An Emotional Phineas and Ferb Goodbye
This week marked my first Hollywood press trip. Among other things, I was given the opportunity to ask questions of some very talented individuals, Phineas and Ferb masterminds Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh.
What did I do? Asked a question that made them more emotional than I expected.
We had just finished watching the final episode of Phineas and Ferb and we were already pretty raw with sentiment. Their answers to my question along with the others were truly inspiring and fit with how I feel as a parent.
Over and over again, we share stories about empowering our kids to be the best they can be. We discuss nurturing their musical talents, encouraging their potential career interests, supporting their passions, then revel at their capacity to learn. When they perform for the symphony, excel in engineering or robotics, or succeed at outplaying adults in board games, we know we have played a big part in all of it.
We nurture their interests. As parents, that is our job.
As you know, we feel strongly about introducing them to a variety of topics, hobbies and experiences. Not only does it allow them the opportunity to see the diversity of the world around them, but it gives us the occasion to teach them what is right and wrong. We use this same philosophy when it comes to what they watch on television as well. I prefer shows that teach some kind of lesson or encourage some kind of interest. There are a number that fall into that category and Phineas and Ferb is one that meets with our approval.
The show by Creators and Executive Producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh has been on for 10 years and focuses on the two main characters for which the show is named along with their older sister. Supporting cast includes their platypus pet/secret agent, a handful of neighborhood friends, the parents and the token evil-doer. Phineas and Ferb are creative, intelligent and filled with imaginative ideas. What’s not to love about a show like that?
Instead of allowing the show to linger, the creators decided to wrap it up with one last episode that tied the series together and offered some closure, something uncommon when it comes to children’s shows. The title sequence of every episode references “104 days of summer vacation” so the final episode is appropriately titled “Phineas and Ferb Last Day of Summer”.
This past Monday during the previously mentioned first Hollywood press trip, we screened the finale then interview Dan and Swampy. Hopefully you had a chance to follow #PhineasandFerbEvent on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to get a little bit of information, but today I’m going to share some of my greatest takeaways from the event.
First of all, the finale… if you’ve watched any of the episodes over the years, you’ll want to see it. If you’re like me and easily tear up at movies, bring along some tissue. Let’s start with Easter Eggs. Last Day of Summer offers tributes to prior episodes as well as a shout-out to the talented individuals who have provided the voices of these characters over the years. The cartoon characters morph into their vocal counterparts. Except Beuford. He turns into an octopus. Dan and Jeff “Swampy” said it’s because they wanted to show the individuals who had some kind of resemblance to their cartoon characters. Dan explained “…people have seen it several times before they realize, “Hey why didn’t Beuford change?” So it was like, “You, you didn’t wanna’ see Beuford. Trust me on this.”
Oh, the title song and the 104 days of summer vacation. If your kids get upset when they count days on the calendar, just tell them it’s more fun to sing 104 days than what they really get. At least that’s what Jeff says. In all reality, the error was made when they first discussed the concept of creating the show set in summer. (Dan apparently doesn’t like drawing school desks. LOL) As they sat in a meeting, someone said they had recently researched how many days of summer and the number was 104. By the time they clarified that was “summer” and not “summer vacation” it was too late. If we accept that Phineas and Ferb are able to imagine over-the-top inventions that don’t exist, I guess having a 104 day summer vacation isn’t entirely unbelievable either.
I figured many of the stories were inspired by something happening in their own lives. Some of it is, but most of it stems from their own childhoods. Dan said, “Swampy and I were both sort of creative kids and, and we had creative parents that would allow us to do ridiculous things and were always building.” He proceeded to share a story of how some of his buddies explored the drainage pipes in his neighborhood armed with sticks and flashlights. It wasn’t until they looked out through a storm drain that they recognized a local church and realized they were a mile and a half from home. That’s when they realized they should turn and head back. I found this extremely interesting because just the other day I was talking about how different childhood is now versus when I was my daughters’ ages. Speaking from experience, modern-day parents barely let their kids out of their sight. Allowing them to run through the drainage system would be completely unheard of. Jeff said they leverage those memories to come up with what Phineas and Ferb would do. “Starts with us putting our, ourselves back as you know a 10 to 12 year old boy and thinking if you could do anything and that’s pretty easy for us to do… …cause we’re, we’re pretty close to that maturity level.”
After a series of questions, I mustered the nerve to ask one myself. Shows like theirs serve as inspiration for the next generation. I asked if they had been told “Has anyone said that you have inspired them to become an engineer or something like that and if they have, obviously they have,… what is your FAVORITE one that you have heard? The favorite inspiration?” Jeff quickly replied “I don’t have a favorite, but you would be shocked at how many letters we get of people telling us… you got us through a really dark time…” Dan finished Jeff’s sentence with “…You inspire my kid to be more, more creative.” He then proceeded to share a story about a letter that (he thinks) was sent to Gary Marsh, head of the channel. Before their kid was watching Phineas, the child showed little interest in art. His focus was to get through art class to be able to go out and play. Dan explained, “… (the child) would never draw anything, would never do anything, you know. And she (the mom) sent a picture that he had drawn from before Phineas and it was like, like one line on a piece of paper… …And then a picture that he drew after he started watching Phineas and, and all the creativity that she saw coming out of him…” As Dan choked up, he said, “We get a lot of stuff like that.” And I cried, too. They both went on to tell about the correspondence on social media when Last Day of Summer was announced. All the heartwarming messages. It helped one person through PTSD and another get through chemo with her child. The room was filled with emotion. I wasn’t sorry I asked. I think everyone needs to know how such a simple thing – a cartoon about two kids and their sister – can change so many lives for the better.
I’m excited to have been able to meet Dan and Jeff, screen Phineas and Ferb Last Day of Summer and enjoy lunch with them. Now I need to find a box of tissue so I can watch Phineas and Ferb Last Day of Summer on Disney XD with my girls when it airs tomorrow!
What is your favorite part of Phineas and Ferb?
23 thoughts on “An Emotional Phineas and Ferb Goodbye”
My boys LOVE Phineas and Ferb. It’s always on in our house.
It’s a great show, isn’t it? Did you catch the finale, Robin? How do your boys feel about the show ending?
Unfortunately its over and wrapped up.
I am totally prepping an entire box of tissues for watching it tomorrow too. I got teary the first time through, I know I will even more after talking with Dan and Swampy. What amazing guys! Loved reading your post. 🙂
Thanks, Tessa. I’ve been reading everyone else’s posts and realize how much I missed while I was searching for tissues and whatnot. 🙂
Maybe it is because I don’t have children but I never heard of or watched this show. It definitely sounds like it was a great show and I am sorry to hear it is ending. That was a very good question you asked!
Wow almost ten years of such a beloved cartoon. These creative minds will definitely come out with more awesome shows in the future!
We all love Phineas and Ferb at home and this coming from a mom really limits TV time for the kids. We will really miss them! I will be sure to watch the last episode and to have a box of kleenex handy when I do. 🙂
10 wonderful years and the kids have to say good bye. I know my nephew will be so sad about this:) What a great experience and the fct that the guys behind the shows are so fun and relaxed makes you want to watch it even more:)
Unfortunately we won’t be home tonight but I have it set to record and I think the kids may actually just stay up late to watch the finale before bed. I on the other hand have a huge box of tissues ready. I know I’ll tear up just from the show but also knowing the love that went behind it.
My husband loves this show. He was really sad to hear it’s ending.
What a great opportunity you had to visit this studio and meet the guys behind the show. My kids watch this show and enjoy it.
I didn’t expect such an emotional response to your question either but it made me love these guys! They’re so genuine. Can’t wait to see what they create with Mikey Murphy’s Law!
My daughter used to watch this show all the time. It’s going to be a shame to see it go.
Phineas and Ferb is such a great cartoon. My boys have watched them a lot over the years. It’s great that you got the chance to experience this event.
My kids loved Phineas and Ferb. I’m not sure why they don’t watch it anymore, but it was a cute cartoon.
I can’t wait to see it. I know I will be sobbing. I watched this show with my boys.
So glad we were on this press trip together Nicole! What a time we had. And Dan and Swampy, well, they won this mom over with everything they talked about. Sad to see it end but excited for the future!
That is so crazy awesome that you were invited to this Phineas & Ferb event. My kids adore this show (even now my 4 year old is standing at my shoulder saying “Whoa! That’s Phineas & Ferb there? Some people got to go SEE them?! I want to go see them!” Lol
I love that they are sending the show out with a bang too.
Rest in peace, sweet prince.
Phineas and Ferb will be missed in my household. My kids love trying to be engineers and building things all the time thanks to Phineas and Ferb.