Since Disney’s popular Phineas and Ferb series was nominated for an Emmy in the Special Class category (for the episode titled ‘The Monster Of Phineas-N-Ferbenstein’) we contacted the show’s creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh to hear what they had to say about the good news.
‘We’re thrilled and feel like we’re back in grade school,’ says Povenmire, who was also nominated last year for Best Title Theme and Best Music and Lyrics. ‘It really helps that the Academy created this Special Class category for animated half-hour shows that have two 11-minute episodes. It used to be that the Emmys would always go to shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy and just one slot saved for shows made for kids. But this year, it’s great because we share the category with SpongeBob SquarePants.’
Of course, the 2009 Emmy nominations were record-setting because Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy managed to land in the Best Comedy category and will be competing against shows such as 30 Rock, Entourage, The Flight of the Conchords, How I Met Your Mother, Weeds and The Office. This is the first time an animated show has been running in this category since The Flintstones was nominated in 1961′and lost to The Jack Benny Show.
‘I was really pleased for Seth so I texted him said this must mean that you peaked three years ago!’ jokes Ponvenmire, who used to work on Family Guy three years ago! ‘It’s Emmy Logic, you always get the Emmy three years after the show has peaked.”
Marsh adds, ‘It’s amazing that all these years nothing has won against The Simpsons and King of the Hill. It’s also great to be running with SpongeBob. We’d love do a lot of smack-talking against Stephen [Hillenburg], but he’s such a nice guy’and we hope nice things for him.’ ‘In other words, you’re going down, Stephen!’ jokes Povenmire.
All kidding aside, both Povenmire and Marsh are pleased with the way Disney has supported their show from day one. ‘It felt kind of strange for us that a studio has been behind our show from day one,’ adds Povenmire. ‘Usually, they wait until you get the numbers!’ ‘They gave us a lot of freedom and enough rope to hang ourselves with,’ says Marsh. ‘It’s a great position to be in.”
Povenmire and Marsh met as layout artists on The Simpsons and worked together on Nickelodeon’s Rocko’s Modern Life. Povenmire came up with the initial idea for a show after he doodled a boy with a triangle-shaped head in a restaurant. The triangular-head boy became Phineas, and the show came to center on the adventures of two stepbrothers who come up with wild adventures to fight boredom and the annoying snooping of their older sister. The series debuted on the Disney Channel in 2007 and has been garnering great ratings on the kids’ network and its new, sister station Disney XD.
The Phineas and Ferb team is now working on the show’s third season. Povenmire says they’re busy hammering out a special Christmas episode. ‘We’re closing in on our 100th half-hour and that’s a lot of stories considering we’re doing two 11-minute episodes at a time,’ says Marsh. ‘We’re also getting more and more people involved with the songs. We just did a song with Richard O’Brien who is part of our regular voice cast. Rocky Horror Picture Show fans remember him as Riff-Raff in that movie.’
Since Phineas and Ferb has been one of the few breakout hits of Disney’s TV division in the past couple of years, it puts the creators in a great position. ‘It really makes us unique right now,’ says Marsh. ‘But there are some new shows that are coming out in the next couple of years that look fantastic. The long-term effects of our showis that they’ll have the resources to develop more animated shows and give the artists the freedom to stick with their vision.’