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SDCC2015: A Farewell to “Phineas and Ferb” Panel


Phineas and FerbThis year was bittersweet for Phineas and Ferb fans. The series finale aired in June, so TV Guide held a special panel for fans to say farewell to their favorite show. Like the show, the panel began with TV Guide‘s moderator saying, “I know what we’re going to do today!” The answer: fix the microphones, which were not functioning. In attendance were show creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (also the voices of Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Major Monogram, respectively); Vincent Martella (the voice of Phineas); Alyson Stoner (the voice of Isabella); Dee Bradley Baker (the voice of Perry and various other things); and Maulik Pancholy (the voice of Baljeet). As is Comic-Con tradition, the panel purposely mixed up the name tags they were given and were asked to voice each of their characters doing the catchphrase of the character whose name tag they were given. The panel did fix the name tags later, since it did result in some confusion among the audience during the Q&A.

Of course, the big question was why Phineas and Ferb had to end. Povenmire said they had produced over 200 episodes even though there were only 104 days of summer vacation in a year, as stated in the show’s title song, so they already had more than filled their one summer over the show’s 8 years on the air. Marsh explained the ‘extra’ episodes/days could probably be explained by some time traveling or compression the boys had done. Marsh added it was nice to actually put a beginning and end to the series before being told by someone else to do so.

For those wanting more Phineas and Ferb though, there will be a new 1-hour special, The O.W.C.A. Files, coming this fall, highlighting Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s venture on the good side as an O.W.C.A./Organization Without a Cool Acronym agent working with Perry and several other O.W.C.A. agents. Doofenshmirtz was able to become an agent in the all-animal agency due to a loophole in O.W.C.A.’s qualifications, since he was adopted by a family of ocelots after all. Of course, this made Carl, the human intern working under Major Monogram, extremely jealous. In the clip shown, while all the other O.W.C.A. agents are skilled, agile, efficient, and cool, Doofenshmirtz is just a klutz who just ends up tripping and falling all over the place.

Phineas and FerbConcerning the series finale, Stoner said she would have liked to see more of what happened to Phineas and Isabella after that kiss in “Act Your Age,” the episode before the series finale which took place 10 years after the events of the last episode, with almost everyone heading off to college. Since the kids were in high school for that episode, Stoner said she was able to voice Isabella closer to her normal voice. Stoner also said she loved the beautiful song she got to sing as Isabella. Moreover, that episode was really what the fans wanted to see: Phineas and Isabella together at last. Povenmire said he was glad that the kiss was met with much approval from the fans. It was the perfect fan episode, especially since Povenmire and Marsh met the person who designed Phineas and Ferb as teenagers at a previous Comic-Con panel. They loved the fan art she had given them, and went to great lengths to track her down. In fact, Povenmire said when they finally tracked her down, she was in disbelief they were actually contacting her about working on the show.

Phineas and FerbOf course, no Phineas and Ferb panel would be complete without asking Baker about Perry’s trademark growl. Baker described making Perry’s growl by vibrating his uvula against the soft palate in the back of his mouth, which is not something everyone can do. In the beginning during auditions, Baker gave Povenmire and Marsh 3 sounds to potentially use as Perry. It was 1 of the 3 sounds he made for that audition that ultimately became Perry’s trademark usual growl. A few new Perry sounds were added over time plus whatever other animal sounds that were needed for the show. Overall, Baker probably voiced about 12 episodes total over the series’ run. As an added bonus, Povenmire and Marsh were very happy to have Baker do sounds for their Star Wars Phineas and Ferb episode, since he did the voices for several Star Wars animated series on Cartoon Network and Disney XD. Chewbacca’s growl is actually a mix of several different sounds Baker provided.

Phineas and Ferb 133468_0093Then there is Baljeet, the geek chorus for Phineas and Ferb, whose high voice makes him barely understandable according to the moderator. The moderator suggested to the panel there should be more development into Baljeet’s weird misunderstood bromance with Buford.

Going back to the final episode, Povenmire noted there was a lot of development in Doofenshmirtz and Vanessa’s father/daughter relationship. Povenmire said that over time, Doofenshmirtz had become sweeter and slightly less evil. He had always tried to be a good father to Vanessa when she stayed over every other weekend, and in the finale, Doofenshmirtz slowly realizes what Vanessa wants.

Another big question fans want to know is just exactly how much did Phineas and Ferb’s parents know about their sons extracurricular activities? Marsh notes that Dad definitely saw some things, but he never said anything to Mom about them. Also, in the finale, Mom seems to catch a glimpse of Phineas and Ferb’s activities in her car, but her mind quickly dismisses seeing it.

Phineas and FerbPovenmire hinted they may do a ‘next summer’ for Phineas and Ferb, but there are no plans for one yet. They even have a movie script for Phineas and Ferb that they haven’t looked at in a long time, but there is no talk about developing it either. Currently, he and Marsh are working on a new show called Mikey Murphy’s Law which is about the adventures of Mikey, a descendant of the famous Edward Murphy associated with the adage, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Instead of treating his descendant’s adage as a curse, Mikey thinks of it as a blessing that leads him to all sorts of wonderful adventures. A few rough stills were shown from Mikey Murphy’s Law showing Mikey in the most impossible situations that could only occur when everything goes wrong from his bus running into a bunch of underground creatures after sinking into the ground to aliens attacking his school. The series is scheduled to premiere either late 2016 or early 2017 on Disney XD.

When asked about each of their favorite moments on the show, Martella said his was the moment Doofenshmirtz hit the button to make his robot dragon breathe fire from “A Hard Day’s Knight.” It had been one of several clips Povenmire and Marsh showed Martella early on when he first came on board to do the show. They wanted to show Martella because they thought it was really funny, and it was. Martella also said another memorable moment was when he had to voice Phineas underwater. Marsh told Martella to use actual water when voicing the lines because he had thought that that was what the professionals did. Unfortunately, Martella said he almost ended up choking several times doing it.

Phineas and FerbStoner said she was very grateful to Povenmire for Isabella’s catchphrase, “Whatcha DO-ing?” She had spent nearly half her life voicing Isabella, and watching the series finale with everyone together was the culmination of everything they had ever done. Stoner said she trusted Povenmire and Marsh would deliver an appropriate ending, plus being able to sing as Isabella in Act Your Age was a very emotional experience.

Baker said he felt the show had so many meaningful relationships that it just can’t compare to any other show out there. He described the series as one big fun song, and just like the summer, when the song is over, you still have memories of it forever.

Pancholy said when he first came in to do Baljeet’s voice, he thought Baljeet’s voice would just be somewhat higher than his normal voice, but Povenmire kept telling him to go higher and higher until he reached the falsetto you hear. Pancholy never knew he could voice that high either until voicing Baljeet. Pancholy also thought the first episodes were the most memorable to him since they were so creative and imaginative, and that he was grateful to just be a part of it. The voice overs are recorded out-of-order, so Pancholy said he didn’t even know the series was going to end until Povenmire and Marsh told him one day in a recording studio in New York City that it would be their very last recording session. Pancholy was very sad about the news and now misses going into the studio every other week to record Baljeet.

Povenmire said he loved all of Doofenshmirtz’s rants, and he would love to do more if he could.

We were then shown some very early test drawings for the show’s characters. In the first character line-up, all the colors were off, but the character designs overall were the same as the final draft except for Mom, who got a little more tweaking than the others. Also, both Doofenshmirtz and Mom were blond for some reason. Doofenshmirtz’s original name was Mittleshmirtz, which if you Google, is supposed to allude to the word mittleschmerz, the pain women get in their lower abdomen during ovulation. Being a Disney show, that name was quickly turned down. Povenmire and Marsh tried coming up with other similar names before finally settling on Doofenshmirtz. They next showed the very first drawing of Phineas and Ferb from 1993! While Phineas essentially looks as he does now, Ferb was a bit more distorted with his arms starting below his ribcage, a pointier nose, and having the wrong eye bigger. Looking at the date of the drawing, Povenmire and Marsh realized they were horrible at pitching shows since it took them so long to finally getting Phineas and Ferb produced!

Phineas and Ferb Last Day of SummerDuring the audience Q&A, the panel was asked who their favorite character was besides the one they voiced. Povenmire said he liked Ferb and Perry. Marsh said he liked Ferb, mainly for his silence. Martella liked Peter the Panda. Stoner said she liked all the other Fireside Girls since she liked having Isabella dominate over her own pipsqueak mob. Baker loved all the kids since they liked to attack summer to get all the ‘fruity nuggets of goodness.’ Pancholy liked Doofenshmirtz since he was in awe of everything Doofenshmirtz made, which he could never actually understand even with his master’s degree!

Another audience member asked what were Stoner’s and Pancholy’s favorite songs. Stoner’s favorite was “Zubada” from “Tri-Stone Area.” By the end of taping the episode, she had virtually memorized the song. Pancholy’s favorite song was “Gimme a Grade” from “The Baljeatles.” Pancholy said he envied Baljeet being able to ‘rock out’ in that episode.

The next question was what Povenmire’s favorite -inator was. Povenmire said the Other-Dimension-Inator from Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension because Phineas and Ferb finally got to see the real Perry. Were there any ideas that Povenmire and Marsh wanted to do with Phineas and Ferb? Marsh answered he had hoped Disney bought the Harry Potter franchise so Phineas and Ferb could cross-over with that universe.

Phineas and FerbWhat -inator would Povenmire build in real life? Doofenshmirtz answered instead of Povenmire saying he would have loved to build a Take-Over-the-Tri-State-Area-Inator since it only needs to work once. What about the fate of Candace and Jeremy’s relationship and Monty Monogram, Major Monogram’s son? Povenmire figures Candace and Jeremy stay together since Jeremy is probably the only person who could put up with Candace. As for Monty, we know he doesn’t stay with Vanessa since she eventually ends up with Ferb as seen in “Act Your Age,” so Povenmire surmises he goes off traveling and adventuring around the world. How did Stoner like being part of 2 generations of Disney stars since she started out doing The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Lilo and Stitch before being a part of Phineas and Ferb? Stoner said it has been a joy being in the Disney family for so long.

What about Doofenshmirtz and Perry’s relationship? Povenmire said that over the course of the show, they became more like frenemies instead of arch enemies since they see each other every day and were the most important person in each other’s life. Povenmire likened this to an old Warner Bros. cartoon short from back in the day where you see 2 arch enemies fighting each other until the director yells, “Cut!” and after work, they’re just colleagues and friends.

Finally, will Phineas, Ferb, and friends be in the background on The O.W.C.A. Files? Povenmire and Marsh remained tight lipped on that question, but they noted that would be a great thing to see.

At the very end, Marsh said a very teary thank you and goodbye to all the fans in the audience. We fans still hope the summer never ends for Phineas and Ferb.