"Up until then we had him on a very steady diet of Sesame Street and very small mellow shows like Little Bill and Caillou," remembers Lindelof, who moderated Saturday's Phineas and Ferb panel at Comic-Con in San Diego. "And then my wife just showed him an episode of Phineas and Ferb, I don't know how it happened. All I know is if I had done it, I would have gotten into big trouble. I came home and it was like he had been plugged into an electric socket."
Lindelof says he remembers being amazed at how sophisticated the cartoon was. "They cram so much into every episode that I'm sure it's daunting," he says. "It feels like they have a lot of plates spinning. It's a great careful and delicate magic trick that they execute every time."
He also appreciates the fact that Phineas and Ferb is the rare children's cartoon that also appeals to adults. "I think it's almost an impossible task to bridge the gap between me, a 39-year-old man, my wife and my son, all being able to sit and enjoy the same TV show. And laugh at the same jokes," he says. "The show has a self awareness that is way beyond my son's understanding but he gets that they are commenting on the show in a meta way, he just can't call it 'meta.'"
How far does Lindelof's love of the show go? He dressed as Dr. Doofenshmirtz, and his son as Perry the Platypus, for Halloween. But busy Lindelof won't have the time to actually work on an episode — at least, not yet. "I hold the show in high esteem, so I'm terrified of making the first bad episode of Phineas and Ferb."
Lindelof's favorite episode? "It's About Time," in which Doofenshmirtz replaces Perry with another nemesis: Peter the Panda from Seattle. Eventually Doofenshmirtz and Perry reunite as mortal enemies. "You realize there's this Holmes and Moriarty symbiosis to these guys," he says.
Among the tidbits announced at the session by series creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh: Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, which will create interactions between the boys and Marvel superheroes like Spider-Man and The Avengers. The event will air next summer on Disney Channel.