Yvette Nicole Brown has a thing for sassy, spirited characters. She plays feisty sandwich shop owner Shirley Bennett on NBC’s Community and also voices an enterprising boxer named Cookie on the Hub Network’s animated series Pound Puppies.
About a motley crew of animal shelter dogs scheming to find homes for solitary pups, Pound Puppies is now in its third season and boasts a roster of other TV stars – like Eric McCormack (Will and Grace)
who voices dog Lucky, Michael Rapaport (Prison Break), who voices chihuahua Squirt, and Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) as the head dog catcher’s mother, Agatha McLeish. To celebrate the Hub Network’s “Dog Days of Summer,” the channel will air a Pound Puppies marathon this Saturday, August 17 starting at 6 a.m. ET and ending at noon ET with two new Pound episodes.
Brown describes her character Cookie as “the enforcer” and the “mother hen” of the pound puppies gang. “Lucky, who is played by Eric McCormack, is the number one and Cookie’s the number 2,” she tells EW. When Lucky devises a way to match up a puppy with the perfect family, “Cookie’s the one that puts the plan into motion and makes sure everybody is where they need to be,” Brown explains.
With the shows motto as “A pup for every person and a person for every pup,” Brown loves that “it teaches our kids that it’s important to get our animals from shelters.”
“There’s somebody perfect for you and you don’t have to change who you are, you don’t have to be anyone different, you just be yourself and you will find your perfect person. Or your perfect animal,” she adds.
There’s new love and new developments on the horizon for Brown’s boxer character. In addition to becoming a step-dog to a pup named Cupcake, “There’s actually a little love thing happening between her and Lucky now,” she shares. “Cookie’s always carried a little torch for Lucky but Lucky was a little slow to realize that the dog of his dreams is right in front of him. This season, there’s been some episodes where they’re kind of falling in a little puppy love.”
Speaking of canine courting, Brown got to date her Beverly Hills, 90210 crush in one episode.
“Luke Perry was very big in my world,” Brown gushes. With Perry voicing a coyote, “they kind of fall in love and go on an adventure so in my mind, I went on an adventure with Luke Perry. And one can tell me anything different.” Her puppy logic works for us!
Brown tells us that recording for the animated series – in which the actors often do in the same recording booth, pending their schedules – is always a blast: “Anytime I get to be in the room with John DiMaggio [as Niblet] and Alanna [Ubach, as Strudel] they are really, really silly people. I think our mental age is 3,” she jokes.
Being young at heart helps Brown transition from her film projects to TV to animation. “I’m kind of a clown in real life.” she says.” I like to make faces and that kind of stuff. And that helps like if I’m playing a character who’s angry or whatever, I can raise an eyebrow or lower an eyebrow or do something with my face. And when I’m doing voiceover I can’t do that. I have to find a way to put that emotion just in my voice.”
That panache for injecting spirit into sounds will come in hand for season 5 of Community as there’s another animated episode in the works for the Greendale Community College cast, which we gleaned from their Comic-con panel this summer. The cast completed their first table reading on Aug. 14 with their fan-favorite showrunner. “It was our first table read with Dan Harmon in over a year, so it was really exciting.”
Has Brown noticed any similarities between pup Cookie and divorcee Shirley Bennett? “They both have duality to them. If they get upset they can turn, but I think that’s true of every person I’ve ever met,” Brown says. ”They both really care about their friends and they’ll do anything to help someone else.”
While the Pound Puppies marathon is part of the Hub Network’s Dog Days of Summer Week,
it certainly isn’t the dog days of summer for Brown. She appears in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, released last week, and will begin filming the new season of Community soon, in between various hosting gigs and keeping up with her many Twitter fans.
The “Pound Puppies” marathon airs this Saturday, August 17, from 6 a.m. – 12 ET on the Hub Network and ends with with two new episodes, “The Watchdogs” and “Hail to the Chief.”
Here’s a peek at the new episodes: