This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Disney. I received an all-expense paid trip from Disney so that I could gather and share this information about Milo Murphy’s Law on Disney’s XD. However, all experiences and opinions are always 100% my own as this post is written by me in its entirety. This post contains affiliate links.
From the creators of Phineas and Ferb comes Milo Murphy’s Law on Disney XD. Ever feel like if everything can go wrong it probably will? I know a few people like that. Truthfully things happen, and we always tend to blame it on “Murphy’s Law.” Now if we could only accept what was to come and do so as cheerfully and gracefully as Milo and his family – life would just be happier. You’d always have a glass that was half full!
Milo Murphy’s Law on Disney XD
So by now you’re probably wondering what the show is about. Milo Murphy’s Law on Disney XD is an animated adventure comedy series that follows 13-year-old Milo Murphy, the fictional great-great-great-great grandson of the Murphy’s Law namesake. Milo is the personification of Murphy’s Law, where anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
I sat down with the creators and Executive Producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy”Marsh. Dan Povenmire is best known for serving as creator and executive producer of Disney’s five-time Emmy Award-winning series “Phineas and Ferb,” as well as voicing Balthazar Cavendish, for which he has earned eight Emmy nominations in four different categories ranging from songwriting to voice-over performance. In 2010, Povenmire won the coveted Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in Animation for the series. Jeff is best known for serving as co-creator and executive producer on Disney’s five-time Emmy Award-winning series “Phineas and Ferb” as well as voicing Vinnie Dakota.
They very much enjoyed watching the show again with us as an audience = especially when we laughed at the things they thought were funny originally but then got old after hearing the joke 30 or 40 times. When you do a stage production, you get instant gratification, that’s not the case when working with TV. Which is why they turn to social media to get feedback and see what kids are saying about their show.
On Weird Al Yankovic voicing Milo
I knew the voice sounded familiar but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then BAM it hit me like a brick wall – Milos is voiced by Weird Al Yankovic – yes THAT Weird Al! I’m totally telling my age at this point but he’s a pretty awesome dude. I was curious to know what it is like working with Weird Al and how much influence he bestows upon his character.
After a few jokes from John and Dan, “Well, between the temper tantrums” and “He’s a horror to work with.” They finally gave up the real deal. They both agree that he’s a wonderful guy and Jeff mentioned that someone once said “the weirdest thing about him (Weird Al) is just how normal he is.” Dan agrees with this “he’s not as wacky as I think people expect him to be, except on stage, or doing one of his videos. He’s about the nicest guy that we know.”
Which is exactly why they ended up working with him. They were looking for somebody with a very positive voice – but not faking it. They auditioned of people for Milo – kids, seasoned voice actors, people’s whose work they love. However, no one seemed to be able to pull of that positive tone “it’d always come off sort of Pollyanna and false” . Milo is modeled after a friend of theirs who just sounds that way when he talks – always really positive, so they wanted to stay true to that.
When Dan came across a taping of Weird Al he knew he was the guy for the job. They had Weird Al come in, and it just immediately worked. Which is actually kind of funny because at that this point Jeff was against it – not Weird Al, but yet another audition. They had already auditioned hundreds of people and Jeff just wanted to put it to rest already. He wanted to hire a friend of theirs who works on another show but they were told he was too busy. So Dan tells him “we’re going to read one more person,” and he’s all like “fine, whatever, I don’t care.” When the audition arrives by email Johns in bed listening to it and his wife says “Who’s that? ” to which John replied, “it’s Weird Al. It’s really good.”
If you’ve never heard of Murphy’s Law before or haven’t been able to fully grasp the concept – here’s what it looks like…with an intro from Weird Al Yankovic – who voices Milo.
What is Murphy’s Law?
And that’s how Weird Al came to voice Milo – with his upbeat positive self!
Working with him has been awesome and they love that they get to write songs and have Weird Al sing them – Dan made me chuckle when he said “it just makes my high school self just, Weeee!” During the course of Phineas 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. We always called it our Weird Al version. Well, now, for Milo, they needed a song that was something like what they wrote like that for Phineas.
So, they took the music from a song they wrote on Phineas, and just rewrote the lyrics, and made their own Weird Al version of a song from Phineas and Ferb, for Milo, and actually got Weird Al to sing it. So, they wrote our own Weird Al version, and Weird Al is actually singing it!
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 every day, for everything, and especially the music stuff. – Jeff “Swampy” Marsh
Weird Al is an actual musician. Dan and Jeff don’t know much about music, especially not reading or writing music. They can play and sing into a microphone, and then somebody else writes out the score from that. Sp when Weird Al comes in for a song and says, “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. Which one do you want to use?” Dan and Jeff just laugh because they think “it’s so cute that you think we know the answer to that.”
Jeff tries to sound like he’s talking about “Just take the dot off. It’s fine.” and Dan chimes in with “Well, however we sang it in the demo.” They really have no clue what those little dots mean. When big names come in to do voices on this show, those people geek out more about Weird Al than anyone they know. Really famous people will see his name on the list and say “Al is coming, can I stay?” or “can I trouble you gentlemen for an introduction to Mr. Yankovic?”, “can I take a selfie?”
Weird Al created a job for himself, made himself a household name playing the accordion and making parodies of popular songs, basically doing something that no one else in our lifetime has done for a living.
On using family to create stories and characters
Jeff’s grand-kids show up as little characters in the show. He’s inspired by the “fun little behaviors and things you don’t think about until you see your grand kids, or people that young, doing stuff that you think it’s funny.” But he does let them know because otherwise they get upset when they’ve missed “themselves” on the show. Jeff also put his wife in the show – she was “mortified.” 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.” When you think about it, that is kind of cruel, huh LOL.
Dan has two girls, his eldest Isabella – you might recognize the name from Phineas and Ferb and his youngest is Melissa. When he was drawing out the characters for Milo Murphy’s Law he put a Melissa into the show and had it sitting on his desk. His daughter Isabella had caught a glimpse of his sketches and left his a note that read “Daddy, this is not fair. You can’t put Melissa into this show and not have an Isabella.” He tried to remind her that she already has a character after her, but that didn’t fly with her “but Isabella doesn’t look like me. And that looks like Melissa.” It was a battle he was going to lose because the character was actually created prior to her being born – but they knew they’d be naming her Isabella, so he drew the character to look like her cousin. Dan also added that it turns out that Milo’s mom looks very much like his wife. But when he drew it, it didn’t and wasn’t intentional. But then his wife cut her hair to the same haircut as the character. “And now her family thinks that I obviously drew that to look like her, and it’s not. It was a complete coincidence.”
It’s A Family Show!
When Dan and Jeff created Phineas and Ferb, it was at a time when TV watching had become segmented. The concept of the whole family sitting on the couch watching a TV show together had pretty much disappeared. With Milo Murphy’s Law they are bringing back family viewing!
Jeff shared a few stories on the pride in bringing family shows back to television and creating shared family jokes
“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 we were talking. And he did that “what do you do?” and I said, “Well, I do cartoons for Disney.” Oh, what show? and I 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.
I had a guy when I was talking at a college, ask 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.”
The rule of thumb for “adult” jokes that may fly over the heads “if the adult in the room laughs, and the kid asks what they’re laughing about, that conversation can’t be an uncomfortable conversation.”
The creators both agree that the message they want kids to part with is that “if things go wrong in your life, don’t let it ruin your day, much less your life. Find the positive spin on it.” Challenges in life also bring experience, which can make you an interesting person. Life’s going to throw stuff at everybody (trust me from experience) and you have to figure out what you do with it. How you handle it makes all the difference in your life.
More Drawings, No Erasing
Advice from Jeff for young kids who love to draw and doodle: “Throw away their erasers.” David Silverman imparted some expertise knowledge on Jeff once “You should just draw with a Sharpie. It’ll keep you fiddling with stuff and fussing with stuff, it forces you just to make bold shapes.” Jeff took this advice to heart for a year and only used a Sharpie when drawing – “It had a huge, positive impact. You can’t erase it. You can’t fiddle it. And I started filling books with drawings. My mom still has stuff that I drew. More drawings, no erasing.”
Have you ever had one of those “Murphy’s Law” days?
I love this intro for Milo Murphy’s Law – ” Look at my sweater vest…I look so fly!” LOL
Catch Milo Murphy’s Law on Disney XD daily! Join the conversation online with #MiloMurphysLaw
Photography by Coralie Hughes Seright/LovebugsandPostcards.com and Disney