Interview: Ryan & Katy Chase, the Creators and Star of ‘A Wonderful Day with Mabel Maclay’
A Wonderful Day with Mabel Maclay is one of the flagship shows for Bentkey, the recently launched family entertainment streaming platform from The Daily Wire (you can read our review here). We had the opportunity to chat with the creators and star of the show, Ryan and Katy Chase.
(Note: this interview has been edited for length and clarity. Watch the full conversation above.)
Daniel Blackaby: Welcome! I appreciate you taking the time to chat about your new show.
Katy Chase: Thank you so much for having us! We are so thrilled. When you work on something for a really long time, it all matters. But then it matters a lot in the moment that it goes out to the world and we start to hear feedback from real kids and real families. So yes, it’s been a really exciting week.
DB: This is a delightful show. What was the inspiration for the Mabel McKay character?
KC: A ton of inspiration came from Mr. Rogers. It’s our favorite show to show our kids. We love the way that it was paced and the way that he spoke to children. We also realized we want to meet modern kids where they are. That’s what we hoped to achieve with the show.
DB: You have double responsibility with this show. Not only are you launching your own TV show but you’re also helping launch an entire new network. Why is the Bentkey platform a good fit for your show?
Ryan Chase: It has been a perfect fit. It’s a daunting task to screen everything your kids see, much less what other messages might be coming in through commercials. So, when they had this idea to have an app that you could put on and a kid could put on anything and it’s already curated and built for that purpose and it’s a safe and wholesome environment for kids to watch and learn, we thought, “Man, this is amazing.” And we’ve been absolutely blessed to be any part of that.
KC: One of the first things that they said to us at our initial meeting was that their vision is completely apolitical content. Content that’s focused on wholesome, joyful shows that feel the way that they used to. We thought, “We can help with that.” That’s our thing. We love shows of the past for kids. We want to see a show that’s a bit less stimulating and fast paced and more gentle and calm.
DB: That’s maybe my favorite part about this show. It’s not a sugar rush. It is a very calm show. It’s a show that empowers and inspires rather than just trying to reform kids. Was that an intentional decision?
KC: Our main vision was a show that had a character that spoke to children in a way that honored their intelligence, that used big vocabulary words and expected them to keep up, that wasn’t afraid of walking through her house quietly.
DB: Even the themes of each episode aren’t necessarily the ones that you might expect from a show aimed at kids. The first episode is on creativity and the second episode is on curiosity. They’re talking about contributing rather than just behavior and following in line.
KC: I think that comes directly as a result of our background as artists and comedians who have worked with kids in a capacity that’s highly creative. Leading with creativity was important to us because that’s what we believe about children: that they can be creative and they’re certainly very curious.
DB: You are both Christians. How has your faith informed the way that you’ve approached the show? Why is it important for Christians to be involved in the entertainment industry and creating content like this?
RC: Our faith is very important to us and our family. It informs all aspects of our life. Our prayer is that that comes through in this show. We hope to be a blessing to folks who work with us and see the product.
KC: It was an interesting challenge too because the show is not a strictly faith-based show. We really wanted to share timeless virtues and values that all families of all faiths could appreciate and enjoy. But we’re teaching these virtues. I’m thinking back to developing the “forgiveness” episode. And for us, we have such a very specific point of view about forgiveness and what that means in our lives.
So, it was interesting to shape these episodes to be accessible for all families in the same way that Mr. Rogers did. He had such a mainstream impact. He was an ordained minister and you never heard that once come out of his mouth on camera, but his light was shining the whole time, and I think everyone felt it. He’s such a beloved presence in the kids entertainment world.
DB: Any last thoughts as far as what you hope this show achieves, and what you hope kids take away from it?
KC: We really hope that children turn off the show at the end and go make something or wonder about something or collect something.
RC: We hope they write us letters for the wonder wheel!
KC: Yes. And it’s maybe not a show that you sit around and binge. It’s not a sugary drink. It’s like a glass of cold water and then turn it off and feel really good and go get to wandering out in the world. We hope in equal parts that children learn these values and social emotional skills but also that they just think it is fun and exciting.
DB: Judging from a lot of the initial responses, it seems this is a show that’s going to inspire a lot of young viewers to wonder, to be creative, to explore, to create. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for taking time to talk about your show.
KC: Thank you so much. Thanks for having us.