(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Phineas and Ferb. "Venice Beach" by Topher Mohr and Alex Elena plays in the background)
Doug (vo): Well, seeing how I reviewed their movie a few years back, I think it's only fitting to look over the show, Phineas and Ferb. For a while, whenever I went to a con, I would always see someone dressed up as one of these characters, usually Perry the Platypus. Everyone told me it was great, but I just didn't have time to watch it. Well, thanks to Disneycember, it finally allowed me a chance to sit down and watch all the episodes, and...yep. Everybody's totally right. This is a very funny, very clever, very formulaic, but surprisingly very engaging show. It's funny, because I and a lot of other critics use the word "formulaic" usually in a negative sense, like we've seen this before, we don't want to see it again, but honestly, formulas aren't always bad. Home Improvement always had the same formula, many of the Looney Tunes cartoons always had the same formula, and the reason they worked is because they kept the things we wanted to see over and over the same, and the things we want to see changed changed. Phineas and Ferb has a brilliant formula. It usually goes something like this.
Premise[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): Phineas and Ferb are two little boys who are bored over the summer. Always looking for something to do, they use their genius minds to somehow, kind of, sort of get in trouble, and what I mean by that is, they do something amazing, like go into space, or make the world's largest roller coaster, all sorts of crazy things like that, but they never get caught, particularly by their older sister, Candace. Candace has an absolute obsession for getting them busted, but every single time she tries to drag her mom to see what they're doing, it's always somehow resolved, usually one second before the mother can turn her head to see it. But that's only half the story. Their pet platypus named Perry is actually a secret agent, always foiling the plans of Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who always wants to take over and/or destroy the Tri-State Area. And just as the parents never see what Phineas and Ferb are up to, Phineas and Ferb never see what Perry is up to. But even on top of that, there's a ton of elements that repeat. Phineas's friend Isabella always helps out with the help of the Fireside Girls, kind of this girl scout troop, she always tries confessing her love for him, but Phineas never notices. Candace's kind of/sort of boyfriend named Jeremy always somehow works his way into the situation and distracts her. Doofenshmirtz's usually dysfunctional family usually works their way into his plans. There's always a song, sometimes two, and they're always really, really good, I'm usually humming them every time I see them, I mean, this is like Animaniacs-levels great songs. Even half the dialogue is always repeated. I swear, you could make a whole YouTube channel of all the supercuts of people saying various things. You could edit all the times Phineas says, "Where's Perry?" You could edit all the times Isabella says, "Whatcha' doin'?" You could edit all the times Doofenshmirtz says, "Curse you, Perry the Platypus!" or "Tri-State Area" or any device with the word "Inator" in it.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): Yet, somehow, through all this repeating, every episode is hilarious. There's a couple reasons for this. One is, the characters are very likeable. All the kids in this are incredibly optimistic, upbeat, and have this joyful naïve innocence to them. There's one episode where they try to travel around the world, the bully makes a bet that Phineas and Ferb can't do it, and when they get to the end, it looks like they're not gonna make it, but the bully actually helps them out, because he wants to see them succeed. He could just call off the bet, but, no. It's about the journey, it's about the traveling, and he gets that, everybody gets that. It's just that kind of lust for a great experience these characters kind of have.
(Clips focusing on Candace and Dr. Doofenshmirtz are shown)
Doug (vo): Even the antagonists, with Candace and Doofenshmirtz. Candace just wants justification for being in control of the situation, and if she can get the brothers caught, that means she succeeded, and, of course, she never succeeds. But she still loves her brothers and the brothers love her, and they still look out for each other and help each other out when they're really in a bad spot. And Doofenshmirtz is both such a brilliant and yet pathetic villain that you can't help but feel sorry for him. Every time Perry tries to attack, he always has a trap ready, and it always works. It's just Perry always gets out of it. And his plans, kind of like Candace, often come back to just wanting control or appreciation, whether it's from society or his daughter or even sometimes Perry.
(Various clips resume showing)
Doug (vo): Like I said before, where the show really shines is what they change up. The different adventures they go on are always really imaginative and really big and over-the-top. Doofenshmirtz's evil schemes are always hilarious, and the way they're always thwarted is funny as well. The formula is so good and the variations are so clever, you actually look forward to the different ways they're going to do the same thing. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but that's kind of how they make it work.
(Clips focusing on several episodes about to be mentioned, "Act Your Age", "Rollercoaster: The Musical", and "Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars" are shown)
Doug (vo): The few times they don't do the formula and they have a different plot usually work as well. There's one episode where they jump to the future, and, yeah, kind of feels like fanfiction, but, you know, good fanfiction, like the kind you kind of say, "Wouldn't it be cool if they made an episode out of that?" Well, they did, and it's pretty good. There's another one where they actually recreate the first episode, but they do it as a musical, and it's literally beat for beat the same thing. Well, that has to be boring, right? That can't be fun. But, by God, they make it work, because they're somehow showing that they're gonna do the exact same thing, and somehow, people are kind of remembering it being done before, but are kind of onboard with it, too, and then they try to change the things that happened before so they don't happen again, and they do it all in song, and...oh, God! This is so clever. There's even a Star Wars episode. Yeah, come on, we've seen these parodies over and over. But this one, again, actually adds kind of a different spin to it. It's the exact same story of Star Wars, with Luke and Han and Leia all doing the same thing, but there's kind of this side story going on with the Phineas and Ferb characters, and they're kind of helping them out on their trip without people even knowing. So, in a funny way, you could say it's all canon*...well, kind of. Doofenshmirtz said he made a small version of the Death Star to crack walnuts, and the Empire just took a bigger take on it to blow up planets. (The DVD cover of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is shown as Doug speaks in a sarcastic voice) Thanks, Rogue One.
- (They state at the beginning of the episode that it's not)
(Clips focusing on the episode, "Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel", are shown)
Doug (vo): The only other episode I could think of that wasn't awful but wasn't that great either was the Marvel crossover. I know. You'd think that'd be great, there's so many things you could do with this. But the Marvel characters mostly play everything straight, except for an occasional weird line or weird action here and there, and I feel like they needed a lot more of that. I feel like they were probably trying to take it more seriously, which kind of took away from the comedy for me, and...I don't know. The Star Wars one was a good homage while also mocking it, and this one just felt like, "Well, there's Phineas and Ferb fighting with the Marvel characters. Have fun." And then there's this weird thing with Candace bonding with her brothers, and yet, she's still gonna tell on them at the end, and...I don't know. It didn't feel right. I know that kind of thing has happened in other shows, but they kind of worked with it better. This one, I don't know, it felt rushed somehow. But again, I'm being super nitpicky.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): The majority of these shows are incredibly funny, and the songs are incredibly hummable, and the characters are incredibly sweet, despite them living in a world that's very cynical and obviously plays on this predetermined fate that some of these characters are never gonna get what they want. So, yeah, Phineas and Ferb sounds very goofy and formulaic, and...it is, but that's part of what makes it so great. It goes all the way with it. And it works hard perfecting its dialogue, its ideas, its characters. I feel like this is the closest thing to a new Looney Tunes we've ever gotten, even when they try to create other new Looney Tunes. Yeah, they're just kind of doing the same thing. This is legit new formulas that can be played with, and a lot of great comedy can and has come from. People are still talking about it even to this day, and I don't blame them. It's just so well-developed. Every single time I think to myself, "This'll be the episode where I'll be sick of the formula, I'll say enough", they always find a new twist or a new angle to make it feel fresh again. If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, do it. Whether you're a little kid that wants to feel smart like an adult, or an adult that wants to have fun like a little kid, this is the perfect show to do both.
(The closing moment of the "Summer Belongs to You" song sequence from the hour-long episode "Phineas and Ferb: Summer Belongs to You" is shown)