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File:Diffy family.jpg

  "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.

Tropes used in Phil of the Future include:
  • 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.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Pim.
  • Badass Beard: Phil Diffy 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.
  • Christmas Episode: "Christmas Break".
  • Dance of Romance: Once in "Neander-Phil" and again in "Get Ready to Go-Go"
  • 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 Teslow's father
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Lil Danny Dawkins. He's not always nice though.
  • 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 Teslow 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..."
  • 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 Teslows first kiss.
  • Flower in Her Hair: Keely Teslow loves wearing flowers in her hair. As Phil mentions to Keely on their picnic 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 Teslow in the episode “Dinner Time” when she said “See you at lunch, Sweetie Pie” to Phil.
  • Girl Next Door: Keely Teslow
  • 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 Teslow 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 Teslow 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 Dance: "Get Ready To Go Go", "Raging Bull", and "Halloween".
  • High School Sweethearts: Phil Diffy and Keely Teslow.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: At the end of the episode “Halloween” and “Broadcast Blues”.
  • Holding Hands: Phil Diffy and Keely Teslow 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.
  • 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 Teslow in “Get Ready To Go-Go”.
  • Laugh Track: Notably averted.
  • Left Hanging: So. Many. Things.
  • Les Yay: Pim and Debbie in the first season.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Phil Diffy and Keely Teslow get together in "Back To The Future (Not The Movie)".
  • Love Before First Sight: Phil and Keely in "Christmas Break"
  • Masquerade
  • 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: 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".
  • 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 Diffy and Keely Teslow.
  • 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 Teslow.
  • 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.
  • Red String of 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”.
  • Screwed by the Network (Disney...grr)
  • Secret-Chaser: Vice Principle Neil Hackett
  • Secret Keeper: Keely Teslow.
  • 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".
  • Sleep Cute: Phil and Keely fall asleep next to each other on the sofa while studying in the episode "The Giggle"
  • Squee: When Phil Diffy and Keely Teslow 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Trapped in the Past: The Diffy's.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.