Episodes start fast and only get faster, cramming in so many jokes, plot, and action sequences. It would be easy to get lost in the frenzy if not for the show’s narrator, who doesn’t just move the story along, but acts as a tour guide through a crazy world. Like any trip, the journey is better when you like your traveling companion, and there are few actors as likable than the voice of the narrator, Sean Astin. Across his most famous roles in The Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings, and Stranger Things are one common trait: his characters are always so damn lovable. But what is it about Sean Astin that endears him to audiences? Ahead of his new show’s premiere, I asked him straight out, and his response will only make you love him more.
“He interjects into the show, he interrupts the show, he completes thoughts for the characters, he’ll set up jokes for the characters to pay off,” Astin said of his narrator, who chronicles the journeys of aspiring comic book artists Harold and George. “There’s a kind of interactive quality with the narrator, and the narrator is very self aware and it’s fun breaking the fourth wall without meaning to.” His back-and-forth with the characters and plot makes the narrator feel more like an active participant rather than a detached omnipotent voice, as such that he experiences the story along with the audience. Astin added, “The Captain Underpants narrator is on a shooting star with everybody else and he just has to keep up.”
With such an important role, it’s easy to see why the show wanted a performer who connects with audiences the way Astin does. But what is it about him that makes us root for him, be he on screen or working as a voice actor?
“The word ‘guileless’ kind of comes to mind,” he said, “I think there’s a guilelessness about me that people find disarming, and that stems from being a little dumb and not knowing things. I have a good education and I think I have have a pretty quick mind, but certain things happen and it takes me a little bit longer to get it than other people, and you can root for that guy.”
I never would have described Sean Astin, who gave himself enough credit to also add he’s a “decent person who tries to do the right thing,” as dumb, but it’s funny to hear him say it so earnestly. In fact, it’s downright lovable, just as it was when he described the show’s two young heroes as being a lot like Nerdist readers.
“That’s who these two kids are,” he said. “Starting back in the books, they were a couple of guys who got picked on, but they’re smart, they’re creative, they’re thoughtful, and they’re writing these comic books. To me they’re nerds who are stepping out, and it’s one of the things that appeals to me about it.”
Coming from Astin, this sounds like the world’s most sincere compliment. Just like it is when I, an actual Mikey Walsh who still sports the exact same hairstyle as the fictional Mikey Walsh from The Goonies, jokingly says the real reason people love him is that all Mikey Walshes are lovable.
“Getting to know you more and more now, I feel more comfortable with that answer, absolutely,” he said to me. No surprise, I loved that answer. This is Sean Astin, after all.
Season one of The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants is no available on Netflix.
Featured Image: Netflix