nurse, and Bob (Eric Allan Kramer), an exterminator, return to work, they ask their three older children—PJ (Jason Dolley), Teddy (Bridgit Mendler), and Gabe (Bradley Steven Perry)— for help raising their little sister. At the same time, Teddy, PJ, and Gabe try to deal with school and typical social challenges in their life.
The events of each episode become material for a video diary Teddy is making for her younger sister. Teddy hopes the videos will provide useful advice for Charlie after they have both grown up and Teddy has moved out. Also at the end of each video, she (and/or other cast members) states, "Good luck, Charlie" or may even say it indirectly such as "Wish them good luck, Charlie".
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- Teddy Duncan
- Teddy R. Duncan (Bridgit Mendler) is the protagonist of the series and Charlie's older and only sister. Feeling that she will not be around as much when her baby sister Charlie is grown, she produces and directs video diaries for her, hoping that it will give her advice that will help her be successful as a teenager. Her best friend is Ivy Wentz. She is usually a straight A student. It was shown in "Sun Show part 1" that her parents were expecting a boy, hence the generally boyish name "Teddy". She dated Spencer Walsh in season one but they broke up after she caught him hanging around with pretty, dim-witted brunett girl Skyler, breaking her heart. She and Skyler later become friends despite Teddy and Ivy being impatient with her at times because of her dumb head. She and Spencer later get back together in season two, where Spencer kisses her and saying that hurting her was the stupidest thing he's ever did.
The cast of Good Luck Charlie (The Duncan family, from left to right), Eric Allan Kramer as Bob, Leigh-Allyn Baker as Amy, Mia Talerico as Charlie, Bridgit Mendler as Teddy, Bradley Steven Perry as Gabe and Jason Dolley as PJ.*PJ Duncan
- PJ Duncan (Jason Dolley) is the oldest of the Duncan siblings. He and Teddy often fight, although they care about each other, and he usually gets along well with his younger brother, Gabe. He often appears awkward, absent-minded and childish, but has shown on numerous occasions to be resourceful, creative and intelligent. Also, he has also been shown to be a good cook. He and his best friend, Emmett, have their own band entitled "PJ and the Vibe". PJ occasionally uses his younger sister, Charlie, for his personal gain.
- Gabe Duncan
- Gabriel B. "Gabe" Duncan (Bradley Steven Perry) is the younger brother of Teddy and PJ and older brother of Charlie. It is demonstrated early in the series that Gabe does not approve of Charlie's arrival and takes the longest, of all the Duncans, to get used to her. However, he often reluctantly assists with taking care of his younger sister and is gradually beginning to demonstrates more fondness of her. He is a prankster, and sometimes troublemaker, often sarcastic and lazy, but can also be dutiful and determined at times. He is frontman when it comes to the Duncans's running rivalry with Mrs. Dabney, the Duncan's neighbor, who is often the target of Gabe's pranks and cracks, which is the only time the family doesn't mind them. He is the only Duncan that has short brown hair, unlike the rest of his family, who are blonde.
- Charlie Duncan
- Charlotte "Charlie" Duncan (Mia Talerico) is the title character and youngest of the Duncan siblings. She is mostly portrayed as being happy and seldom cries, although she does, though rarely, get upset for various reasons. Charlie can also be mischievous at times. Many of the Duncan family's adventures revolve around Charlie. Her older brothers, PJ and Gabe, are often seen using Charlie for their own benefit, although PJ shows that he cares about her deeply. However, Gabe seems to dislike Charlie the most although, in some episodes, he is seen being quite fond of her. Bridgit Mendler played the older version of Charlie in "Bye-Bye Video Diary". It was revealed in "Charlie is 1" that it was Teddy's idea to nickname her Charlie. Charlie was seen having short hair, usually tied up like a bun in the first season, but as she grew older, had longer hair in a ponytail or pigtails.
- Amy Duncan
- Amy B. Duncan – (née Blankenhooper) (Leigh-Allyn Baker) is the mother of PJ, Teddy, Gabe and Charlie and wife of Bob Duncan. She works as a hospital nurse and is often portrayed as dutiful, protective and comedic. She is very fond and loving of her family, and does everything she can to care for and protect them. She appears to feel somewhat uncomfortable when she is not taking care of her family, specifically Charlie, but as the series progresses, she begins to feel assured that her youngest daughter and family are in good hands and now trusts that her husband and three eldest children can take care of Charlie. She used to be on the local news team and was also a poet in her high school days. She is somewhat desperate for recognition beyond her being a mother, and lets special opportunities, such as being on TV or singing in front of a group, go to her head. She has a habit of taking any chance of any publicity that may shine on her family to focus onto her. Amy seldom accepts her children's misbehavior. It is revealed in the episode "Teddy's Bear" that whenever Amy gets involved with things that may tick her off, she turns into "Mama Bear" and loses controle. It is revealed in Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!, that Amy Duncan is pregnant and expecting another child soon.
- Bob Duncan
- Bob Duncan (Eric Allan Kramer) is the father of PJ, Teddy, Gabe and Charlie and husband of Amy Duncan. He owns his own extermination company, "Bob's Bugs Be Gone". Bob is the coach of Gabe's basketball team, but he was temporarily replaced by his wife. It is also shown in "Snow Show Part 1" that Bob and Amy were not actually married, they were scammed by a conman who pretended to be a judge. They then legally got married with all four of their children present. His dream as a child was to be a professional wrestler. Bob gets made fun of a lot throughout the series because of his weight and baldness, usually by his youngest son, Gabe.
- Ivy Wentz
- Ivy Renee Wentz (Raven Goodwin) is Teddy's best friend. She is seen spending most of her time with Teddy at the Duncan's residence and often accompanies her on her dutiful excursions. Ivy is energetic, witty and humorous and has proven to be quite intuitive, although she does not receive the best grades in school. She is passionate, if not obsessed, about clothes, money, popularity, boys and texting, but on numerous occasions has proven to be a loyal and comforting friend. Ivy briefly dated Emmett when they were younger, but went to the school dance with him so she and Teddy can have a ride in "Dance Off". Also in the episode "Girl Bites Dog" it is revealed that she loves country music. She is dating Raymond.
- Emmett (Micah Williams) is PJ's best friend. He is slender, comedic, and has a desperate, misguided & very one-sided attraction to Teddy, but Teddy constantly rejects him. Emmett accompanies PJ on the drums in his band "PJ and the Vibe", and sometimes assists PJ on his problematic excursions. Emmet has a nephew named Mason who, he claimed, was better than Charlie, until Charlie beat Mason in a "baby race" by learning to walk. Emmett is also an incredible dancer, with skills matched only by Spencer. He once went out with Ivy when they were younger. He is suave in his mind.
- Spencer Walsh
- Spencer Walsh (Shane Harper) is Teddy's boyfriend. At first, they started dating after they begin studying together. He cheated on her in the episode "Girl Bites Dog". He and Emmett share similar dancing abilities that rival each other, but they eventually become friends. In the episode, "Can You Keep a Secret?", he and Teddy get back together.
- Mrs. Dabney
- Mrs. Estelle Dabney (Patricia Belcher) is the Duncans' strict and irritable neighbor. In the episode "The Curious Case of Mr. Dabney", she was mistakenly accused of killing her husband, though she actually did not. In the episode "Kit And Kaboodle" it is mentioned that Mrs. Dabney and her sisters were born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 1958. She wanted the Duncans' tree cut down which housed PJ and Teddy's tree house, but the family fought back. It is revealed that Estelle is one of quintuplets (having four other sisters, all played by Belcher via split screen). Mrs. Dabney is often suspicious of Gabe, because she knows that he enjoys trouble. She is often antagonistic towards the Duncans; Bob, PJ, and Gabe especially. She's also a big fan of Higgins and Zork when she was a child. She loves her son and cat more than her husband. Some wonder why she married Mr. Dabney if she hated him so much. In "It's A Charlie Duncan Thanksgiving" it is revealed that she and Mr. Dabney divorced.
- Jo Keener (G. Hannelius) is Gabe's tomboyish bully turned friend. She was introduced in the episode "Boys Meets Girls" bullying Gabe before revealing that she had a crush on him. Since that episode, she appears friendly with Gabe, assisting him with certain situations with an occasional wise crack and insult at his expense. It is demonstrated that she is good with babies after taking care of Charlie.
- Mary Lou Wentz
- Mary Lou Wentz (Ellia English) is Ivy Wentz's mother and Amy Duncan's apparent friend. She first appears as a rather unexciting and lifeless person, but as the series progresses, she gradually becomes considerably more entertaining and vibrant. She is apparently a skilled knitter. She has appeared in five episodes. In season 1 she appeared in two episodes, "The Curious Case of Mr. Dabney" and "Butt Dialing Duncans", and in season 2 she has appeared in three episodes, "Appy Days", "Gabe's 12-1/2 Birthday", and "Amazing Gracie". She is married to Harry Wentz and they do things that annoy Ivy and Teddy. In one episode, Teddy visits their home and they do odd things like sing row, row, row your boat in German and eat liver and onions.
- Skyler (Samantha Boscarino) is Teddy's friend and PJ's ex-girlfriend. She first appears and was introduced in the episode "Girl Bites Dog" as a complete stranger to Teddy. Later Teddy finds out that she is Spencer's other girlfriend and they break up with him. She then appeared in "Teddy's Broken Heart Club Band" to get back at Spencer with Teddy and they are now both good friends. She and PJ become a couple when she and Teddy enter a battle of the bands contest to compete against PJ and Emmett and also Spencer. Throughout the show, Skyler is portrayed to be a very dim-witted and incompetent person probably more than PJ. She and PJ broke up in "PJ in the City" when Skyler moved to New York.
- Alice Wartheimer
- Alice Wartheimer (Hayley Holmes) is a sweet, but anxious and submissive girl from Teddy's French class. She suffers from asthma, so when she gets nervous or excited, Alice "wheezes", something she is known (and ridiculed) for. Alice met Teddy properly while working at the Reddi-Mart under a rude boss, but Teddy inspired her to stand up for herself, which left Alice fired but happy. As of late, Alice seems to be on friendlier terms with Teddy, such as helping her rehearse for the school play.
- Jake (Tucker Albrizzi) is Gabe's friend. He appeared in "Pushing Buttons" when he stole Gabe's bike, in "Baby's New Shoes" when he went to the movie theater with Gabe and Teddy where at the end of "Baby's New Shoes" he was faking a broadcast with Gabe, and in "Termite Queen" when he was shooting a movie with Gabe (Bradley Steven Perry) but Charlie kept on running away, then ends up getting fired by Amy (Leigh-Allyn Baker) after Gabe and Jake glued her shoes on the floor.
Main article: List of Good Luck Charlie episodes
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired (U.S. dates)|
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||26||April 4, 2010 (2010-04-04)||January 30, 2011 (2011-01-30)|
|2||TBA||February 20, 2011 (2011-02-20)||TBA|
|Film||December 2, 2011|
"A lot of the high-concept shows have kids in an extraordinary situation where the parent or adult takes a backseat, and sometimes the adult isn't as smart as the kid, or it's all about the kids putting one over on the adults. But we have a new show called "Good Luck Charlie" that has a very different kind of concept. It is very grounded, very relatable, and it's not about the parents being dumber than the kids. We try and mine as much comedy out of the parents as possible, but it doesn't mean the kids can't learn from the parents and get guidance from the parents." Adam Bonnett, senior Vice President of original programming for Disney.The Good Luck Charlie pilot, entitled "Study Date", was shot in February 2010, at Sunset Bronson Studios (where Hannah Montana was taped) and the series was picked up later that year. The show's production occurs at Sunset Bronson Studios in Los Angeles even though the show is set in Denver, Colorado. Starting with the 2nd season, the series is taped at Los Angeles Center Studios, where Shake It Up is also taped. The show operates on a weekly schedule. Scripts for a new episode are issued on Monday before a read-through, Wednesdays are rehearsal and network run-through day, final scripts are issued on Thursday, and the episode is shot in front of a live studio audience on Friday night. According to Mendler, occasionally "episodes are too big to handle with a live audience [and are] taped without an audience, but mostly they're live."
Good Luck Charlie was created by Phil Baker and Drew Vaupen, who have been writing together since 1993 on shows ranging from Suddenly Susan to Sonny With a Chance. The pair aspired to create a program that would appeal to entire families rather than simply kids. Inspired by the success of reruns of shows such as Full House and George Lopez with young audiences, Vaupen and Baker turned to family sitcoms. "We wanted to do a show about a family, to bring back a family sitcom and make it about a real family, not wizards, nobody's a pop star, nobody has a TV show," said Vaupen, referring to Wizards of Waverly Place, Hannah Montana and Sonny with a Chance.
Veteran writer-producer Dan Staley (Cheers) later joined the show as executive producer. Disney’s Gary Marsh said “because most network television abandoned the traditional sitcom, Disney has been able to snatch up a lot of experienced talent for behind the camera, including executive producer Dan Staley…”
Good Luck Charlie's central family, the Duncans from Denver, Colorado, was carefully crafted for broad appeal. While the series is still told primarily through the view point of the Duncan children, the children's parents, Amy and Bob, are less on the periphery and writers attempt to add scenes that adult viewers can relate to. For example, in one scene in the pilot episode Amy confesses to Bob that she is overwhelmed with becoming a working new mother again. "She's not sure she can pull this off," says Bonnet. "And just playing that scene the way we did, a very real scene between husband and wife, kind of makes this show different." The writers also try to include jokes for adult viewers while remaining chaste enough for their young target audience. Unlike most previous Disney Channel series such as Sonny with a Chance, Hannah Montana, or Cory in the House, both parents are seen in the Duncan family. "It felt like the right time to have a show with two parents, to debunk the myth that Disney never has the mom in the picture," says Adam Bonnett, Senior Vice President of original programming for Disney Channel. "Because it is a myth."
Because a series about the rich and famous might alienate viewers in a troubled economy, the Duncans were made middle-class. According to Gary Marsh, Entertainment President of Disney Channel Worldwide, "We want[ed] to do is acknowledge the reality of the times in which we live, where two parents work, where kids are expected to help out around the house in meaningful ways. Real-life issues happen. Everyone isn't living The Life of Riley all the time."
Broadening Disney Channel's appeal was also a concern while choosing the character's names and the show's title. "You want a title that says, a) this is a sitcom and, b) this is something that will interest the main demographic but also we're trying to expand the Disney brand beyond just girls," Vaupen commented. The series' title was originally "Love, Teddy", the phrase Teddy had used to end her video diary entries during development. However, "Love, Teddy" immediately felt feminized and almost excludes boys," Vaupen said. "We also didn't want to have the word 'Baby' in the title because that would exclude certain people." The Duncan baby was originally named "Daisy" during development, but executives thought that "Charlie", which is usually a boy's name, would attract more boys.
As Good Luck Charlie is low concept and character-driven, "the actors not only had to carry the show, they also had to have 'pitch-perfect' chemistry with each other to make the family dynamic believable." Bonnet says Disney Channel executives "just fell in love with" Bridgit Mendler, who stars as the series' protagonist, fifteen-year-old Teddy Duncan. "She has all the attributes of a Disney star," said Bonnet. Mendler first heard about Good Luck Charlie in late November 2008. After several rounds of auditions and cast reads, she secured the part in January 2009. Both Mendler and Jason Dolley, who plays Teddy's older brother PJ, have starred in previous Disney Channel series; Mendler had a recurring role on Wizards of Waverly Place while Dolley starred in Cory in the House and several Disney Channel television movies. Variety magazine's Brian Lowry says their careers "[reflect] the Disney Channel's knack for identifying young performers and rolling them from one project to the next, in a fashion reminiscent of the old studio system." Eric Allan Kramer, who plays Bob Duncan, and Leigh-Allyn Baker, who plays Amy Duncan, have also guest starred on other Disney Channel shows. Baker says Disney had been "courting [her] for awhile to play a mom", but she had always felt too young. "I kind of feel like hey, you know what? When I'm done with this stint, I'll actually be the age everyone thinks I am to be able to play the part." Baker, a new mother herself, was nine months pregnant when she auditioned for the role.
Mia Talerico – Like most series involving baby actors, producers of Good Luck Charlie had originally searched for twins to play Charlie Duncan, the title character and the Duncans' new baby. Hiring two babies would allow for longer work days without violating child labor laws as well as the ability to substitute one child for the other if one was unavailable. However, the show makers were unsuccessful in finding an appropriate set of twins and decided to cast Mia Talerico. Marsh says hiring Talerico, who was ten months old when she was cast, was their biggest risk while creating the show: "It's like flying without a net. She may have a bad day and we can't shoot and it'll cost us tens of thousands of dollars. But so far, so good. She's the most obedient actor I've ever worked with."
The series's premiere earned positive reviews. It also currently holds a 7.7 making "Good" rating on TV.com, and 6.3 rating from 1388 users on IMDb.com. Robert Lloyd of The Los Angeles Times described it as a "professional sitcom from sitcom professionals" with efficient jokes and typical sitcom characters, and situations which are "willfully arranged". However, Lloyd praised the series for offering a "contextually novel picture of a teenage girl taking care of her baby sister with a persuasive nonchalance and practical ease that transcends the strenuous comedy that surrounds it." Neal Justin of the Star Tribune said the "slapstick heavy, laugh-track fueled sitcom" had no redeeming qualities other than "keeping your 11-year-old sedated for a half hour". Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Good Luck Charlie would appeal to kids, but not adults. "Parents have seen the same sort of show done before and better in ABC's 1980s-era TGIF lineup," wrote Owen. Contrarily, Brian Lowry of Variety magazine said Good Luck Charlie was "a surprisingly refreshing throwback to ABC's "TGIF"-style sitcoms". He commented that while the series did not "push sitcom boundaries", it was "sprightly" and "pleasantly handled". Erica J. Doswell was the main producer in the making of "Good Luck Charlie".
The series premiered to 4.6 million viewers, making it the highest-rated series premiere for a Disney Channel Original Series since The Suite Life on Deck in 2008, and the week's highest-rated cable program. Maclean's reported that overall, the first season "has been doing about as well as Disney’s more successful shows – The Suite Life and so on."
On January 16, 2011, the episode "Snow Show (Part 1)" became the most watched episode ever of Good Luck Charlie, earning 6.7 million viewers exceeding the 5 million average of the episode "Kit and Kaboodle", as well 4.6 million average for the show's premiere. These high ratings came with the season 3 The Suite Life on Deck episode "Twister: Part III" serving the show's lead-in.Write the text of your article here!