Phineas and Ferb holds the title of longest-running Disney Channel unique sequence: the animated sequence was on the air from 2007 to 2015. Built on the easy premise of two step-brothers having fun with their summer time trip, Phineas and Ferb has been praised because the type of kids’ show that’s smart enough for adults. Over its eight-year run, the wacky sequence gave us catchy songs, zingy one-liners, and memorable characters like Perry the Platypus. It’s one of many few Disney Channel reveals that absolutely bridged the hole between late millennials and Gen Z, and it buzzes with an web relevance that few reveals from 2007 handle to realize. Who can overlook rapper Lil Nas X promising his followers a Phineas and Ferb Blu-Ray when “Old Town Road” hit platinum?
It’s exhausting to think about Disney Channel with out Phineas and Ferb, whose characters headline theme-park attractions, pop up on present Disney Channel reveals, and have change into staples on TikTok. But as iconic because the present now could be, it’s stunning that it received made within the first place. Creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh spent 16 years pitching the show earlier than it lastly received picked up at Disney, they usually virtually gave up a number of instances.
Five years after the sequence finale, the boys are again in a Disney Plus unique film, Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. This time, their older sister Candace takes the highlight, as she’s whisked away to a distant planet. With the film premiering this week on Disney Plus, Polygon sat down with Povenmire and Marsh to speak in regards to the present’s journey and legacy, and the way ready so lengthy for a studio to select it up made the present particular.
This interview has been edited for readability and concision.
Critics have referred to as Phineas and Ferb an “adult show for kids” — was that one thing you aimed for within the unique inception? Did it simply evolve naturally with your personal work?
Dan Povenmire: We simply all the time made the present for one another. We’re adults with a infantile humorousness.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: Yes, precisely.
DP: So it makes good sense.
JM: It’s a operate of us having actually, actually silly senses of humor, but additionally clever senses of humor.
DP: We’ve been round some time, so we’ve simply acquired data, but it surely doesn’t make us any extra mature.
JM: Yes, we’re very immature, however we additionally like heady jokes.
Prior to Phineas and Ferb, you labored collectively on different reveals, like The Simpsons and Rocko’s Modern Life. Did you carry any classes from these collaborations to Phineas and Ferb?
DP: I believe you usher in no matter you study at different studios and on different reveals. Somebody as soon as stated Phineas and Ferb was the inventive and comedic midpoint between Family Guy and SpongeBob, which had been the 2 reveals I had labored on proper previous to that. It’s like Family Guy and The Simpsons, the timing, [with] plenty of the pauses and plenty of the blank-expression stuff. We introduced that over, but additionally the craziness from Rocko and SpongeBob, and that type of child cartoon. We tried to place all of them collectively in a blender and see what occurred.
Dan’s unique sketch of Phineas reportedly was achieved on butcher paper at a restaurant. How did a few of the different character designs come about?
DP: Most of the opposite characters we received as a result of I went residence and drew Doofenshmirtz and Perry and Ferb that evening. They didn’t fairly appear to be they do now, however they’re recognizable. If you noticed them, you’ll know what they’re. Ferb had a spherical nostril at one level, and Doofenshmirtz’s head was a barely completely different form. But in the event you noticed the unique lineup, you’d know instantly who these characters are.
JM: It would appear to be fan artwork.
DP: But then we lived with them for therefore lengthy. Every time we’d re-pitch it, I’d go in and kind of, “Let me see if I can make these guys more into the same universe.” The solely characters that had been precisely the identical as the unique drawings of them had been the bugs that confirmed up within the fourth season, as a result of they had been initially going to be a most important a part of the present. It simply turned too many issues to juggle, and the executives had been like, “Can we lower these?” “Okay, but we’ll probably put them in later.” And then it took us three or 4 seasons to place them again in. And Irving, performed by Jack McBrayer, who didn’t present up ’til third season. But after we had been like, “Oh, we should put him in,” we actually simply used my unique drawing. So the unique lineup is hilarious as a result of all of the characters, you may inform we’ve modified plenty of stuff. And then there’s Irving, and it’s precisely his mannequin. It’s very humorous.
Do you assume Phineas and Ferb’s 16-year gestation interval helped the ultimate model of the present?
DP: It did give us time to mature as storytellers. I believe Phineas and Ferb might need been a really completely different present if it had gotten picked up after we had been in our 20s, reasonably than in our 40s. I used to be 42, I believe, when the present began. We each had youngsters, and all of a sudden I believe it was a kinder, gentler present. I believe [the original version would] have been making an attempt to be edgy, such as you do whenever you’re youthful. It was Swampy’s concept early on, “Let’s not have these characters ever do anything that would be considered disobeying their parents, or being disrespectful, or really being negative in any way.” We’re like, “Oh, that’s interesting,” as a result of that’s the place you go for comedy more often than not — to this detrimental place, or to shock.
JM: It’s very simple.
DP: The best chuckle you will get goes to these locations. I puzzled if we might make a present that’s nonetheless edgy, that wasn’t utilizing these issues. And I believe we had been capable of do it, as a result of, as you say, folks describe it as kind of an grownup present for teenagers. I believe we had been capable of maintain some edge in there with out the children ever snapping off and saying one thing smart-aleck, or something like that. It was a really completely different factor.
JM: But I additionally inform folks, one of many benefits that point gave us was, our skill to correctly argue for the issues we believed in on the present was exponentially better. So we knew in a lot, a lot better methods how you can articulate why we wished these issues on the present, and it made it a lot simpler for us to really do these issues. That was a giant distinction.
To contact on the film a bit — why deal with Candace because the central character this time round?
JM: It’s her flip!
DP: Candace is all the time kind of the focus of Phineas and Ferb. I all the time say that what Phineas and Ferb are doing is the setting, and the story is actually Candace and Doofenshmirtz. They’re those that truly have a little bit of an arc in any of them. But for us, it was a matter of, “What stories have we not told?” All of our Phineas tales had been pushed by Phineas and Ferb making an attempt to take advantage of out of each single day, which is a enjoyable place to go for gags and stuff. But if you’d like one thing actually emotional, we had been pondering, what would it not be like if we began a narrative the place there was an urgency to it, the place they needed to go and rescue anyone? Somebody was in jeopardy, and we’ve received to cease that jeopardy. What is that story for our characters? And can we nonetheless make a enjoyable Phineas and Ferb film the place they keep optimistic, however they actually should get in there and do one thing. I believe it’s a giant balancing act, however I believe we had been capable of do it and nonetheless maintain it optimistic and enjoyable, however nonetheless have actual stakes.
The present got here out within the late 2000s, so early seasons have the characters utilizing flip telephones. But within the film, all of them have smartphones and use social media. What was it like updating the present to include fashionable expertise?
DP: That to me is the largest pinpointable factor about when one thing was made. When you watch a film, they usually have a particular sort of cellphone, “Oh, it was made between these three years.” I don’t assume we actually had that for the films earlier than smartphones occurred, earlier than cell telephones occurred. You’d should go, “Well, the cars look like it might be in the ’60s.”
JM: Nowadays, the pc console that anyone’s typing into — what does the show appear to be? And you go, like, “Oh yeah, 1985.”
DP: It’s occurring so quick. It was enjoyable to have the ability to use. One of my favourite bits is once they’re watching Candace get taken away within the spaceship. Phineas seems to be like this [makes a shocked face] and Ferb simply takes his cellphone out and goes like [pretends to take a picture on a pretend phone] after which begins going like this [makes the motion of zooming in] on the display. You don’t even see what he’s doing. But precisely what he’s doing. If I had had him doing one thing like that to a bit rectangle [years ago], no person would have identified what that was. But all people is aware of what that movement is now.
I’m a giant theme-park fan, so I wished to ask about Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure — the interactive attraction at Epcot that simply closed this previous February. How a lot involvement did you’ve got within the creation of that?
DP: They pitched us all the things they had been doing in it. We needed to go file voices and stuff for it. We thought it was so cool that we had been going to be a part of a theme park. They flew us out once they first put Doofenshmirtz within the glockenspiel within the huge clock, the place he comes out like this [makes a face as near this image as doable]. It was simply so nice to do this. They flew us out after which gave us VIP tour guides to take us across the parks, which was a tremendous expertise, as a result of we received to the entrance of all of the traces.
JM: We had been filming press stuff all morning, and within the interim, my household had gone on each nice journey. So after we had been achieved, it’s like, “Let’s go [see the park]!” they usually had been like, “We’ve done it.”
DP: But it was so nice simply to see [our characters] be a part of one thing like that, and listen to our voices popping out of issues within the park. It kind of gave us chills. That and once they did the Phineas and Ferb dance get together at California Adventure, that’s the coolest stuff we received to do due to the success of the present.
What was it like coming again to those characters in any case this time?
DP: We missed them. When we completed Phineas and Ferb, we had been prepared. We requested to do a finale and transfer on to one thing else. We’d been doing it for 10 years, and we felt like, “Okay, this is good” — however we wished to have an precise ending. They allow us to do the finale, however they did say, “Don’t kill anybody off, in case we ever want to do more.”
JM: It’s a disgrace, as a result of we wrote an entire script the place all people dies.
DP: Yeah, precisely. So we needed to throw that one away! They allow us to do this. Then we went on and did Milo Murphy’s Law, which I believe is a superb present. I’m hoping folks begin discovering that on Disney Plus, and perhaps we are able to do a 3rd season of that. But within the interim, we had a while away from Phineas and Ferb. So once they referred to as and stated, “Can you do one other? Can you do a Phineas and Ferb film for Disney Plus?”, we had been like, “Yes, we can do that.” We actually missed these guys. We had gotten a bit style of it, as a result of we did a crossover episode with Milo Murphy’s Law. It was a lot enjoyable. It was like placing on an previous snug sweater that was like, “Oh yeah, I love this.”
JM: We had been reminded of simply how nicely these characters nonetheless had been resonating with folks.
DP: Yeah, it was a lot enjoyable. Hopefully we’ll have the ability to do it once more. People say, “Are you going to do more?” Well, that’s as much as Disney, however I’m completely keen to do extra of this.
All episodes of Phineas and Ferb can be found to stream on Disney Plus. Candace Against the Universe hits the platform on Aug. 28.