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Dad, is that the box from my room? I think I put my Mary McGuffin doll in there by mistake!

— Candace Flynn

When Lawrence accidentally sells Candace's doll to Doofenshmirtz, Phineas and Ferb become detectives to try and find it.

Episode Summary

At the Flynn-Fletcher house, Lawrence and Linda are putting on a yard sale. It turns out that Linda was going to sell her Lindana records but snatched them from a man who was looking at them. Phineas and Ferb ask Lawrence if they could watch his black and white detective films. Lawrence allows them when Heinz Doofenshmirtz appears at Lawrence's stall, where he spots Mary McGuffin doll. Doofenshmirtz offers to pay a dollar for the doll, to which Lawrence accepts. Candace appears a minute later and asks Lawrence if he has seen her Mary McGuffin doll. Lawrence says he just sold her for a dollar and asks if Candace wants it. Hearing this, Candace lets out a cry of dismay, but Lawrence offers her two dollars despite his daughter's upsetness of losing her doll.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz gives the doll to Vanessa.

Doofenshmirtz arrives at Charlene's house and asks for Vanessa. At first, Vanessa was awaiting for a brand new car, but Doofenshmirtz hands her the doll. Though Vanessa is somewhat disappointed, Heinz talks about how much he's been searching for years for the doll through the Internet and garage sales ever since she was 7 years old, admiting that he couldn't care less of his reputation as an evil scientist as long as Vanessa's happiness remains important to him. Vanessa, surprised at her dad's act of love, thanks him and walks to her room to think.

Candace sees Phineas and Ferb in black and white.

Meanwhile, Phineas and Ferb are influenced by the detective films and turn themselves and everything else black and white. Candace tells them about her doll and Phineas decides they will investigate.

At The Agency, Major Monogram is seen playing a video game. Perry is waiting for his assignment. Monogram tells him that Doofenshmirtz has been to a yard sale, bought an Inator and a box of "on-off" devices. Carl tells him that they're called "switches". Perry's chair turns into a big ball (like a bowling ball) and rolls down a chute.

The boys and Candace interview Lawrence, asking him who he sold the toy to. Lawrence tries to describe Doofenshmirtz, "German accent, lab coat".

Back in Vanessa's room, she starts thinking about the times her dad has embarrassed her and times when he has made her day. She really appreciates her gift and puts it on her shelf with her other toys. When she closes the door, the doll falls near a box of junk. Vanessa walks downstairs, unaware of what happened and logs on to her laptop. Charlene answers the door and it is a man who works for Charitable Charities. Charlene asks Vanessa where her box of junk was and she goes to Vanessa's room. She assumes that the Mary McGuffin doll is part of the junk and puts it in the box. Charlene hands the box to the man and he puts it in the truck.

"Lean on him, Ferb."

Phineas and Ferb go to a lab coat shop and interrogate people there. One of the men says he doesn't know anything but then Ferb "leans" on him. He tells them there is a guy who puts all of the costs on his ex-wife's tab. He gives them the address and Phineas tells Ferb to pack up the studio.

Doofenshmirtz is in his building and has bought lots of things from yard sales. He is trying to find a switch to fit his -inator when Perry comes in. Doofenshmirtz activates the lobster trap that he got for free and tells Perry that he can't tell him his evil scheme because he doesn't know what his -inator does since he's still trying to find a switch to activate it.

Phineas, Ferb, and Candace at Charlene's door.

Vanessa realizes that her doll was in the box and runs after the man just as Phineas, Ferb and Candace walk up to her house. Phineas interrogates Charlene and she tells them that the doll was in the box to be sent to a Charitable Charities somewhere. The group start looking around all of the Charitable Charities around but can't find Mary.

Perry confronts Doofenshmirtz.

The switches Doofenshmirtz tries are too big or too small until he comes across the right one. He places it upside-down and complains that the writing is even printed upside-down. Doofenshmirtz realizes he put it upside-down and turns it around. He then turns on his invention but Perry's trap opens. Perry climbs out whilst Doofenshmirtz is still wondering why the Inator isn't switching on. He then turns around and sees the switch opening and closing the trap. He now knows why the trap was free. After a brief fight, Doofenshmirtz, in a rare moment of common sense, points out that the machine just opens and closes the lobster trap and it would be pointless and stupid to fight over it since it's not technically evil or even illegal, so Doofenshmirtz curses Perry for fighting him over such a silly reason. Realizing that Doofenshmirtz actually makes a good point, Perry concedes defeat by giving a thumbs-up to Doofenshmirtz and leaves.

Phineas, Ferb and Candace are in the last Charitable Charities shop when Candace spots Mary McGuffin. Candace grabs the doll at the same time Vanessa does. They fight over the doll and the doll flies into the air into Sally's hand. She instantly loves it and Candace decides to forfeit the doll, saying she's too old for dolls now. Vanessa wonders if she should give up the one thing that proves how much her dad cares for her, but decides not to. So, in a moment, Vanessa snatches the doll from Sally's hands before going home, leaving Sally to cry.

"Yeah, we can build on this."

Upon seeing this and feeling good about it, Vanessa phones her dad about the event while he's cutting a carrot. He's proud of Vanessa for committing an evil act and says that they could build on this.


Read the transcript of Finding Mary McGuffin.


End Credits

First and last verse of "Not So Bad A Dad".


Click here to view more images from "Finding Mary McGuffin".
View the image gallery for "Finding Mary McGuffin".

Running Gags

The "Too Young" Line

Charlene: Aren't you a little young to be detectives?
Phineas: If it's all the same to you, ma'am, we'll ask the questions.
Charitable Charities Man: Aren't you a little young to know about all these old detective shows?

Phineas: Yes, yes we... Pauses and puts on sunglasses in a Horatio Caine like fashion. ...are.


Ferb's Line

Seeing Candace and Vanessa start fighting over the doll.
Ferb: This is exactly why they took that doll off the market.

What'cha doin'?


I know what we're gonna do today/Hey, where's Perry?

Candace: Detectives. Perfect. I know what you're gonna do today. Track down my little Mary McGuffin!
Phineas: Piece of cake. (Ferb gives him a piece of chocolate cake) Ooh, chocolate! Thanks, Ferb. (to Candace) We'll have your little Mary McGuffin back here faster than you can say-hey, where's Perry?

Oh, there you are, Perry


Perry's entrance to his lair

He is seen in his lair, Monogram is playing a videogame

Evil Jingle

Doofenshmirtz Ex-Wife's House in the Hills Somewhere! and Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated! in CSI: Miami style.

Memorable Quotes

Lawrence: Oh, I see you like that little Mary McGuffin doll. Well, that will be, oh, 50 cents?
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: I'll give you a dollar!
Candace: Dad! Dad! Wait! Dad, is that the box from my room?

Lawrence: Why, yes. Um-
Candace: I think I put my Mary McGuffin doll in there by mistake. Have you seen her?
Lawrence: I just sold her for a whole dollar. Here, you can have it.
Candace: AAAAAAAH!
Lawrence: How about two dollars?

Candace: (sobs)
Vanessa: Dad, what are you doing here? This isn't your weekend.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: Yes, yes I know, but I have a surprise for you and I just couldn't wait!
Vanessa: (excited) A surprise? Really?
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: Yes, it's something you've always wanted. Something you've asked for time and time again. In my hand, I hold the key to...
Vanessa: ... My new car!

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: (holds up Mary McGuffin doll) No, your happiness!
Carl: Sir, Agent P is here.

Major Monogram: I can see that, Carl. Now, get back in that corner until I say you can get up. There's still 15 minutes left on the clock.

Carl: (sadly) OK, Sir.
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: Remember how you said if I got you a little Mary McGuffin doll, I'd be the world's greatest dad?
Vanessa: Yeah, when I was like seven.
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: You know, I may be an evil scientist, but it doesn't take a degree purchased from the internet with your ex-wife's money to know how special and important you are to me!
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: Well, I'd better run. I bought a used "inator" today at a garage sale and it's missing one small part.

Vanessa: Really, what does it do?

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: I don't know yet, it's missing a part. But whatever it is, I'm sure it will be pure evil!
Phineas: Piece of cake.

Pause. Ferb hands him a piece of cake.

Phineas: Ooh, chocolate! Thanks, Ferb.
Doofenshmirtz: Time to find out what this bad boy can do! Flicks switch on On!

Lid of Perry's cage opens and Perry climbs out and stands beside Doofenshmirtz
Doofenshmirtz:flicking the switch in time with what he says On! Off! On! Off! On! Urgh! I'm hearing a clanking noise so i know it's doing SOMETHING! Off! On! Turns and sees Perry standing out the cage and the lid flipping up and down
Perry folds his arms and glares

Doofenshmirtz:Continues flipping switch at a slower rate Oh the -inator and the cage...they' just opens...and closes the... Sighs and stops flipping switch Well I guess that's why I got the cage for free...
Phineas: The sun beat down on the city like a hammer, a relentless hot beating hammer hammering down like a big metaphor that was... hot, for some reason.
Candace:(Interrupting Phineas) Stop with the narration and start finding my doll!
Phineas: For an average Joe, he gave us an above-average clue. Our next step was clear.

Lawrence: Who is he talking to?

Candace: Ugh. Don't get me started.
Vanessa : Wait! Sam, I want to recant a portion of my mother's charitable donation!
Charlene: Are you with the census?
Phineas: No, ma'am, today we're detectives.
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: Oh, man, how many different kinds of on/off switches can there be? I mean, look at this. An octagon? And one shaped like the Statue of Liberty? That doesn't even make sense. Oh, and here's one. The exact same size and shape that I'm looking for except it's upside-down. I mean, the words are actually printed upside-down. What kind of a dummkopf would invent an upside-down... switch...that... (Pauses, sighs, and flips the switch so that it's right-side-up.) I did it!
Candace: Oh, forget it. I guess I'm too old for dolls anyway.

Vanessa: Yeah, maybe I don't really have to have the one object my dad spent years to find in order to show me his affection.
Pause. Candace stares at Vanessa uncomfortably.

Vanessa: No, actually I do. Give me that, kid!
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: (talking to Vanessa on the phone) So you just took it from the little girl and left her there crying? Wow, that is evil! Honey, I am so proud of you! It felt good didn't it? Yeah, we can build on this.

Background Information

  • When Doofenshmirtz screamed "Score!" he looked right in the camera, breaking the fourth wall.
  • Ferb, however, didn't react being in love when he saw Vanessa in this episode, but, when Vanessa goes out of her home, Ferb stares at her.
  • While Charlene was listening to Vanessa complain about her doll being missing, she seemed to be reading the same book Ferb is usually seen reading.
  • Mary McGuffin's last name is McGuffin, which refers to an object used in a work that proves to be useful later on in the plot, or something that is easily pursued by various characters for its usage.

Production Information

  • This episode premiered in the UK on October 18, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. (British Summer time) on Disney XD.
  • This is the first episode directed by Jay Lender.

International Premieres

  • October 18, 2009 (Disney XD UK)
  • September 11, 2010 (CITV UK)


  • When the lobster trap falls on Perry it opened and closed from the bottom. When Doofenshmirtz was accidentally opening and closing the trap, it opened from the top.
  • When Phineas and Ferb are talking to Vanessa's mother, Ferb's left eye (the one facing us as viewers) is larger.
  • When Ferb packs up the interrogation scene in the Labcoat Emporium, the table and chair folds with it, yet when he packs up the interrogation scene after questioning Vanessa's mother, they remain unfolded.
  • When Doofenshmirtz said he didn't understand why the lobster trap came free with the Inator, surely he would have noticed the cable connecting the two of them when he bought it.
  • Vanessa calls the Mary McGuffin doll a "piece of plastic" ("Not So Bad A Dad") when the doll is a plush doll.
  • When Vanessa sings, "... at my recital you clapped louder than you should", the flashback shows her as a toddler on stage with other toddlers who are frequently seen in the present as toddlers.

    Didn't they ever grow up?



  • Dragnet - When Phineas tells Charlene Doofenshmirtz that, "If it's all the same to you, ma'am, we'll ask the questions", this would be considered a tribute to Jack Webb's Sgt. Joe Friday character in the TV series and movie Dragnet where he portrayed a no-nonsense cop, usually adding that he wanted "just the facts, ma'am." The role was inherited to Dan Ackroyd in a 1988 movie remake, and then to Ed O'Neill in a 2000s TV series revival.
  • During the montage of Charitable Charities interviews, Phineas and Ferb are seen dressed respectively as David Starsky and Kenneth Hutchinson (Starsky and Hutch), James "Sonny" Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs (Miami Vice), and Horatio Caine and Erik Delko (CSI: Miami).
    • Starsky and Hutch - Though the car driven by Detectives Ken Hutchinson and Dave Starsky was a 1974 Ford Gran Torino, the one driven by Phineas and Ferb was an AMC Javelin.
    • CSI: Miami - Phineas did Horatio Caine's sunglasses gag and the screaming where the boys are traveling on the air-boat is the same as the start of its theme tune, Won't Get Fooled Again by The Who.
  • The title and doll refers to a MacGuffin, a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock to describe a common item whose single, sole purpose is to drive the plot of the episode forward, either directly or indirectly. The Macguffin Doll would be a good example of said object.
  • Cherry Merry Muffin - "Mary MacGuffin" doll may be in reference to the popular Cherry Merry Muffin dolls of the 80's.
  • Cabbage Patch Kids, Jingle All The Way, and Tickle Me Elmo - The scarcity of the Mary McGuffin doll is like that of the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls of the early 1980s. The manufacturer was not prepared for the overnight popularity of the doll, so store riots broke out as parents fought over the small supply of that year's must-have Christmas gift. This would be spoofed in the 1996 movie Jingle All the Way starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad. A similar craze in 1996 involving another toy - in this case, Tickle Me Elmo - led to similar results.
  • Family Guy - The lost doll plot is similar to the Family Guy episode "Road to Rupert", which Dan Povenmire also directed.
  • Rugrats: All Grown Up - The plot is also similar to an episode of the Nickelodeon show Rugrats: All Grown Up, in which Angelica Pickles loses her Cynthia doll after her mom sells it, as well as an episode of Disney Channel's Even Stevens called "Where in the World is Pookie Stevens?" in which Ren's Pookie doll is accidentally drops into a box that is taken down to their family's yard sale and prompts her younger brother to search for it.
  • The title is similar to Disney/Pixar's hit film Finding Nemo.
  • Finding Mary March - The title is similar to this minor 1988 movie. Mary March seems to have started the title trend of: Finding + someone.
  • When Vanessa recalls her dad going "out of [his] way to catch that foul ball," they are shown in the first row along the left field side at a baseball game, robbing a player in white with a blue hat and sleeves from making a catch in foul ground. This is a clear reference to the Bartman play in Game 6 of the Cubs/Marlins 2003 NLCS series.
  • The music when Phineas and Ferb visited the first Charitable Charities location, the music sounded familiar to the song "Racetrack 3000" by the Swivelheadz.



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