Phineas and Ferb Seasons 1 & 2 - 4 out of 5
Over the course of the last couple of months, I've been watching all the Phineas and Ferb episodes online because in Disney's infinite wisdom, they haven't released the seasons on DVD despite the fact that this cartoon is the one non-Pixar property that the company that a mouse built that is making some decent money. Camp Rock wasn't the High School Musical replacement they thought it would be and the 15 minutes of fame for High School Musical is long over and the actors are already being sucked into the black hole of obscurity--except maybe Vanessa Hudgens who makes sure to release a "leaked" nude photo of herself every time it's convenient for her career. So, you would think that fact and the fact that Phineas and Ferb is a money making machine, the greedy mouse would put out some box sets and collect that sweet, sweet green. However, that is not the case and since I don't have a DVR or the time to wait for the show to air on the Disney Channel, I turned to the 'net to watch the seasons and let me say this, watching one season of Phineas and Ferb was a big project but watching two, it almost started to feel like homework.
Okay, I like the show and find it funny but it's not without its problems. The premise is simple and fun--two brothers get into wacky adventures during their summer break from school while their sister tries to bust them...also, they have a platypus who is a secret agent and has to foil the evil schemes of a mad scientist named Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. This is a recipe for hilarity (especially the Agent P/Doofenshmirtz stuff) also fun but the premise is so thin that by the time you reach episode 40 of season 1, you actually no longer care what Phineas and Ferb plan to do on that summer day and I found myself wanting to see more of Perry the Platypus (but apparently I'm not the only one since you see more Perry merchandise than anything else in the stores). This is basically the show's biggest flaw: the formulaic approach it takes to every episode. Occasionally, the show will rip on itself and make fun of their own self-created cliches but once again, by the time you get to episode 40, these jokes themselves have become cliche. Not to mention that every episode has a montage to a mediocre song that spends too much time on the annoying music than making jokes in the montage. And speaking of music, I realize that it's Disney's way to have their actors on their shitty kid sitcoms to be singers as well but the show really needs to stop having Ashley Tisdale (the voice of the sister; Candace and one of the stars of High School Musical and future has been once she hits 30) sing. You can hear the Auto Tuner being used and she's just not that good of a singer. I realize Disney has invested a lot in her but her Lifeclock is blinking red and about to turn black.
And this brings me to my final complaint about the show...Candace. She really doesn't provide much to the show other than act as a protagonist to Phineas and Ferb. The character is never funny and just comes off as annoying and has a habit of breaking momentum. Her character is constantly belittled by her mother and, in doing so, makes me realize that Candace is a double-edge sword for the show. I find her annoying but, at the same time, I feel sorry for her because her mom clearly favors Phineas and Ferb and is constantly criticizing Candace and emotionally scarring her by calling her crazy at every failed attempt to bust her brothers. I fully realize that these are fictitious characters and animated nonetheless but it offers up some great social commentary as the mom (voiced by Caroline Rhea) favors the two boys to the point she clearly believes they can do no wrong all the while she publicly humiliates her daughter. If this was real life, Candace would become a stripper and be pregnant before she's 18.
Now, I know I looked a little too deep into a children's cartoon and it sounds like I am being very negative on Phineas and Ferb but the reality is that I really enjoy the show. Among the cliches that plague every show is some great jokes and great parodies (Star Wars references are thrown in almost every episode, much to my delight!) My favorite part of the show has to be Agent P and Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Not only are they hilarious (and Perry kicks ass!) but the dynamic of their relationship is interesting. Unlike the usual bitter enemies/best friends like Professor X and Magneto, these two only have this relationship because they have gone against each other so often that a begrudged friendship and respect has somehow formed, not because they were once friends and their ideologies split them in two. But to toss all my nonsense aside and to sum it up, Phineas and Ferb is a fun cartoon despite its flaws.