Milo Murphy’s Law is a currently-aired Disney Channel Original series by the modern-day kings of Disney Television Animation: Jeff (Swampy) Marsh and Dan Povenmire—none other than creators of Disney’s longest-running series Phineas and Ferb (2007-2015). The story centers Milo Murphy and his two close friends Melissa Chase and Zack Underwood. The trio are subject to the Murphy-family Murphy’s Law “disorder”, in that in the presence of any male from said family, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.
This places the three protagonist in the center of some crazy scenarios, with Milo being the driving force behind them. It is set in the same city as Phineas and Ferb, as the creators have mentioned that the Murphy family only lives a few neighborhoods away from the Flynn-Fletchers. As a long-time Phineas and Ferb fan, exploring the Tri-State Area from a set of different perspectives, namely that of three middle-school students, is very exciting. And seeing the references to Phineas and Ferb is a fun treat.
The characters are very likable. Melissa and Zack feel like real people. Milo, of course, is an outlier of this statement given his terrible luck paired with his ironic undying optimism; but he is loveable nonetheless.
In a previous blog post, I critiqued the portrayal of female characters within Phineas and Ferb, in that the two main girls (Candace and Isabella) are prominently defined by their crushes on male counterparts. What’s great about Milo Murphy’s Law is that so far the female portrayals have been executed excellently.
Melissa is a gem. She is very intelligent, as shown through her self-imposed high standards of her academic performance, and she is also incredibly fearless. Before Zack moved into the neighborhood, Melissa was the only person brave enough to hang around Milo on a daily basis. Her intelligence really makes her shine, in combination with the fact that she is portrayed as an overall cool girl, showing that smart female characters don’t always have to be archetyped as socially-awkward nerds—in other words, being a smart young girl whose mind isn’t completely occupied by boys and fashion can be chic. Additionally, unlike Candace’s and Isabella’s introduction in the first episode of Phineas and Ferb, Melissa was not introduced as taking a special liking to Milo or any other guy for that matter. Instead, the early episode titled “Smooth Opera-tor” established Milo’s crush on a classmate named Amanda.
Amanda’s personality couldn’t be more opposite to Milo’s. She is a type-A character who is a huge fan of planning and structure. Milo, courtesy of Murphy’s Law, cannot partake in the luxury of planning his day-to-day life, given that his entire existence (and everything that comes within his parameter) is a spontaneous mess. Amanda too is introduced as a smart and well-put-together girl with no interest in Milo (until the episode School Dance at least). She is also very outgoing and capable, shown to partake in many extracurricular activities.
The background characters are also portrayed in a very positive light. Despite Milo’s (unintentional) path of destruction, his classmates are very understanding and will instead whip out their helmets in his presence rather than run in the opposite direction while calling him a “freak of nature”. Milo’s blind optimism is contagious. His philosophy is clearly along the lines of: why worry about what you have no control over; which is a valuable life lesson in and of itself.
Overall, the series is excellent. It has amazing potential and, unlike its predecessor, has elements of continuity sprinkled throughout. The world that Phineas and Ferb was built around is a place that I, and many others, would love to explore more, and Milo Murphy’s Law is a superb vehicle to do so. Although it’s too early to predict whether or not the series will reach the heights of Phineas and Ferb, so far its a great contender with amazing potential.