10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Phineas & Ferb

I am bonkers in love with Phineas and Ferb, and I don’t care who knows it. And here’s why you should be, too.

1) Kooky Premise, But it Works

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKXYxGfFBig

Phineas and Ferb is this insane mishmash of three separate storylines that intersect and impact each another in unexpectedly funny ways. The two title characters are middle-American step brothers who are living Summer vacation to the fullest by building outlandish contraptions and projects every day. Most of these projects are joyously over-the-top, such as the massive Hawaiian beach they once created in their back yard, or the enormous paper mache airplane they built just to top the record set by the Spruce Goose. The 2nd storyline follows Candace, the boys’ older sister, who’s obsessed with trying to get her brothers in trouble by showing her mom what they’re up to. But they never get caught, because their project always disappears right before Candace can bust them. Which brings us to the third storyline: the family pet, Perry the Platypus, is a secret agent engaged in a daily battle against the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz, a crazy inventor who wants to take over the city. Their wacky fights always have the side effect of making Phineas and Ferb’s projects vanish. All of this stuff gets juggled and jammed into an episode, and it somehow works.

2) It’s Intelligent

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When was the last time you heard of a cartoon that was made for kids but was smart enough to entertain adults? There are precious few examples to point to, since most of today’s kids entertainment is homogenized until it’s been drained of all creativity. Phineas & Ferb makes me think of old school cartoons like Loony Tunes, when animators weren’t afraid to be politically incorrect or to include things like a goofy hunter looking for a rabbit to kill (and even singing a song about it). My wife and I have been watching since before we had kids — and now both of our kids are hooked too.

3) It Rocks (Literally)

Every eleven-minute episode of the show includes an original song, written and performed just for that episode. And the songs come from pretty much every musical genre known to mankind. Not only are they appropriate to the episode, they’re downright catchy, appealing just as much to adults as to kids (much like the show itself). All of the songs are written during flash creative sessions by series creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, who then send them off to series composer Danny Jacob for recording.

4) It’s Hysterical

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Modern cartoons are scripted, but back in the day cartoonists plotted out their episodes using storyboards instead. It allowed for a more random, rapid-fire nature, with non-stop gags and plots, and an emphasis on visuals. Phineas and Ferb is storyboarded instead of scripted, and as a result, it’s just wildly funny. And you don’t have to be ashamed to admit you find it funny. [Image source.]

5) The Characters

bufordbaljeet 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Phineas & Ferb

The show’s roster includes more three-dimensionality than many live action dramas. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that, whether intentional or not, most of the relationships on the show were designed to poke fun at codependency. There’s Baljeet and Buford, the nerd and the bully who can’t seem to function without one another. Or Doofenshmirtz, the villain who secretly just wants to be best friends with his heroic nemesis. And of course Candace, whose life has no meaning unless she’s busting her brothers.

6) Candace

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l39F9IEv24s

The voice acting is fabulous all around (recent guest casts have included everyone from Tina Fey to Kevin Smith), but extra credit must go to Ashley Tisdale. Yeah, I know, she’s that tightly-wound blonde girl from High School Musical. That’s a turn off for me, too. But watch Candace in action for thirty seconds and you’ll see how well she melts into the character. She’s made what could have been a one-note character laugh-out-loud funny and even sympathetic. Her comic timing is perfection, and she’s not afraid to let it all hang out with her voice work. She knocks it out of the park, every time. Tisdale is Phineas and Ferb‘s surprise MVP.

7) Agent P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKUAtMT_g_I

He’s James Bond crossed with a novelty pet, and he’s a suave dynamo of action. He not only keeps Dr. D in check, but he also manages to look out for his owners (without them finding out about his secret job). Plus, you have to love any heroic mammal who gets his own theme song.

8) Continuity

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It’s not a slave to its own continuity, but Phineas and Ferb definitely remembers things that happened in prior episodes and references them frequently. It may seem like a small thing, but anytime a show refuses to hit the “reset” button and erase its characters’ memories of things that came before, it feels like the show’s creators actually care that their viewers have memories, too.

9) It’s Gloriously Self-Aware

The show is never smarter than when it pokes fun at itself or pop culture. A recent episode was a re-do of the show’s pilot — where the boys built the world’s biggest roller coaster — but this time as a musical. It was so gorged with inside jokes and winks at past episodes that it was nothing less than a love letter to the fans. The show also has a great sense of its unique place among geekdom. The show frequently drops pop culture references that kids will never get. There’s an annual panel for the show at Comic-Con, and not long ago, there was an extra long episode set at the show’s own version of Comic-Con, where an all out “geek war” broke out over which of two movie franchises was better.

10) It’s Never Been Hotter

pfmovie 470x685 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Phineas & Ferb

Disney seems to have recently recognized the value of what they have with Phineas and Ferb, because they’ve begun investing in ways to expand the empire. A full-length TV movie is airing this August. There’s a nationwide tour over the Summer that involves a converted bus that’s been dubbed “Perry the Platy-bus.” There’s even plans in the works for a big screen movie that combines live action with animation.

There’s never been a better time to jump on the Phineas and Ferb bandwagon, so hop onboard! Its greatness defies description. And between the Disney Channel and Disney XD, there’s rarely a time when it’s not on.


About Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

Comments

  1. My kids started watching this on Netflix. As I sat nearby hearing what was going on in each episode, I’d think “What in the world?!” And my 14 year old daughter would blurt out “This show is just so random! The writers are awesome!” Then they started calling me and my wife into the room to replay segments for us – now we all watch together.

    Phineas and Ferb really is a great show. It’s the new Kim Possible.

  2. Dan Povenmire says:

    Hey, just wanna say how much I enjoyed this article, but I did want to elaborate on something. Though Swampy and I do write the majority of the songs in the show, we often have help from our very talented staff of writers many of whom are excellent songwriters as well. Martin Olson specifically has been involved in songs since the first season. Rob Hughes, Jon Barry and Bobby Gaylor have also had a hand in quite a few, as have many other story artists and writers. We’ve written over 250 songs for the show now and it continues to be the most fun part of the process for Swampy and myself, but one of the things that makes it the enjoyable is collaborating with different people and getting different ideas into the mix. I just want to give credit where credit is due.

    • Is it bad that I’m geeking out so hard about you replying to my article that I’m kinda glad I got something wrong in the article so it happened? Didn’t do it on purpose of course, but DUDE… The voice of Dr. Doofenshmirtz actually read and replied to my article! That is one of the best things ever.

      Thank you for filling in the missing info. The songs are just ridiculously good. Hats off to the whole crew. Can’t wait for more soundtrack albums!

      And thanks for the fantastic show! It’s provided my family with a lot of much-needed laughs in these stressful times.

    • @Dan
      THANK YOU!
      I just want to say as a geek dad that I seriously appreciate what you guys have done with Phineas and Ferb. Until we discovered it on Netflix I had just about lost faith in cartoons. It actually makes kids realize they can be smart and that anything is possible. Our 23 month old has almost every episode memorized and amazes us every day with how much more active her imagination is.

      Tell the folks at Disney to make more intelligent shows!

      And thanks Robin for an awesome article!

  3. Robin, I’d totally freak out if Dr. Doofenschmirtz read an article I wrote, too! Hats off to you; it was a FABULOUS article, and completely echos the coolness of the show. I had given up on Disney because of all the Princess and Hannah Montana-type garbage they had been spewing. However, Phineas and Ferb has completely restored my faith in Disney and what they are willing to show off to their viewers. Even though they are cartoons, the boys are great role models to kids today who think that it is a requirement to stay indoors and play video games all summer. Kudos to the talented writers, actors and artists who work on this show. Thank you for realizing all of Disney viewers are not mindless consumers, and that we truly appreciate creativity and thought-provoking entertainment. I’m so excited for the movie in August!

  4. Jennifer Hughes says:

    I was just about to clarify some points when I saw Dan’s reply. Thanks for clearing that up Dan. :o) Being a voice on the show and the wife of the guy who punches up the gags and co-writes songs (Director, Robert Hughes) I was very happy to read your fabulous post about the show. We all feel great about it but it is so incredibly fulfilling to read what the viewers think. We are so happy you like the show. The crew works tirelessly to make it as good as it is. So thanks for watching!!

    • OH MY GOSH! It’s the voice of the Farmer’s Wife! AKA, “did you think it would just fall out of the sky??”

      Wow, this just keeps getting better and better… Thanks for your comments, Jennifer! Again, deeply humbled and honored that people who actually make this fantastic show have found and enjoyed my little article. Thanks for crafting such intelligent, witty entertainment that my whole family can enjoy. That is such a rare and precious thing. We’ll be watching P&F until our TV burns out! ;)

      PS – My 21-month-old daughter (http://twitpic.com/51xdj1) is now obsessed with the show. She cries when it goes to commercial!

  5. This article is fun to read and sums it all up better than most.

    Dan, thanks. The fact that we wrote almost every song in about an hour, and that it’s still fun going into the fourth season, says it all about the uncanny song-writing chemistry on the show. Having music in the halls of Disney and the fun of our Friday night jams is a legacy I hope is carried on by other Disney shows in the future.

  6. Reason #4 is why I watch it with the kids. It’s funny and even entertaining for an adult. I guess that what makes this show such a hit, parents can actually deal with watching it, unlike some other shows =P

    • Ex. Act. Lee.

      So many kids shows these days are formulaic to the point of monotony and devoid of anything resembling creativity. I can feel my brain melting while those shows are on the TV. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, Dora, Little Einsteins, even Thomas & Friends… I’m looking at you! And don’t even get me started on Special Agent Oso… Oh man, I absolutely DESPISE that show. It’s so astonishingly dumb, I just want to slit my throat when it comes on. I judge Sean Astin for being in it.

  7. This reasons are very true specially (for me) the reason 2 i am a kid and P and F is the only animated show that i know where the characters are not extremely stupid or irritated, have inteligent jokes and have a good character design (well the secondary characters because Phineas is a triangle and Ferb a rectangle). I like that this show remembers you to the Looney Tunes because i still love that show and i still watch it (in internet ^^) and the characters in there are just goofy or crazy that makes you laugh all the time (for me the first Daffy Duck ^^) and even though i am one of the new generation of cartoons I still I’m attach to the old ones and I am happy that a funny, well-bred and interesting show like Phineas and Ferb is now part of my generation and I hope that improves in the future, because a show like this doesnt appear everyday
    (Sorry if my english is bad I´m from Peru :P)

  8. Even as an adult, I love Phineas and Ferb as much as my children do. How many television shows can boast that? It’s clever, hilarious, and I can’t get the songs out of my head (still laughing over the Double Dutch song as I sit here!) And even better, my young daughter sees the kids on P&F using their brains and exercising boundless amounts of creativity. I can’t thank the creators enough.

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