The Ghost and Molly McGee returned with Season 2 this weekend, bringing with it some new challenges for Molly, her ghostly pal Scratch, and their family. In the premiere episode, the McGees gained new neighbors, the Chens, a family of ghost hunters. Despite the now looming threat to Scratch, the McGees and the Chens were fast friends, though the McGees have a couple of tricks up their sleeves.
Recently, we had the chance to speak with show creators Bob Roth and Bill Motz about the episode. During our chat, the duo spoke about bringing in the Chens, why they gave Scratch that new position, Molly growing up, and what else to expect from Season 2.
Note: This interview was edited for clarity.
Nerds & Beyond: When Season 1 ended, the Ghost World was left with no chairman, but we find out pretty quickly in the Season 2 premiere that the title falls on Scratch. Did you know early on that he would eventually take up the mantle? What prompted that decision?
Bob Roth: We had that idea, I think, midway through Season 1. We were like, “Yeah, if we kill a chairman, what are we gonna do?” There’s a power vacuum. We’re going to have to fill it with somebody. And it was like, what struck us as funny is, who would least want that job?
Bill Motz: [laughs] And also be terrible at it.
Bob Roth: And be terrible at it. You can see where [Scratch] might be tempted for a moment. He’s like, “Oh, I’m gonna be the guy in charge,” but it’s also going to be an incredible burden on him. It’s going to ruin everything he thinks is fun for the for the rest of his life, his afterlife. So, that’s sort of where the genesis of that came from. What would Scratch be like if he had to be responsible?
Bill Motz: We like to hang also some sort of larger themes over a lot of the comedy in the show, just to kind of give it a little substance. One of it was [that] a lot of people want to grow up and be in leadership, and something like want[ing] to be president. But then, to be president is really hard, and it takes a lot of responsibility, and you have to care about what you’re doing. So, it was sort of a little metaphor about [how] leadership is tricky, and it takes a lot of attention and care and thought.
Nerds & Beyond: Continuing that a little bit, considering that the episode also saw the Ghost Council having fun for the first time, how else will Scratch’s position affect what goes on in the Ghost World?
Bob Roth: Good question. Again, he’s the leader now, right? He’s the guy in charge, and that comes with a whole raft of responsibilities. And we’re going to see, like Bill just said, being a leader is hard, and you got to be intentional about it. And Scratch is not. And that’ll lead to disasters coming down the pike. Many of them.
Nerds & Beyond: This season also introduces the Chens, who already pose some challenges for the McGees. But I thought their introduction was just so funny and so wholesome. How did you go about bringing in this family who is extremely compatible with the McGees but also pose a threat to Scratch?
Bill Motz: It was funny. We actually started from the threat, initially. I think we had talked about having —
Bob Roth: Ghost hunters come to Brighton.
Bill Motz: Yeah. And we thought, okay. But then they were going to just sort of be antagonists. It was almost an episode of they come in, and they sort of establish, and you know right off the bat that they’re going to be a threat. Then we thought, you know what? That’s not nearly as interesting as if you bring in a family that is like the best friend family of the McGees, and then reveal that, oh, no, they are the antagonists for the episode.
We also have been looking at the house through [the McGees’] living room window the whole season, Season 1. We were like, who lives there? We should find out who lives there. So, it was kind of fun to start off with new neighbors moving in and making the idea that they are — there’s no escape from the Chens. They are a part of [the McGees’] lives now, and they’re going to have to find a way to keep Scratch safe.
Nerds & Beyond: One smaller detail that I really loved was actually in the title sequence, where we see that Libby and Geoff have been added to the group hug. We’ve already seen how both of their relationships to Molly and Scratch grow in Season 1. How else will we see those dynamics continue to evolve in Season 2?
Bob Roth: We’re going to see a lot more of Libby and Geoff. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but both of them, we’re going to learn more about their lives. We have episodes that focus on both those characters separately, and we’re going to learn things about them. And it felt like they earned their way into the main title credits. So, we were so happy when we realized we could tinker with the main title that way.
Bill Motz: Part of the fun of a Season 2 is that you get to play a little more in the world you helped set up in Season 1, and you get to go a little deeper with the characters. So, if there were things that we had notions of wanting to reveal or go through with in Season 1 and felt like the timing wasn’t quite right yet, Season 2 allowed us to say, okay. Now is the time that we can deal with this about this character or explore this about that character.
Nerds & Beyond: We did get a trailer recently, and based on that, it seems like Molly will have to deal with getting her first period, which I thought was just really cool to see included in general. Why was it important to you to make that part of the season, and to include the male figures in Molly’s life, like her dad and Scratch, in helping her?
Bob Roth: It was an idea that came out of the writers’ room. I think specifically Peri Segel, our writers’ assistant, pitched that one, and we were like, you know what? Yes, let’s do that. That’s not a story that we’ve seen before. We’re always trying to find new things, not go over the same old stories that we’ve seen over the course of our careers and everybody’s seen over pop culture. Peri and Madison [Bateman], our story editor, both made a very passionate argument that this is something that should be normalized. Half the world’s population menstruates. That should not be something that is taboo. So, we were like, yeah. You know what, you’re absolutely right.
Bill Motz: And it’s something our core audience goes through. That first period is a huge event for our core audience, and we felt like we needed to reflect that.
Bob Roth: Yeah. So, if we wanted Molly to feel like a kid that everybody in the audience knows, then she should go through all these things. And we got no pushback at all from Disney. In fact, they were delighted, and we’re so thrilled that we got the opportunity to tell the story. The episode turned out fantastic. I cannot wait for people to see it.
Nerds & Beyond: What do you hope that viewers takeaway in general from this season?
Bob Roth: Lots of laughs, lots of heart, lots of good emotions. There’s some rollercoasters for your emotions. Not everything is going to be easy and happy, but there’s always a sense of optimism under it all. We want to leave everybody with a good feeling at the end.
Nerds & Beyond: And, not just for Season 2 but the whole show in general, what are you most proud of so far with this show, and the audience it’s curated, and the stories that you’re telling with it?
Bob Roth: Oh, that’s a good question.
Bill Motz: Wow. I like [that] some of the fan feedback that we’ve gotten is about how the show has emotionally connected with people, or people have said how they feel that they feel seen and represented in a way that — one of the ones that touched me specifically deeply was in the episode “Out of House and Home,” when the McGees temporarily lost their home and were homeless. It was dealing with this sort of secret shame that Molly’s trying to hide that that’s happened and just trying to keep up that everything is perfectly normal. I got messaged by some fans that that was their story and that they had tried desperately to keep their economic struggle with their housing issues hidden from their friends at school. They just felt like being able to see that in the show made them feel heard and seen. I just felt really proud that we could tell that story and kind of maybe illuminate a little more of what that struggle can be like.
Thank you again to Bill and Bob for taking time to chat with us! The Ghost and Molly McGee airs Saturdays at 8 a.m. ET on Disney Channel. The first episode is available now on YouTube, with the first five episodes available on Disney+ beginning April 2.