Punky is back in the anticipated Punky Brewster revival on Peacock, and while it brings back familiar faces, it also adds some compelling new characters to the mix. One such character is Freddie Prinze Jr's Travis, who is Punky's ex-husband, and while they are divorced, they are still working together to raise their three children and eventually Izzy, the newest addition to the family. ComicBook.com had the chance to talk to Prinze all about the series and his character, and when it comes to the parental dynamic between Travis and Izzy, it turns out Prinze was very much inspired by DC Comics superheroes and WWE storylines.
"The Izzy scene, and you'll appreciate this being a comic book lover, is aliens on planet earth, which is basically every DC character ever," Prinze said. "Even Batman is basically an alien, on the outside looking in. And that's how Travis feels and that's how this orphaned kid Izzy feels. And so, there's an instant bond there, and I always clicked with people like that."
In fact, that theme is also present in the storyline he helped create involving WWE superstar Jeff Hardy. "It was why I wrote the Jeff Hardy storyline to get him the title at Armageddon, the first time he ever won the world title," Prinze said. "And the entire storyline was how you're an alien, an outsider looking in at mainstream society and not understanding why you're on the outside. And that was the whole concept for the storyline, so it's something that I've always felt my whole life, never felt like I belonged here. I was always like, no, I was either born in the wrong time or the wrong planet."
"And that's something I know well, so this character suited that personality trait in spades and same with Izzy as well," Prinze said. "So that's what they bond on, is they're both trying to feel their way through this mainstream world that they just know they don't fit in and they're never going to."
As for the relationship between Travis and Punky, it's not a contentious one, but as Prinze explains, that doesn't mean that there isn't a spotlight on the issues and mistakes Travis has made along the way.
"They tried to organically get there by really putting a spotlight on characters' flaws. Right? It's not like a contemporary sit-com, it's a very old-school, seventies, eighties kind of vibe, where they deal with real stuff," Prinze said. "This is a guy, when you watch this show, who became a musician, fell down that same kind of hole my father fell down in the seventies, started doing drugs, alcohol to the point where he's no longer a safe parent. He's no longer capable of being a good father. That's why my mom filed for divorce, because I wouldn't have been safe with my dad, and she was right."
The goal is also much different from other shows in that Travis is not focused on winning back Punky, but rather just being a better person and father.
"So he fell down this same hole and now, his story, which is not the family story and it's not the primary story, but his story and motivation is his road back, not just of recovery and of addiction and things like that, but of being a father and a decent human being," Prinze said. "It's not trying to win Punky's love back. He's just trying to earn trust right now from more than an adult, from a kid. And when you break trust with a kid, it's gone. It's just gone. You can't break a kid's heart, you don't bring a dog spirit. Those are things that it's real difficult to bounce back from. So that's what he has to do and that's why I feel the relationship is, it has those traits that you described earlier."
Despite Travis's mistakes along the way, there seems to be a lot of love for him from the children and Punky as well, though they all will put him on blast when needed. "Big time love, but the eldest child, you'll see, she calls him out on some stuff throughout this," Prinze said. "I know they gave you guys some episodes, but later in the season, she knows. She knows, and she calls him out on it. But they definitely show appreciation for the effort he's putting in and he's succeeding. It's not like he's a guy that's fallen down and stumbling all the time. He's doing good work as far as getting back into that, into their good graces."0comments
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