‘Phineas and Ferb’ Creators Talk ‘Last Day of Summer’

PHINEAS AND FERB - "Lost in Danville" - Damon Lindelof, co-creator and writer of "Lost", joined "Phineas and Ferb" creators and executive producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh for a screening of the series' "Lost" themed episode featuring story by Lindelof at the Disney Toon Studios in Glendale California on Wednesday, September 10. "Phineas and Ferb: Lost in Danville," guest starring Terry O'Quinn, Jane Kaczmarek and Rob Morrow, premieres Monday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m., ET/PT on Disney XD. (Disney XD/Rick Rowell) PHINEAS, DAN POVENMIRE (CREATOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "PHINEAS AND FERB"), JEFF "SWAMPY" MARSH (CREATOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "PHINEAS AND FERB"), FERB
Phineas and Ferb creators/executive producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. Photo: Disney XD/Rick Rowell.

Well, kids, all good vacations must come to an end—even the animated ones. So after 104 days of summer vacation, 126 episodes, five one-hour specials, and a Disney Channel Original movie, Phineas and Ferb is about to wrap up.

Even though it will live on through the magic of reruns, the series has stopped producing new episodes. However, unlike so many other beloved shows that have come and gone, this Emmy-winning (and highly rated) series is getting a big finale. Will Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher build a rocket, fight a mummy, or climb up the Eiffel Tower? Will Candace finally bust her brothers? Will Doofenshmirtz and Perry go back to being jumping buddies?

That last one is definitely a stretch, but all of these questions will be answered when Phineas and Ferb airs its very last episode later this week. Of course, the show plans to go out with a bang—and it doesn’t even need one of Doofenshmirtz’s “In-ators.” Disney XD will air a 73-hour marathon before the final episode, “Last Day of Summer,” airs on Friday, June 12.

Not to worry; this isn’t really goodbye, as much as it is another little vacation. Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, who created, produced, wrote, and even voiced Phineas and Ferb (Povenmire is particularly active, as the voice of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz), are working on a new show for Disney XD. Mikey Murphy’s Law is expected to launch sometime in 2017.

I got the chance to have a hilarious chat with Dan and Swampy, who talked about how Stephen King influenced the big finale, what the next project will be like, and how losing Doofenshmirtz is going to be hard on everyone.

GeekMom [Rachel]: I’m going to give you the same question I’m sure everyone is giving you: Why is the show ending??

Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: That wasn’t the same question. Everybody else asks why we’re so good looking. At least, that’s what I remember.

Dan Povenmire: That’s how we take it. The question was actually, “Why do you look like that?” We took it to mean why are we so good looking.

You know, when we started the show, they picked up 16 half-hours and we were like… that’s 32 stories! How are we going to tell 32 stories?

Swampy: What have we done??

Dan: Now, we’ve done 126 half-hours, which is 200-some stories.

Swampy: We were pretty cocky and thought we’d get two seasons.

Dan: I think we’ve done much more than we were even planning on doing with them. It’s been a lot of fun, but I feel like, especially fourth season, we started running into walls periodically. We’d start to pitch an idea and realize, oh no, we’ve already done that. It’s sort of like that South Park episode, where they kept saying, “The Simpsons did it. The Simpsons did it,” because The Simpsons have been on the air so long. But it was sort of like, oh no, we already did that. So we were towards the end of an order and we said, “would you guys mind” if we just took these hour-long specials they wanted us to do, and made it into an actual series finale.

Swampy: Animated series don’t get to do a series finale.

Dan: Little comedy, animated cartoons don’t usually get to say goodbye. We felt like it would be nice to be able to wrap it up. It’s going to play forever on Disney. There’s so many of them that by the time you’re done watching, whatever 73 hours of them, then you’ll be ready for the first one again. It was just a nice way to say goodbye, I think.

GeekMom: I’ve seen a lot of people freaking out on social media about the show ending. Are you surprised at the reaction?

Dan: It took us a bit aback. I was actually waiting for jury duty in the hall of the Los Angeles courthouse and I saw that Disney PR sent us the link to the announcement and said, “Okay, you can finally tweet this.” We’ve been sort of under a gag order for the better part of a year. So I tweeted it and I looked on Twitter and there was such an outpouring of emotion, that I literally started crying. I was reading page after page after page of people telling us what the show had meant to them. I started crying and I went in to wash my face before I went in for jury selection. I looked at myself and I looked like such a crazy person and I was like, maybe I could use this to get out of jury duty. Nobody wants the crying juror! Instead, I just turned the phone off and went and looked at them later. The case was actually dismissed by the time we went into the courtroom.

Swampy: Dan called to me to ask if I was reading the Twitter feed and crying. I think my response was [starts wailing]…

Dan: We had known that the show was going to be over for like over a year now, because we had to write it, had to make it. We went through the last storyboard pitch, the last animatic, the last voice records, the last color, the last mix. All of these were sort of milestones for us. It was sort of our way of saying goodbye. We’ve been various degrees of sad and bittersweet for all that time. It wasn’t until that day that the rest of the country, the rest of the world got to know it was ending; it was so fresh for them that it made it fresh for us again.

GeekMom: I just watched the last episode [which you can get a peek at in the clip above] this morning and I am not sure how to describe it without too much spoilage. I looked at it as a take on Groundhog Day. How would you describe it?

Swampy: It’s a mash-up of Groundhog Day and The Langoliers.

Dan: The Langoliers by Stephen King.

Swampy: Kids love Stephen King references—almost as much as they love Tom Stoppard references.

Dan: Especially when it’s a Stephen King book that he wrote as Richard Bachman. I’m not sure, maybe that’s a Stephen King. I think it was a Bachman book. I think The Langoliers was a Bachman book.

GeekMom: Let’s talk a little about the new show that’s coming out, Mikey Murphy’s Law. What’s it about? How did the idea come about?

Dan: It’s about a kid named Mikey Murphy who’s the great-great-great-great-great grandson of Murphy from Murphy’s Law, which is that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Murphy’s Law just happens around him all the time. He sort of lives in this cyclone of calamity. Things go wrong around him all the time. Because that’s just been his life his whole life… you know, if you’re born with one arm, you just go about and figure out how to do everything with one arm and you don’t think of it, because that’s just the way your life is.

Swampy: He wouldn’t change it. If you were to ask him, it makes his life exciting and different and an adventure every day.

Dan: He’s the most positive and optimistic kid. That’s just the way his life is, and it’s sort of following him around on his adventures with this friend of his and all the kids at school and how people interact with him while things are falling out of the sky.

GeekMom: I know a lot of parents who feel like Phineas and Ferb is the one kids’ show that they can tolerate. Will the new show have the same vibe?

Dan: It should. It’s our sense of humor and our vibe.

Swampy: We’re not going to stop doing all of the things that we enjoy doing. We seem to have connected with everyone, so all of that is going to remain.

Dan: We went through several different ideas before settling on Mikey Murphy because we felt like this is a really good follow-up to Phineas. It has the same kind of positive energy, it has the same opportunity for jokes that the parents will like as much as the kids. I think it will feel like it very much exists in the same kind of universe.

GeekMom: Will music be a big part of the new show?

Swampy: We’ve decided that there will be no music in this—not even a soundtrack.

Dan: We don’t even like music.

Swampy: That’s a good idea. We should rethink that.

Dan: You just gave us a great idea. Maybe we should put music in the show.

Swampy: I don’t think we’d be able to produce animated shows without some music in them.

Dan: Swampy and I used to write together at another network and the executive producer of that show kept telling us, “Okay, no more songs. It’s really hard, there’s all these people dancing, it takes us longer to animate it.” And we were like okay, and we’d write a song for the next episode and he’d go, “This one is good, but no more songs after this.”

GeekMom: The final episode is coming up, but Perry still gets his own one-hour special later this fall (The O.W.C.A. Files). Is this a one-time thing or is there a spin-off possibility?

Swampy: We’ll see how people take it, but it really just felt like… it was some area that we wanted to play in. It felt like a fun adventure.

GeekMom: When looking back on the show’s 126 episodes, do you have a favorite “Inator?”

Swampy: Oh, man!

Dan: There have been a lot of good ones. We’ve done “Shrinkinator” several times.

Swampy: It’s “Shrinkspheria.”

Dan: Yeah, we did “Shrinkspheria,” we did “Shrinkinator.” Then we had it on his balcony for a while, so we could continue to use it.

Swampy: The thing that I liked about “Shrinkspheria” is the whole theory that went with it, that it was simply by using the “Inator” name—that’s what was messing him up.

Dan: [In Doofenshmirtz’s voice] I’ve done this whole “Inator” thing a billion times. It just doesn’t work. I think I’ll call it “Shrinkspheria.” I think that’s the problem; it was the “Inator” name.

GeekMom: I’m going to miss that voice so much.

Dan: You and me both. That’s the thing I’m going to miss the most. There are so many times where I have an idea and think this would be a great Doof rant, I’ve got to put it in… oh, that’s right, we’re not doing it anymore. A lot of sort of sad moments like that. It used to be that I could either put it in the show or we did this “Doof’s Daily Dirt” web show that whenever I had anything I wanted to rant about, I would just write it up and do it for that. Like… [In Doofenshmirtz’s voice] Carly Rae Jepsen, what’s it about with her songs? “This is craaaazy, so here’s my number, so call me.” That’s not crazy; you give somebody your number because you want to see them again socially. You know what would be crazy is if she didn’t give the guy her number and she wanted to talk to him again later.

PHINEAS AND FERB - "Last Time of Summer" - The summer season is coming to a close and it's Candace's last chance to bust her brothers. She is quickly foiled, but is presented with an opportunity to redo the day when she sets off Dr. Doofenshmirtz's Do-Over-Inator, which results in other consequences like rips in the space-time continuum, the shortening of days and the disappearance of her brothers. This episode of "Phineas and Ferb" will air Friday, June 12 (9:00 PM - 10:00 PM ET/PT), on Disney XD. (Disney XD) BUFORD, ISABELLA, PHINEAS, FERB, BUFORD
The final episode of Phineas and Ferb, “Last Day of Summer,” will air on June 12 on Disney XD. Photo: Disney XD.

The 73-hour Phineas and Ferb marathon kicks off on Tuesday, June 9, leading into the finale, “Last Day of Summer,” on Friday, June 12 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT). The show will then continue to air daily on Disney XD and Disney Channels around the world.

Phineas and Ferb Creators Talk About Taking on Star Wars

Image provided by Disney Channel.

Building on the success of last year’s Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel episode, creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh set their sights on a new crossover subject, this time with the Star Wars universe. Those plans have now come to fruition with Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars, a brand new animated special that parallels the events of Episode IV: A New Hope.

GeekMom had an opportunity to talk with the two of them about the special, their inspiration, pleasing fans of both franchises, and the challenges that they faced when coming up with the story.

GeekMom: What was the inspiration for taking on the Star Wars universe? Were you looking to do another crossover episode after the success of the Marvel one?

Povenmire: That emboldened us to ask. We had just finished [the Marvel episode] when the announcement was made. Our post-production supervisor was in a mix with us and she’s always wired in on a BlackBerry and she said, “Oh my gosh, I just got an alert. Lucasfilm bought by Disney.”

Marsh: It took about 30 seconds for Dan to draw a picture of Doofenshmirtz as Darth Vader, take a picture on his phone, and text it to the head of the studio with a note.

Povenmire: “I smell a crossover!” It was literally the very first thing that I did upon hearing that. And the head of the studio texted back immediately and said, “That’s a great idea. We were just talking about that.” So it got fast-tracked rather quickly, and we were glad for that because to us it’s such a culmination of our boyhood dreams of playing in that sandbox.

GeekMom: How closely did you work with with Lucasfilm on the project?

Povenmire: They were very, very easy on us as soon as they heard that our version of it was not going to be making fun of theirs, but having our characters in and around their story and leaving their story and their characters alone. Once they saw the reverence with which we were treating their characters I think they were really happy to let us go on it. And they had very few notes. I think in the grand scheme of things there were many more issues with Marvel because we were using their characters in ways they had not used their characters yet.

Marsh: The Marvel universe is so much more fractured legally and rights-wise.

Povenmire: So compared to all of the rules going on there, this was so much easier.

Marsh: And the Lucasfilm guys got to see what we did with the Marvel episode and I like to think that that gave them a lot of confidence, because they looked at it and realized, “Oh, they’re not going to go out and mock these characters.” And it was clear that we love Star Wars, the whole universe, and the guys in it.

The force is with Povenmire (l) and Marsh (r). Image provided by Disney Channel.

GeekMom: What about them? Were they fans of your universe as well?

Povenmire: The ones that we dealt with were familiar with the show and just such nice people. I did sort of an impromptu pitch with them. I came in just to meet them, just like for a meet and greet, and the head of the studio said, “Can you pitch them the whole story?” And we hadn’t quite worked out the whole story but I was like, “Okay.” And I just started pitching, and as I was pitching I was actually solving story problems. There’s a couple of things I pitched in there, lines that I pitched in that room that were just ad libbed that got a laugh and I kept them in. Like, I think Doof says, “You can lead a dianoga to garbage but you can’t make him drink.” I did that and it got a laugh and I was like, “Oh, I’ve got to remember that.” And I wrote it down and it’s in the episode.

GeekMom: Were there any challenges fitting Phineas and Ferb into the world of Star Wars?

Povenmire: There were some challenges. When we decided to do it the way we’re doing it, with a parallel story, it was a lot of work to get that story working and connecting to Star Wars the way we wanted it to connect. We don’t write scripts, so our first draft is really the first storyboard pitch. And when we did the first storyboard pitch we realized we were really missing a lot of Phineas and Ferb’s characters. We worked this all out so the story worked and it was gratifying to see that, but Phineas and Ferb didn’t feel like Phineas and Ferb, they just felt like two kids. So we had to go back and put in the kind of stuff that they would do and the kind of stuff that Candice would do. We really had to do a whole pass where we brought it back into our world. We’d been so involved in the Star Wars part of it and making sure that the mechanics of the plot actually worked. That was the hard part. We know Phineas and Ferb. It’s easy for us to punch it up in a Phineas and Ferb way. So it was very challenging, but very rewarding.

GeekMom: Are you happy with the results?

Marsh: That would be a radical understatement.

Povenmire: It’s one of my favorite things we’ve done since we started doing the show.

GeekMom: Being fans yourselves, did you put any references or Easter eggs in there for other fans might get?

Povenmire: It’s chock-full of Easter eggs for Star Wars fans. We tried to make it so that it was still funny and it still moved along even if you’ve never seen Star Wars. And we’ve actually shown it to some kids who had never seen Star Wars before and they still liked it. So I think that’s still working. But if you’re a Star Wars fan there’s so much more humor in it for you. There’s so many things that just go by and you realize, “Oh! That’s where Boba-Fett started looking for Han and Chewie. And that’s why the dianoga let go of Luke in the trash compactor. And that’s when the trash compactor started closing. Doofenshmirtz pressed that button. And oh, that’s how the Death Star plans got stolen from the Empire in the first place. It was Perry the Platypus.”

Marsh: That was really the trick, though. And one of the reasons why we spent so much time on it. It had to work on all those levels. It had to be satisfying for Phineas and Ferb fans, even if they didn’t care about Star Wars. It had to be satisfying for Star Wars fans even if they didn’t care about Phineas and Ferb. And it had to be satisfying for both. And we really agonized over which jokes to tell and how to include it all. We knew that not only were the fans were going to be critical but we are those Star Wars geeks and those Phineas and Ferb fans ourselves. So it had to be something we were excited about.

Image provided by Disney Channel.

GeekMom: Is this now going to be considered canon?

Povenmire: At the end of the crawl at the beginning that sets up the story, you know, with the John Williams music behind it? It tells the whole story and there’s one line at the end that says, “And none of this is canon, so just relax.” But we did it so that it could be canon. It doesn’t interfere with any of the canon.

GeekMom: Did you get to use any sound effects or voices from the original film?

Marsh: We were given access both to the sound effects library and much of John Williams music.

Povenmire: We had access to about seven minutes of the John Williams original score, which was great, which we loved being able to use. And almost all the sounds effects are original Star Wars effects. Unfortunately, we were unable to use the actual voices of the original cast members because they’re all shooting Episode VII.

Marsh: And they don’t sound like they did when they were in their 20s.

Povenmire: So we got sound-alikes for the young Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. And some of them are just incredibly talented.

Marsh: Harrison Ford is good enough to fool Harrison Ford’s family.

Povenmire: I think so. I was very impressed.

Marsh: He asks you when you start, “Which age Harrison do you want?” Because he can do them all absolutely perfectly.

GeekMom: What else can fans look forward to?

Povenmire: Swampy and I have a cameo in the show as the tractor beam operators.

Marsh: And we are brilliant. We elevate that script.

Povenmire: It’s not just our voices but it looks like us.

GeekMom: So you basically just did this to get yourselves into Star Wars, right?

Povenmire: We’re just trying to make ourselves laugh, is basically how it works. That what we’re going for.

Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars premieres on Disney Channel on July 26 and on Disney XD on August 4.

Simon Pegg, Jon Stewart, and Jay Leno Coming to Phineas and Ferb

The new summer episodes will kick off with “Phineas and Ferb Save Summer” on June 9 on Disney XD. Photo: Disney XD.

If you think that Phineas and Ferb have had some pretty awesome vacations in the past, just wait until you see what they have in store for this summer. The Disney XD favorites have several new episodes coming, with a slew of special guest stars planned.

The summer spectacular will kick off on June 9, with the one-hour event, “Phineas and Ferb Save Summer.” Just in case an hour of animated adventures isn’t enough, the episode will also feature guest star Jay Leno. The former Tonight Show host will voice Major Monogram’s boss, Colonel Contraction of the O.W.C.A. (Organization Without a Cool Acronym).

From there, the show will have several new episodes, which will include guest stars Jon Stewart, Elizabeth Banks, and Simon Pegg.

The new episodes include “Father’s Day” (June 10), “Imperfect Storm” (June 11), “The Return of the Rogue Rabbit” (June 16), “It’s No Picnic” (June 23), “Operation Crumb Cake” (July 14), and “Mandace” (July 14).

Banks and Pegg will appear in “Imperfect Storm,” with Jon Stewart voicing Mr. Random, president of Random Swimwear, in “Klimpaloon Ultimatum.”

This announcement comes hot on the heels of the Walt Disney World Resort’s sneak peek at the one-hour special, “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars.” The highly anticipated special is expected to air in July on the Disney Channel and features Phineas and Ferb neighboring the Skywalkers, Doof meeting Darth, and Ferb in training to become an evil Sith. An exact date for the special has yet to be announced.

Man vs. Machine: Disney Artists Take on Robots

From L to R, Disney Television Animation’s Craig McCracken, Sam Levine, Dan Povenmire, Lisa Salamone-Smith, Eric Coleman, Daron Nefcy, and President of Disney Channels Worldwide Gary Marsh. Photo credit: Rick Rowell/Disney Channel.

From the outside, Disney’s Television Animation studio doesn’t look like much. There’s no giant wizard’s hat out front like the Feature Animation building or seven stone dwarves holding up the roof like the Team Disney building on the Burbank lot. Driving through the gate and into the parking lot of the nondescript brick building in an industrial part of Glendale, you’d never know that it’s currently the home of some of the company’s most creative and prolific talents. At least, not until you step inside.

The small lobby is filled with computer screens showing clips and promos from many of the shows in production: Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Sofia the First, Gravity Falls, and the phenomenally popular Phineas and Ferb. Up one flight, down the hall and just past the cereal bar there’s a unique space that serves as an in-house art gallery, where staff members are invited to show original pieces they’ve created in their spare time. The art is periodically rotated and usually centered around a theme. GeekMom was invited to the opening reception for the latest exhibition, titled “Man vs. Machine: The Robot Show,” where some of the biggest names in the world of television animation mingled and appreciated the work of their colleagues.

Kimberly Mooney, manager of development at Disney Television Animation, explained that the rotating gallery was always imagined as a part of the studio’s office space from the very beginning. “It goes all the way back to when this building was being renovated and built for us to be an animation studio,” she said. “We wanted a dedicated space where we could showcase the artists’ art, their personal artwork. It helps to establish that real sense of community we have here.”

Alex Rosenberg, an assistant at the studio, added that everyone is welcome to submit work to the shows, even if they’re not professional artists. “Eric Coleman, our SVP, actually put in a piece this time,” she said. “And we have work from people who are in tech and a coordinator on our current series side who did one. We have writers who submitted pieces. It’s a really nice way to showcase the talent that’s here at TVA and celebrate artists who are outside of what we normally define as artists.”

Povenmire with his piece “Girl vs. Machine.” Photo credit: Rick Rowell/Disney Channel.

Phineas and Ferb co-creator Dan Povenmire contributed “Girl vs. Machine,” a drawing of his two daughters taking on a massive wave of technology with a pair of slingshots. “The theme was ‘Man vs. Machine’ and I was thinking about it for a while and I was like, ‘Screw it, I should just do “Girl vs. Machine” and then I can put my daughters in it and then I’ll have a place to put it when I’m done with it,” Povenmire said. “And they love it. They’re like, ‘That’s us!’ And they like looking at all the little things in there and trying to figure out what they are. Like, ‘Oh, there’s our Zoomer dog. That’s our boom box!’ I put a lot of other stuff in there too. I was basically just doodling for a day.”

He enjoys the opportunity for self-expression the gallery offers and the chance to see what the other Disney artists are all about. “We’re all in the same building but everybody who is working on a show is really working on one piece of art that they’re all doing together,” he said. “It’s a big, collaborative piece of art. And nobody gets to see what these people actually think of themselves if you just say, ‘Hey, go off in a direction.’ I love seeing the kind of stuff that people do at home. It sort of gives you a different feel for them. And it’s gotten so I can tell different people’s art, though it’s nothing like what people do here.”

I also got to chat with Craig McCracken during the event. He’s currently the creator and executive producer of Disney Channel’s Wander Over Yonder, but you might also be familiar with his earlier creations The PowerPuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. His piece, “Taishi,” features a graphic, 70s-inspired profile of a humanoid robot with flowing yellow and orange locks.

McCracken and his robot “Taishi.” Photo credit: Rick Rowell/Disney Channel.

I asked McCracken which piece in the show was his favorite. “I’m leaning toward Alex Kirwan’s,” he said. “He’s my art director on Wander and he built a model of a very obscure robot from a Donald Duck cartoon. It’s like so inside baseball because he’s in this one specific Donald Duck cartoon. And he’s like, ‘I’m going to make a sculpture of that.’ I’m like, ‘I think only you and like 10 people in this building are going to know who that character is and appreciate it.’ But if anyone would, it’s the people here.”

Phineas and Ferb Creator Dan Povenmire on the Big Star Wars Crossover Episode

PhineasandFerbStarWarsAfter their successful Marvel crossover episode last summer, the creative forces behind Disney’s popular animated series Phineas and Ferb turned to another corner of the studio’s media empire for inspiration—Lucasfilm. Yes, “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” is on its way to Disney Channel this summer and fans of both franchises are eager to see what happens when “Doof meets Darth.”

I recently had an exclusive chance to talk to Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz himself, AKA Phineas and Ferb co-creator and executive producer Dan Povenmire, at the opening of Man vs. Machine: The Robot Show, an in-house art exhibition at Disney Television Animation’s offices in Glendale, Calif. (more on that event to come). We talked about his reverence for the Star Wars legacy and how this special will be different from the animated spoofs that have come before.

“We’re doing it completely different than other people have done Star Wars,” Povenmire said. “Like, Family Guy and Robot Chicken have done Star Wars where they sort of make fun of the characters or have their characters as those characters. And we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to leave Star Wars alone as though it was sacred.”

We’ll see the gang embark on their own adventure, in typical Phineas and Ferb fashion, as the events of A New Hope unfold in the background. At the start of the story, Phineas and Ferb are living one moisture farm away from Luke Skywalker, until a certain escape pod arrives carrying a certain pair of familiar droids. When the plans for the unfinished Death Star get knocked out of R2-D2 in the Tatooine desert, it’s up to the gang to ensure they are delivered safely to the rebels. Of course, their task is made more difficult by their “Stormtrooper-like” sister Candace, ever intent on busting the rebels, and the evil Dr. Darthenschmirtz’s latest creation, the “Sith-inator.”

Ferb, Povenmire, co-creator Swampy Marsh, and Phineas at last summer’s D23 Expo.

“The stories interact, but nothing ever changes what’s happening in the original Star Wars,” Povenmire explained. “If there’s a scene from the original Star Wars, it’s exactly the way it happened in the movie. We have things like the famous shot of Luke looking out at the sunset, and then we widen out and Perry is pushing R2-D2 past him in the background. So it’s all stuff that happens just off screen. Or their stuff is happening just off screen.”

I asked him if was his decision to keep the original story more or less intact or if it was a restriction handed down from the powers that be. He said that he and his team made the creative choice out of love and reverence for the source material.

“We were much more precious with the Star Wars storyline than even I think Lucasfilm was,” he said. “We were like, ‘We don’t want to touch anything. We don’t want anything to be different in Star Wars.’ And I think that’s what they really responded to. They could see that we were in love with Star Wars as much as they were. I think they’re a lot less precious with it.”

I pointed out that Star Wars is having a big moment right now, with the new cast just announced this week and more goodies to come this weekend in celebration of Star Wars Day on May the 4th. He said he’s following the news closely and is just excited as the rest of the fans for the new live-action sequel, directed by J.J. Abrams: “I’m very excited about all the new Star Wars stuff, and I think J.J. is the guy to do it. I think he did such a good job with, well, everything he’s touched basically. I’m a big fan.”

Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel Lands on DVD

The Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel DVD also includes six additional episodes. © Disney XD

Mom! Phineas and Ferb are making a DVD release!

Just two months after the Disney Channel aired Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, it’s out on DVD. Yes, my family watched the episode when it first aired. We actually watched it more than once, if you want to get technical. Apparently, this episode has legs, as well as superpowers.

Well, it has superpowers sometimes. The plot of the main feature is that Doofenshmirtz’s “Power-Draininator” has swiped powers from some of the world’s most beloved heroes. That lineup includes Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk. Soon after, Red Skull, Whiplash, Venom, and M.O.D.O.K. come looking for Doofenshmirtz to collect the goods—and an evil entourage is born.

Without a doubt, this is one of the geekiest, greatest episodes of Phineas and Ferb. It mixes up the animation styles used in the two cartoons, with awesome results. From the giant M.O.D.O.K. calling out “shotgun” to Major Monogram’s multiple eye patches to a cameo by Stan Lee; it’s completely hilarious and worthy of repeated viewing.

Image: Disney.

The DVD set is also a nice one, but I found the navigation to be a little annoying. After three previews, the DVD jumps right into the main feature. Once that ends, it jumps right into the next episode, and so on. Maybe it’s just my player, but I couldn’t just click the menu button and have that appear on-screen. I actually had to go into my player’s options to get to the main menu. This doesn’t happen to me very often, so I found it odd. Your mileage may vary, though.

That menu is something that you’re going to need, because this single-disc release does have multiple episodes. Besides “Mission Marvel,” there are a total of six other episodes, which includes two two-parters. It would have been nice if Disney included some behind-the-scenes action, the premiere episode of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, or something like that. However, it’s a pretty hilarious collection, which includes Candace becoming a fly, a peek at Perry’s old partner, mom finally checking out Phineas and Ferb’s creations, a little body swapping, and more.

Also worth noting are the non-disc perks. My 7-year-old was practically clawing at my face to get the included comic book and full-length poster. All of the available comics are the same short pamphlet, but there are three poster possibilities. (We got Perry!)

Even if you watched Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel months back on the Disney Channel, this DVD is worth the price ($15 on Amazon). Disney’s first Marvel mash-up is a really good one. Enjoy!

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Phineas and Ferb‘s Creators on Marvel, Dressing Like Stan Lee and More

A shot of “Phineas and Ferb” creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh outside of the Waffle-inator Interactive Video Game at last week’s D23 Expo. Image: Disney.

It hasn’t quite been 104 days of summer vacation, but it has been four years for Disney’s hit series, Phineas and Ferb. In other words, it’s time for a crossover show!

These days, the House of Mouse has a slew of super-cool guest stars to choose from. However, the network’s dynamic duo has decided to invite Marvel to pay a little visit to the Tri-State area. Can you blame them? They’ve got all of the best superheroes!

Well, sort of.

In the one-hour special, “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel,” an encounter with Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s power-draining “inator” leaves superheroes Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man and Thor not feeling all that super. It sounds like Phineas and Ferb know what they’re going to do today.

Tonight, Disney will air the long-awaited episode — which is downright hilarious. It’s also musical and has several special guest voices, including Drake Bell, Adrian Pasdar, Travis Willingham, Fred Tatasciore, Liam O’Brien, Charlie Adler, Peter Stormare, Danny Trejo, Chi McBride and Stan Lee.

I got the chance to chat with creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh about the special, their superpowers of choice, and what it’s like to use waffles as a weapon.

GeekMom [Rachel]: I know this is the show’s fourth season. Is this the first crossover episode?

Dan: I believe this is.

Swampy: Indeed it is; it’s the first one and it’s also the first Disney Channel show that’s done a Marvel crossover since the merger.

GeekMom: So why are you doing a crossover episode? Why now?

Swampy: Because it’s fun! [Laughs]

Dan: Because they’re letting us. They said, ok — sure.

GeekMom: I think you’re letting them.

Dan: Actually, it was something that we didn’t even think to ask, because we didn’t think we’d be able to do it. Then Disney asked us if we’d be willing to do it and we were like, “Um… yesss. We would love to do that.”

Swampy: The Marvel superheroes? We’ve been dying to play with those toys!

Dan: We have been playing with those guys in our brains for years, but we just never had any outlet for it.

GeekMom: The episode is funny — like, really funny. Besides the voices, how much input did the Marvel people have in this episode?

Dan: We wrote it and pitched it to them at several different points in the process and they sort of kept us on track of what you can and can’t do in the Marvel universe. That whole conversation [in the episode] between Iron Man and Thor about how you hold the hammer; it came from us originally having Iron Man pick up the hammer and they said, “Actually, you can’t do that because that’s about worthiness. It’s not about power.” We had a whole conversation with them and we were like:

“Well… what can we do? Can we have him fly?”

“He can fly, but only with the hammer.”

That’s almost word for word our conversation with the Marvel execs. We put it in and they thought it was hilarious.

“Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” is the show’s first crossover episode, which features Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. Image: Disney XD.

GeekMom: I remember a lot of crossover episodes as a kid, like the Harlem Globetrotters meeting Scooby Doo and even the Laff-A-Lympics. Some collaborations definitely work better than others. Is it harder to write for characters that are not your own creation?

Dan: Oh yeah, even though we’re all familiar with them. Like, I was never so far into Thor that I understood all of the workings there. As much as I collected Spider-Man comics, it’s suddenly a new muscle that you have to sort of work with to try to figure out how to write in this character’s voice and still keep it funny and still keep the characters true to who they are.

Swampy: You have to think differently and you have to solve problems differently. We have our toolbox full of tools that help us solve issues and things with our characters.

Dan: He means that literally. We a plot screwdriver and a gag wrench. [Group laughs.]

Swampy: It’s weird, you have a lot more moments where you’re staring off blankly into space for two or three minutes going, “uuuhhh.”

Dan: Swampy already has a lot of those, as you can imagine.

GeekMom: [Laughs] So, how did Stan Lee get involved?

Dan: We just said that we had to have Stan do a cameo, because he’s done a cameo in all of the Marvel movies. It’s something that, as comic book fans, when you go to the Marvel movies now, you look for Stan’s cameo. You’re waiting for it and when it comes on, there’s always like 10 percent of the audience that cheers. And everybody looks at them and says, “Why are they cheering for that old man?”

Swampy: Doing a Marvel thing without Stan, I think, is a crime in many states.

Dan: It’s not a capital crime. We only would have had a little bit of jail time.

Swampy: He’s cool.

Dan: He’s fun and he was wearing the same outfit that Swampy was when he came in. Swampy likes to brag about it, but I always say, he is like 80 years old. [Stan Lee is actually 90!]

Swampy: Yeah, but he’s Stan Lee. I’ve got a picture of me dressed the same as Stan.

GeekMom: What was the outfit?

Swampy: White shoes and white pants with a blue shirt. Color coordinated, perfectly!

Dan: I know it’s before Labor Day, but yeah, white shoes?

GeekMom: [Laughs] You mentioned comic books, you guys have been reading since you were kids?

Dan: I had a whole great collection of Spider-Man stuff when I was 10 or something that my mom threw away once when she was cleaning my room. She was like, “Well, he’s read all of this.”

Swampy: He’s never forgiven her. She no longer gets Christmas cards from Dan just for that.

Dan: I haven’t spoken to my mom in 30 years.

Stan Lee joins Jeff “Swampy” Marsh for a recording session for “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel.” Image: Disney XD/Rick Rowell.

GeekMom: So are you still reading today? Did you feel like you needed to study up for this episode?

Dan: Well, no. I’m fairly familiar with all that stuff, but I do still read. I’ve been collecting — well, not collecting, but I buy the “collections of.” I don’t get them every month, but when they put together the bound collections. There’s a whole new series called Ultimate Spider-Man that has taken Spider-Man back to the very beginning and sort of re-told the whole arc and I’ve been getting those as they come out. I think it’s really nicely written and the art is fantastic.

Swampy: I’m going through the joy now of my son, who’s 12 and discovering comics. Thanks to giving all of my comics to my little brother at one point in my life, I now have all of those old comics coming back into my life, because every time my son visits him, he gives him some of my old comics. So this has been really cool: I’m sitting here, reading my old comics with my son. It’s been great.

GeekMom: So, you’re both familiar with all of the various superheroes. If you could swipe someone’s superpowers, who would it be and why?

Dan: I think I’d want to fly. I am ambivalent about carrying around a large, heavy hammer during that flight.

Swampy: Just the possibility, though. I don’t know, I think I like just the fact that Tony Stark is just incredibly smart and he can invent ways to do lots of things. I found that I actually have a superpower, it’s just a really, really stupid one.

Dan: It’s absolutely useless.

Swampy: It’s completely useless.

GeekMom: And that’s what exactly?

Swampy: I am immune to ice cream headaches. So if I can find a way to fight crime by not getting ice cream headache, I could really be a superhero.

GeekMom: I wonder if you could somehow manipulate that into a Mr. Freeze situation.

Dan: That’s right; you could fight Mr. Freeze.

Swampy: But then I’d have to eat him. [Laughs.]

Dan: It would take some doing. You probably couldn’t do it in one sitting. [Group laughs.]

GeekMom: I just have one more question and I hope I’m not giving away anything in the episode by asking this… but what is it like to be pelted by waffles?

Dan: [In Doofenshmirtz’s voice] It’s delicious! Absolutely delicious.

Swampy: I certainly wouldn’t mind giving it a try.

Dan: It gets sticky after a while. [In Doofenshmirtz’s voice] What doesn’t kill you, makes you stickier. That’s what Doofenshmirtz would say.

Expect all of the series regulars to appear in “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel,” which airs tonight on the Disney Channel. Image: Disney XD.

Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” premieres tonight at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on the Disney Channel.

Phineas and Ferb Embark on Mission Marvel

Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel © Disney Channel

This summer the Avengers assemble once again – in the Tri-State Area! In Disney and Marvel’s first animated crossover, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man find themselves accidentally de-powered by Dr. Doofenshmirtz, and turn to Phineas and Ferb for help.

The first meeting of the Marvel Universe promises to be a lot of fun, with the crossovers and team-ups that fans dream of. Agent P and Nick Fury! Dr. Doof and a host of villains including Red Skull, Whiplash, and Venom!

You can catch the trailer for the upcoming Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel during tonight’s new Phineas and Ferb episode on the Disney Channel (9 p.m.). Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel airs later this summer on the Disney Channel.

A GeekMom’s 34 Goals for 2012

Number 17 on my list of goals: Have one thriving crop. This mutant carrot is the outcome of my last gardening attempt. Photo by Cathe Post.

A friend of mine recently published her professional website after months of preparation. One of her premier posts shared 30 things she would like to do this year in honor of turning 30. It’s not a milestone birthday year for me, but the idea made sense. In an effort to set reasonable goals instead of unattainable demands, I’m going to follow in IndieKate‘s blog-steps and create a 34 in 2012 list. Here it goes…

  1. Work on getting in shape – I just signed up for Fitocracy so I can log all of my Dance Central time in Workout Mode.
  2. Keep up with my blog – I would like to share more on my personal blog than a log of articles I write for GeekMom. Some blogs I read just share one moment from the day that their readers can identify with. I’d like to do the same, if I’m not cleaning up the mess from said moment…
  3. Social Butterfly – I want to put myself out there more. I am on PinterestFacebookTwitterGoodreads and Google +. I hope to cross share through all of these platforms at least once a week.
  4. Keep up with Phineas and Ferb this summer – There is a calendar. I printed it for my daughter last summer and we only did about a third of the things that we wrote on it (let alone the ideas that came with it).
  5. Watch less TV – My husband would probably not understand this one. I listen to Netflix shows while I’m on the computer. If I listened to audiobooks or podcasts instead, I would probably be better off.
  6. Read More – I HATE reading. Due to my astigmatism, I end up reading the same line in a book multiple times before getting past it. It makes book reading less than fun. It’s “better” now that we have a Kindle Fire, because I can show one paragraph per page and increase the font size, but it still hurts my eyes – I have to really be interested in the book.
  7. Learn at least one more of my husband’s miniature games – I played Warhammer Fantasy with my husband for a year. It was great fun. But, I played the season, won the tournament (and a really cool sword) and left it at that. So now I should catch up and learn Blood BowlHell Dorado, and Dystopian Wars.
  8. Learn an activity with my daughter – I don’t care if it’s Heroclix or something non-geeky – we had a lot of fun learning Pokémon together (have you heard the recent GeekMom podcast?). Mother/daughter bonding is good.
  9. Earn my Tournament Organizer’s title for Pokémon – Since I keep running computers for Pokémon tournaments, I really should have a copy of the program on my computer. In order to have that, I need to earn my stripes!
  10. Drink water – 8 glasses a day…blah…blah…blah…
  11. GeekMom – The responsibilities of a core contributor on GeekMom are not unreasonable, and yet I find myself fighting to keep up from time to time. I would like to work to 125% of what is required, because GeekMom is a great community to be part of. I keep find myself saying, “That would make a great article.” So, sit down and write the article already!
  12. Pre-school – This would be a goal for later in the year. As my youngest nears turning three, I look at the pre-school choices and cringe. The idea of teaching him myself is daunting, but doable – and he’d love it.
  13. Eat more veggies – I eat veggies twice a day on a good day. I could be better about it.
  14. Ride my bike – Even riding my bike once this summer would be more than I did last year.
  15. Edit out the virtual garbage – This would include cleaning out the backup hard drive, deleting old documents, and having everything backed up and organized in one location…instead of three.
  16. Make headway in the yard – We put in a playground (swings and a slide thanks to my parents) this last summer. We have a small rectangular backyard. I would like a third of it to be raised gardens and a stone oven for baking pizza/bread, a third lawn, and a third playground. It means DOING IT.
  17. Have one crop thrive – I have a black thumb. Enough said.
  18. Go back to church – I haven’t been in a year. Again, if I make it once this year, it will be a step in the right direction.
  19. Vote – I missed our last local election and felt guilty about it for weeks. If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain about how your taxes are spent.
  20. Date – My husband. I need to make that clear. I have known my husband since 1993. We started dating in 1998, and were married in 2003. Several times we’ve misplaced the romance. We seem to find it if we can go on a date.
  21. Pet the cats – Isn’t it scientifically proven that animals can reduce stress levels? I have four cats, so I should be four times less stressed, right?
  22. ADHD – I need to learn all I can about this. My daughter was diagnosed with it, and I think it is a HUGE source of the behavior issues we have had in the last three years. Learning how to help her deal with her symptoms will be a relief.
  23. Remain close to my parents – I am an only child. My parents live less than 5 miles away. I have tried very hard to be there for them this year as my mom has taken on difficult volunteer tasks and my dad has undergone chemotherapy. This year can only be better for them, right?
  24. Have a cemented financial plan – Being in a one income household is hard. I am thankful that my husband’s job provides a roof over our head and food on the table. GeekMom Judy Berna had a similar resolution this year.
  25. Learn how to fix one thing – My husband is very handy. He cooks, he sews, he fixes the stuff that needs fixing. Just once I should take initiative and learn to do it myself instead of asking him.
  26. Attempt to potty train – My 2-year-old wants to do everything his sister does. So, perhaps this summer I will have the guts to attempt to teach him how to use the potty. Isn’t it as easy as throwing cheerios in the toilet and having them do target practice?
  27. Write a book with my daughter – She loves drawing and telling stories. It would probably be a great geeky story – an epic tale even!
  28. Start a video podcast – The hubby and I have been watching Hank and Katherine Play Super Mario Brothers Wii! on YouTube. Where my husband is inspired to play his ukulele and make videos someday like the DoubleclicksMolly Lewis, or Pomplamoose, I want to make a board game blog. We shall see if I can get anyone to help me – I can’t really play board games by myself.
  29. Brush up on my sign language – I used to be fluent, but if you don’t use it, you lose it.
  30. Run a D&D campaign – I don’t know that RPG Kids would count. But I would run a one-shot game in a heartbeat.
  31. Add to my client base – It would be nice to have a couple more clients to tutor in the art of running a computer.
  32. Make one item out of one of my craft books – Complete a large fiber project  (like an afghan) or a project from a craft book. I have a shelf full of craft/fiber books that are fun to look at, but I haven’t done anything other than look at them. I have done a few projects from the GeekDad books, but I want to complete ALL OF THEM.
  33. Do one Arduino project – This is an intelligence challenge. Can I be smarter than the programming language? (I wasn’t in college – that’s for sure).
  34. Enter one photography show – Just one. Just enough of a commitment that I have to attempt to take artsy-fartsy shots throughout the year.

I don’t think this list is unattainable. It will take some work, but there isn’t one thing on this list I can’t finish (maybe 33, but I will at least attempt it). What are your goals for 2012? Do you have some of the same crazy plans as I do?

Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension

Source: Disney XD



Hey Ferb, I know what we are going to do today… Watch a movie starring us!

I am lucky enough to be a Verizon customer and have had access to Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension before it premieres on the Disney Channel and ABC Family Channel tonight at 8/7c PM. It is scheduled to premiere on Disney XD on August 13th and Disney XD Canada on August 20th.

For those of you that are already fans of Phineas and Ferb, you won’t be disappointed at all.  Phineas and Ferb are finish up their summer of crazy antics with their greatest adventure yet by celebrating the 5th anniversary of getting their pet platypus Perry. You and your kids will be dazzled with over an hour of non-stop excitement.

So pop some popcorn, curl up on the couch as a family and enjoy!

****Click link for spoilers****

Continue reading Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension

Dr. GeekMom or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Screens

My daughter and her screen of choice, the iPad.

I don’t know if it’s just my corner of Manhattan, but more and more I find myself in conversations with parents who have thrown out their TV, won’t allow video games into their house, or think that handheld gadgets are the downfall of civilization. Here on GeekMom, Jessamyn made a recommendation to try a week – or a decade – without the tube, Kay declared recess from screen time, and Kathy wrote about a family that totally pulled the plug on technology.

I don’t begrudge any parent for doing what feels right for her family, but I do think families that unplug are missing out on amazing content, and the rewards that content can bring. I have a natural bias in this area because I work in children’s media and I know a bunch of really talented people who truly want to make great shows and games for kids.

I’m not without my moments of unplugging. When my daughter was born, I went from being someone who had the TV on constantly to a mom who was trying to follow to the letter the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of no TV until age 2. But something happened at 18 months. A pre-Nickelodeon pilot of a show called Yo Gabba Gabba was floating around town, and when I saw it I absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to see what my little girl would think. I loved having her on my lap watching “There’s a Party in My Tummy” over and over again.

But I stressed about it. I endured nasty looks from other parents who couldn’t believe I’d let my baby watch TV. Then I started showing her computer games. Then I got an iPhone which opened up a whole new world of gaming. Then a Wii. And a Nintendo DS. And a Leapster Explorer. And an iPad. I just did a quick count and when all are present and accounted for, we have 11 screens in a one-bedroom apartment on which to consume media. I’ve stopped worrying, though, because now that my daughter is 5 and very savvy on all of these devices, I’ve noticed some really amazing things.

  • Characters really want to teach ABCs and 123s. Flip on any show, game, or website aimed at a preschool market, and you’ll see characters trying to teach your kid the alphabet, math, or Spanish. In many of these cases, the creators have brought in educational consultants, tried to align with education standards, and some have even done efficacy testing to show that kids can actually learn using media.
  • Media can inspire new interests. Thanks in large part to PBS, my daughter calls herself a scientist, and has a genuine interest in doing science experiments at home. It started with Sid the Science Kid. Then we watched nothing but Dinosaur Train for months on end, and now she’s shown an interest in SciGirls.
  • Time spent on the computer is often time spent reading. My daughter’s first sight words came from the land of interface: new, play, game, continue, etc. We have some games that are reading-dependent and I can’t always play with her, and I’ve see how much this motivates her to learn to read. Older kids do tons of reading online, but it often doesn’t get counted as such because it’s not in book form.
  • Good video games encourage strategy and perseverance. My daughter and I are hooked on Plants vs. Zombies. Sometimes we play together and talk about different plant strategies to defeat the zombies, but one day she pushed me aside saying that she really wanted to figure it out for herself. I watched her from afar as she tried different things to see what would work. It was very scientific.
  • It’s easy to be ad-free. Many anti-TV parents point at advertising or the inappropriateness of the news as reasons to keep kids away from TV. We live in a time where it couldn’t be easier to control what your kids see. We gave up our cable box, but in a typical week we’ll watch DVDs, watch recorded shows which are either commercial free or can skip commercials, stream Netflix to the iPad or TV, download shows from iTunes, watch shows or YouTube on the computer, and play games on any one of our screens.
  • It’s good to be entertained. I don’t mind a bit anymore when we bag the educational shows in favor of some lighter fare. I’ve recently come to appreciate just how funny and surreal SpongeBob is, and watching my little girl giggle uncontrollably while watching it seems like a wonderful milestone in her sense of humor. And, we watch Phineas and Ferb as a family, which has some of the best comedy writing on television.

I realize I’m a bit atypical in how much I’m interested in watching kids shows, but one of the best things that we can do is watch and play this stuff with our kids. The conversations that can come from co-viewing or co-playing are not only enjoyable, but they can add a whole new level of thinking and learning.

The baby likes the iPad, too. This was when I was able to use Koi Pond to put him to sleep.

My screen-loving daughter is a fluent reader, she’s creative, and she has a hilarious sense of humor. We also have a baby in the house, and trying to abide the recommendation for no screen time this time around is an exercise in futility. We don’t plunk him down on the couch to watch TV, but we also don’t keep it off when he’s in the same room. And you know what? Like his sister, I know he’s going to be just fine. I can’t wait to watch Yo Gabba Gabba with him.

CABIN FEVER: 5 Movies to Enjoy With Your Kids

It figures that after sixty degree weather in NYC last week, we get covered in a blanket of snow for winter break. In between bouts of playing outside, warm up to a great movie that you can actually enjoy with your kids. You know your Pixar movies, and you’ve seen Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline, and How to Train Your Dragon, right? Here are five overlooked movies to check out when you’re stuck inside.

Monsters vs. Aliens: Dreamworks

Monsters Vs. Aliens

I had avoided this one in the theater, I think because the trailer heavily emphasized the military aspect of the movie and not the charming main monsters. We discovered this on video a couple months ago and have watched it so many times that all the funny lines from the movie have worked their way into our daily life.

Kiki's Delivery Service: Studio Ghibli

Kiki’s Delivery Service

I’m going to assume a lot of GeekMom readers have seen My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo, so I’m going to go for a lesser-known Hayao Miyazaki treat. Our hero Kiki turns 13 and sets off for a new life where she learns how to be a witch while making her living delivering packages on her broomstick. If by chance you haven’t seen Totoro or Ponyo, by all means add those to your list as well!

A Town Called Panic: Zeitgeist Films

A Town Called Panic

Do your kids like subtitled foreign films? No? Well, they might change their mind with A Town Called Panic. It’s a stop motion film featuring toys and toy sets, and the characters Cowboy, Indian, and Horse. Cowboy and Indian have forgotten Horse’s birthday, and they decide to build him a barbecue leading to events that destroy their collective home. It’s like a hilarious Belgian Toy Story. Note: there is some mild subtitled swearing.

Astro Boy: Imagi Studios

Astro Boy

My daughter and I checked out Astro Boy in the theater knowing next to nothing about the character. We enjoyed watching the back story of how Astro Boy came to be (made by a genius, grieving father who lost his son), and what happens when he gets cast out of Metro City. There’s lots of action and environmental messages, but the most appealing thing about it is that kids are the heroes in a world of adults making bad choices.

Inkheart: New Line Cinema


For kids who are a bit older, check out this adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s wonderful novel. Meggie’s discovers something about her father when strange figures begin appearing. He’s a Silvertongue, which gives him the power to read characters out of their books. There are some great performances in the film by Helen Mirren and Andy Serkis (Gollum!) among others and some beautiful, nightmarish imagery. And, please, check out the book, too!

Of course, you can always do a TV marathon, too. If you watch a whole bunch of SpongeBob SquarePants or Phineas and Ferb back to back, you’ll discover some of the greatest, funniest writing in TV. Or learn something from watching the amazingly beautiful series Life.

What would you add to this cabin fever list?