Are you ready for another family friendly show for kids? From the creators of Phineas and Ferb, there’s a new show to watch! We have an exclusive interview with the creators and executive producers. Post sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.
My son loves watching Phineas and Ferb on our streaming service. The opening song is so catchy, even I can sing along. Phineas and Ferb go on so many fun adventures, meanwhile, Candace is always trying to get them in trouble with their mom. I feel bad for Candace because she tries so hard to get attention from her parents.
From the creators of Phineas and Ferb, there is a brand new show to watch!
Milo Murphy’s Law follows 13-year-old Milo. He is a positive and upbeat kid who sees the good in every situation! He finds adventure wherever he goes.
We were lucky enough to screen an episode of Milo Murphy’s Law with the Creators and Executive Producers Dan Povenmire & Jeff “Swampy” Marsh!
Dan Povenmire: Really fun to watch that with an audience. We forget sometimes, by the time we’re done with it, none of it’s funny to us anymore ’cause we’ve seen all of those jokes 30 or 40 times each so it’s always a matter of “Well, this made me laugh the first several times I heard it. I should probably leave it in,” because otherwise, you end up changing things because you’ve heard them a lot. And it’s always nice when people laugh at the things you thought were funny originally.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: It is, though.
Dan Povenmire: It is, it’s nice. So, you work in TV, you work in sort of a vacuum, and you sort of send it out into the ether, and you know, if you’re in features, you can go to an actual theater and hear people responding to it. And if you’re in a play or something like that, you get that instant gratification.
We have to sort of look online to see what kids are saying about it in order to get a response back.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: The crew laughs. But we pay them.
Question: What is it like, working with Weird Al Yankovic, and how much influence does he have on Milo?
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: Well, between the temper tantrums —
Dan Povenmire: He’s a horror to work with. No. He’s a wonderful, wonderful guy.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: Somebody said the weirdest thing about him is just how normal he is.
Dan Povenmire: True. He’s super, super normal. He’s not as wacky as I think people expect him to be, except on stage, or —
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: Yeah.
Dan Povenmire: – doing one of his videos. But he’s about the nicest guy that we know.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: Yeah.
Dan Povenmire: And that’s part of why we ended up with him, is we were looking for somebody to have this very positive voice without sounding put on.
And we went to some — we auditioned hundreds of people for Milo. And we auditioned kids. Seasoned voice actors. People who — whose work we love. But when they try to do that super-positivity thing, it’d always come off sort of Pollyanna and false. And we realized we just need to find somebody who just actually has that voice, ’cause the character is sort of modeled after a friend of ours who just sounds that way when he talks. He just always sounds really positive.
And we needed to find somebody who sounds positive naturally. And Weird Al came in and did a voice on Gravity Falls. And Alex, who runs Gravity Falls, posted it, and I was like — oh. Weird Al. Weird Al would be like — I’ve met him. I’ve seen him interviewed. He’s like, this super, super positive guy. What does he sound like? I go — I had to like, look up an interview with him to remind myself what his voice sounded like.
And we had him come in, and it was just — just immediately worked.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: I was against it. We already auditioned literally hundreds of people. And I’m like, I’m just, “No.”
Dan Povenmire: Yeah. You were —
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: Just couldn’t take it. We wanted to hire the guy who was a friend of ours who works on another show.
Dan Povenmire: But he runs another show.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: We were told —
Dan Povenmire: And so he’s —
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: — he’s really busy. So when Dan said “we’re going to read one more person,” I’m “fine, whatever, I don’t care.”
And then he sent me the audition and I got up in the morning, and it was on an e-mail. So I’m literally sitting there in bed with my wife, and I play Weird Al’s voice. She goes, “Who’s that? ” I went, “It’s Weird Al. It’s really good.”
Dan Povenmire: Yeah. So yeah. It was a great find, and working with him is great. You know, it’s — the — the fact that we get to write songs and have Weird Al sing them, it just makes my high school self just, Weeee!
And the funny thing is, during the course of Phineas we had — there were several songs from the first season that were sort of popular, and then we would write our own Weird Al version of that. That song just changes the lyrics, and make it for that particular instance. And that was always fun. We always called it our Weird Al version. Well, now, for Milo, we needed a song that was — we wrote something like that for Phineas.
So, I took the music from a song we wrote on Phineas, and just rewrote the lyrics, and made our own Weird Al version of a song from Phineas, for Milo, and actually got Weird Al to sing it. So, we wrote our own Weird Al version, and Weird Al is — and how — how bizarre is that?! So that’s really fun.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: When you find somebody who really works, it lets you push the character a lot more than you normally would and that’s been really fun. And, also, I’d never worked with anybody that’s that prepared —
Dan Povenmire: Yeah.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: — every day, for everything, and especially the music stuff. He literally —
Dan Povenmire: Because he’s an actual musician.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: So much better than we are.
Dan Povenmire: We don’t read and write music. We can play, play and sing into a microphone, and then somebody else like, writes out the score and stuff like that, from that. And, so, he’ll come in for a song and he’ll go, “Yeah, on bar 12 here, you’ve got a dotted quarter note. But in the demo that you guys sang, it’s a dotted half note” or something.
“Which one do you want to –?” And we’re like, “I think it’s so cute that you think we know.” The answer to that.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: I tried to sound intelligent. “Just take the dot off. It’s fine.”
Dan Povenmire: Yeah. I always say, “Well, however, we sang it in the demo.”
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: Yeah.
Dan Povenmire: That’s where — that’s how it’s supposed to go. We don’t know what those little dots mean. So — but he’s very prepared —
Question: You’d mentioned that you looked online to see the feedback you got from fans after they watched the show. What is it you’re looking for from them? What do you want them to get from watching this?
Dan Povenmire: Well, a lot of times you’re looking to see what starts getting quoted. There’s always the Monday morning gag. That’s what we’re always looking for. The Monday morning gag. The gag that kids will come to school and talk about.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: It’s nice to know that things that you wanted — were hoping that would connect, do connect, and also I think I look for it to find the surprising things I didn’t expect.
Dan Povenmire: Yeah.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: And that’s kind of the joy. You think, oh, there’s this whole other thing that happened that I really didn’t anticipate.
Dan Povenmire: You guys laughed at something that we weren’t expecting you to laugh at, and I can’t remember what it was, but I was like, “Oh, I guess that is funny.”
You know. I hadn’t thought of it that way at all, but it was like, that’s always fun when you get a laugh for something that you’re like, “Oh, that’s a surprise. Yeah.”
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: The other thing I’m always looking for is the people out there who were me. That if I had had somebody much earlier on in my life say “you should do that,” then maybe I would have found this gig a lot earlier —
Dan Povenmire: Yeah.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: — I didn’t get into animation until I was like, 28. And I like finding those kids that are out there, looking for somebody to say, “You know, hey, this doodling and storytelling you do?
Or singing funny songs? There is a place for you out there that do that.”
Dan Povenmire: We get a lot of people that follow us on Twitter that say that now that’s what they want to do is animation. Always makes me feel great.
Question: Speaking of kids, Jeff, have your grandkids inspired any episode?
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: They show up as little characters in there, too. Yeah, every time you’re with ’em, there’s fun little behaviors and things you don’t think about until you see, your grandkids, people that young, doing stuff that you think it’s funny. So yeah.
Question: Do they recognize themselves in the character, or do you tell them?
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: Oh, I tell them. You have to tell them. Otherwise, it happens and they didn’t know, and then they’re really angry at you.
Dan Povenmire: I have two girls, and one’s named Isabella, who I named Isabella in Phineas and Ferb after. And so when I was drawing out these characters, I put a “Melissa” in there, and I had it on my desk, and I went to sleep, and my oldest daughter, Isabella, had woken up before me and she left a Post-It on that said, “Daddy, this is not fair. You can’t put Melissa into this show and not have an Isabella.”
And I had to call her. And say, “You realize that there’s a big hit show with a character that’s named after you?” Yes. But Isabella doesn’t look like me. And that looks like Melissa. And I go, “Oh, I can’t win. I cannot win.” It’s like, “Well, because you weren’t quite born yet. We knew we were having an Isabella, and we made it look like your cousin.”
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: And I get things like I put my wife in a show, and she was mortified. Then — what I thought was weird was she said, “I can’t believe you did that to a character designer. Made them design the boss’s wife. That was really mean of you.” And I didn’t think — “Oh, okay, I’m sorry.”
Dan Povenmire: No, what’s funny is the mom, Milo’s mom in this, looks very much like my wife. But when I drew it, it didn’t.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: Yeah.
Dan Povenmire: And then she cut her hair to that haircut. And now every — her family thinks that I obviously drew that to look like her, and it’s not. It was — it’s a complete coincidence. Yes?
Question: How important is it for you to create a show the whole family can watch together?
Dan Povenmire: That’s the best thing that we hear, ’cause when we started Phineas it was right at the time where TV watching had gotten so segmented. There are cable stations that are just, there’s the Food Station, the Food Network, and Home and Garden Television.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: There’s a whole Bass Fishing Network.
Dan Povenmire: Yeah, there really is, and what the research was showing was that every age group in the house had its own TV.
So, family viewing as we remembered it, from when we were kids, had sort of disappeared. When we were kids, it was the whole family on the couch watching TV. It was everybody watching one show, and you had to pick something that everybody liked, and since that was no longer the norm, people weren’t doing as many shows with the whole family to do. So, when we hear that, to us, it just warms our heart, that oh, we’re bringing back family viewing to the family —
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: I was recently on a ski lift with this 18-year-old kid, and I was making jokes about my 15-year-old son. That I was up here with a bunch of 15-year-olds and blah blah blah and we were talking. And he did that “what do you do” and I said, “Well, I do cartoons for Disney.” Oh, what show? Said, “Well, I used to do a show called Phineas and Ferb.” And this 18-year-old went “Oh my God, dude, God, I gotta take a selfie with you.” I’d forgotten that now these kids that grew up on our show are 18, 19, 20, they’re in college.
And they have this language with their families, they have shared jokes because the show talked to everybody in the house. And I think that’s awesome. I had a guy when I was talking at a college, asked if I would call his dad and tell his dad to send him more money. As Monogram. I did it as Monogram, because —- they shared that whole thing, and I did it. “I’m here with your son, and he’s doing very well in school, but he could probably use a few more bucks,” and I got a nice e-mail from him later, saying, “He sent more money. Thank you.” And it was just — all of a sudden there is that shared humor, those shared jokes, those shared lines, that those families will have forever. And sometimes, it’s just singing the songs together.
Question: So, who has the bad luck? You said this concept [Milo Murphy’s Law] came to because you always run into a –?
Dan Povenmire: No, people have asked me a couple times what or how did you deal with all of the adversity that happened to you in your career, for instance, and I always look back on that, I always scratch my head and think, was there — did I have adversity? And I look back, and there’s a lot of things that went wrong throughout that, and I think Swampy and I are both very positive in our outlook of life.
So when things go wrong, we just go around it. And people often think that you’re going down this path, and if you turn this way it’s success, and this way it’s failure. And that’s not at all what it is. It’s failure, failure, failure, failure, success, you know. You just have to keep going down whatever path you’re on, and if there’s failure here, you turn that way. If there’s failure here, you know you turn that way, and you just keep going.
And I think that’s part of what we were trying to do with Milo is that, things are going to go wrong for everybody, for all — if there’s anything that we want the kids to know from this, it’s that if things go wrong in your life, don’t let it ruin your day, much less your life. You know. Find the positive spin on it.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: My little brother and I have always grown up with people saying, “I can’t believe you guys turned out the way you did.” My mom is now living in Montana with husband number seven, so there was some chaos growing up.
But we always thought, well, you know, it’s your choice, what you do with that. Either it buries you, or it makes you an interesting person, with a lot of experience that no one else had. And I always thought, when we started creating Milo, I always thought that was the coolest thing about a character like that, is that whatever life’s throwing at you, you go, “Well. I’m going to know how to deal with that. It’s going to make a little tougher. A little stronger. A little more interesting. A little more fun.” Whatever it is, that’s a great thing to know, because life’s going to throw stuff at everybody. And you have to figure out —
Dan Povenmire: Yeah.
Jeff “Swampy” Marsh: — it’s what you do with it.
Dan Povenmire: Nobody really leads a charmed life. They just exist within the life that they have in a positive way.
Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright/LovebugsAndPostcards.com
Catch Milo Murphy’s Law on Disney XD on Mondays!
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