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Series: Phil of the Future

"He's a 22nd century man!"

The Diffy family — Barbara, Lloyd, Phil, and Pim — are your average 22nd century family. Which is a lot like your normal Nuclear Family, except with aliens. During their vacation through time, their time machine breaks down in the present day. The family must rough it out in the 21st century while trying to get back home — all the while not telling anyone that they're from the future. (Well, anyone except Keely Teslow, Phil's 21st century love interest.)

This is a Disney Channel show, which of course means one of the girls sings for the Disney Records label. (In this case, Alyson Michalka, who plays Keely, teams with her younger sister A.J. to form the pop group Aly & AJ (Now known as 78violet.)

This is the last Disney Channel Original Series to date not to be produced by It's A Laugh Productions, which almost certainly explains why it was Screwed by the Network (in the form of premature cancellation - it didn't even make 65 episodes) in favor of all the other shows that were. It lasted from June, 2004 to August, 2006.

This series provides examples of:

  • Achievement Test Of Destiny: The Omicron-Gambit in "The Giggle."
  • Acting for Two: J.P. Manoux as the Vice Principal and Curtis The Caveman.
  • All Women Love Shoes: This is how Keely and Via become friends.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Pim finds her soul mate in a classmate who shares her penchant for pranks and loses all interest when he saves her from a humiliating scene instead of making fun of her.
  • Alpha Bitch: Candida.
  • The Alternet: Phil introduces Keely to the Giggle, "the thing, that replaced the thing, that replaced the thing that killed the Internet in a pay-per-view battle royal" in the future Phil hails from. It's a helmet with a screen on it that contains all of mankind's knowledge up to 2121 and constantly updates itself when information changes.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Pim.
  • Artistic License - Physics: In "Good Phil Hunting", Pim can (apparently without the use of any gadgets) build up enough of a static charge to go all Emperor Palpatine on anyone who touches her. Pim being Pim, she ends up using it to get revenge on Candida.
  • Bad Ass Beard: Phil in “Ill of the Future”.
  • Badass Teacher: Mr. Joel Messerschmit.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Keely implies in "Christmas Break" that maybe the reason the Diffy's time machine broke down is because it was meant to be.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Series ends on cliffhanger.
    • To add to that, Doug Tuber (one of the creators) confirms that he and his writing partner Tim Maile (The other creator) were hired by Disney to write the Phil of the Future finale movie. Doug say's it was a very detailed and funny and romantic outline. Disney decided not to produce it.
  • Big Man on Campus: Phil Diffy in “It’s a Wonder-Phil Life”.
  • Black Best Friend: Danny Dawkins is Pim's.
  • Casual Time Travel: The Diffy's went on vacation..through time. In a used time machine that looks like an RV.
  • Christmas Episode: "Christmas Break".
  • Class Clown: Owen. He put a can of snakes into the class time capsule to "keep the future smiling."
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Pim displays this. A lot of this:
    Pim (trying to sell the Diffys' house): Notice the staircase, which doubles as a toddler-friendly double black diamond toboggan run.
  • Contemporary Caveman: Curtis
  • The Danza: Joel Brooks guest stars occasionally as Joel Messerschmitt. This is probably due to his first name being pretty much irrelevant, what with him being a teacher who we only see around his students.
  • Dance of Romance: Once in "Neander-Phil" and again in "Get Ready to Go-Go"
  • Dawson Casting: Averted with Alyson Michalka (16 or 17 by the season finale) and borderline with Ricky Ullman (19 or 20 at the end of the series). A definite example is Ashley Drane, who was 24 when she played Grace in "Stuck in the Meddle With You."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pim. Occasionally Phil.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: A conversation in which Keely calls herself Phil's girlfriend, and Phil says he wants to be her boyfriend.
  • Disappeared Dad: Keely's father
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Lil Danny Dawkins. He's not always nice though.
  • Egg Sitting: Pim gets paired up with her enemy to take care of a sack of flour. They figure it's an easy A (because a sack of flour doesn't do much) until Barb insists they treat it like a real child. Hilarity Ensues as she and her partner start arguing over their fake relationship issues and how to raise their "child." They eventually end up in a tug-of-war over the flour sack and burst it all over the school hallway...just as the teacher walks by.
    Teacher: Aw, is that your baby?
    'Pim and Bradley: nod
    Teacher: What do you think—D+?
  • Embarrassing First Name: In the episode "Christmas Break" Pim asks Phil "What kind of name is Keely" and Phil responds "Asks Pim".
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Keely in the episode "Good Phil Hunting". At least at the beginning of the episode.
  • Everyone Can See It: Phil and Keely, to the point that they get mistakenly named Cutest Couple by the whole school.
  • Evil Laugh: Pim.
  • Expository Theme Tune: "Meet a boy named Phil and his family, on vacation from the 22nd century...". Here it is, but beware.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Lloyd purposefully procrastinated/sabotaged the systems because the family enjoyed the 21st century so much. He really could've just fixed it at any time.
  • Fate Drives Us Together: Implied with Phil and Keely at several points, including Keely placing her childhood music box into the school's time capsule that is later found by Phil's mother and used when he was a baby.
  • First Kiss: Phil Diffy is Keely's first kiss.
  • Flower in Her Hair: Keely loves wearing flowers in her hair, as the viewer can see and as Phil mentions in "Happy Nirday".
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Keely doesn't remember meeting Phil in "Christmas Break."
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: One of the Wizard's powers;
    • One ep, it switches Curtis and Phil's personalities when it malfunctions.
    • Lloyd makes Phil and Pim switch bodies to give them a "Versa Day".
  • Freudian Slip: Keely in the episode “Dinner Time” when she said “See you at lunch, Sweetie Pie” to Phil.
    • Also the "I want to be your boyfriend/girlfriend" conversation from "Tia, Via, or Me..uh"
  • Get Back to the Future: The premise of the entire show.
  • Girl Next Door: Keely.
  • The Glomp: Phil and Keely share many hug's of this variety during the series. Sometimes even two in one episode "Good Phil Hunting".
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Phil creates a picnic of things that remind him of Keely in "Happy Nird-Day".
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Keely in the episode "Neander-Phil".
    • Phil in "Ill of the Future".
  • Green Lantern Ring: The Wizard.
  • Green Rocks: Diffy's gadgets.
  • Happy Dance: Phil and Keely each do one of these after they make plans to go to the dance together in "Get Ready To Go Go".
  • Happily Ever After: Phil Diffy and Keely get together in the finale episode "Back To The Future (Not The Movie)". Word of God also makes this such.
  • Happily Married: Barb and Lloyd.
  • Halloween Episode: "Halloween"
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Phil Diffy in "Dinner Time".
  • High School: Most of the scenes take place at school. Unusual in the fact that it's a junior/senior high school; Phil and Pim attend the same school despite Pim starting off the series in 7th grade and Phil in 9th.
  • High School Dance: "Get Ready To Go Go", "Raging Bull", and "Halloween".
  • High School Sweethearts: Phil Diffy and Keely.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: At the end of the episode “Halloween” and “Broadcast Blues”.
  • Holding Hands: Phil Diffy and Keely in the finale episode "Back To The Future (Not The Movie)". The irony is that they've probably held hands a million times before as friends, but once they decide to become a couple, they can't get the logistics right.
  • Idol Singer: Aly & AJ (Now known as 78violet), one half of which is the show's female lead, Alyson Michalka.
  • It Runs On Nonsenseoleum: Milk engines were invented in 2075 after oil ran out. This causes issues when Phil enters one in a science fair in 2004, well before it was invented and Phil has no proof that he'd designed it. It's alluded to in a Continuity Nod when Lloyd remarks in a flashback that a ringing landline phone sounds like a robot is out of cheese.
    • No alloy in existence can jam a Wizard's signal, except for pudding. They're defenseless against pudding.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Owen
  • Just Friends: Phil and Keely till the season 2 finale (which ended up being series finale).
  • Killed Off for Real: Debbie. No seriously. It helps that she was actually an evil cyborg. No, this is never really explained.
    • Of course, afterwards it's implied she's somehow lurking within Pim, but nothing ever comes out of it.
  • The Lady's Favour: The salt and pepper shakers from "Back to the Future (Not the Movie)"
  • Lady in Red: Keely in “Get Ready To Go-Go”.
  • Laugh Track: Notably averted.
  • Large Ham: The guy who plays Messerschmitt quite obviously has way too much fun with every single line he says, especially in "The Giggle" when discussing the Omicron Gambit, his legendarily hard...make-up test. It's all Played for Laughs, of course.
  • Left Hanging: So. Many. Things.
  • Last Minute Hookup: Phil and Keely get together in "Back To The Future (Not The Movie)".
  • Love Before First Sight: Phil and Keely in "Christmas Break"
  • Masquerade
  • Married In The Future: In "The Giggle," Phil uses a future gadget to look up Keely's future as a journalist, after they fail a huge test in school and take a re-test. In the first future, Keely is a crazy cat lady who is convinced one of her cats was abducted by a UFO. In the second future, she's a reporter...and (as the young Keely notices) she's wearing a wedding ring. It's never revealed who her husband is in the future and Keely stated that she'd rather wait for the surprise than use the gadget to look it up. But given the massive amount of Ship Tease in the series as a whole, it's heavily implied that it's Phil.
  • The Matchmaker: Keely in "Stuck in the Meddle with You." And it's said she's done it before...with unfavorable results.
  • May-December Romance: Accidentally and played for laughs in "Age Before Beauty". When Keely ages herself with a future device and catches the romantic attention of Vice Principal Hackett, Phil must step in and pretend to be her boyfriend to deter him. Unfortunately, he accidentally ages himself to about 80, to Keely's 20-something.
  • Meet Cute: Phil and Keely, though Keely didn't know. The entire episode "Christmas Break" is devoted to how they met. Keely was the Pickford Yuletide Star Princess in charge of the town's yule star (obviously) to be used in a tree lighting ceremony. Pim breaks the glass Yule star, and Phil, feeling badly about it, goes back in time to fix it. Through a series of unfortunate events, he ends up going back in time several times to save the star, eventually succeeding. Keely finds this sweet, Pim...not so much:
    Keely (about the Christmas tree star): Ooh, that's my favorite part.
    Phil: I know, you were the Pickford Yuletide Star Princess, after all.
    Keely: That's right! Wait...we didn't even know each other then. How did you know about that?
    Phil: Well...you see...I actually met you before you met me.
    Pim: Met her? You followed her around like a pathetic puppy.
    Keely: Really?
    Pim: He was like 'Oh, we have to help the pretty crying girl!'
  • Military Brat: Via
  • Muggle Best Friend: Keely to Phil
  • New Job Episode: Lloyd and Curtis both get jobs at the local hardware store in the episode "Versa Day".
  • New Transfer Student: Via.
  • Noodle Incident: The last time Keely tried to "assist" (read: matchmake) a couple.
    Phil: No real harm done? The guy still can't carry his own lunch tray!
  • Nosy Neighbor: Vice Principle Neil Hackett.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Phil and Keely's first kiss in "Back to the Future (Not the Movie)".
  • Official Couple: Phil and Keely.
  • Our Time Machine Is Different: It's an RV, though the inside is much snazzier than your standard motor home.
  • Out of Order: The episodes where Phil met Keely and told her his secret were the 10th and 11th episodes that aired, respectively.
  • Plucky Girl: Keely.
  • Plot Sensitive Items: Diffy's gadgets about once every 1 1/2 episodes
  • The Power of Friendship: Phil and Keely In "Almost. Every. Single. Episode.''
  • The Power of Love: Phil and Keely. From two different centuries. Yet they end up together. That's The Power of Love.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Keely gives these to Phil in episode “Age Before Beauty”, "The Giggle" and "Dinner Time".
  • Put on a Bus: Tia, Bradley Benjamin Farmer, and Seth Wassmer.
  • Race for Your Love: Phil and Keely end up doing this in the final episode, though with far different results. Keely suddenly changes her mind about seeing Phil and his family back to the future and runs to catch their time machine before it leaves. She's unsuccessful. The second time is Phil, who has his father return their time machine to about five minutes before Keely does her race and he catches her at school to say goodbye (cue The Big Damn Kiss)
  • Red Stringof Fate: Played with with Phil and Keely. In "Time Release Capsule", Keely puts her own childhood music box in the school's time capsule; Phils mom finds it a century later and plays it for him as a baby. It's revealed in "Christmas Break" that Phil was the one who broke the time machine, but that if he hadn't stopped to help Keely, the family would have been caught in a massive time-storm and gotten lost forever.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless / Plot Technology: Justified, since they have to maintain the masquerade and minimize their impact on the outcome of history, they can only use the future tech to solve the day's problems.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Phil and Keely in the season 2 finale which ended up being the series finale "Back To the Future (Not The Movie)".
  • The Rival: Bradley Benjamin Farmer and Candida are rivals of Pim.
  • Science Fair: Phil and Keely in the episode “Milkin’ It”.
  • School Clubs Are Serious Business: H.G. Well's budget for extracurriculars is astronomical and the level of seriousness given is hilarious. Pim hosts a tele-a-thon in one episode to "find a cure" for the science club's pet rat. Keely goes undercover in another episode to write a story on dirty mop water for the school news station.
  • School Newspaper News Hound: It's a news show rather than a newspaper, but Keely definitely fits the bill.
  • Screwed by the Network (Disney...grr)
  • Secret Chaser: Vice Principle Neil Hackett
  • Secret Keeper: Keely's the only one (other than the Diffys themselves, of course) who knows the truth about where they come from.
  • Ship Tease: In. Every. Single. Episode.
  • Sick Episode: The Diffy's in "Ill of the Future". Vice Principle Neil Hackett in "Mummy's Boy".
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Phil and Pim, who are polar opposites.
  • Shipper on Deck: Pretty much everyone for Phil and Keely, but Phil's mom is the most obvious.
  • Show Within a Show: "Who Wants To Marry A Dentist?" in the episode "Future Jock". "The Lost and the Lonely" in the episode "Double Trouble".
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few.
    • Phil's present-day High School is named after H. G. Wells. That is, the author of The Time Machine.
    • There are also various examples in episode titles, like "Good Phil Hunting" and "It's a Wonder-Phil Life".
    • As well, in "Good Phil Hunting", Hackett is briefly shown writing equations on a clear, glassy surface, mimicking similar memorable moments from A Beautiful Mind and Good Will Hunting.
      • In the same episode, Hackett asks Phil what the first rule of AV club is. Naturally, it's "Don't talk about AV club." There's also a reference to Fermat's Last Theorem; apparently a problem known as Foucalt's Last Conundrum is highly difficult in the present day, but is basic material in 2121's third grade.
      • When Mr. Hackett wakes up from the shock of Keeley "solving" said Conundrum:
      Mr. Hackett: I had such a... strange dream... You were there, you were there, you, and you... (to scarecrow) you I don't recognise.
    • In "Dinner Time", Barb's trying to prepare a typical American dinner party. Her research leads her to believe that it should be 50's style, right down to the clothes. Phil ends up looking like Fonzie, right down to flashing the classic double thumbs up right after being zapped with the Wizard and immediately lampshading it.
    • "Dinner Time" also slips in a reference to The Wizard of Oz, when a pair of prospective buyers for the Diffy house ask if it has suffered a twister of "Oz or greater magnitude".
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Phil and Keely in the final episode. Given that they were pretty darn cute to begin with, the Relationship Upgrade jacks it Up to Eleven.
  • Sleep Cute: Phil and Keely fall asleep next to each other on the sofa while studying in the episode "The Giggle"
  • Squee: When Phil and Keely kiss in "Back To The Future (Not The Movie)".
  • Stalker with a Crush: Lil Danny Dawkins has one on Pim.
    • Hackett's behavior toward Veronica veered into stalker territory when he camped out on her front lawn and was awoken by the sprinklers.
  • Sweetie Graffiti: Phil + Keely written on the tree in "Time Release Capsule".
  • Take Over the World: Pim.
  • Temporal Sickness: The reason Pim couldn't help Phil in "Christmas Break" after a few jumps through the past.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Phil and Keely's kiss in "Back to the Future." They kiss on the school's CCTV and get a standing ovation from the entire student body.
  • The Matchmaker: Keely in "Stuck in the Meddle with You".
  • This Loser Is You: Phil. A lot.
  • Time Travel: Duh.
  • Time Travel Romance: Phil and Keely.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: They play with the concept of Temporal Mutability a lot, most notably in "Time Release Capsule" and "My Not-So-Great Great-Great-Grampa".
  • Token Evil Teammate: Pim is this for the Diffy family.
  • Trapped in the Past: The Diffy's.
  • Training Montage: Phil and Keely have one in "The Giggle", to prepare for the Omicron Gambit, Messerschmitt's painfully difficult make-up test.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Pim, in the aptly-named "Pim-cipal" episode.
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: Debbie Berwick. We learn later that she's actually an evil robot bent on world domination via cupcakes.
  • Undercover as Lovers: At one point, Phil and Keely use the Wizard to masquerade as his parents to fool their snooping neighbor, Mr. Hackett.
  • Valley Girl: This is how Keely and Tia are first introduced. Tia stays this way until she leaves the show, though Keely moves away from it a bit as the show goes on.
  • Unobtainium:
  • "What Now?" Ending: Diffys went back for Curtis.....then?
  • We Will Not Have Pinky Toes In The Future: In the episode "You Say Toe-Mato"
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Diamonds are a waste product in the future, but aluminum foil is apparently invaluable.
    • Very much justified. Aluminum is valuable even today (which is the motive behind pop tab collections), while diamonds are easily manufactured from common carbon.
      • While it makes sense for diamonds to be dirt cheap in the future, it does not make sense for them to be a waste product. Diamonds are useful cutting tools due to their unparalleled hardness. The only way they would become garbage is if someone invented a synthetic mineral that was even harder than diamond and at least as cheap.
  • Word of God: Doug Tuber stated that after seeing Ricky Ullman & Alyson Michalka's chemistry on screen he knew Phil and Keely were destined from the start of the series to become more than friends.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Principal Hackett thinks the Diffy's are aliens.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: In "Broadcast Blues", Keely's news segment as designed by Pim is called "Keely's Korner".
  • You Are Grounded: Phil at the end of "Maybe Sitting".
  • You Are the New Trend: In the episode "Broadcast Blues" everything Keely wears on her news reports becomes a new trend.
  • You No Take Candle: Curtis, the Diffy's pet caveman.
  • Young Future Famous People: Though the youthful famous person is fictional, Phil runs into the inventor of the Wizard in his high school during a career placement test.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The name and premise of a season one episode.

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alternative title(s): Phil Of The Future
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