It was almost seven years ago that I first wrote about this new, awesome cartoon show my kids and I had discovered on Disney Channel. Since that time, Phineas and Ferb has been a fun, often inspiring, part of many families’ lives, and, after tonight, it will only exist in reruns.
Tonight at 9:00pm ET/PT on Disney XD and Disney Channel, the series finale “Last Day of Summer” will air. It’s in many ways the perfect series finale: it shows how the core characters are going through transitions that make sense in the overall context of the series, and it is also a really good episode on its own. The episode has a story that will remind you of Groundhog Day – deliberately, of course – and ends with a musical number that retells the story of the whole summer.
I recently spoke with Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, the show’s creators and producers, and also the voices of Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Major Monogram, respectively. Here are some of the best parts of the interview, with anything particularly spoileriffic removed:
GeekDad: When did you decide to make the finale a Groundhog Day-type story?
Dan Povenmire: We’ve been trying to do a Groundhog Day episode for a long time; I’m glad we finally found a story that we liked.
GD: I noticed Stacey and Jeremy weren’t in the episode at all.
Swampy Marsh: Every attempt to put them in it really felt like we were forcing them into a story that was really about our core characters.
Dan: Yeah, and I sort of liked that about this, that it sort of became very much like a first-season episode in that it’s really about just these main characters, and there’s not a lot extraneous anything going on.
GD: I loved the song at the end that kind of ties everything together.
Dan: That song makes us cry a little bit.
Swampy: Every single time.
Dan: I had heard it a bunch of times in demo form, and it had made me get misty a lot, and I’d sort of gotten over it. And then we recorded the kids actually singing their parts, and I listened to it, and it made me cry all over again. It was like “Oh, we’re not going to see those guys any more!” It’s good that, because of the format of the show, we get a chance to sort of say “Thank you” to the fans themselves. And I think that’s a great opportunity.
Swampy: [JOKING] We had another song written that just encouraged kids to send us money personally. And in the end that seemed a little self-serving, so we went with this.
Dan: But if they want to send us money, they’re welcome to! [LAUGHS]
Swampy: Yeah, don’t get me wrong. [LAUGHS]
GD: Is there anything in particular people should look for in the episode?
Dan: One of my favorite things in the series and this episode is just the hinting at a larger world that we don’t even know about, like “Oh, wow, I guess if somebody back home is planning on basting a turkey while wearing suspenders, they’re out of luck.” I just love that they know a guy who they know would be doing that if he could.
Swampy: And they’re concerned about him.
Dan: It’s sad that he can’t baste a turkey while wearing suspenders.
GD: What can you tell us about Mikey Murphy’s Law [the series Dan and Swampy are working on now]?
Dan: Well, we tried to come up with something that we felt like would be a good follow-up to Phineas, that would give people more of the same kind of humor and kind of positivity. Because I feel like what I’m really proud about for Phineas is that it’s a very positive show, and at its core it’s really about optimism. And that’s what I think we’ve done with Mikey’s Law, with an entirely new set of characters and an entirely new format, but it feels like it could exist in the same universe as Phineas and Ferb. We’re pretty happy with where it is now: we’re just in the very early writing stages, so we’ll let you see more when we have more.
GD: Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
Dan: I hope that people feel like it’s a good finale, a good send-off for the characters. It’s not like the characters are going to go away from the airwaves; Disney’s going to keep replaying it for forever. But I feel like we’ve tied up the summer in a nice little bow, and sort of said “Goodbye” to the fans, and now we’re on to the next adventure!
Swampy: We hope we’ve done them justice. I’m just grateful that we got the chance to wrap this up. I mean, nobody in our business that I know of ever gets to do that. And that was kind of joyous, to be given that opportunity to really say a proper goodbye. We’re going to put it in our next contract that we get to do that. [LAUGHS]
Be sure to tune in at 9:00 tonight (ET/PT) on Disney XD or Disney Channel to watch the Phineas and Ferb series finale! In the meantime, here’s a clip from the episode:
Images and video: Disney XD/Disney Channel