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.
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.