Disney XD’s Phineas and Ferb is a show on a roll ‘ and nothing demonstrates that quite so well as the reception the show received at the recent Comic-Con International in San Diego and from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which nominated the show for an Emmy.
But what had creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh most excited was getting the show picked up for a third season on Disney XD and Disney Channel. The success of the show also has allowed them to broaden the show and take on special projects, such as a new two-part episode titled ‘Phineas and Ferb’s Quantum Boogaloo.’ The time-travel tale features an extended version of the show’s theme song and guest voices from Jennifer Stone of Wizards of Waverly Place, Moises Arias of Hannah Montana fame and Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey.
Marsh says the third season also will see some attention paid to the show’s growing cast of supporting characters, many of whom have already grown far beyond their original parameters.
‘We’ll get to meet some of Baljeet’s family, we’re starting to meet Buford’s family, some of the new kids, and Phineas and Ferb’s other relatives,’ Marsh says. ‘And that’s been kind of nice to slowly kind of grow the world out, find new people in it.
Povenmire says keeping the show fresh has not been a problem for the duo, thanks in large part to a writing and animation staff that constantly brings in new ideas.
‘We’ve had animators and storyboard artist and writers who have found ways to take the format we have for this show and really turn it on its head and yet keep all the characters the same, their motivations are the same,’ says Marsh. ‘It’s still our show, but they found really clever ways to do that. And that’s been fun, having other people figure things out.’
It’s also rewarding to see the show and its characters grow in unexpected ways. ‘You’re constantly surprised by where the characters end up going because you’ve had them in your brain for so long, and then you put them out there and a whole group of other people start playing with your toys, in your universe and it becomes something that you weren’t expecting,’ Povenmire says. As an example, he cites Major Monogram, voiced by Marsh, who was originally meant to be a simple, expository character. ‘He’s become this very funny character with his own inner life and he has this intern now that he interacts with that is working the camera for him. And that was just a really great surprise for us.’
The co-creators says they’re honored by the Emmy nomination ‘ in the category of Outstanding Special Class – Short-Format Animated Programs ‘ and say it shows that more than just kids are watching and enjoying the program.
‘It’s not little kids who vote for that, it’s the adults, so it feels like our audience is widening out,’ says Povenmire.
That kind of recognition also opens doors for the show, making it easier to get resources and to experiment with formats and content. Povenmire says he’s very excited to see the results of one such experiment, an episode titled ‘Phineas and Ferb’s Cliptastic Countdown,’ where viewers get to vote for their favorite songs from the series. ‘I’m anxious to see what order they come out in,’ Povenmire says.
That project also ties into an upcoming soundtrack release in September, one of many merchandising efforts Disney’s various editions are making to put the show on everything from apparel to comic books to video games.
Marsh says he’s excited to see what new ideas they and their staff can come up with. ‘That always makes me giddy, that somebody else has figured out some new cool thing and it gives us another avenue to go down,’ he says.
The best example, Povenmire says, is an upcoming episode set at a science-fiction convention in which Phineas and Ferb are caught on opposite sides of a snarky battle between two factions of fans. ”It was just this off-the-wall take on the characters and what you could do story-wise with it, that was so unlike any of the other ones we had done and made us really excited,’ he says.