I had the extreme pleasure of sitting down with the creators of Phineas & Ferb, Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh. We talked about their new animated series Milo Murphy’s Law and how they spent their one hundred and four days of summer vacation.
The interview started with a joke that Dan played on Jeff. Dan said everyone dresses up for these press junkets and Jeff took the bait. He looked great but realized he been played by his partner. Both are so funny and charming and six minutes went by in a blink of an animated evil robot eye.
GeekMom: First of all, the question I have to get out of the way is: How did you spend your hundred and four days of summer vacation?
Dan Povenmire: *Laughing* it was a crazy summer this time. My daughters went away for six for six weeks. They were four weeks in a sleep away summer camp, which they loved, and then my wife went to go pick them up and took them to Miami to see her mom down there and I was so busy that I didn’t come. Usually, I go too and do that, but the two of us [instead] managed to the trip to New York. We saw Hamilton.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: So I went to France to visit my mother-in-law and then went up to Amsterdam to drop my son off at sailing camp. He gets to go there for two weeks every year. The rest of it was filled with a lot of surfing, yes. So [it was] with Surf therapy in Santa Monica with A Walk on Water.
GM: Wonderful, that’s pretty cool. My daughter goes to a school called CHIME and it’s an inclusive school and the students do a lot of things like that. They surf and go to hydro-therapy with friends. That’s a great way to spend the summer.
JM: Nothing bad about it.
GM: Our community loves Phineas and Ferb. Congratulations on all that successful. My daughter is five so she is kind of catching up on them now, starting at the beginning, and she loves it. But dad loves it even more and he says it’s the only one that he can watch solo.
DP: We hear there are a lot of parents who will watch the show even when the kids are in bed, which makes us very happy.
GM: So tell me a bit where the idea for Milo Murphy came from and the EHML?
DP: That is funny because we put that in the series Bible and then we’ve never used in the series, so we see it in all the press and are like, that’s why we’ve never actually said that out loud in the series, so we sort of forgotten about it.
The idea of him having this sort of condition where Murphy’s Law is attached to him, it was an early thing. I had drawn this little kid that I was actually thinking about putting into a different pitch but I kept looking him [and] thinking this guy should have his own show.
He is sort of based on a friend of ours. But we also wanted to know what it looked like when he was in middle school. You know, I liked it so much that I went into Swampy and I said “Hey what would you think of this show and this character here? I was gonna put in him in other shows but I was felt like that character should have his own show.”
We just sat down and we came up with the entire concept for the pilot for Murphy’s Law. It took the same amount of time it takes us to write a song for Phineas and Ferb, which is, yeah, about an hour. We sent out our storyboarding the first episode immediately, without even showing it to Disney. From the first drawing to Disney picking it up, it was like six months. Whereas with Phineas, from the first drawing to Disney picking it up was thirteen, fourteen years.
JM: Something like that [timeframe], so we’re getting we’re getting much better at this.
DP: So the next one they’re gonna pick up before we even think of the idea? Hopefully, they’re picking it up right now two years down the road, we’ll come up to it.
JM: It is just exciting; the idea of the kid who remains completely positive in spite of the fact that everything is going wrong.
GM: It’s almost like in middle school there’s just so much pressure and there’s so many things. If you drop your pen, you’re looked at. So going back to middle school and having this character where everything goes wrong, yet he remains happy and optimistic. Is this power an X-men type power?
DP: Yeah, maybe.
JM It’s the idea that really you have the choice to decide what you do with what life throws at you. Either it makes life an adventure and it makes you a better person and it makes it exciting or it’s what brings you down. Everyone has this or that go wrong and some people have more.
DP: Things go wrong for everybody and it’s really your choice in how you deal with it. Whether it is a positive or, you know, whether you remain positive or you were changed by it. He remains positive and that’s the hopefully the takeaway for kids to just keep it going.
GM: Is there going to be a crossover are we going to see characters from your other shows?.
JM: Never would we say never.
DP: I think that’s actually a really good idea because I think would be fun to draw those guys again. What we’ve always said is that Milo sort of takes place in the same universes as Phineas and Ferb, just so that we can make nods to that show and stuff like that. I feel like that if they met Milo, they would really like him.
GM: Where is Perry?…. Whatcha Doooin?
DP: and JM: *laughing*
Time was called by our producer
GM: thank you so much but excited to see this and our community is behind you one hundred percent.
DP / JM: Okay, great thank you.
Thank you to our friends at Disney Television for this wonderful opportunity. Milo Murphy’s Law is airing on Monday’s on Disney XD. It is a funny new show that the family can watch.
Here is a link to the surf therapy foundation Jeff Marsh works with in Santa Monica California, A Walk on Water