New Bedford’s No-Nonsense Cable TV Mascot Is Here and She Is All of Us
NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford's public cable channel has unveiled a new spokesperson, and she really is the voice of the city.
Peg — whose name stands for Public, Education and Government access — clearly doesn't take any crap.
She just got a utility bill that's three times what she normally pays, but she still dragged herself out of bed, put on a full face of makeup (including some truly fabulous eyebrows) and is here to answer your questions.
"It's time for that small screen gal with the big attitude," the introductory video narrates.
A blue face crammed into the network's small blue TV logo (which has a whale's tail antenna instead of rabbit ears), Peg is perfect.
She smiles, feigns interest, tuts and rolls her eyes. She's not amused by your antics.
Her classic Massachusetts accent is low and gravelly, like a lovable lunch lady who's been chain-smoking longer than you've been alive.
Peg could eat us for breakfast.
Yet she's oddly enthusiastic about cable access.
"So listen, hon," Peg says. "If you have a question about our channels, I'm your girl. If you have a problem with your cable bill, not so much. All I can do is feel sorry for you."
The network introduced Peg as "spirited," and they weren't lying.
"She's kind of saucy," said Peg's co-creator and animator, Dana DeBarros, with a laugh.
DeBarros said the new character was born out of a desire to put a face to the network's whale-tail TV logo.
"It's something I've always wanted to do," he said.
Peg was a group effort, with the logo designed by Doug Motta and the character designed and animated by DeBarros.
Her distinctive voice actually belongs to the network's chief videographer Suzanne Richard, wife of WBSM's own Barry Richard.
"She does sound like she smokes 10 packs a day," Richard laughed. "It just kind of came out of me."
Richard said the first rendition of Peg turned out very pretty, but then the voice — chosen by staffers in an internal vote — didn't match at all, so they reworked the concept.
The new mascot is not based on a real person — but according to DeBarros, Peg "reminds us of an older waitress type ... very loving, very knowledgeable."
He pointed out that when Peg rolls into the studio, the wheels squeak.
"She's been around the block a few times," DeBarros said.
"We can expect to see Peg pop up in other informational pieces in the future," he added.
"She's just one of the ways we're trying to get our message out that we're here, we have great programming and free classes to teach video production."
Watch the introductory video (and keep an ear out for some A-plus voice acting by Richard and whoever makes the fake call):