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“Rollercoaster”
003
“Homework.”
Season 1
Production Code 101A
Written By Dan Povenmire
Swampy Marsh
Directed By Dan Povenmire
Airing Information
Disney Channel US Premiere {{{US}}}
International Premiere August 17, 2007 (2007-08-17) (Disney Channel Netherlands/Flanders)
“Our lives should be a rollercoaster! And I mean a good rollercoaster, not like that one we rode at the state fair.”
Phineas Flynn

Rollercoaster” is the pilot episode of the Disney Channel original animated television series Phineas and Ferb, originally broadcast on Disney Channel on August 17, 2007 as a preview of the series, Toon Disney on September 1, 2008, and Disney XD on February 13, 2009. The episode follows series protagonists Phineas and Ferb building an extremely large roller coaster panning from their backyard to throughout the city.

“Rollercoaster” was written by co-creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. Povenmire also directed the episode. The two used the episode to pitch the series to Disney. They recorded a set of storyboard reels, which Povenmire voiced over and sent them overseas. The preview of the episode totaled a combined 10.8 million viewers. Since airing, the episode has received mixed reviews from critics.

Plot summary

Stepbrothers Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb (Thomas Sangster) are sitting lazily under the big tree in their backyard when they decide to construct a large rollercoaster. With their mother Linda (Caroline Rhea) at the grocery store, their sister Candace (Ashley Tisdale) wants to catch them in the act and “bust” them.

Candace goes to the store to tell their Mom of the boys’ activities, though she is keen on neglecting it. Isabella (Alyson Stoner) asks Candace at the Flynn-Fletcher house if Phineas and Ferb are home, but Candace ignores her. Isabella then goes to Phineas with hearts in her eyes and says her common catchphrase “Whatcha doin’?”. She says “Isn’t that impossible?” to Phineas and asks him to go swimming with her, but Phineas declines and Isabella leaves. Phineas and Ferb begin working on the coaster. Meanwhile, Perry the Platypus (Dee Bradley Baker) performs his act as a “secret Agent P”, being informed by Major Francis Monogram (Jeff “Swampy” Marsh) that Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (Dan Povenmire) has bought 80% of the Tri-State Area’s tin foil. Perry darts off to investigate what Dr. Doofenshmirtz is doing.

With their rollercoaster finally finished, Phineas and Ferb unveil it to their entire neighborhood in a glamor-filled light show with notable guests being Isabella, Ginger, and Katie. They all rocket off on the rollercoaster, which spirals around buildings and swoops through parking lots. Doofenshmirtz, meanwhile, reveals that he is using the tin foil to cover the eastern seaboard, then using a magnet to pull it, thereby reversing the Earth’s rotation. Perry fights him, but Doofenshmirtz manages to get the magnet activating. However, Doofenshmirtz soon learns that his plan is flawed because the magnet has only taken the tin foil off the eastern seaboard, forming it into a 2-ton giant ball. Seeing that it's heading forward, Doofenshmirtz decides to separate the magnet from his machine to stop it, and Perry is forced to help him out.

Perry attempts to solve the problem using a helicopter (causing The Doofenshmirtz Evil Inc. to get hit), which inadvertently causes the rollercoaster to crumble and speed off the tracks. As they spiral around the world and eventually space, Candace continues to try and bust them, even on the way home. The magnet is stopped, as Phineas and Ferb return home, Candace a second too late. Isabella says that was the best ride ever and she and Phineas talk about Perry and that he may lay an egg. Ferb burps from having peanut butter, which Isabella says was cool, and she leaves at that point. The episode ends with the roller coaster exploding in the boys’ backyard tree and tin foil ball is seen rolling in the background setting. Upon the rollercoaster exploding Candace tries to bust the boys again. Mom responds by saying, “Give it a rest, Candace!”

Production

Conception

PitchPF

An original storyboard panel from the pitch reel sent to overseas executives for Disney.

See also: Origins and Cast

Series co-creator Dan Povenmire attributed the genesis for the show to his childhood in Mobile, Alabama. Povenmire recalled that his mother told him “never to waste a day of summer.” Meanwhile, the show’s other co-creator, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh grew up in a large, blended family. Similar to Povenmire, Marsh spent his summers exploring and taking part in several different activities in order to have fun. The two met while working as layout artists on The Simpsons in the 1990s. Povenmire commented that “We were always laughing at the same jokes.” The two became a writing team on the Nickelodeon animated series Rocko’s Modern Life. They began working on Phineas and Ferb around 1992, while still working together at Nickelodeon. The two had become friends due to their mutual tastes and interests. Citing their childhood, they wanted to incorporate summer vacations, a time when the two would go out and do something constructive. They spent sixteen years pitching it to four different networks, including Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, all of which kept shooting it down due to its complexity. When Povenmire landed a pitch with Disney, despite being unsure at first, the series was accepted.

Povenmire and Marsh both wrote “Rollercoaster”, and used it as the pitch for the entire series. Unlike normal series, they did not send a script to the overseas Disney executives, but set up a storyboard and mixed it over with dialogue by Povenmire, then set up a “play-by-play” and recorded it. The series was accepted after 16 years of development and the episode was produced. Several lines and scenes from the storyboard were removed or altered in the eventual production of the episode. Several such scenes were eventually used in later episodes, such as a scene later used in the episode “Gaming the System”, in which Doofenshmirtz waits a few seconds, until precisely 11:00, before initiating his plan. Povenmire and Marsh wanted to include two things in every episode; a song, and an action or chase scene. However, the song in every episode did not begin until Flop Starz, the next episode.

Casting

Vincent Martella, Thomas Sangster, and Ashley Tisdale, who voice Phineas, Ferb, and Candace respectively, were all hired by the casting department because of their popularity within the target age-group and general belief in their ability to perform their roles. Another character, Jeremy, who is usually voiced by Mitchel Musso, briefly appeared in the episode in a different voice than usual from an unknown voice extra. The end credits of the episode list several extras who possibly voiced him, including Dee Bradley Baker, Raviv Ullman, and the co-creators. The episode used live action briefly in the shot in which the kids fall to Earth, a technique featured in two other episodes to date: Out to Launch and The Chronicles of Meap.

The events of “Rollercoaster” would be revisited in the season 2 episode “Phineas and Ferb’s Quantum Boogaloo”, which sees a future adult version of Candace returning to the events of the episode in a time machine to help her present counterpart successfully bust Phineas and Ferb for the rollercoaster. However, this action led to a chain reaction that soon followed, turning the future version of Danville into a dystopian society led by subplot antagonist Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. Later, the same Candace goes back into the past to stop the adult Candace from causing the disaster.

Inspired by the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” (which saw the crew of the newer series interacting with the events of the original series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles”), the use of “Rollercoaster” within the plot was viewed by Marsh as “a great way to interweave a story.”

Broadcast

The episode originally aired as a preview after the premiere of High School Musical 2 on August 17, 2007, with a rating of TV-Y7. Disney Channel wanted to start off the series in a special way, though they did not to use “Rollercoaster”; instead, they choose the episode “Flop Starz”, and aired it in a worldwide premiere.

Reception

When originally aired on August 17, 2007, “Rollercoaster” peaked high ratings in several categories. The preview garnered a recorded amount of 10.8 million viewers. 4.15 million were in the demographic of kids 6–11, while 4.20 million were in the tweens 9–14 category. These high ratings lead to the episode being the second highest-rated telecast Disney Channel received in its recorded history.

Footnotes

1. Original broadcasts and the sneak peek of the episode have the song in the end credits. Other airings, however, include the song at the end of “Lawn Gnome Beach Party of Terror!” instead whilst others have Major Monogram singing: ‘My Whole World is a Screen.’

External links

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