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Interview by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for
May 11, 2010

In the latest Disney Channel original series Good Luck Charlie, the Duncan family welcomes a baby girl named Charlie (Mia Talerico) to their already crowded household. Hoping to give her new little sister tips on adjusting to her world, Teddy (Bridgit Mendler) records an ongoing video diary for Charlie, documenting the exploits of her own life, as well as those of older brother PJ (Jason Dolley), younger brother Gabe (Bradley Steven Perry), and their parents Bob (Eric Allan Kramer) and Amy (Leigh-Allyn Baker).

Good Luck Charlie, unlike most other Disney Channel shows, is grounded in everyday suburbia without a fantasy or sci-fi gimmick--no wizards, no cruise ships, no hotels, no time travelers, no acting troupe, no pop superstar secret identities. For this reason, the series has garnered favorable comparisons to family sitcoms of the '80s and '90s, particularly the TGIF block of programming that included standards like Full House and Family Matters. Despite the throwback aspect of its framework, Charlie has a contemporary feel driven by a charismatic cast, and mercifully avoids the more archaic cliches of its predecessors, such as those signature saccharine moments that led to grating melodrama. Any sentimentality in Charlie is usually deftly trumped by a well-balanced moment of disarming humor.

Bradley Steven Perry plays Gabe Duncan, who is adjusting to no longer being the youngest child of the family with the arrival of Charlie. In this exclusive interview, Bradley talks about identifying with Gabe and working with his sitcom siblings Bridget Mendler, Jason Dolley, and Mia Talerico.

A brand new episode of Good Luck Charlie debuts this Sunday at 8:30/7:30 central on The Disney Channel, with encore presentations throughout the following week! Check out video previews with these links: CLIP #1 CLIP #2 You shot the entire first season of 26 episodes over the course of about nine months. Has it been a pretty wild ride so far?

BRADLEY: I've been having so much fun on it. It is so fun. And I'm really kind of sad that we're on break right now, because we all are like a family on the show. And now that we're apart, it's kind of sad, and everything is kind of boring now. [laughs]

What kind of reactions to the show have you been getting?

It's actually really crazy. I mean, I expected the show to be great, but all the reviews that we're getting--how great it is, all these fans, how much people are watching it--is just crazy.

Gabe is in the position of really being the middle child, and middle children are often the ones who get forgotten. What do you think makes Gabe memorable and interesting?

I think what makes him very unique is that he's very smart--he's very clever, he's wise beyond his years, and he's not like anybody else in the family. He's not going to go missed. He just stands out from a crowd.

Aside from being a video game and television junkie, he also seems to be a bit of an evil genius. Do you think you have a lot in common with him?

Yes. I mean, I'm not like an evil genius, but everybody calls me an old soul. And yes, I am kind of a PlayStation junkie and a TV junkie. So that's kind of how Gabe is. [laughs]

What are some of your favorite TV shows (aside from Good Luck Charlie, of course)?

Besides Good Luck Charlie, I love all sports. I always watch sports. ESPN, I'm always watching SportsCenter. I really like the show Wipeout--that is a funny show. And I also like other Disney Channel shows. And I love--absolutely love--Modern Family.

Your bio mentions that you're a big fan of the New England Patriots...

Yes, I am! [laughs]

So how does a Southern California guy have that connection with the Pats?

You know, I get that question probably once or twice a day. I don't know what it is...I mean, I've always loved the Patriots. A lot of people think I'm a bandwagonner. But I did a commercial for them. I did a Sunday Night Football commercial where I was the Patriots kid, and that really got me to be [more of] a fan. But before that, I had always been a Patriots fan. Like my dressing room is all Patriots, my room in my house is all Patriots. It's kind of crazy how much Patriots I have. [laughs]

Have you gotten to meet the casts of the other Disney Channel shows?

I have! I think I've met almost everybody on Disney Channel--I met everybody on Wizards, I've met Hannah Montana, I've met Suite Life...I think I've met pretty much everybody because we did Friends for Change, so everybody was there, and everybody met each other, and it was really cool.

Friends for Change was a campaign for environmental awareness. What did you learn from participating in that?

I really learned so much that day about recycling and the ocean. And it was really kind of fun to learn all about that stuff...The whole set was all recycled. Everything was recycled.

Do you have any brothers or sisters in real life?

I do. I have three teenage sisters, and that is it. It's aaall sisters... [laughs]

Do you terrorize them, or do they terrorize you?

It's kind of both. Like my sisters will dress me up and then I'll get back at them by like messing up their room or something, and just having fun with them. Like the other day, I went outside with my sisters to have a water balloon fight, and I just went all crazy, spraying them with water guns and throwing water balloons at them. So that was kind of fun, because it's usually them dressing me up and me not being, really, able to do anything about it.

Yeah, you definitely have to get them back for that...

Yeah. [laughs]

On the show, Gabe is adjusting to his new role as an older brother to Charlie. How have you adjusted to working with Mia? If I were in your position, I would be worried about dropping her...

Yeah. In the first episode that I held her, which was ["The Curious Case of Mr. Dabney"], I looked back at it, and I'm like holding her with both arms, squeezing her, and she's across my body, and I'm holding her so tight because I didn't want to drop her. And then in these new episodes, it's kind of funny, because I go from that--looking all like scared of dropping her--to now [where] she's just right there with me and I just hold her all natural. Because back in the dressing room, she always comes up, and she always wants you to hold her. So we always hold her, so it's kind of like good practice. And you really get to know her when you're back in the dressing room, so when you go out on stage, it's just like normal. It doesn't feel like it's this new baby that like you're, "Oh my gosh, I don't want to drop her!" We're just all so comfortable with her. So it's much better that I know her than if it was a new baby.

She seems so inquisitive and reactive to everything going on around her. Is she easy to work with?

It's been really easy. Like we always say that she reads the scripts, because it's really crazy how we tell her to do something and she does it. Like we don't even have to work that long with her. It's like a few takes and she already has it. When I first heard about not having [twins play Charlie], it was kind of crazy. But after we've really been working with her for 26 episodes, she's so good. Like she never cries. The funniest thing that probably ever happened was we were doing this one promotion thing, and she went to the bathroom. And she looks at her mom and goes, "Pee pee! Pee pee! Pee pee!" Like she was telling her mom that she went to the bathroom and like she couldn't stand it anymore. [laughs] It's just amazing how smart she is.

And what about your other onscreen siblings? What's the best thing about working with Bridgit and Jason?

I think the best part about working with Jason is that he's like my first brother. I've never had a brother, so he's the first brother that I've ever had. [laughs] And working with Bridgit is just like going home, because it's like another sister, and I feel like I'm just going home and I'm with my family.

But you probably don't fight with her as much as your real sisters...

No, I don't think so. We never fight on set, which...That's not what happens at home. [laughs]

What was one of your favorite moments of playing Gabe, and what's in store for him in the rest of the first season?

More trouble! Gabe gets into a lot more trouble through the weeks. And every episode just keeps getting better and better, and funnier and funnier. And I think one of my favorite things that's coming up is actually next week's episode ["Butt-Dialing Duncans"]. Because having the [toy] helicopter on set was crazy, and having to run around with it chasing us was really fun. [laughs] It was really crazy because it was like a real helicopter...Nobody could be on set, you had to watch it on a monitor, because it had to fly around. All the camera people had to wear masks. It was insane, but it was really fun to watch.

[laughs] I'm glad you guys are having fun on the show and that it's translating into great onscreen chemistry. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, and good luck with the show going forward...

Oh, thank you very much. It was nice talking to you today.

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