PHINEAS AND FERB: THE FAST AND THE PHINEAS
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
As my children have gotten older, mastered the remote control and figured out how to record their shows on our DVR, I’ve lost a bit of control of their TV viewing. It’s not like they’re watching classic episodes of “NYPD Blue” or buying adult favorites on the in-demand channels, but they’ve found their own shows they like on Disney Channel, the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.
Gone are the days that I watch “Tom and Jerry” or the various superhero cartoons. Now I have to deal with marathon sessions of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “You Gabba Gabba,” “Chowder” and “Flapjack.” It’s enough to curl my toes.
However, a new cartoon has shown up on the Disney Channel that I enjoy watching with them as much as any of the aforementioned choices from my childhood. On the surface, it appears that “Phineas and Ferb” is another hyperactive, obnoxious flash animation cartoon. However, after watching it for a bit, it has really grown on me.
From the opening song by Bowling for Soup, the show hits the ground running with high energy. However, there’s a level of irreverence to this show, which is not surprising considering one of its creators (Dan Povenmire) used to work on “Family Guy.” References to pop culture figures like Evander Holyfield are lost on young children but make me laugh at least.
The show features two step brothers on summer vacation. Instead of wasting their time, they get involved in their own adventures. Each episode includes their sister Candace (voiced by Ashley Tisdale) trying to bust them for breaking the rules. As Phineas and Ferb enjoy outrageous antics – from becoming a one-hit-wonder band to building a haunted house to fixing a time machine and traveling back to the age of the dinosaurs – their mother always comes in after the fact and never believes Candace.
A cute subplot occurs in each episode which follows the kids’ pet platypus Perry who sneaks away to become Agent P. By connecting with his secret agent network, the show channels “Secret Squirrel” and “Kim Possible” as Agent P battles his nemesis Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. This gives the show a beautiful balance but stays wacky in both storylines.
The first DVD release of the show comes in “Phineas and Ferb: The Fast and the Phineas,” which has five episodes on one disc. Each episode is broken into two parts, sometimes as a continuation and sometimes just two separate storylines. The bones features include the original storyboard pitch from Dan Povenmire and a set-top game.
If you haven’t seen the show, here’s a great way to start. And then you can allow your kids to DVR the rest of the episodes as they run on the Disney Channel.